Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 18, 2014

Harold Maass
Protesters demonstrate in Ferguson. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Governor sends the National Guard to Ferguson

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced Monday that he was sending National Guard troops to help restore peace in Ferguson, which has been rocked by unrest since a white police officer shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown. A private autopsy requested by Brown's family concluded that he was shot six times, including twice in the head. Attorney General Eric Holder also called for a federal autopsy to aid the investigation. [The Wall Street Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]


Kurds take back much of a strategic dam after U.S. airstrikes

Kurdish forces said Sunday they had regained partial control of a key Iraqi hydroelectric dam from Sunni extremists, following two days of U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State insurgents who had seized the Mosul Dam on Aug. 7 as they advanced through the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Kurdish leaders said they hoped their peshmerga fighters, bolstered by U.S. air power, could win back more turf taken by insurgents in early August. [Los Angeles Times]


Looting of Ebola quarantine center raises fear of infection in Liberia

Liberian officials said Sunday that they feared a surge in Ebola cases in the largest slum of Monrovia, the capital, after residents of the area raided an Ebola quarantine center. Many of the 30 patients fled. The raiders, reportedly angry that infected people had been brought into their neighborhood, looted medical equipment, bloody sheets and other items. Officials feared the medical waste would infect others. [The Associated Press]


Ukraine pushes into rebel-held city

The Ukrainian military advanced deep into the separatist stronghold of Luhansk on Sunday, raising the nation's flag over the police station and dealing a symbolic blow to separatist rebels who declared eastern Ukraine independent in April. A Russian aid convoy headed for Luhansk remained at the border. Ukrainian and foreign leaders said they suspected Russia was using the convoy as cover for a military intervention. [The New York Times]


Obama returns from vacation to discuss crises

President Obama interrupted his Martha's Vineyard vacation Sunday night for two days of White House meetings. On Monday, Obama will discuss Iraq with and members of the National Security Council, then he will get a briefing from Attorney General Eric Holder on the investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting. Republicans have criticized Obama for taking a two-week vacation with numerous crises erupting. [USA Today]


Teen arrested for Instagram threats

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrested a 15-year-old boy on Sunday for allegedly posting death threats on Instagram against students in Santa Clarita Valley schools. Investigators said the boy, who wasn't identified because he is a minor, apparently threatened to shoot fellow high-school students to provoke a reaction from friends. He "had no intention" of doing it, officials said, but they are still treating the case seriously. [Los Angeles Times]


Freight train collision kills two in Arkansas

Two people were killed and two injured Sunday in a head-on collision between two freight trains in Arkansas. The crash set off a fire that burned for about seven hours, prompting authorities to tell 500 nearby residents to evacuate. Investigators suspect diesel fuel and a car full of alcoholic beverages caused the fire, but "have no idea" why the trains were on the same track, an emergency management official said. [The Associated Press]


New high-paying jobs increase post-recession hope

Nearly 40 percent of the jobs created in the last six months have been in construction, manufacturing, professional services, and other sectors with median hourly wages of $20 or more, according to a National Employment Law Project analysis for The Washington Post. Such high-paying jobs accounted for just a quarter of new jobs in the first half of 2013. Economists say that suggests the recovery is getting stronger. [The Washington Post]


More charges expected against couple accused of kidnapping Amish girls

The man and woman charged with kidnapping two Amish sisters — aged 7 and 12 — from their family's New York vegetable stand and sexually assaulting them last week were hunting for more girls, investigators said Sunday. "There was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims," St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said. Prosecutors expect more charges to be filed against the suspects, Stephen Howells Jr., 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25. [Patch]


Florida State returns to No. 1 in preseason college poll

Defending champion Florida State took the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with 57 of the 60 first-place votes from the media panel. The Seminoles are led by quarterback Jameis Winston, who will be vying for a second Heisman Trophy. It is the Seminoles' sixth start in the top spot, but their first since 1999, when they became the first NCAA team to remain at No. 1 all season. [The Associated Press]