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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Monday, September 13, 2021:


The White House is defending new federal vaccine mandates as “appropriate” and “legal” amid criticism from Republicans that the administration’s strategy of using OSHA to enforce vax-or-test rules for private businesses is unconstitutional. The surgeon general made the Sunday TV rounds, pointing to Tyson Foods as a company that saw its vaccination rate shoot up from 45 to 70 percent when it put a mandate in place. In upstate New York, one hospital system says it has to stop delivering babies after staffers quit rather than get vaccinated. NBC NEWS


The Senate is back from its summer recess today, kicking off a fall legislative marathon that will be crucial for President Biden’s economic agenda. Deadlines are looming for Congress to pass Biden’s infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion budget package and an extension of the debt ceiling before the government runs out of money at the end of the month. The budget bill is facing serious pushback from some moderate Dems, including Sen. Joe Manchin, who said this weekend that he wants to see the spending package cut down by more than half before he would consider supporting it. AXIOS


Tropical Storm Nicholas is strengthening as it approaches the Texas Gulf Coast. The slow-moving storm is expected to make landfall along the central Texas shoreline tonight, bringing heavy rains and the potential for flash flooding from Houston to Baton Rouge. Nicholas is forecast to dump 10 to 20 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast by midweek. SUN SENTINEL


The American drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29 that took out a purported ISIS bomber actually killed an innocent Afghan man and nine members of family, including seven children, according to a bombshell investigation by the New York Times. The Pentagon had said that the strike had successfully stopped an imminent second attack on the airport and was based on intelligence showing a man placing carefully wrapped packages into the back of his car. According to the Times analysis, that man was actually a civilian who worked for a U.S. aid group, and the packages he was treating so gingerly just contained water for his family. NY TIMES


The FBI has declassified the first batch of documents related to Saudi involvement in 9/11, after President Biden directed the agency to do so. The newly revealed documents show that the FBI was investigating as recently as 2016  two Saudi nationals, one with diplomatic status, who had allegedly provided logistical support for two of the 9/11 hijackers. The documents do not provide conclusive evidence that the Saudi government was linked to the plot. The declassification came on Saturday’s 20th commemoration after hundreds of victims’ families told Biden not to come to the memorial service unless he was prepared to declassify more evidence. WASH POST


Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, says it plans to appeal Friday’s ruling in its antitrust fight with Apple. That ruling came as a blow to both companies, with the judge ruling that Apple wasn’t running a monopoly in mobile gaming. But in a blow for Apple, the judge also decided that it can’t stop app developers from directing users to their own purchase systems and away from Apple’s. That could end up having major implications for Apple’s lucrative revenue stream that comes from the App Store. THE VERGE


MENS: Novak Djokovic was denied his calendar Grand Slam and a record-breaking 21st major, falling in the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev of Russia in one of the biggest upsets in recent tennis history. It was Medvedev’s first major title. Djokovic fell behind early, as he is known to do, but failed to mount the comeback that fans were waiting for. ESPN

WOMENS: Emma Raducanu of Britain became the first player to win a Grand Slam title from the qualifying rounds, and the first woman to win the US Open without dropping a single set since Serena Williams pulled it off in 2014. Raducanu, who until three months ago had never even played in a tour-level match, beat Leylah Fernandez in straight sets to cap one of the most incredible underdog runs in tennis history, or maybe even all of sports. GUARDIAN


Justin Bieber and Lil Nas X took home the top honors at the MTV Video Music Awards, broadcast live last night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Madonna opened the show with a cheeky salute to MTV’s 40th birthday. Olivia Rodrigo made her VMA debut performing "good 4 u." Alicia Keys sang "Empire State of Mind" outdoors in front of the NYC skyline. Machine Gun Kelly and Conor McGregor got into a fight on the red carpet for some reason. Here are the top moments from the night: SLIDESHOW


…Presidents Biden, Obama, and Clinton, sharing in a moment of silence at the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero: SEE PICS

… Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, making it red-carpet-official at the Venice Film Festival: SEE PICS

...Kim Kardashian, head-to-toe in leather, arriving in NYC ahead of tonight’s Met Gala: SEE PICS


The best play of the night at Saturday’s University of Miami-Appalachian State game didn’t happen on the field. ‘Canes fans at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami saved the life of a cat that had somehow found itself dangling from the bottom of the upper deck. In a dramatic scene that had the entire crowd watching in disbelief, the feline lost its grip and fell 50 feet into an American flag being held by fans below. The stadium erupted in cheers when the cat was held up, safe and sound: WATCH

Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!

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