10 things you need to know today: September 15, 2015

Suspect kills himself after Mississippi college murder, border crackdowns meet migrants trying to reach Europe, and more

Migrant children wait in Macedonia.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Borce Popovski)

1. Suspected Mississippi college gunman kills himself

Shannon Lamb, the suspect in the shooting death of a Delta State University history professor, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday night. Police had been following Lamb, 45, when he took off on foot, and apparently shot himself. Lamb was named a "person of interest" shortly after history professor Ethan Schmidt was found shot to death in his office on the Mississippi college campus. Lamb was also suspected of killing his domestic partner — Amy Prentiss — in a town 300 miles from the school.

The Associated Press USA Today

2. Border crackdowns meet migrants trying to reach Europe

Hungarian police late Monday began detaining migrants trying to get through holes in a 100-mile border fence built to slow a rising wave of migrants seeking asylum in Western Europe. A record 9,380 migrants were detained Monday on suspicion of illegally crossing the country's border with Serbia. Austria sent soldiers to help seal its borders Monday night as it joined several European nations clamping down on migrants trying to escape war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

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The New York Times CBS News

3. Kentucky clerk does not block gay marriages, but questions their validity

Kim Davis returned to her job as clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, on Monday for the first time since being jailed for five days over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian still prevent her from personally issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. She said she would take no action against any of her deputy clerks who issue licenses, although she doubted the validity of any such licenses.


4. Australian prime minister booted by his own party

Australia's Liberal Party dumped Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday. Abbott will be replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, a former tech entrepreneur who will be the country's fifth prime minister in eight years. The 54 to 44 secret vote came after months of infighting within the center-right party. "Ultimately, the prime minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs," said Turnbull, who was ousted by Abbott as the party's leader in 2009.

CNN Reuters

5. North Korea restarts nuclear-weapons fuel plants

North Korea declared Tuesday that it had restarted its atomic fuel plants after upgrading them so it would be able to produce more nuclear weapons. The statement came a day after the impoverished, isolated communist nation threatened long-range rocket launches. North Korea has used similar threats in the past to push for talks with the U.S. to trade concessions for aid and the easing of sanctions.

The Associated Press

6. China builds third airstrip in contested South China Sea islands

China appears to be building a third airstrip in a contested area in the South China Sea, a U.S. expert said Monday. Satellite photographs showed the apparent construction work on Mischief Reef, one of seven artificial islands China has built in the Spratly archipelago. The area where the runway is being built stretches for 3,000 feet, long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft. The U.S. called for China to stop militarizing the area to ease tensions, but Beijing said it had "indisputable sovereignty" over the islands.


7. Apple headed for record first-weekend iPhone sales

Apple said Monday that pre-orders for its new iPhone 6s were on pace to break a first-weekend sales record set by the last version of Apple's wildly popular smartphone. Apple began taking early orders on the 6s and 6s Plus on Saturday. The new phones officially go on sale Sept. 25. Apple sold 10 million phones last year on the debut weekend of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the last new versions of the phone. The iPhone 6s models have more memory, faster processors, and a new 12 megapixel camera.

The Associated Press

8. Ex-officer denied bond in North Charleston killing

A judge denied bond Monday to a white former South Carolina police officer charged with murder for the April shooting death of an unarmed black motorist after a traffic stop. The ex-officer, Michael Slager, stopped the victim, Walter Scott, for a broken brake light in North Charleston. Scott fled on foot, and Slager chased him down. After a scuffle, Slager shot Scott repeatedly as he ran away. A bystander captured the shooting on video with a smartphone. "Today isn't cause for celebration, there are no winners or losers," Anthony Scott, Scott's brother, said.


9. Sierra Nevada snowpack at lowest level in 500 years

Scientists estimate the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides California with about a third of its water when it melts, to be at its lowest level in more than 500 years, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The snow water equivalent in April was just 5 percent of the average in the drought-plagued state since the 1930s. "We were expecting that 2015 would be extreme, but not like this," said senior study author Valerie Trouet, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona.

Los Angeles Times

10. Schwarzenegger named to replace Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice

Movie star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice, NBC announced Monday. NBC has been on the lookout for a new star for the show since Trump, a real estate mogul, became the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Schwarzenegger is expected to lead the show when it returns for the 2016-17 season. Unlike Trump, Schwarzenegger is not a billionaire, but his films have grossed billions at the global box office.

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.