Daily Briefing

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

Sarah Eberspacher
Thousands of Yazidis, a minority religious group, have fled ISIS advances in Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

1.

Obama says Iraq operation could be 'a long-term project'

President Barack Obama stressed the need for a stable, cooperative Iraqi government to push back ISIS advances in the country in a Saturday address. "This is going to be a long-term project," he said. Obama maintained that the intervention will focus not on using U.S. combat troops but continuing to deploy airstrikes when needed. On the humanitarian aid front, Kurdish forces were able to open a safe route earlier this weekend, but thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority are still trapped on a northern mountainside in Iraq, having fled the latest advance by ISIS. [TheWeek.com, The Washington Post]

2.

Palestinian negotiators accept new ceasefire, but no Israeli response

Palestinian negotiators reportedly accepted an Egyptian proposal of a new 72-hour truce this morning, saying they are in Cairo "to look for an agreement." If Israel also agrees to the new ceasefire, the two sides could resume negotiations — albeit separately, as neither recognizes the other's legitimacy — which faltered over the weekend following the end of a prior 72-hour truce. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned today that "Israel will not negotiate under fire," and Israeli leaders ended negotiations in Egypt earlier this weekend, after Hamas militants resumed rocket fire toward southern Israel. [The Associated Press]

3.

Russia offers Donetsk rebel troops 'humanitarian' support

Just a day after Western powers warned against such a plan, Moscow "urged support for Russia's initiative to deploy a humanitarian mission to Ukraine." The offer comes in the wake of a requested ceasefire by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, who claim their stronghold on the city of Donetsk is failing and that the militants are "completely encircled." But the rebels stepped back those remarks this morning in response to the Ukrainian government's stance that any negotiations would have to stem from "raising white flags and ... putting down guns." [BBC News, Reuters]

4.

Egyptian court bans political wing of Muslim Brotherhood

An Egyptian court delivered a ruling on Saturday that commands the Freedom and Justice Party — the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing — to dissolve and turn all of its assets over to the state. While a separate ruling banned the Muslim Brotherhood itself nearly a year ago, that decision did not specifically detail the FJP, meaning the political party could have had the opportunity to run in parliamentary elections later this year. "This is a political decision to get rid, not just of the Freedom and Justice Party, but of all the parties that were established after the revolution of January 25, 2011," Mahmoud Abou al-Aynayn, the FJP's lawyer, said. [Reuters]

5.

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart hits, kills fellow driver in sprint race

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a fellow driver during a sprint car race in upstate New York on Saturday night. During the race, Stewart and Kevin Ward, Jr. battled a bit for position, and Ward's car ultimately spun out. Ward then got out of his car and began walking across the track, pointing his finger toward Stewart, who was driving back around on the caution lap. Stewart's car clipped Ward and flung him on down the track. Ward was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.  [USA Today]

6.

Crowd gathers to protest St. Louis police shooting of black teenager

A Saturday police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a predominantly black St. Louis suburb prompted angry protests for several hours that night, with the NAACP calling for the FBI to investigate the incident. The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the shooting at the request of the local Ferguson police department, and while an official confirmed that a police officer had shot Brown on Saturday, he did not offer a reason for the shooting. The officer has reportedly been placed on paid administrative leave. [The Associated Press]

7.

GM recalls another round of vehicles

General Motors is recalling 269,000 vehicles due to a variety of defects. The largest recall is of 2002-2004 model Saturn Vue crossovers (202,115 cars). The ignition key in some of the vehicles has been found to dislodge while the car is running, and the company attributed at least two crashes and one injury to the defect. The latest round of recalls brings GM’s total this year to 66, and about 29 million GM cars and trucks have fallen under one of the recall umbrellas so far in 2014. [Reuters, USA Today]

8.

Washington state's first month of pot sales reach $3.8 million

One month into legally selling marijuana, Washington state stores have sold more than $3.8 million-worth of weed. That number is expected to net the state more than $1 million in taxes, still less than Colorado, which collected close to $2 million in excise and sales taxes in its first month of retail marijuana sales. "It's off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn't fully up and running yet," Brian Smith, a Washington Liquor Control Board spokesman, said. [The Associated Press]

9.

Pfizer faces wave of lawsuits over Lipitor complications

A Reuters review has found that lawsuits by U.S. women claiming the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor gave them type-2 diabetes have rocketed up from 56 to nearly 1,000 in five months. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which produces the drug, has denied liability for the side effects, which were raised in 2012, when the Food and Drug Administration ordered a label change alerting users to risks associated with the drug. The women's lawyers claim that females are more at risk than men of developing diabetes from using Lipitor, which is the best-selling prescription drug of all time, since it went on the market in 1996. [Reuters]

10.

Venus Williams defeats Serena Williams to advance to Rogers Cup final

Venus Williams, 34, defeated her two-years-younger sister, Serena Williams, on Saturday afternoon to advance to the final of the Rogers Cup. The elder Williams sister had not defeated Serena in more than five years, but she did so 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3. Serena still leads the sisters’ all-time series, 15-11. [ABC News]