Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 26, 2016

Harold Maass
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Texas grand jury indicts pair behind anti-Planned Parenthood video

A Texas grand jury that was investigating Planned Parenthood instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who were behind undercover videos that triggered the investigation into the women's health organization. The videos suggested that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston illegally profited from the sale of the tissue of aborted fetuses for medical research. The grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood but indicted activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony that carries punishment up to 20 years in prison.


Clinton and Sanders clash in last time on same stage before Iowa caucuses

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made forceful appeals to Iowa voters in their final appearance on the same stage before the state starts the primary season with its Feb. 1 caucuses. In a CNN town hall meeting in Des Moines, Clinton said she had been "on the front lines of change and progress" since she was young. Sanders, a Vermont independent, called for a "political revolution," saying "establishment politics is just not good enough." Long-shot candidate Martin O'Malley, a former Maryland governor, urged voters to choose a "new leader" over Clinton and Sanders, who are locked in a near tie in Iowa polls.


China's stocks plunge after oil rally ends

Chinese stocks dropped by 6 percent on Tuesday after oil prices fell back below $30 a barrel, close to last week's 12-year lows. China's markets have lost 22 percent this year as declining oil prices stoke fears of a global economic slowdown. U.S. markets rallied late last week, making it the first week of gains this year, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by 208 points (1.5 percent) on Monday as oil prices retreated again. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq dropped by 1.6 percent.


Obama announces ban on solitary confinement for juveniles

President Obama announced Monday that he was banning solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. Obama made the announcement in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post. He also unveiled other reforms, including more treatment for the mentally ill and increased time for inmates in solitary confinement to spend outside of their cells. Obama said solitary confinement could no longer be used as punishment for low-level infractions. Obama said solitary confinement has been overused in the U.S. despite its harmful psychological effects.


Winter storm Jonas heads for U.K.

Britain is bracing Tuesday for the arrival of winter storm Jonas, which is due to hit the some parts of the country with six inches of rain and winds up to 70 miles per hour. The U.S. East Coast is struggling to get back to normal after the storm dumped record snowfall on some cities. More than 1,800 airline flights were canceled on Monday and another 3,225 delayed due in the aftermath of the storm, which has been blamed for 30 deaths. Experts estimated the economic impact at $350 million to $850 million.


McDonald's sales jump thanks to all-day breakfasts

On Monday McDonald's Corp. reported better-than-expected quarterly sales thanks to the popularity of its new all-day breakfasts. Sales at restaurants open at least 13 months jumped by 5.7 percent, McDonalds' best quarterly growth in nearly four years and more than double what some analysts predicted. McDonalds' stock jumped by as much as 3 percent before closing trading up about 1 percent reacted to the signs of progress toward a turnaround for the world's biggest restaurant chain after two years of slumping customer traffic.


Zika virus threatens to spread through Americas

The mosquito-borne Zika virus will probably spread to every country in the Americas except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said Monday. Zika, which has previously occurred in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. It has not yet been reported in the continental U.S. "We've got no drugs and we've got no vaccines," said Trudie Lang, a professor of global health at the University of Oxford. "It's a case of deja vu because that's exactly what we were saying with Ebola."


U.N. envoy targets Friday for start of Syria peace talks

The United Nations' special envoy for Syria said on Monday that peace talks between the government and opposition would start on Friday in Geneva. The talks were supposed to have started Monday, but were delayed over questions of which opposition groups would participate. The envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said he would send out invitations on Tuesday, although he did not say who would get them. The secrecy was meant to "make sure that when and if we start, we start on the right foot," he said. "It will be uphill anyhow."


Mizzou professor faces assault charge over clash during campus protest

Prosecutors on Monday charged a University of Missouri professor, Melissa Click, with a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from her actions at a campus protest in November. Click, an assistant professor in the communications department, was videotaped telling a student journalist to leave, and calling for "some muscle" to kick him out of a section of campus where students were protesting the treatment of African Americans by the school's administration. Click is accused of making physical contact with the student she was berating. Editor's note: An earlier version of the story misidentified Click as a journalism professor. She is a professor at the University of Missouri department of communication. We regret the error.


FSU agrees to pay $950,000 settlement to ex-student who accused Jameis Winston of rape

Florida State University agreed on Monday to pay a $950,000 settlement to end a lawsuit by a former student who accused former star quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her in 2012. Under the settlement, FSU also commits to five years of sexual assault awareness programs. The woman, Erica Kinsman, said Winston raped her after she got drunk at a bar in December 2012 and went with Winston and others to an apartment. Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the team to a national championship before being drafted No. 1 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said the sex was consensual.