10 things you need to know today: September 11, 2015

Senate Democrats clear path for Iran nuclear deal, Obama orders U.S. to take in 10,000 Syrians, and more

A memorial for those killed on 9/11.
(Image credit: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

1. Senate Democrats clear path for Iran deal

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a Republican resolution seeking to reject the Iran nuclear deal. The Democratic filibuster ensured that the landmark deal between Tehran and six world powers, including the U.S., would take effect with no need for Obama to veto a GOP vote of disapproval. House Republicans passed a bill saying Congress had more time to consider the Iran deal because the administration has not shared information on secret deals it cut with Tehran, but the White House says there are no such documents.

The New York Times The Washington Post

2. Obama orders U.S. to accept 10,000 Syrian migrants in next year

President Obama has decided that the U.S. will take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the coming fiscal year, the White House announced Thursday. So far, the U.S. has only accepted 1,500 Syrian migrants since the country's civil war began in 2011. Refugee advocates and some lawmakers said Obama's move does not go far enough to ease the humanitarian crisis as a wave of refugees flees Syria and other countries, most of them bound for Europe. Religious groups have called on Obama to accept 100,000 Syrians.

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3. U.S. marks 14th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

Americans will observe the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Friday with ceremonies in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. The White House, like many other places in the U.S., will observe a moment of silence Friday morning. On Friday night, two giant towers of light will rise in Lower Manhattan, the 13th installation of the "Tribute of Light," an ephemeral memorial representing the Twin Towers destroyed in the 9/11 attack.

The New York Times

4. Joe Biden discusses his future with Stephen Colbert

Vice President Joe Biden gave an emotional interview to Stephen Colbert on Thursday night's Late Show, saying he's not sure he and his family are capable of giving "110 percent" to a presidential campaign so soon after the May death of Biden's son, Beau. "I'd be lying if I said that I knew I was there," Biden said. The vice president added that he needed to keep moving forward because he would be letting down his son "if I didn’t just get up."


5. Field set for next week's Republican presidential debate

CNN has unveiled the lineup for the next Republican presidential debate, which the network will host next Wednesday night at the Reagan Library. The 11 candidates who made the cut, based on 14 recent polls, are Donald Trump; Ben Carson; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.); former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.); Gov. John Kasich (Ohio); Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.); and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who made a strong showing in a second-tier debate after failing to make the first main debate.


6. Flight 93 memorial dedicated

The Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center was dedicated Thursday on a Pennsylvania hill overlooking the site where the United Airlines jet crashed, killing 33 passengers and seven crew members during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Passengers on Flight 93 found out about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and rushed the cockpit. The terrorists crashed into a field instead of Washington, D.C. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the memorial center captures "the real honor of the 40 and what they did."

USA Today The Associated Press

7. GOP lawmaker in Michigan resigns after affair with colleague

One of two socially conservative Michigan lawmakers tainted by an extramarital affair and cover-up attempt resigned early Friday as his colleagues debated whether the pair should stay in their jobs. Republican Rep. Todd Courser resigned, effective immediately. He has admitted sending an outlandish phony email to GOP activists claiming he had been caught with a male prostitute — a ruse meant to make news of his affair with Rep. Cindy Gamrat seem less believable. Lawmakers later voted to expel Gamrat.

The Associated Press CBS News

8. Opposition tries to chip away at Singapore's ruling party's dominance

Singapore voters went to the polls Friday in the island nation's most hotly contested general election ever. The long-ruling People's Action Party's is expected to win, but opposition parties are contesting all 89 seats in parliament for the first time since independence in 1965. Singapore's status as an international financial hub have made it rich, but opposition politicians are hoping to take advantage of complaints over high property prices and a widening wealth gap.


9. Venezuelan opposition leader sentenced to prison

A Venezuelan judge on Thursday sentenced opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to 13 years and nine months in a military prison for "inciting violence" and other charges. The harsh sentence was likely to worsen tensions in the already deeply divided South American nation. The government of President Nicolas Maduro has said it wants to improve relations with the U.S., but the treatment of Lopez is considered likely to be an obstacle to any diplomatic overtures. The U.S. said it was "deeply troubled" by the sentence.

The Washington Post Reuters

10. Officers' trial over Freddie Gray's death stays in Baltimore

A judge ruled Thursday that the trials of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray would remain in Baltimore, despite extensive local publicity and heated emotions over the case. Defense lawyers had argued that the intense scrutiny the case had received would make it impossible for the officers to get a fair trial, but Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams disagreed. "The citizens of Baltimore are not monolithic," he said. "They think for themselves."


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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.