10 things you need to know today: August 17, 2015

U.S. warns China about secret agents, Trump proposes massive wall on the Mexican border, and more

Trump details his policy.
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa))

1. U.S. warns China over agents sent to pressure expatriates to return

The Obama administration recently warned China to stop sending secret agents to the U.S. to pressure prominent expatriates to return home, The New York Times reported Sunday. China has undertaken a global campaign called Operation Fox Hunt to catch fugitives, some wanted on corruption charges, and recover money they allegedly took with them, U.S. officials say. The issue, along with tensions over computer hacking and Beijing's devaluing of its currency, could complicate next month's visit by China's president, Xi Jinping.

The New York Times

2. Trump proposes massive wall under plan to fight illegal immigration

Donald Trump

(Image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Poll-leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday released an immigration proposal that includes building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump said all undocumented immigrants "have to go" — even if that means deporting whole families. He said "the good people" could apply and return, "but they're going to come back legally." Trump proposed tripling the number of immigration officers, and paying for the plan by raising visa fees and eliminating tax credits for undocumented immigrants. He also called for the end of birthright citizenship.

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The Washington Times Reuters

3. Wreckage of Indonesian passenger plane found

A search plane on Monday spotted the wreckage of an Indonesian passenger airplane that was reported missing Sunday with 54 people on board. Rescue teams were sent toward the mountainous site, which was close to the airport where the Trigana Air Service plane was supposed to land. Villagers reported spotting the debris Sunday. The fate of the 44 adult passengers, five children, and five crew members was not immediately known. The plane was carrying $471,000 for remote villages.

USA Today NBC News

4. Syrian forces kill 100 in Damascus airstrikes

Syrian government airstrikes on a market in a Damascus suburb killed roughly 100 people on Sunday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. If confirmed, the attack would be one of the deadliest yet in Syria's four-year civil war. Government forces recently have lost significant ground to rebel groups and to Islamic State militants, suggesting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could be losing his grip on power.

The Washington Post

5. Bush super PAC plans first TV ad blitz

The super PAC backing Jeb Bush is expected to make its first big TV campaign on Monday. The organization, Right to Rise USA, gives the former Florida governor an ally with the biggest war chest in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. It is expected to make a $10-million-or-more buy to air ads in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, with the first spots airing Sept. 15. "We have best story to tell. Ads do that well," Mike Murphy, the head of Right to Rise USA, said.

The Associated Press

6. Military postpones hearing for 9/11 suspects at Guantanamo

The military judge has canceled a pretrial hearing for five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks being held at Guantanamo Bay, a Defense Department spokesman said Sunday. The spokesman said the judge cited "unresolved" issues regarding a defense claim of a conflict of interest. Defense lawyers for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others had claimed the FBI had spied on them, creating a conflict between them and their clients. The hearing had been scheduled for Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.


7. White House unveils initiative to fight heroin deaths

The White House plans on Monday to announce an initiative to curb a rise in heroin deaths in 15 states, from the Washington, D.C., area to New England. The $2.5 million program, focusing on treatment rather than punishment, will be funded for one year. Law enforcement and public health officials, teaming up for the first time, will try to determine where the heroin is coming from, how and where it is being laced with a toxic additive, and who is giving it to dealers on the streets.

The Washington Post

8. Minor leaguer becomes first openly gay active pro baseball player

David Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie-league team in Helena, Montana, revealed over the weekend that he is gay, becoming the first active player for a Major League Baseball affiliated team to come out publicly. Denson made the disclosure in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article after telling his family and teammates. He said his fellow players boosted his confidence by telling him, "your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day."


9. Jason Day holds off Jordan Spieth to take the P.G.A. Championship

Australian golfer Jason Day finished 20 under par — a record for a major tournament — to win the P.G.A. Championship on Sunday, his first major title. Day, 27, finished three strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth, who was trying to become the third player to win three majors in a single year. He would have been the first to accomplish the feat since Tiger Woods did it in 2000. Day had posted six top-10 finishes in major tournaments since 2013, and this was the third straight major in which he led at some point.

The New York Times

10. Straight Outta Compton makes an unexpectedly huge debut

Straight Outta Compton lifted Hollywood out of an August slump by hauling in $56.1 million to dominate the box office on its debut weekend, more than doubling projections the studio, Universal, had made earlier in the week. The film, about the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A., only cost $29 million to make, but its opening was the best ever for a musical biopic. It was also the sixth biggest August opening in history, and the biggest August opening ever for an R-rated film, beating American Pie 2.

Billboard USA Today

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.