Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 7, 2016

Harold Maass
Kena Bentacur/AFP/Getty Images


U.S. casts doubt on North Korea's claim it tested H-bomb

The White House said Wednesday that an initial analysis did not support North Korea's claim that it had successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb. Nuclear monitors said a tremor felt abroad was more consistent with a test of an atomic bomb, not a far more powerful hydrogen device. In an emergency session the United Nations Security Council condemned Pyongyang. South Korea said Thursday that it would resume cross-border propaganda broadcasts that North Korea considers an act of war.


Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland indicted on perjury charge

The Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, a black woman who died in her cell three days after being jailed over a contentious traffic stop, was indicted for perjury on Wednesday. The Texas Department of Public Safety said it was starting the process of firing him. The trooper, Brian Encinia, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge that he lied about his actions during the arrest. Video shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and saying, "I will light you up!" after Bland, 28, refuses to put out a cigarette and get out of her car.


Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of missile strike on its embassy in Yemen

Iran on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of hitting its embassy in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, with an airstrike in a potential escalation of a tense diplomatic clash between the rival Persian Gulf nations. Saudi officials said they would investigate the strike, which occurred as a Saudi-led coalition targeted missile launchers used by Houthi rebels fighting Yemen's government. The conflict is one of several battlegrounds in the proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.


China stock prices dive, causing global shock

Chinese stocks plunged on Thursday, triggering the second emergency market closure this week and resulting in the shortest trading day in the market's 25-year history. The CSI 300 index of companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 7.2 percent in less than 30 minutes before trading halted. Analysts said a sharp devaluation in China's currency hurt market confidence, sparking a panic that dragged down share prices from Japan to Europe.


Chipotle subpoenaed in norovirus outbreak investigation

Chipotle confirmed Wednesday that it had been served a federal grand jury subpoena connected to a criminal investigation into a norovirus outbreak in California. The Mexican restaurant chain already faces several lawsuits over the outbreak of the food-borne illness. Sales at existing Chipotle outlets sank by 30 percent in December, and the company's stock has lost 43 percent of its value in less than three months.


Alabama Supreme Court chief justice orders judges to enforce gay-marriage ban

Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, on Wednesday told probate judges in the state they "have a ministerial duty" to respect the state's gay-marriage ban and refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Some probate judges have been upholding the ban, while others are following a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal. Moore said that U.S. ruling only specifically struck down bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, and the ensuing confusion was "adversely affecting the administration of justice" in Alabama.


TransCanada sues U.S. over Keystone XL pipeline rejection

TransCanada said on Wednesday that it would sue the Obama administration for rejecting the company's $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline project. The pipeline would have carried crude oil from Canada's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. on the Gulf Coast. In November, President Obama rejected the project — which environmentalists opposed — saying it was not consistent with U.S. leadership fighting climate change. TransCanada is seeking $15 billion in damages under the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling the decision "arbitrary and unjustified."


Ex-New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announces run for president as Libertarian

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announced Wednesday that he was seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination. Johnson ran in 2012 as a Republican before launching a third-party bid that year as a Libertarian. He got nearly 1 percent of the popular vote. Libertarians support sharply limiting government power. Johnson said that as a fiscal conservative and social liberal he can attract voters from both parties.


San Bernardino attacker's friend pleads not guilty to charges of aiding terrorists

Enrique Marquez Jr. pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he provided two semi-automatic rifles used in the Dec. 2 San Bernardino massacre, and plotted earlier attacks with one of the attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook. Marquez also pleaded not guilty to a charge of entering a "sham marriage" with one of Farook's relatives. Marquez was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of providing material support to terrorists.


Griffey and Piazza newest members of Baseball Hall of Fame

Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday. In his first year of eligibility, Griffey was named on a record 99.32 percent of the 440 ballots, just three votes short of unanimity. His selection was no surprise — the former Seattle Mariners center-fielder won 10 Golden Glove Awards and is the sixth-leading home run hitter in baseball history. Piazza, who was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, was the latest draft pick ever selected for the honor.

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