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10 things you need to know today: August 30, 2014

Sarah Eberspacher
The U.K. raised its terror threat level to the second-highest. (AP photo/Alastair Grant)
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United Kingdom raises terror threat level to 'highly likely'

Citing the influx of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, the United Kingdom raised its terror threat level to "highly likely," the country's second-highest level, on Friday. Officials have voiced concerns over the hundreds of British jihadists who have traveled to Syria and Iraq — more than half of whom are suspected to have now returned to the U.K. and could be planning attacks on the West. "We face a real and serious threat from international terrorism," Home Secretary Theresa May said. "I urge the public to remain vigilant." [The Telegraph]


Senegal reports first Ebola case in West African outbreak

Senegal's Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday that a man infected with Ebola is currently receiving isolation treatment in the country's capital of Dakar. The case is Senegal's first, although the disease is ravaging four other West African nations. The infected man is a university student who came into contact with sick people in Guinea, then traveled to Senegal three weeks later and sought treatment at a hospital. The Ebola outbreak has killed at least 1,552 people and infected more than 3,000. [The Associated Press]


McConnell's campaign manager quits in wake of Ron Paul scandal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign manager Jesse Benton has resigned as a result of the ongoing scandal involving the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. This past week, a former Iowa state senator pled guilty to accepting laundered payments from the Paul campaign — of which Benton was a member — to switch his endorsement away from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. No individuals have been charged with making the payments, but Benton said he "would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way" of McConnell's reelection — "that includes myself." [Lexington Herald-Leader]


United Nations agency: Syrian refugees pass 3 million mark

More than three million Syrians have been forced out of their country due to the ongoing civil war, according to a new report from the United Nation's refugee agency. Officials said refugees are arriving in countries such as Jordan with little savings after months on the run. And as extremist group ISIS expands across the Syria-Iraq border, more refugees are fleeing those areas. "With so many crises erupting simultaneously around us, with so much suffering, there is a risk that the victims of the Syria crisis…will slip from the public eye," Kristalina Georgieva, aid chief for the European Union, said. [The Associated Press]


Pentagon says ISIS airstrikes costing U.S. $7.5 million per day

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby announced on Friday that the airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are costing U.S. taxpayers more than $7.5 million per day. "As you might imagine, it didn't start out at $7.5 million per day," Kirby said. "It's been — as our activities have intensified, so too has the cost." While Kirby said the Pentagon should have enough resources to fund the campaign through the fiscal year (which ends Sept. 30), that may change if President Barack Obama decides to order similar airstrikes on ISIS holdings in Syria. [Time]


Federal judge rules Texas abortion restrictions unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled certain measures in Texas’ broad anti-abortion bill unconstitutional on Friday. Abortion clinics sued over the bill's requirement that they be held to hospital-level operating standards, which Yeakel said in his ruling amounted to "substantial obstacles (that) have reached a tipping point." Women are already required to undergo sonograms and a 24-hour waiting period after first requesting an abortion from a Texas clinic. The state said it would appeal Yeakel's ruling on measures in the bill, known as HB2 and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry (R) in 2013. [The Associated Press]


Ebola drug ZMapp cures infected monkeys after five days

Researchers published new findings in the science journal Nature showing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp was able to cure a group of monkeys five days after they were infected with the virus. "With the new cocktail, we haven't seen any side effects," Gary Kobinger, an author on the paper based at Canada's Public Health Agency, said. Positive findings aside, the current drug supply has been exhausted, and Kobinger estimated new doses would not be ready for at least nine more months. The WHO predicts the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could eventually infect 20,000 people. [The Washington Post]


California Senate passes college campus 'affirmative consent' bill

A bill that would require California universities to include "affirmative consent" guidelines in sexual consent policies passed the state senate on Thursday. The measure, known as the "yes-means-yes" bill, still must be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. None of California's colleges or universities contested the bill, according to Claire Conlon, a spokeswoman for Sen. Kevin De Leon (D). The measure would define sexual consent as "an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement." The White House says one in five college students is a victim of sexual assault during his or her university years, describing the figure as an "epidemic." [Reuters]


Gallup: Average full-time workweek in U.S. is 47 hours

Full-time American workers put in an average of 47 hours per week on the job, according to a Gallup poll released on Friday. While 47 hours has been the norm for more than a decade, Gallup noted that the percentage of full-time workers has dropped from 50 percent before the Great Recession to 43 percent today. "The 40-hour workweek is widely regarded as the standard for full-time employment, and many federal employment laws — including the Affordable Care Act — use this threshold to define what a full-time employee is," Gallup said. "However, barely four in 10 full-time workers in the U.S. indicate they work precisely this much." [Los Angeles Times]


Chelsea Clinton announces end of NBC News gig

Citing the upcoming birth of her first child, Chelsea Clinton announced on Friday that she is stepping down from her post as special correspondent at NBC News. The former first daughter spent nearly three years reporting stories of "remarkable people and organizations making a profound difference," although her salary of $600,000 per year reportedly irked some in the journalism industry. Clinton said she will focus on her work with the Clinton Foundation, specifically on projects aimed toward bettering healthcare around the world and empowering women. [People, Politico]

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