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10 things you need to know today: October 10, 2017

Harold Maass
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Wildfires sweep across Northern California, killing at least 10

More than a dozen wildfires fanned by high winds killed at least 10 people as they swept through Northern California's wine country Monday, destroying more than 1,500 buildings. California firefighting officials said about 20,000 people had to flee their homes, some of them literally running for their lives as smoke filled their neighborhoods. Combined, four blazes in Napa and Sonoma counties alone burned 34,000 acres. "It was an inferno like you've never seen before," said Marian Williams, who escaped in a caravan with neighbors as one of the fires reached vineyards around the small Sonoma County town of Kenwood. "It's moving fast," Gov. Jerry Brown said. "The heat, the lack of humidity, and the winds are all driving a very dangerous situation and making it worse."

2.

White House to withdraw from Obama's Clean Power Plan

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday that he would sign a rule to start withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama's centerpiece regulation limiting carbon pollution from power plants. "Here's the president's message: The war on coal is over," Pruitt said in the Kentucky coal country. The National Association of Manufacturers praised the proposed rule, which Pruitt said he would sign Tuesday, saying the Obama-era limits were too broad. Environmental groups said the change would increase pollution from power plants, the biggest greenhouse gas producers. "No matter who is in the White House, the EPA is legally required to limit dangerous carbon pollution, and the Clean Power Plan is an achievable, affordable way to do that," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

3.

Police arrest student for killing of Texas Tech officer

Police arrested a Texas Tech University freshman on Monday for the fatal shooting of a campus police officer. The suspect, Hollis A. Daniels, 19, had been brought to the police station for questioning after officers conducted a so-called student welfare check on his dorm room, and found evidence of drugs, and drug paraphernalia. At the station, Daniels allegedly pulled a gun and fatally shot an officer in the head, then fled on foot. A Texas Tech police officer later tackled Daniels near the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The officer, assisted by Lubbock police, took Daniels into custody. The campus was placed on lockdown while Daniels was at large, but the alert was lifted after his arrest.

4.

Search for motive continues as Las Vegas police shift shooting timeline

Eight days after Stephen Paddock fatally shot 58 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas, investigators still don't have a motive, a "frustrated" Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said Monday. "This individual purposefully hid his actions leading up to this event, and it is difficult for us to find answers," he said, adding that discovering the motive for the attack is "our most important goal." Lombardo also disclosed that Paddock shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jose Campos six minutes before he opened fire on a music festival crowd, not three minutes after the 10-minute fusillade, as initially reported. He said it would be premature to assume that wounding Campos sped up the mass shooting. Investigators do not know why Paddock stopped firing, or when he shot himself.

5.

Iran threatens 'crushing' response if U.S. brands Revolutionary Guards as terrorists

Iran on Monday threatened a "crushing" response if the U.S. designates the Iranian military's elite Republican Guards as a terrorist organization. President Trump is expected next week to announce a more hawkish strategy on containing Iran. He is expected to decertify Iran's compliance with the 2015 deal aiming to curb Iran's nuclear program and possibly to brand the Revolutionary Guards as terrorists. "We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, according to the state news agency IRNA. "If they do, Iran's reaction would be firm, decisive, and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences."

6.

Spain steps up Barcelona security ahead of expected Catalan independence declaration

Police posted guards at public buildings in Barcelona and closed a park surrounding the regional Catalan Parliament, where many expect Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to make a declaration of independence Tuesday night. Separatist politicians have declared that an Oct. 1 referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish government amounted to a legitimate mandate for Catalonia to secede from Spain. National authorities sent police to close polling stations and seize ballot boxes in an attempt to block the referendum, and they are expected to respond firmly against any move toward independence.

7.

Google finds Russia-backed ads

Google has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives bought ads on its platforms, including YouTube, Gmail, and Google search, aiming to spread disinformation, and influence last year's presidential election, The Washington Post and other news organizations reported Monday, citing people familiar with the company's investigation. Google found that Russian agents spent tens of thousands of dollars to place the ads. The effort did not appear to be linked to the Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook, suggesting that Moscow's effort to interfere with the 2016 election was broader than tech companies previously believed.

8.

Iceland becomes smallest nation to qualify for World Cup

Iceland on Monday became the smallest country (by population) to qualify for the World Cup. The team from the island nation of 330,000 sealed an automatic berth by winning Group I with a 2-0 defeat of Kosovo. Fans erupted in celebration as fireworks marked the achievement at a packed Laugardalsvollur Stadium, the team's home field in Reykjavik, and captain Aron Gunnarson led supporters in their traditional Viking chant. Iceland stunned regional rivals when it made its major-tournament debut at the Euros last year and reached the quarterfinals. In World Cup qualifying, Serbia also won a berth, its second since it became independent in 2006.

9.

Trump praises Columbus and leaves out Native Americans in holiday proclamation

President Trump issued a proclamation marking Columbus Day on Monday, praising the explorer Christopher Columbus for his "ambitious and daring voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas" in 1492. Trump said the "permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas was a transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great Nation." The proclamation broke with a precedent set by former President Barack Obama by neglecting to mention Native Americans and other indigenous people in the Americas. A growing number of jurisdictions, including Los Angeles and Austin, have recently voted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day in honor of communities that were here before Columbus, and suffered from violence, enslavement, and disease after Europeans arrived.

10.

ESPN suspends Jemele Hill over tweets urging Dallas Cowboys boycott

ESPN on Monday suspended SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill for two weeks for what it called violations of its social media guidelines over the weekend. After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' warning that he would bench players who kneel during the national anthem, Hill tweeted that "change happens when advertisers are impacted" and urged a "boycott" of vendors and advertisers associated with the Cowboys. She also tweeted, "If only Greg Hardy had kneeled," a reference to a defensive end found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in 2014, then hired by the Cowboys in 2015. It was the second time ESPN had deemed Hill's tweets "inappropriate." In September, she faced a backlash after she called President Trump a white supremacist.

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