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10 things you need to know today: September 13, 2017

Harold Maass
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Rescuers rush aid to devastated Florida Keys, Caribbean islands

Search-and-rescue teams on Tuesday fanned out in the Florida Keys, the part of the state hit hardest by Hurricane Irma. Authorities estimated that as many as a quarter of the homes in the island chain were destroyed and 65 percent suffered major damage after Irma hit with top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and a storm surge that inundated entire towns. "It's going to be pretty hard for those coming home," said Petrona Hernandez of Plantation Key. Hungry residents in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other northern Caribbean islands hammered when Irma still had 185-mph winds were running out of food and desperate for relief. "It's survival mode right now," said Kaleem Stephens, a 30-year-old construction worker in St. Thomas.

2.

Supreme Court rules Trump administration can block refugees, for now

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a lower court decision that would have let refugees already working with resettlement agencies into the U.S. despite President Trump's travel ban. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had ruled that a group of about 24,000 refugees who have sponsors should be allowed in under the Supreme Court's June decision restoring Trump's executive order temporarily blocking refugees, and travelers from six majority-Muslim nations. The Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph statement granting the administration's request for a stay blocking the appeals court ruling until the Supreme Court can consider the legality of Trump's ban next month.

3.

Apple unveils 10th anniversary iPhone X

Apple on Tuesday unveiled the iPhone X (pronounced "ten"), which CEO Tim Cook called the "biggest leap forward since the original iPhone." The 5.8-inch smartphone has a massive, edge-to-edge screen. There's no home button, and the phone will unlock using a facial recognition system. "Every time you glance at your phone, it detects your face — even in the dark," Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller said. Another new feature is Animoji, which Schiller described as emojis that can be controlled with your face. During the event, Apple also unveiled the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, cheaper versions of its smartphone that feature wireless charging, and the Apple Watch Series 3, which has built-in cellular capability.

4.

North Korea threatens U.S. with 'greatest pain' for pushing new sanctions

North Korea on Tuesday warned that the U.S. would "suffer the greatest pain" for leading the push for tough new sanctions unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council. "My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution," North Korean Ambassador Han Tae Song told the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Han said the U.S. "fabricated the most vicious sanction resolution," and that North Korea was "ready to use a form of ultimate means" to respond to the sanctions, which were meant to deprive Pyongyang of revenue to pay for its weapons program after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

5.

Justice Department decides against charging officers over Freddie Gray's death

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it would not bring federal civil rights charges against the six Baltimore police officers involved in arresting Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal injury in their custody in 2015. Gray's death touched off weeks of protests and unrest. In 2016, three officers indicted in the case were acquitted and state prosecutors later dropped the remaining charges. No officers were ever convicted over Gray's death. The Department of Justice issued a scathing report in August 2016 that found the Baltimore Police Department routinely conducted unlawful stops and used excessive force, disproportionately targeting black residents.

6.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after 5th child sex abuse allegation

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) announced his resignation Tuesday, after a fifth man publicly accused him of child sexual abuse. The latest accuser was Murray's cousin, Joseph Dyer. He said Murray molested him when he was a boy. "While the allegations against me are not true," Murray said, "it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public's business." Murray, who was elected in 2013, has vehemently denied the allegations and attributed them to "bad blood between two estranged wings of the family," The Seattle Times reported. His resignation becomes effective Wednesday at 5 p.m., and city council member Bruce Harrell will temporarily take his place.

7.

Sanders gets 15 Democrats behind his single-payer health-care bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to introduce a bill seeking to expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, and at least 15 Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors. The bill has no chance of passing in a Senate controlled by Republicans, who fell one vote shy of repealing much of ObamaCare in July, and oppose single-payer health care. Still, the proposal has gained popularity after years of debate over health care. Sanders, who lost the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, made a similar proposal in 2013 with no co-sponsors. This time he has backing from several senators considered possible 2020 presidential candidates, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

8.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calls bitcoin a classic bubble

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said the cryptocurrency bitcoin was a "fraud" and its high-flying price was the result of a classic bubble, "worse than tulip bulbs," a 17th-century craze that swept Holland and has been cited as the textbook example of a market bubble ever since. Dimon said he would fire any trader he caught trading in bitcoin, "For two reasons: It's against our rules, and they're stupid. And both are dangerous." Bitcoin dropped by 1 percent after the remarks. CBOE Holdings Chairman and CEO Ed Tilly, whose company is teaming up with Gemini Trust Co. on a plan to offer bitcoin futures, defended cryptocurrencies. "Like it or not, people want exposure to bitcoin," Tilly said.

9.

Congress passes joint resolution urging Trump to denounce white supremacists

The House unanimously passed a resolution condemning the violence at last month's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, and urging President Trump to denounce racist and anti-Semitic hate groups. The Senate approved the joint resolution without objection a day earlier. By sending the measure to Trump for his signature, lawmakers are trying to force the president to forcefully denounce racist extremism. Trump faced bipartisan criticism for his initial response to the Charlottesville rally, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed when a man with alleged white nationalist ties drove a car into a crowd. Trump denounced "hatred, bigotry, and violence — on many sides" and said many rally participants were "very fine people" simply protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

10.

Edith Windsor, plaintiff in landmark gay-marriage case, dies at 88

Gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose landmark Supreme Court challenge toppled the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and helped pave the way for legalizing gay marriage, died Tuesday in Manhattan, her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed. She was 88. "I lost my beloved spouse, Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice, and equality," Kasen-Windsor, who married Windsor last year, said in a statement. "Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back."