A Haitian gang is demanding a $17 million ransom for kidnapped missionaries. Alex Murdaugh has been denied bond as he faces charges of taking $3 million from his housekeeper's death settlement. And what's more effective: COVID-19 vaccine or natural infection?
👋 Helloooo! It's Laura. It's Tuesday. So here's Tuesday's news!
But first, ring ring! It's your childhood calling. ☎️ Remember that classic Fisher-Price toy rotary phone? It's getting a modern upgrade as a real working phone, and you can buy one soon.
🎧 Listen: Civil rights battles, told by those who fought them. Hear from people who risked it all to fight for freedom in the Seven Days of 1961 podcast.
Haitian gang seeks $17 million ransom
A wide-ranging strike in protest of the abductions, violence and lawlessness consuming battered Haiti stretched into a second day Tuesday amid reports that a powerful gang was demanding a $17 million ransom for 16 Americans and a Canadian kidnapped three days ago. The streets of Port-au-Prince were oddly quiet and largely empty Monday as the protest shuttered businesses, schools and public transportation. Bold criminal activity was rampant even before the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse at his home. That crisis, along with an August earthquake that killed more than 2,200 and destroyed more than 130,000 homes, has fueled a near-total collapse of civil order. Haiti's turmoil reached the global spotlight Saturday when 17 people – seven women, five men, five children, all Americans except one Canadian – were seized in the community of Ganthier east of the capital after they visited an orphanage.
FBI part of 'coordinated US government effort' to free missionaries.
Jan. 6 committee to vote on holding Bannon in contempt
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is set to vote Tuesday to advance a contempt citation against former President Donald Trump's adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon, who has been subpoenaed by the committee, has refused to comply. Trump's lawyers have directed witnesses not to cooperate with congressional investigators, invoking executive privilege. But the Biden administration has rejected the former president's attempt to withhold documents from the investigating panel. Still, Bannon's legal team cited executive privilege when formally notifying the committee of his intention to refuse investigators' requests. However, the committee is ramping up its efforts to compel him to testify and deter others they have subpoenaed from not cooperating.
Jan. 6: Here's what we know about holding Bannon in contempt.
What everyone's talking about
Apple started selling a $19 cleaning cloth.
A real Schitt's Creek? This small Tennessee town is for sale.
Nonprofit declines donations from Jamie Lynn Spears' coming book.
Amid tributes to Colin Powell, Donald Trump disparages him.
Making a local call? You might need to dial the area code starting Sunday.
The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.
Alex Murdaugh denied bond
Alex Murdaugh, the embattled South Carolina attorney at the center of multiple investigations following the deaths of his wife and son in June, was ordered held without bond pending a psychiatric evaluation as he faces charges related to mishandling funds in a former housekeeper's wrongful death lawsuit. Judge Clifton Newman said he was not considering a personal recognizance bond for Murdaugh after prosecutors and attorneys for Gloria Satterfield's family made their case that the lawyer had violated the family's trust. Murdaugh faces two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses tied to a suit filed by Satterfield's sons. Murdaugh was arrested last week in Orlando after his release from a drug rehabilitation center. Murdaugh already faces multiple charges in an alleged plot to arrange his own murder in order for his $10 million life insurance policy to be paid out to his surviving son.
Police say Murdaugh had man shoot him in $10M life insurance scheme.
Murdaugh turned self in last month, amid botched murder, insurance fraud plot.
Natural immunity is good, but also getting vaccinated is better
Had COVID-19? Get vaccinated anyway, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data is starting to emerge about how much protection people who had COVID-19 may have against another infection, but the CDC still recommends those people get vaccinated. A growing body of research suggests infection plus vaccination provides the strongest protection against a wide range of variants, possibly for a long time. People who were infected and then vaccinated some months later have "what's called 'hybrid immunity,' which is like super-immunity," said Warner Greene, a virologist. However, Greene warns against seeking out infection to get protection given the risk of severe disease. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert, said getting vaccinated three months – or even better, six months – after infection provides the best possible protection.
How social isolation took a toll on older adults living with dementia.
Pfizer vaccine 93% effective in avoiding hospitalization in ages 12-18.
Keep meme-in': New study shows memes about COVID-19 decrease stress.
Human bone found in car connected to 20-year-old cold case in Ohio.
2 years after Elijah McClain's death, family announces settlement deal.
DHS boosts drone monitoring of Central, South America migrants
Jewish residents blast Texas school for Holocaust 'two sides' remark.
Police: Riders held up phones, didn't call 911, as woman was raped on a train.
Ancient sword discovered in underwater treasure trove
Sounds like this guy stumbled on Ariel's cave from "The Little Mermaid." A 900-year-old iron sword found off Israel by an amateur diver is believed to be a relic from the Crusades. Shlomi Katzin found the sword on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea along with other artifacts, including stone anchors and pottery fragments. The sword weighed 4 pounds, measured 4 feet long and dates to the Third Crusade, which was launched when three European monarchs tried to retake Jerusalem after its fall to the Muslims. Since the sword was found underwater, it was able to be preserved, and will be cleaned and put on display at a museum.
Photos: Diver finds 900-year-old iron sword off Israel.
How did artifacts, thousands of years old, turn up in a gator's stomach?
A break from the news
🏡 Zillow will stop buying homes. What does it mean for house-flippers?
🛒 Considering a Shipt shopper gig? How a Michigan man earned $100K.
🥾 Here's your present, now take a hike! The best gift ideas for people who like the outdoors.
🗣 Let's play! USA TODAY launched something really fun. It's a new and improved Crossword App! Check it out!
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti, Alex Murdaugh, COVID-19 vaccine, Jan. 6 committee. It's Tuesday's news.