10 things you need to know today: September 10, 2015

Conservatives delay House debate on the Iran nuclear deal, scientists discover another early human ancestor, and more

What a looker.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

1. GOP infighting delays debate on Iran deal

Rebelling conservative Republicans delayed House debate on the Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday. Congress has until Sept. 17 to pass a vote of disapproval, but Obama has lined up enough support in the Senate to sustain a veto. House Republicans now plan three separate votes, one pushed by rebel Republicans arguing that the 60-day clock to vote does not start until Obama reveals "secret side deals" with Tehran. White House spokesman Eric Schultz said: "If Congress does not vote, this agreement goes into effect. It's as simple as that."


2. Scientists announce discovery of human ancestor in African cave

Researchers have found fossils from a previously unidentified early human ancestor — Homo naledi — in a South African cave, an international team of scientists announced Thursday. The scientists, acting on a tip from spelunkers, found more than 1,550 fossil elements documenting the discovery, including parts of at least 15 individuals. The variety of evidence made the find one of the richest collections of early human fossils ever found. Scientists haven't pinned down the fossils' age, but say they could be more than 2.5 million years old.

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The New York Times USA Today

3. The Justice Department encourages prosecutors to go after corporate crime

The Justice Department issued new policies Wednesday giving prosecutors new tools to crack down on corporate crime. Companies now will be required to hand over evidence against individual suspects in order for the firm to get credit for cooperating. The changes come after the Justice Department has faced accusations of going easy on Wall Street criminals. "Americans should never believe, even incorrectly, that one's criminal activity will go unpunished simply because it was committed on behalf of a corporation," said Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

New York Post

4. Apple reveals latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

Apple unveiled the latest version of the iPhone on Wednesday. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus feature an upgraded, 12-megapixel camera, and a new capability called 3D Touch, which makes accessing different menus and functions easier by sensing how hard a user is pressing a button. Apple also debuted a new Apple TV with a Siri-enabled remote and apps for watching anywhere, and an iPad Pro tablet with a larger screen and optional keyboard, like those available with rival devices such as the Microsoft Surface.

The New York Times

5. Baltimore board approves settlement with Freddie Gray's family

A Baltimore board on Wednesday approved a $6.4 million settlement payment to the family of Freddie Gray, who died in April after suffering a spinal injury in police custody. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who voted to approve the deal along with the other four members of the city's Board of Estimates, said the settlement would "bring an important measure of closure to the Gray family, to the community and to the city." The police union president called the deal "obscene." Six officers have been charged in Gray's death.

The Christian Science Monitor USA Today

6. Brazilian city bans Uber

Sao Paulo, Brazil, city council members on Wednesday voted to ban Uber and other smartphone-based ride-sharing apps from the streets of the city — the largest in South America. Mayor Fernando Haddad now has 15 work days to decide whether to sign or veto the measure, which seeks to impose fines of about $450 against drivers found in violation. Uber's fast growth in Brazil has angered the nation's powerful cabdriver unions. Taxi drivers blocked streets to protest Uber ahead of the council vote.

The Wall Street Journal The Associated Press

7. Russia steps up military involvement in Syria

Russian soldiers have started operating in Syria to support the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, three Lebanese sources told Reuters on Wednesday. U.S. officials say Russia has sent two tank landing ships, and cargo aircraft to the war-ravaged country in recent days, along with a small number of naval infantry troops, possibly to prepare an airfield near a port city that is an Assad stronghold. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned his Russian counterpart twice in four days that it is fueling violence in Syria.


8. "Unprecedented" rains drive thousands from homes in Japan

More than 90,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes in Japan as heavy rains from Tropical Depression Etau caused widespread flooding and landslides. A wall of water hit the city of Joso, north of the capital, Tokyo, after the Kinugawa River burst its banks. Rescuers used helicopters to pluck stranded people from rooftops. At least one person was missing and 12 injured. "These heavy rains are unprecedented," the chief forecaster at the Japan Meteorological Agency said. "There is imminent serious danger."

BBC News

9. New York police tackle ex-tennis pro James Blake in mistaken identity case

Retired pro tennis star James Blake was tackled and handcuffed by New York City police officers on Wednesday outside his hotel in a case of mistaken identify. Blake, who is African American, said he was on his way to the U.S. Open when five white plainclothes officers mistook him for a suspect in an identify theft ring, and one of the officers tackled him. "It's blatantly unnecessary," Blake said. "You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn't okay, but it seems that there's no stopping it."


10. Colbert crushes competition in ratings in Late Show debut

Stephen Colbert drew an audience of 6.6 million viewers for his long-awaited debut as host of The Late Show on CBS, according to Nielsen data released Wednesday. In comparison, Jimmy Fallon's audience at NBC's Tonight show was only 2.9 million, although Fallon's February 2014 debut was watched by more than 11 million people. Reviews of Colbert's first show were generally positive, with many critics saying Colbert will shine when the 2016 presidential campaign hits full speed.


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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.