Daily Briefing

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

Harold Maass
The remains of an NYFD truck are displayed at the National September 11 Memorial Museum.  (AP Photo)
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Obama joins 9/11 survivors and kin for museum ceremony

President Obama is expected to join 9/11 survivors, rescuers, and victims' relatives, for the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday. The ground zero museum is under the memorial plaza where New York's World Trade Center twin towers once stood. It contains pieces of the towers — a mangled rooftop antenna, a staircase survivors used to escape — as well as elements as intimate as victims' last voicemails. [The Associated Press]


Wildfires force thousands of Californians to evacuate

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in San Diego County as tens of thousands of people fled nine wildfires fueled by dry winds and 100-degree temperatures. The biggest threat was a fire that erupted late Wednesday in San Marcos. Authorities sent out 21,000 evacuation notices as the flames spread quickly, destroying five buildings and forcing the evacuation of California State University, San Marcos. [Fox News, NBC News]


The New York Times replaces executive editor Jill Abramson

The New York Times on Wednesday abruptly announced the departure of its executive editor, Jill Abramson, after just three years on the job. Abramson, the first woman to hold the job, was replaced with Dean Baquet, the newspaper's managing editor. Baquet, 57, who won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter, will be the Times' first African-American executive editor. [The Washington Post]


Nigeria dismisses Boko Haram offer to trade schoolgirls for prisoners

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly has rejected an offer made by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram to release 260 kidnapped schoolgirls in exchange for prisoners, Britain's minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said Wednesday. Simmonds had talks with Jonathan in Abuja, and said the president "made it very clear that there would be no negotiations with Boko Haram that involved a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners." [Reuters]


Hundreds arrested after anti-China riots in Vietnam

More than 20 people were killed as anti-China riots spread in Vietnam, a doctor at a hospital in central Ha Tinh province said Thursday. Vietnamese police arrested more than 400 people after protests of China's stationing of an oil rig in contested waters off Vietnam escalated into general rioting on Tuesday. Protesters attacked and torched dozens of factories, most owned by Taiwanese companies mistaken for being Chinese. [Reuters, The New York Times]


Measles "blitzkrieg" wipes out woman's cancer in trial

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic have wiped out 50-year-old Stacy Erholtz's blood cancer by injecting her with a "blitzkrieg" of enough measles vaccine to inoculate 10 million people, according to research published online Wednesday in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Erholtz was one of just two patients in the experiment, and the only one whose cancer went into remission. Doctors called the result proof that viral therapy — long known to work in mice — can overwhelm cancer's natural defenses. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]


Moscow responds to sanctions by bailing on space station

Russia is pushing back against U.S. sanctions for annexing Crimea by saying it will pull out of the International Space Station in 2020. NASA said it had received no official word from Moscow that it would end its cooperation in space, long a bright spot in relations between the two former Cold War rivals. The threat called into question U.S. plans to extend the life of the orbiting lab to 2024 or beyond. [CNN]


Somebody might have looted Columbus' Santa Maria

Underwater explorer Barry Clifford says looters appear to have disrupted the shipwreck off the coast of Haiti that he believes is Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria. Clifford, 68, says he is asking the Haitian government to safeguard the site, and give him permission to explore it. ""I'm not looking for money..." Clifford said. "I'm looking for the government [of Haiti] to protect this." [CNN]


Boys badly hurt after winds lift their bounce house into the air

Two upstate New York boys ages 5 and 6 were seriously injured on Wednesday when they fell out of a flying bounce house that was ripped off of its plastic anchoring stakes and lifted into the air by strong winds. One of the boys broke both arms. The other suffered a severe head injury when they tumbled out of the inflatable Little Tikes toy after it had risen 15 feet. A 10-year-old girl fell out quickly and suffered just scrapes. [The Associated Press]


Former tabloid editor admits hacking Kate Middleton's voicemail 155 times

Clive Goodman, former royal editor of the News of the World, said Wednesday in Britain's phone hacking trial that he listened to the voicemails of Kate Middleton 155 times. He also hacked Prince William and Prince Harry. Goodman said he was grilled about hacking palace staff when he was arrested in 2006, but nobody asked whether he snooped on the royals themselves. [The Associated Press]

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