Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2014

Harold Maass
The U.S. joins the rescue effort.  AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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1.

Alibaba files its long-anticipated U.S. IPO

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba filed its plan to sell the first shares of its U.S. stock in what is expected to be among the biggest IPOs in history. Alibaba said it was shooting to raise $1 billion, but when the shares are priced later in 2014 the haul could be more than the $16.4 billion raised by Facebook two years ago. One of the biggest winners could be Yahoo, which will be selling half of its 18 percent stake in Alibaba.

2.

U.S. joins the search for kidnapped Nigerian girls

The U.S. is sending law enforcement and military forces to Nigeria to help search for more than 200 high-school girls abducted last month by members of the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, President Obama said Tuesday. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan defended his handling of the case, which has come under mounting criticism. As the hunt intensified, another kidnapping — of eight girls — was reported in the village of Warabe.

3.

Bipartisan panel recommends death penalty reform

The death penalty should be overhauled from arrest to execution, a bipartisan panel at the Constitution Project said after an extensive review. One change: Use a single drug for lethal injections, instead of multi-drug cocktails like in the botched Oklahoma execution on April 29. Without reform, capital punishment is "very likely unconstitutional," said GOP committee member Mark Earley, who was Virginia's attorney general during 36 executions.

4.

Mainstream GOP deals a defeat to the Tea Party in N.C.

Establishment Republicans scored a victory Tuesday when Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, beat obstetrician Greg Bannon for the GOP nomination to challenge Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan. Bannon was backed by Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) while Tillis was endorsed by Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Clay Aiken of American Idol fame also held a slim lead in a Democratic congressional primary in the state.

5.

Visa rule change intended to attract highly skilled immigrants

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would let spouses of some highly skilled temporary immigrants work in the U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the change would "unleash more of the extraordinary contributions" immigrants make to innovative businesses by attracting and retaining people with science and tech skills. Fred Humphries, a Microsoft vice president, said the move would have "a positive economic impact."

6.

Thai court orders embattled Yingluck to leave office

A Thai court on Wednesday ordered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down, saying she violated the country's constitution and abused her power by transferring her national security chief, Thawil Pliensri, in 2013. He was appointed by an opposition-led administration in 2011, and his departure opened the path to promotions for a relative of Yingluck. The ruling followed months of political deadlock and anti-government protests.

7.

Vatican reports it has defrocked 848 priests for sexual abuse

The Vatican on Tuesday released its first public tally of punishments against priests for sexually abusing children. The Holy See has defrocked 848 priests and otherwise punished another 2,572 over the last decade, the Vatican's United Nations ambassador, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told a committee overseeing the implementation of an anti-torture treaty. The figures did not include those sanctioned locally by diocesan leaders.

8.

Report says climate change impacts are already widespread

Rising global warming has already affected most of the U.S., according to a new government assessment on climate change released Tuesday. The impacts range from sea-level rise and flooding to heat waves in the Northeast, to frequent water shortages, and more wildfires in the Southwest, costing the economy billions. "This shows it's not just in the future," said report co-author Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. "It matters today."

9.

Twitter shares drop sharply as IPO shares flood the market

Twitter shares plummeted on Tuesday as early investors in the micro-blogging site were finally allowed to start selling their stock. Twitter's shares fell by 17.8 percent, closing at their lowest since the company's November IPO. Unlike Facebook, which stumbled early after its initial stock offering before rebounding, Twitter started out great, before worries over user growth dragged down its stock price by half.

10.

Monica Lewinsky says it's time to "bury the blue dress"

Monica Lewinsky, breaking 10 years of silence, writes in a Vanity Fair article excerpt posted online Tuesday that she deeply regrets her sexual relationship with then-president Bill Clinton. "Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship," she says. Lewinsky had been mostly silent for years, but writes that,"It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress."

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