Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 13, 2015

Harold Maass
Tianjin, China, was rocked by a massive explosion Wednesday. (Yue Yuewei/Xinhua via AP)
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Jimmy Carter announces he has cancer

Former President Jimmy Carter announced Wednesday that recent liver surgery revealed that he had cancer that had spread to other parts of his body. Doctors operated on Carter, 90, on Aug. 3 to remove a mass from his liver. A statement released by the Carter Center said more information would be released when available. President Obama wished Carter well, saying, "Jimmy, you're as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you." [Chicago Tribune]


Explosions rock Chinese port city

Massive explosions at a warehouse storing hazardous goods killed at least 44 people, including a dozen firefighters, and injured 500 others in the Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday. "The second explosion was so powerful that I felt the entire 16-floor-building was shaking," said Liu Yue, a 25-year-old Tianjin resident who lives two miles from the site of the blasts. "I thought it was an earthquake!" Dozens of firefighters were reported to be missing in the aftermath. [The New York Times, Fox News]


ISIS claims responsibility for Baghdad truck bombing that kills 62

A truck bombing killed at least 62 people and wounded more than 200 early Thursday at a produce market in the heavily Shiite Sadr City section of Baghdad. The Islamic State claimed responsibility and vowed more attacks, calling the neighborhood a bastion of the "charlatan army" of Shiite militias fighting ISIS with government troops. The attack was one of the deadliest in Baghdad in years. ISIS said in an audio broadcast that its Egyptian affiliate had beheaded a Croatian hostage purportedly shown in a grisly photo circulated a day earlier. [The New York Times, Reuters]


U.S. jets fly first anti-ISIS missions from Turkey

American F-16s flew the first U.S. missions against the Islamic State to be launched from Turkish bases on Wednesday. Pentagon officials said the fighter jets took off from Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey to attack ISIS targets inside Syria. The anti-ISIS coalition has been flying drones from the base since earlier this month. Turkey agreed last month to let the U.S. use its bases as part of an effort to create an ISIS-free zone along its Syrian border. [Voice of America]


Study finds kids are getting way too much homework

Elementary school children are being assigned as much as three times the recommended amount of homework, according to a study published Wednesday in The American Journal of Family Therapy. Education experts endorse the so-called 10-minute rule, according to which kids get 10 minutes of daily homework per grade level. That translates, for example, to 10 minutes for a first grader, but the study found that first graders were getting about 28 minutes per night. [CNN]


Chinese central bank says no reason for currency to devalue further

Global markets rallied early Thursday after China's central bank tried to soothe spooked investors by saying that there was no basis for further depreciation in the country's currency, which took record drops for two straight days this week. The yuan, or remnimbi, fell for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, but the People's Bank of China said the country's economic fundamentals were strong. China's decision to devalue the currency sparked fears of a "currency war," rattling financial markets. [The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]


Navajos to sue EPA over Animas river spill

The Navajo Nation has decided to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over the release of contaminated wastewater from a mine in southwest Colorado. Tribal leaders say the environmental disaster has impacted the nation "religiously, emotionally, [and] financially." Last week, about three million gallons of wastewater were accidentally spilled into the Animas and San Juan rivers when an EPA team was investigating contamination at the Gold King Mine. [TIME]


Manning faces possibility of solitary confinement

Convicted national-security leaker Chelsea Manning might be placed in solitary confinement in a military prison for several alleged infractions, including possessing prohibited reading material. Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, reportedly was caught with a copy of Vanity Fair with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover. Manning also allegedly had a tube of expired toothpaste. [Reuters]


Uggie, the dog from The Artist, dies at age 13

Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier that starred in the 2011 film The Artist, was put to sleep recently after treatment for a prostate tumor. He was 13. The dog was adopted by professional trainer Omar Von Muller in 2002 after several owners rejected him as too wild. After Uggie stole several scenes alongside star Jean Dujardin in the black-and-white silent film, he won the Palm Dog Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Uggie also was the first dog to leave his paw prints in the cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. [TV Guide]


Three women join ranks of Cosby accusers

Three more women on Wednesday accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them, bringing to more than 40 the number of women who have accused the comedian of drugging, sexually abusing, or harassing them. Eden Tirl, who appeared on The Cosby Show, actress Linda Ridgeway, and former American Airlines flight attendant Colleen Hughes revealed their stories flanked by attorney Gloria Allred. Cosby has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. [Los Angeles Times, People]