10 things you need to know today: November 5, 2014

(Image credit: (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley))

1. Republicans retake the Senate, gain seats in the House

After a long and arduous campaign season, it was a good night for Republicans. The GOP picked up Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota, giving the party it's first Senate majority in eight years. Republicans also picked up at least nine seats in the House and won several hotly contested governors races, including in Florida and Colorado. Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who ended up soundly defeating challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, hinted at compromise, saying "Just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict."

The New York Times

2. Democrats find few bright spots on election night

Despite a slew of election-night defeats, Democrats were able to hang onto Jeanne Shaheen's Senate seat in New Hampshire with 52 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Scott Brown tried to tie the incumbent to President Obama's, but ultimately his strategy failed. The Democrats also picked up the Pennsylvania governor's seat, ousting incumbent Tom Corbett.

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Politico The Patriot-News

3. Feds launch probe of JP Morgan foreign trading

The Department of Justice is investigating JP Morgan's foreign exchange trading business. Bank officials acknowledged the criminal inquiry in a government filing that was made public on Monday and said that they were cooperating with investigators. In addition to the DOJ, American banking regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority are conducting civil investigations into JP Morgan's foreign exchange business.

Business Insider

4. New Ebola outbreak hits Sierra Leone

Koinadugu, a remote district in the northern province of Sierra Leone, had largely avoided the Ebola crisis thanks to a self-imposed quarantine. But a new infection chain is threatening the area and raising concerns that the death toll could skyrocket. Even after four months of isolation, a Red Cross team had to be dispatched to Koinadugu to give medical burials to 30 people. Another 25 have contracted Ebola and 255 more are being monitored for the disease, according to reports.

The Guardian

5. U.S. deficit declines dramatically

The U.S. budget deficit is down to its lowest level since 2008. The government spent $483.4 billion more than it took in last fiscal year, but that was only 2.8 percent of the country's $17.2 trillion gross domestic product. That number is down from a high of 10.1 percent in December of 2009. The combination of the government reducing spending and a growing economy helped spur the decline.


6. Ford issues vehicle recall

The second largest auto manufacturer in the United States has issued five recalls affecting more than 202,000 vehicles. Ford is calling back 38,645 Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Cars over fears that a previous recall led to improper repairs to the steering shaft. The company is also recalling 134,947 Flex and F-150 vehicles to fix an air bag malfunction. Another 960 F-150 pickups will need adjustments to the brake pedal, while 25,689 Transit Connects require repairs to their fuel systems.


7. Mexican authorities arrest mayor suspected of abducting students

Mexican federal police apprehended Jose Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, for allegedly abducting 43 students on their way to a political protest. The pair, which was taken into custody in Mexico City's Iztapalapa neighborhood, did not resist arrest. Despite locating the "probable mastermind" behind the kidnapping, authorities still haven't found the missing students.


8. Venezuela's president vows to raise minimum wage

For the third time this year, Venezuelans will see a double-digit increase in the minimum wage. President Nicolas Maduro said he would raise the country's base pay by 15 percent to 4,889 bolivars — or $776 — a month. In January and May, the minimum wage was raised 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively. High inflation continues to cripple the Venezuelan economy.


9. Study reveals long-term shift work may cause memory problems

A new study suggests that shift work can deteriorate a person's memory and thinking. The research, conducted by the National Center for Scientific Researchers in France, found that long-term shift workers who worked variable hours for 10 years experienced roughly 6.5 years of age-related decline in their cognition skills. The experiment followed 3,000 people over a decade and also found that it took at least five years to reverse the effects shift work can have on the brain.


10. George P. Bush is the latest member of the family to get elected in Texas

Not only was George P. Bush elected Tuesday as the Texas land commissioner, but he was the first member of the Bush clan to win his first election. The oil and gas investment consultant will now negotiate and enforce leases for mineral rights on state-owned land.

The Texas Tribune

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Laura Colarusso is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She has previously written for Newsweek, The Boston Globe, the Washington Monthly and The Daily Beast.