10 things you need to know today: October 19, 2014

Hong Kong police in riot gear monitor protesters
(Image credit: Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

1. North Korea and South Korea trade gunfire

North Korean and South Korean soldiers briefly exchanged gunfire on Sunday across the heavily-fortified border between the two nations. It was the second such shootout between the two sides in the past 10 days. The incident began when about 10 North Korean troops approached the boundary line between the two nations and disregarded warnings to turn back. Troops from the South then fired warning shots, leading to a 10-minute volley of gunfire that did not result in any reported casualties or injuries.

The Associated Press Reuters

2. Human remains believed to belong to missing Virginia woman found

Investigators searching for a missing University of Virginia student uncovered what they believe to be her remains. Police on Saturday said they'd found remains near Charlottesville, Virginia, and that a medical examiner would soon test whether they did indeed belong to 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who went missing last month. Police have charged Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. in Graham's disappearance, and linked him to the disappearance of another Virginia woman in 2009.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The New York Times

3. Violent clashes continue in Hong Kong

Police on Sunday squared off with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong for a second-straight day ahead of planned talks to deescalate the tense situation there. Thousands of demonstrators recaptured streets over the weekend after being pushed out from their encampments on Friday, resulting in dozens of injuries and at least four arrests, according to police. The government and demonstration leaders are scheduled to hold talks Tuesday, though China insists it will not soften restrictions it placed on the 2017 election to name Hong Kong's new chief executive.

The New York Times Reuters

4. Bishops nix proposal to welcome gay Catholics

A historic proposal for the Vatican to soften its stance toward gays failed to make it into a final report on the direction of the Catholic Church. A draft report from the synod said gays "must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity," though it failed to receive backing from at least two-thirds of the bishops in attendance. The Vatican said the language could still be discussed at a meeting of bishops next October.

The Guardian The Associated Press

5. Germany blames pro-Russian rebels for MH17 downing

Germany has concluded that pro-Russian separatists mistakenly brought down a commercial airliner over Ukraine in July, making it the first European nation to explicitly blame the rebels. Gerhard Schindler, president of Germany's BND intelligence agency, said in a closed-door meeting earlier this month that rebels struck Malaysia Airline flight MH17 with a Russian Buk missile, according to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. "It was pro-Russian separatists," he said.


6. Health worker on cruise ship cleared in Ebola scare

A nautical Ebola nightmare is over after officials cleared a health care worker linked to the virus who had been quarantined aboard a luxury cruise ship. The unidentified woman works at the Dallas hospital where patient Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola earlier this month, and it was feared she may have contracted the virus, too. The woman sequestered herself onboard until the ship returned to Texas Sunday, at which point a blood sample revealed she was not infected.


7. New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival descends into chaos

Police in riot gear used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse thousands of people who ran amok Saturday at the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire. Police said a large crowd composed mainly of students tore up street signs, threw bottles, and flipped at least one car at parties held in conjunction with the event, which attracts tourists from all over the region. "There were about 4,000 kids in this backyard, and it almost felt like a war zone," Ellery Murray, a Keene State student, told The Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe

8. Russian tennis official suspended for remarks about Williams sisters

The Women's Tennis Association has fined and suspended Shamil Tarpischev, the head of the Russian Tennis Association, for disparaging remarks he made about Venus and Serena Williams. Last week, Tarpischev referred to the two tennis stars as the "Williams brothers" and said they were "frightening." In response, the WTA hit Tarpischev with a maximum $25,000 fine and suspended him for one year. In a statement Serena supported the punishment, calling the remarks "sexist as well as racist."


9. Endangered white rhino dies

An extremely rare northern white rhinoceros died Friday at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya, leaving only six of the animals alive in the world. Poachers have driven the species nearly to extinction, and the 34-year-old Suni was one of only two breeding males left. "The species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race," the Ol Pejeta Conservancy said in a statement.

The Guardian

10. American Idol alum dead at 32

Joanne Borgella, a former American Idol contestant who went public with her battle against cancer, has died. She was 32 years old. Borgella was one of the final 24 contestants on the reality TV show's seventh season, and she regularly updated fans on social media about her treatment for endometrial cancer.


Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Jon Terbush

Jon Terbush is an associate editor at TheWeek.com covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.