Daily briefing

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


Supreme Court clears path for resuming same-sex marriage in 5 states

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear appeals of rulings allowing same-sex marriages in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The unexpected move cleared the way for lower courts to order the resumption of gay marriages in those states, as Virginia did at 1 p.m. Still, by opting against taking steps toward a final decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, the justices put off any far-reaching action that would apply to the entire nation.


ISIS enters Syrian border town after three-week offensive

ISIS militants entered the predominantly Kurd Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday after a nearly three-week offensive that drove an estimated 160,000 refugees across the border into Turkey. The Islamist terrorist group continued to advance even after being targeted in airstrikes by a U.S.-led international coalition. More than 2,000 Syrian Kurds including women and children were evacuated as Kurdish fighters made a last stand, clashing with ISIS forces in the street to prevent them from taking over.


Spanish health worker is the first to contract Ebola outside Africa

A nurse's assistant in Spain has become the first person to contract Ebola outside West Africa, Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato announced Monday. The woman was helping treat a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest who were infected in West Africa and died after returning to Spain. The patient checked herself into a hospital several days after she began developing symptoms during a vacation. Health officials have 30 people she had contact with under surveillance.


Swastikas painted on Jewish fraternity house in Atlanta

Emory University officials said Monday that someone had painted swastikas on the exterior of a Jewish fraternity house. The painting of the Nazi symbols on the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house occurred on Sunday, a few hours after the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday. The Atlanta school's campus police are investigating. The fraternity issued a statement calling the incident part of a "rising tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity on college campuses" that must be stopped.


Chicago man accused of trying to join ISIS

A 19-year-old man from suburban Chicago was arrested over the weekend for allegedly trying to leave the country to join ISIS, federal law enforcement agents said Monday. The man, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after questioning by FBI agents. Court papers said he left a letter to his parents saying he wanted to live in the Islamist group's self-declared Islamic State and avoid raising his kids in the "filth" of Western society.


Obama announces stepped up Ebola screening of travelers arriving from West Africa

President Obama announced Monday that the U.S. would increase screenings of passengers arriving at American airports from West African nations affected by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Travelers already are being screened as they leave the affected countries. The U.S. won't ban flights from the region outright, but health and national security officials are considering a wide range of options to prevent further cases like that of Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national diagnosed with Ebola in Texas after arriving on a flight from Liberia.


Swimming officials suspend Michael Phelps for six months

USA Swimming on Monday suspended Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, from competition for six months over his DUI arrest last week. He also will lose his USA Swimming funding during the suspension. The move came a day after Phelps, 29, announced that he was entering a six-week rehab program. The sanctions marked a setback in his attempt to make a comeback and qualify for the 2016 Olympics, as Phelps will now miss the 2015 world championships in Russia, a key run-up to the Rio games.


Scientists win Nobel physics prize for work on LED lights

The Nobel physics prize was awarded Tuesday to two scientists in Japan and one at the University of California at Santa Barbara for helping to create the low-energy LED light. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura were honored for inventing the blue light emitting diode in the 1990s, which the Nobel committee said "triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology." The committee said LED lights could improve the lives of 1.5 billion people around the world with little access to electricity.


Multi-talented Tony award winner Geoffrey Holder dies at 84

Geoffrey Holder, the Tony-winning director and costume designer from Trinidad, has died at a New York hospital from complications of pneumonia. He was 84. The multi-talented Holder did everything from dancing on Broadway to exhibiting his paintings in museums. He won Tony awards for direction and costume design for The Wiz in 1975, and played the flamboyant villain Baron Samedi in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die. Many people also remember him for his 1970s 7-Up commercial, in which he proclaimed the soft drink "absolutely maah-velous."


After 25 years, Twin Peaks returns

Creators David Lynch and Mark Frost will bring back cult TV classic Twin Peaks on Showtime in 2016 after a 25-year hiatus. The show's third season won't be a remake, but a present-day follow-up on story lines from the ABC series' second season. Lynch and Frost are developing the scripts, and Lynch reportedly has signed on to direct all nine of the planned episodes. Under the deal, Showtime will re-run the original two seasons before introducing the revival.


Iran carries out 1st execution of Masha Amini protests
Mohsen Shekari
Iran protests

Iran carries out 1st execution of Masha Amini protests

Who is Paul Whelan?
Paul Whelan.

Who is Paul Whelan?

Why Russia would only trade Griner for 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout
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Why Russia would only trade Griner for 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout

Ukraine's custom drone strikes showed Russia it can hit Moscow
Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh drone

Ukraine's custom drone strikes showed Russia it can hit Moscow

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The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shows off her infamous "Tax the Rich" dress at the 2021 Met Gala.
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The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe

Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington
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Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington

Gas is now cheaper in the U.S. than it was a year ago
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Gas is now cheaper in the U.S. than it was a year ago