Daily Briefing

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

Harold Maass
Bravo, mom! (Mark Davis/Getty Images)
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Islamists release an American journalist in Syria

An al Qaeda affiliate in Syria — the Nusra Front — unexpectedly freed American freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis on Sunday, nearly two years after he was kidnapped. Curtis' release came less than a week after the beheading of another U.S. reporter, James Foley, by the more radical Islamist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Qatar, a U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, mediated on behalf of Curtis. [The New York Times]


Michael Brown's father asks for quiet ahead of the teen's funeral

Michael Brown Sr. called for a day of calm on Monday, the day of the funeral of his 18-year-old son, who was shot and killed two weeks ago by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. "All I want is peace while my son is being laid to rest," he said at a gathering, PeaceFest, in St. Louis. A grand jury is hearing evidence on the Aug. 9 shooting, which touched off more than a week of protests. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]


U.K. intelligence close to identifying Foley's killer

British intelligence officials said Sunday that they might be close to identifying the shrouded Islamist who murdered American journalist James Foley. The killer spoke English with a British accent in the video of the killing posted online. British media reported that intelligence sources suspect a British national named Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, aka L Jinny, who has several rap videos on YouTube and is known as Britain's "hip-hop jihadist." [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


Libyan Islamists make gains in Tripoli

Libya's Islamist militias, under the umbrella group Dawn of Libya, said Sunday they had driven rival militias from the center of Tripoli and consolidated their hold on the capital's international airport. The fight has left the airport mostly in ruins. The offensive is partly a backlash after Islamists lost ground in June parliamentary elections. [The Associated Press]


France's cabinet collapses over economics feud

French President Francois Hollande on Monday dissolved his government after a feud over the economy erupted in his cabinet. Prime Minister Manuel Valls slammed his economy minister for openly criticizing his policies, and submitted his Socialist government's resignation. Hollande told Valls to immediately form a new government. [The Wall Street Journal]


Syrian airfield falls to ISIS

ISIS fighters captured Tabqa airfield in northeastern Syria on Sunday. The base is the third in the area to fall to the jihadi group, and the last outpost the government held in the province, an extremist stronghold. The airfield has several squadrons of warplanes, as well as helicopters, tanks, and artillery. [The Associated Press]


British nurse treated for Ebola

The first Briton to be stricken with Ebola in West Africa was flown to London for treatment on Sunday. The man, William Pooley, had volunteered to work as a nurse caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Pooley, 29, is being treated in an isolation unit, but he will not receive an experimental drug that was administered to two American aid workers who have since recovered. [The Independent]


6.9-magnitude quake hits Peru

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck southern Peru on Sunday evening, damaging 20 buildings, including a hospital. Peru's Emergency Operations Center also reported several minor landslides. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The quake hit hours after a 6.0-magnitude temblor injured nearly 200 people in California's Bay Area. [CNN]


Beyonce closes the VMAs in style

Beyonce stole the show at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, closing the ceremony with an epic 15-minute performance with excerpts from Drunk in Love, Mine, and other songs. She received the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, which was presented by her husband Jay Z and their toddler daughter, Blue Ivy. Jay Z called her "the greatest living entertainer" as he gave her the award. [The Washington Post]


Oscar-winner Richard Attenborough dies at 90

British actor and director Richard Attenborough has died at age 90, his son said Sunday. Over a six-decade career, Lord Attenborough appeared in classic films such as Brighton Rock, World War II thriller The Great Escape, and Jurassic Park. He also won two Oscars for Gandhi, which he directed. Sir Ben Kingsley, who played the title role in that film, said he would "miss him dearly." [BBC News]