10 things you need to know today: August 31, 2015

Alaska's Mount McKinley is renamed Denali, Cyrus delivers expected controversy at VMAs, and more

Cyrus scandalizes.
(Image credit: (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP))

1. Alaska's Mount McKinley officially renamed Denali

The Obama administration is changing the name of Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain, to Denali, the White House said Sunday. Denali is the original Athabascan name — it means "the high one." The change is a show of respect for "the traditions of Alaska Natives," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The 20,320-foot mountain was named after William McKinley, the 25th president, in 1896. Republican lawmakers from McKinley's home state, Ohio, slammed the change, with one calling it a "political stunt."

The Associated Press

2. 31st senator backs Iran nuclear deal

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) became the 31st senator to say he would back the Iran nuclear deal, leaving President Obama just three votes shy of the total he needs to sustain his promised veto of a bill trying to stop the agreement. Two more senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — are leaning toward yes, and 11 (10 of them Democrats) are undecided or their vote is unknown. Congress is expected to take up the bill in mid-September.

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The Oregonian The Washington Post

3. White House developing sanctions against China over cyberthefts

The Obama administration is developing economic sanctions to impose on Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from the thefts of U.S. trade secrets, The Washington Post reports. The White House has not yet decided whether to implement the unprecedented response to cyber-espionage, but administration officials say it could come within two weeks, and could even coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the U.S. next month.

The Washington Post

4. Egypt announces schedule for electing first parliament since 2012

Egypt's election commission announced Sunday that the country would hold a long-awaited parliamentary election starting on Oct. 18 and 19. The country has been without a parliament since June 2012, when a court dissolved a democratically elected main chamber controlled by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. The vote is supposed to be the last step in restoring democracy, but government critics say that a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood will taint the results.


5. University of Texas moves Jefferson Davis statue

Officials removed a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis from its spot outside the University of Texas at Austin clock tower on Sunday. The student government passed a resolution in March calling for removing the statue, and the school followed through after a legal appeal by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to keep it in place was rejected. The statue will be moved to the campus' Briscoe Center for American History, home to a large collection of archival material depicting slavery.

The New York Times

6. Bangkok police get reward for catching Erawan bombing suspect

Thailand's police chief, Somyot Pumpanmuang, announced Monday that he was giving his own officers an $83,000 reward for the capture of a suspect in the bombing of Bangkok's Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people two weeks ago. "This was the work of the Thai authorities, there were no tip-offs," he said. One suspect is in custody and warrants have been issued for a Thai woman — Wanna Suansan, 26 — and an unnamed foreign man.

BBC News

7. Dodgers held hitless for second time in 10 days

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter to help his team shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on Sunday night. It was the sixth no-hitter in Major League Baseball this season — and the second one pitched in 10 days against the Dodgers, held hitless on Aug. 21 by the Astros' Mike Fiers. The Cubs' victory was sealed in the first inning, when Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run.

Los Angeles Times

8. Sharapova withdraws from U.S. Open

Maria Sharapova withdrew Sunday from the United States Open, citing a leg injury. Sharapova, who won the tennis tournament in 2006, has not played since July, when she lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals. Sharapova said the injury was a muscle strain. She first injured the leg training for hardcourt tournaments, then aggravated it before her first hardcourt tournament of the year. "I have done everything possible to be ready," she said via Facebook, "but it was just not enough time."

The New York Times

9. Swift dominates VMAs, Cyrus delivers expected controversy

Taylor Swift led the nights winners at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, taking home four Moonmans, including the top award for video of the year. Swift also reunited on stage with Kanye West, who snatched the microphone from her during her 2009 acceptance speech. West won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award this year and declared that he was running for president in 2020. Host Miley Cyrus reliably produced the night's controversy by flashing skin in skimpy outfits, cursing, and feuding with Nicki Minaj.

Reuters Vanity Fair

10. Horror-film director Wes Craven dies at 76

Writer and director Wes Craven, known for horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, has died from brain cancer, his family said Sunday. He was 76. Craven's final film, Scream 4, was made in 2011, but he remained "engaged and working until the end," his family said. Craven left a job as an English professor for Hollywood at age 30. He shocked audiences with his first film, the 1972 survival-revenge thriller The Last House on the Left, and became known for mixing shock-horror and dark humor.

Entertainment Weekly

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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.