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10 things you need to know today: August 15, 2014

Harold Maass
Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed to take control of security operations in Ferguson, walks among demonstrators. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Missouri Highway Patrol takes over security from police in Ferguson

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced Thursday that the State Highway Patrol would take over security in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after five days of protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a police officer. Nixon was facing rising criticism over the heavy-handed response by St. Louis County police armed with military gear. President Obama said there was "no excuse" for using excessive force against protesters. [The Kansas City Star]


Maliki agrees to step aside in Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bent to pressure from the U.S. and Iran and said Thursday that he would give up power. Iraq's president on Monday nominated Haider al-Abadi, a member of Maliki's Dawa Party, to take over. The U.S. hopes that replacing Maliki, whose policies have alienated minority Sunnis, will erode support for Sunni extremist fighters who have been making battlefield gains across Iraq. [The New York Times]


First Texas National Guard troops arrive at border

The first several dozen National Guard troops called up by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) have arrived at observation posts along the state's border with Mexico. Perry last month said he was sending up to 1,000 troops to secure the border while the Border Patrol deals with a surge in illegal immigration, including the arrival of 63,000 unaccompanied, undocumented children since October. [Associated Press]


WHO: Magnitude of West Africa's Ebola outbreak has been "vastly underestimated"

The World Health Organization said Thursday that the scale of West Africa's Ebola outbreak, already the biggest ever, appeared to have been "vastly underestimated." The reported death toll stood at 1,069, but WHO said that staff at outbreak sites reported evidence that there could be far more infections and deaths. Consequently, WHO said it was ordering "a massive scaling up of the international response." [BBC News]


Tensions rise in Haiti after court orders Aristide to testify in criminal case

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's supporters clashed with United Nations peacekeepers on Thursday after a magistrate issued a summons requiring the twice-overthrown leader to provide testimony in a criminal investigation. Court papers indicated the case involved alleged laundering of drug money. About 150 people erected barricades of burning tires outside Aristide's home to prevent his arrest. [Associated Press]


Whitey Bulger appeals racketeering conviction

Former Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger's lawyers formally appealed his 2013 racketeering conviction on Thursday. The defense attorneys said the judge who convicted Bulger of committing or ordering 11 murders in the '70s and '80s made a "constitutional error" by failing to hear Bulger's claims that he had been granted immunity by corrupt Justice Department officials. Bulger, 84, was sentenced to two life terms. [Reuters]


Ukraine begins inspecting Russian aid convoy

Ukrainian border guards crossed into Russia to begin inspecting a convoy of more than 250 trucks Moscow says are carrying humanitarian aid to people in an embattled separatist-held Ukrainian city, Kiev said Friday. Fifty-nine customs officers — as well as foreign journalists — were allowed to look inside the trucks. Ukraine had said the aid convoy could be cover for a Russian military intervention. [The New York Times]


Gregg Allman filmmakers cited for endangering crew

Occupational safety officials on Thursday cited the company behind a film about rock star Gregg Allman for endangering crew members by filming on live train tracks in February. Camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones was killed and eight others injured when a train sped through as they installed lighting equipment on a Georgia trestle bridge. The director and producer were indicted for involuntary manslaughter last month. [Reuters]


Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as baseball commissioner

Major League Baseball team owners elected Rob Manfred on Thursday to replace the retiring Bud Selig as professional baseball commissioner. Manfred, the league's chief operating officer, will take over when Selig steps down in January after more than two decades in the job, which is considered one of the most powerful positions in sports. A small group had supported Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner for the post, but Manfred won in a 30-0 vote. [The Washington Post]


Robin Williams' widow reveals he had Parkinson's

Robin Williams was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's disease at the time of his suicide this week, his widow, Susan Schneider, said Thursday. Schneider also said that the Oscar-winning actor and comedian, who had battled substance abuse in the past, was sober when he died. He was also battling depression. Parkinson's, a progressive nervous-system disease, can raise a person's risk of depression and suicide. [USA Today]

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