Social media meltdown

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It's not just you – Facebook and Instagram (and others) were down. A massive oil spill in California is killing wildlife and shutting down beaches. And William Shatner is going to space.

👋 Hey! It's Laura. And it's a Monday, for sure. Here's the news!

But first, BRB, booking a trip. 💎 A woman found a 4-carat yellow diamond at a state park in Arkansas. And she gets to take it home!!

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📰 "Seven Days of 1961": It was the "deadliest place" for Black people in the USA. That didn’t stop these high school students from changing history.

Major outage knocks out Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

Everybody OK out there? Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all went down in a major outage Monday. The social network and the Facebook-owned platforms stopped working around 11:30 a.m. EDT Monday. The outage, one of the longest in Facebook’s history, marooned billions of users who rely on the social media giant and its apps for everything from connecting with friends to running their businesses and logging into websites. The social network and the Facebook-owned platforms stopped working around 11:30 a.m. EDT Monday, according to the site Downdetector.com. At around 5:40 p.m., some users were able to access the platforms, but not all functions were back. Facebook's stock fell by nearly 5% on Monday.

Facebook and Instagram were down Monday.
Facebook and Instagram were down Monday.

To boldly go where no 90-year-old has gone before 🚀

Space: the final frontier, and Star Trek’s Captain Kirk is rocketing there, for real this time. Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, announced Monday that sci-fi actor William Shatner, 90, will blast off from West Texas on Oct. 12, becoming the oldest person in space. He’ll join three others – two of them paying customers – aboard a Blue Origin capsule in the company’s second launch with a crew. Bezos was on the debut flight in July, along with his brother and the youngest and oldest to fly in space. Shatner will break that upper threshold by six years. The up-and-down space hop will last 10 minutes and reach about 66 miles high.

Star Trek's Captain Kirk will go to space for real.
Star Trek's Captain Kirk will go to space for real.

What everyone's talking about

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Massive oil spill kills wildlife, shuts down beaches in California

Cleanup crews along Southern California's coast deployed skimmers and attempted to corral oil-slicked ocean waters Monday while wildlife experts scrambled to protect birds and fish from an enormous oil spill that threatened to close beaches for months. The spill left a sheen over miles of ocean and gobs of thick black oil along the shoreline at Huntington Beach, about 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, drawing an outcry from environmental groups demanding an end to offshore drilling. More than 125,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline about 4 miles offshore and will wash up for days. Officials said the spill affects about 6 miles of shoreline. Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said dead birds and fish washed up on the shore, and oil "infiltrated the entirety" of some wetlands.

Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Oct. 3. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled to contain the crude.
Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Oct. 3. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled to contain the crude.

NYC teacher vaccination mandate takes effect

New York City's 148,000 school teachers and staffers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 effective Monday as the nation's largest public school system became one of the first to mandate inoculation. Mayor Bill de Blasio said 95% of all teachers and staffers had been vaccinated as of Monday. Unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave and not allowed to work this week, de Blasio said. The mandate allows for medical and religious exemptions.

Stephane Labossiere, right, with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, hands out masks and printed information about free coronavirus testing in Brooklyn offered by NYC Health + Hospitals in New York.
Stephane Labossiere, right, with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, hands out masks and printed information about free coronavirus testing in Brooklyn offered by NYC Health + Hospitals in New York.

Real quick

Supreme Court (mostly) returns to the courtroom

Consider it another milestone on the nation's journey back to normal: The Supreme Court returned to in-person oral arguments Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Seventeen months after the high court convened by telephone for the first time in its 230-year history in response to the pandemic, the justices filed back into the courtroom and their seats as they kicked off a term fraught with controversial issues such as abortion, gun rights, religion and the death penalty. Most of them, anyway. Because Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh tested positive for the coronavirus last week, he took part remotely. Kavanaugh remained symptom-free Monday, the court said, and there was no indication of illness as he peppered attorneys with questions through a speaker.

The Supreme Court is back in-person after a year of remote arguments.
The Supreme Court is back in-person after a year of remote arguments.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Facebook, Instagram outage, California oil spill, William Shatner, COVID-19 vaccine mandate. It's Monday's news.

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