Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 23, 2015

Ireland appears set to legalize same-sex marriage, State Department releases first round of Hillary Clinton emails, and more


Early vote count shows Ireland set to legalize same-sex marriage

With several hours left before official results are announced, Ireland already appears set to pass a historic referendum allowing same-sex marriage. The country would be the first in the world to legalize gay marriage by a popular vote; early ballot counts have found voters resoundingly in favor of the measure. And while no official announcement has been made, opposition leader David Quinn already tweeted his concession to the proposal's supporters: "Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done."


State Department releases first round of emails from Hillary Clinton's private server

The U.S. Department of State on Friday released 296 emails that Hillary Clinton sent and received from a private account during her time as secretary of state. The emails, which are available on the State Department's Freedom of Information Act website, include information on Clinton's response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead. Clinton had come under criticism for her use of a private email server, but both the White House and State Department reiterated that the emails' release did not "change the essential facts or our understanding of the events before, during or after the (Benghazi) attacks."


Obama wins key trade victory as Senate approves fast-track legislation

President Barack Obama moved one step closer to completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal with 11 other countries, as the Senate voted in favor of fast-track legislation on the deal, on Friday night. The legislation would help Obama move more quickly toward a finalized agreement on the TPP, by letting Congress use quick up-or-down votes, sans amendments, on specific trade deal details. The bill now moves to the House, where it will likely face tougher passage.


More than 40 people killed in western Mexico gunfight

A gunfight between federal forces and suspected cartel members in the western Mexico state of Michoacán left at least 42 people dead on Friday. Most of those killed were suspected gang members; while federal officials did not name the cartel involved, Michoacán's Governor Salvador Jara told a news station that the criminals were likely from the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which specializes in producing and trafficking methamphetamine. New Generation has orchestrated several police killings over the past few months, most notably on May 1, when its gang members targeted an army helicopter, while also setting fire to banks, gas stations, and cars in Guadalajara.


Drought-stricken California accepts voluntary water cut deal from Delta farmers

California officials on Friday accepted a compromise offer from Delta farmers, who proposed forgoing a quarter of their water supplies due to the state's "unprecedented drought." California's agricultural industry accounts for 80 percent of the state's water consumption per year, but farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta own some of the state's most senior water rights — and historically have held tight to those claims. Representatives for the Delta's nearly 4,000 farmers said they expected most to participate in the cutbacks, either by farming less of their acreage or planting crops that require less water.


TLC pulls 19 Kids and Counting following molestation allegations against Josh Duggar

Following revelations earlier this week that 27-year-old Josh Duggar, one of the stars of TLC's reality series 19 Kids and Counting, had admitted to sexually molesting multiple girls when he was a teenager, TLC pulled all episodes of the show on Friday, "effective immediately," citing the "heartbreaking situation." The network did not address whether it would continue with future seasons of the show, which aired its season 10 finale this week.


Iran reportedly sends troops to help retake ISIS holdings in Iraq

Two U.S. officials speaking anonymously on Friday said Iran has contributed troops to the Iraqi ground force operations against ISIS. The U.S. military has previously stated that Iran's involvement would not be opposed, so long as its troops remain under the command of Iraqi government-led forces. Still, a U.S. statement released Friday detailing recent operations against ISIS made no mention of Iran's involvement. The U.S. and its allies have staged a series of offensives over the past few days, in a bid to retake control of the Beiji refinery compound. U.S.-led airstrikes have also targeted the city of Ramadi, which was overtaken by ISIS earlier this week.


Eiffel Tower closes while workers strike over pickpocket threats

The Eiffel Tower closed to the public for several hours on Friday, as its workers protested against petty crime at and around the landmark. Normally, the tower is open 365 days a year. Employees from the tower's management company said the site has suffered from an increase in the number of pickpockets working the area, targeting tourists and threatening the workers. Staff members requested a permanent police presence at the site to deter the "gangs" of pickpocketers. The protest came just one day after Paris authorities said crimes against tourists have decreased thanks to heightened surveillance in the city.


Harlem Globetrotters legend Marques Haynes dies at age 89

Marques Haynes, arguably one of the Harlem Globetrotters' all-time best players, died on Friday in Plano, Texas, at age 89. Haynes first signed on with the Globetrotters in 1948, for $400 per season. He quite nearly became the NBA's first black player, in 1950, but missed that opportunity due to disagreements with the Globetrotters' owner. However, Haynes still became the first Globetrotter inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 1998. Considered one of the best ball handlers in history, Haynes played before fans in 97 countries, in more than 12,000 games.


Michael Sam signs deal with CFL's Montreal Alouettes

The Montreal Alouettes announced that they had signed 25-year-old Michael Sam to a one-year deal with a team option year on Friday. Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League — by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. But the Rams waived Sam in their final round of cuts, and a short stint on the Dallas Cowboy's practice squad ended with him being released in October 2014. He participated in the NFL veterans combine in March, but no team chose to make him an offer then, either.


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Ukraine says Kahkovka dam destruction won't derail counteroffensive
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Why does India have so many train crashes?
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