Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 25, 2014

1

U.S. bombs Syrian refineries that were financing ISIS

The U.S. and Arab allies on Wednesday bombed a dozen small Syrian oil refineries controlled by the Islamic State, or ISIS, in an attempt to cut off the Islamist militant group's funding. ISIS was estimated to be making $2 million a day from the facilities. The Obama administration also labeled 11 people and one so-called charity as terrorists, accusing them of aiding ISIS. President Obama chaired a United Nations Security Council vote approving a resolution compelling countries to stop recruits from joining ISIS and other terrorist militias.

2

French hostage beheaded in Algeria

Algerian Islamist extremists released a video on Wednesday in which they appear to behead French tourist Herve Gourde to retaliate for France's airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Gourdel, a nature guide and photographer, was kidnapped on Sunday as he drove into a remote mountain area to go hiking. French President Francois Hollande said Gourdel, 55, had been "killed cruelly and in a cowardly way," but his murder would not shake France's resolve to help defeat ISIS.

3

Judge denies defense request to move Boston Marathon bombing trial

A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to move his trial out of Boston. U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said that despite extensive media coverage, it "stretches the imagination" to suggest that it will be impossible to find 12 fair and impartial jurors in a metropolitan area of five million people. O'Toole did delay the trial's start from Nov. 3 to Jan. 5, 2015. The defense wanted a longer delay to go over the large volume of information in the case.

4

Court tells Ohio, a key swing state, to expand early voting

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld an Ohio judge's order expanding the time people will have in the swing state to vote this fall. Under the ruling, early ballots can be cast as early as next Tuesday, instead of Oct. 7. A federal judge had temporarily blocked a state law narrowing the early-voting window, and told election officials to give people more options. State officials had argued Ohio already offered more time for early voting than many other states.

5

Navajo Nation to receive $554 million under settlement with government

The Obama administration has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation $554 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the federal government of mismanaging funds and resources at the 14-million-acre Navajo reservation in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The settlement — the largest ever for a single Native American tribe — will end disputes dating as far back as five decades. Attorney General Eric Holder said the deal shows the government's "firm commitment to strengthening our partnerships with tribal nations."

6

Colorado students protest anti-civil-disobedience proposal

Hundreds of Colorado high-school students walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday to protest their school district's conservative-led school board's proposal "to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority." The students waved flags and held up signs reading, "There is nothing more patriotic than protest." The Jefferson County school board is considering establishing a committee to review history texts and weed out materials that "condone civil disorder."

7

Grand jury clears police in shooting of Walmart shopper carrying air rifle

The U.S. Justice Department will investigate possible civil rights violations in the shooting death of a Walmart shopper carrying an air rifle he had apparently taken off a store shelf, the state attorney general said Wednesday. The announcement was made after a special grand jury ruled out charges against police officers who shot the 22-year-old man, John Crawford III, on Aug. 5 as he talked on a cellphone and walked around the store.

8

More than 100 Boko Haram fighters surrender to Nigerian forces

Nigeria's military announced Wednesday that more than 130 Boko Haram Islamist fighters had surrendered to government forces. Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade also said that in a recent clash soldiers had killed a man named Mohammed Bashir, who had claimed to be Boko Haram's late leader Abubakar Shekau. The army has increased operations in the remote areas which Boko Haram declared to be "Muslim territory" after taking over several small towns.

9

Apple scrambles to fix glitch in software updates for iPhone 6

Apple issued an apology Wednesday after some users of its newest iPhones ran into software glitches that prevented them from making or receiving calls. The news came as other users reported the popular iPhone 6 models were vulnerable to bending. Apple said it would stop distributing the software update that caused the blocked calls — iOS 8.0.1. Some users also reported problems with a feature allowing them to unlock the phones with their fingerprint. Apple said it would issue advice on a fix "as quickly as we can."

10

Grand jury clears race-car driver Tony Stewart in fatal crash

A grand jury on Wednesday decided there was no evidence to justify filing criminal charges against race-car driver Tony Stewart in the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. A toxicology report said Ward had marijuana in his system when he crashed into a wall and got out of his car before Stewart's right-rear tire struck him. Ward's family said "the matter is not at rest."

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