Biden to visit New Orleans in wake of Hurricane Ida
President Joe Biden plans to visit Louisiana Friday to survey damage from Hurricane Ida, which lashed the state last weekend as one of the five strongest storms to ever strike the U.S., packing 150 mph winds. He will also be meeting Louisiana’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, and other state and local leaders. About 900,000 people in Louisiana, including much of New Orleans, remained without power and tens of thousands had no water in the midst of a sultry stretch of summer Thursday. Efforts continued to drain flooded communities, and lines for gas stretched for blocks in many places from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. But there were also glimmers of hope. Commercial flights resumed in New Orleans and power returned to parts of the business district Thursday. Officials also reported a big drop late Thursday in the number of customers with no running water: 185,000, compared to more than 600,000 the day before.
Massive fire still burning near Lake Tahoe
After days of fierce winds, firefighters battling the Caldor Fire near Lake Tahoe took advantage of better weather conditions Thursday and were even able to allow some people back to their homes. Friday’s forecast called for lighter winds but also extremely dry daytime weather, with a warming trend continuing through the weekend. The blaze has spanned over 330 square miles across two counties within miles of the popular tourist destination, forcing an unprecedented evacuation of all 22,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe, California, and tens of thousands of tourists. It has been burning since Aug. 14 and still threatens thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings ranging from cabins to ski resorts along its trek toward Nevada’s border.
August jobs report: Hiring may have slowed in face of the delta variant
When the government issues its August jobs report Friday morning, it may show a stretch of robust hiring over the past few months slowing at a time when the COVID-19 delta variant’s spread has discouraged some Americans from flying, shopping and eating out. Economists have forecast employers added 750,000 jobs in August, according to the data provider FactSet. That would be a substantial gain, though below the roughly 940,000 jobs that were added in July and, after the Labor Department revised its numbers, June as well. Some analysts are more pessimistic, expecting job growth of 500,000 or less. But even many of those economists expect any hiring slowdown to be brief, noting employers are still struggling to fill jobs to meet strengthened consumer demand. And with a $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement set to expire next week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others speculated more of the unemployed would be looking for work.
Marvel’s long-awaited ‘Shang-Chi’ kicks into theaters
After getting a head start preview before the holiday weekend Thursday night, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” opens in theaters Friday. In his ★★★ (out of four) review, USA TODAY film critic Brian Truitt writes “Shang-Chi” puts martial arts and Asian-influenced fantasy elements on display in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time.” Starring Simu Liu, who Truitt says “exudes likability, swagger and depth,” the film follows Shang-Chi and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina), who go from San Francisco hotel valets to global heroes as they try to foil the latest machinations of Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu (Tony Leung), who wields 10 ancient mystical rings as the leader of a shadowy terrorist organization. In an interview with USA TODAY, Liu said he connected with his character’s “feeling of being constantly in between worlds and struggling to figure out what path he wants to take.” Liu is the mega-franchise’s first lead Asian superhero.
Drake’s new album debuted early Friday morning
Drake (finally) released his sixth studio album, “Certified Lover Boy” at 2 a.m. ET on Friday. On Monday, a day after his rival Kanye West’s long-delayed “Donda” hit streaming services, Drake announced “CLB” was coming Friday after previous push backs. Then the four-time Grammy winner and habitual chart-topper amped up the hype during the week by buying a series of billboards in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago and Memphis to tease the album’s collaborations. In New York, the billboard touted “The GOAT is on CLB” while another said “Hey Houston the hometown hero is on CLB.” Speaking of buzzy collaborations, Lady Gaga also releases a remix of her 2020 pop-homecoming album called “Dawn of Chromatica” Friday. New guest artists include Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama and Bree Runway.
Contributing: The Associated Press