Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 7, 2014

Jon Terbush
The Guantanamo Bay prison  Joe Raedle / Getty Images

1.

U.S. releases six Guantanamo prisoners to Uruguay

The United States on Sunday announced it had transferred six low-level prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to Uruguay, where they will be resettled in the country. It was the largest group of inmates to leave the prison at one time since 2009. A federal review had recommended all six men be released five years ago, though political pressure in the U.S. and unstable conditions in the men's home countries of Syria, Tunisia, and Palestine delayed their release. The release brings Guantanamo's prison population down to 136. "We are very grateful to Uruguay for this important humanitarian action," Cliff Sloan, a State Department official said in a statement, adding that the transfer "is a major milestone in our efforts to close the facility." [The New York Times]

2.

Sen. Mary Landrieu loses runoff re-election bid

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on Saturday lost a runoff election to retain her seat, falling to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) 56 percent to 44 percent. Cassidy was widely expected to win after neither candidate cleared 50 percent in the first round of voting, leading national Democrats to pull their ad buys and effectively concede the race. The outcome gives the GOP a 54-seat majority in the next Senate. [The Washington Post]

3.

U.S. to keep 1,000 additional troops in Afghanistan

Up to 1,000 extra American troops will remain in Afghanistan into next year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday, bringing the total number of troops to be left in the country to 10,800. Hagel announced the decision during a visit to Afghanistan, saying it was necessitated by a long delay in finalizing a security agreement with the new Afghan government. In late November, the Afghan parliament approved a security pact with the U.S. and NATO to keep troops in the country beyond the original 2014 withdrawal deadline. [The New York Times]

4.

India arrests Uber driver over suspected rape

Indian authorities on Sunday arrested an Uber cab driver accused of raping and beating a 26-year-old female passenger Friday night. Police said they would pursue charges against Uber for failing to adequately vet the driver before hiring him. [Reuters]

5.

Mexico IDs remains of one missing student

Forensic experts have positively identified the burned remains of one of the 43 Mexican students who went missing in September. The students are believed to have been abducted and killed by gang-affiliated police at the behest of a corrupt local government. Tens of thousands of Mexicans have protested the mass abduction, setting fire to the presidential palace and calling on President Enrique Pena Nieto to resign. [The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera]

6.

California protest over police killings turns violent

Two police officers in Berkley, California were injured Saturday night when a small group of demonstrators protesting recent police killings of civilians became violent. "Splinter groups broke off and began hurling bricks, pipe, smoke grenades, and other missiles at officers," a Berkley police spokesperson said. Police arrested six protesters in what was otherwise a peaceful demonstration. [CBS]

7.

American journalist faces unknown charges in Iran

Iran has charged an Iranian-American journalist, Jason Rezaian, with unspecified crimes. The Washington Post reporter was arrested in July, though Tehran has never explained why it detained him. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday he was "deeply disappointed and concerned" by the development, adding that it was a "clear violation of Iran's own laws and international norms." [BBC, The Washington Post]

8.

Typhoon kills two in Philippines

Typhoon Hagupit killed two people and forced more than one million more into emergency shelters in the Philippines over the weekend. The category 5 storm also leveled homes and knocked out power in some of the hardest-hit areas. But unlike Typhoon Haiyan, the massive storm that killed more than 7,000 people last year, Hagupit left exponentially fewer fatalities thanks to mass early evacuations. [Reuters]

9.

NASA probe awakens on approach to Pluto

NASA's New Horizons probe flickered to life on Saturday in preparation for a highly-anticipated study of Pluto and its surrounding celestial neighbors. Launched in January 2006, the probe hibernated for 1,873 days of its 3-billion-mile journey. New Horizons will begin observing Pluto in January, and fly as close as 7,700 miles from its surface. [Discovery News, The Los Angeles Tiems]

10.

U.S. women's team draws World Cup 'Group of Death'

The top-ranked U.S. women's national soccer team will face Sweden, Australia, and Nigeria in what is considered the toughest draw of the 2015 World Cup. Sweden and Australia are the fifth- and tenth-ranked teams in the world, respectively. The U.S. men's team also drew the Group of Death in the 2014 World Cup, but scraped by into the knockout round. [ESPN]