10 things you need to know today: September 26, 2015

John Boehner announces resignation from Congress, State Department gets new Hillary Clinton emails, and more

John Boehner
(Image credit: Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

1. House Speaker John Boehner to resign from Congress in October

House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday afternoon he will step down as speaker and resign from Congress at the end of October. "I planned, on my birthday, Nov. 17, to announce that I was leaving at the end of the year," Boehner said, but reconsidered Friday morning. "Today's the day I'm going to do this." Boehner insisted he was not being pushed out as speaker, despite clashing with other conservatives in recent weeks as talk mounted of a possible government shutdown over Planned Parenthood.

The New York Times

2. State Department obtains new email chain from Hillary Clinton's private account

The State Department reportedly obtained an email chain former secretary Hillary Clinton had not previously turned over from her private account. The thread, which contains fewer than 10 emails exchanged with Gen. David Petraeus, reportedly began before Clinton took office in January 2009, but continued after she was sworn in. The Democratic presidential frontrunner has previously said she didn't start using her personal email account and homebrew server until March 18, and that she had turned over all records that hadn't been deleted.

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The Associated Press

3. Pope Francis addresses the environment, poverty in sweeping U.N. speech

Pope Francis invoked his message of compassion and interconnectedness in a Friday address to the United Nations General Assembly. While reminding the 193 members of the necessity of basic human rights and dignity, he also underscored the "right of the environment." "A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged," he said. Francis landed in Philadelphia on Saturday for the last stop in his trip.

The New York Times The Guardian

4. EPA to bolster diesel car testing after Volkswagen emissions scandal

Federal regulators plan to test diesel-engine cars more rigorously in light of Volkswagen's emissions scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday in a letter to automakers. The EPA is keeping details of the new tests confidential in an effort to thwart carmakers who may try to evade emissions standards. Volkswagen admitted Tuesday to circumventing standards in 11 million vehicles, including nearly 500,000 sold in the U.S. that released up to 40 times as much nitrogen oxide as the U.S. standard allows.

The Washington Post The New York Times

5. U.S. and China reach agreements on combatting climate change, cyber espionage

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed cooperation and integration in a Friday news conference announcing the launch of a cap-and-trade program to cut carbon emissions. Xi pledged that China would impose annual emissions limits and also offer $3.1 billion to poorer countries to combat climate change. Both China and the U.S. have also pledged to not "conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft." "The question now is," Obama said, "are words followed by actions?"

The New York Times Politico

6. U.S. economy grew at 3.9 percent rate in spring quarter

Consumer spending, business investment, and residential construction were responsible for an unexpected 3.9 percent economic growth rate in the spring quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Previous estimates had put the growth rate at around 3.7 percent. Third quarter growth, meanwhile, slowed to around 2.5 percent. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that the U.S. central bank would likely begin raising interest rates later this year, so long as the economy is able to support employment growth and interest rates hold steady.

The Associated Press

7. Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis switches to Republican Party

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is switching to the Republican Party. "My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?" Davis was recently jailed for refusing to comply with a Supreme Court order legalizing same-sex marriage, citing religious beliefs. Her stance has been well-received by many Republican presidential candidates.


8. Swiss investigators open criminal proceedings against FIFA President Sepp Blatter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter is suspected of an illicit payment to UEFA President Michel Platini, Swiss investigators announced Friday as they opened criminal proceedings. Blatter is also suspected of "criminal mismanagement and misappropriation" in a case involving FIFA official Jack Warner, concerning World Cup television rights. Soccer's governing body has been under intense scrutiny since the U.S. Department of Justice charged more than a dozen high-level officials with participation in a corruption scandal in May.

The New York Times The Telegraph

9. Judge approves Caitlyn Jenner's gender and name changes

A judge approved Caitlyn Jenner's request to legally change her name and gender Friday. That means she can obtain legal documents like a driver's license, passport, and Social Security card with the name Caitlyn Marie Jenner, as opposed to her birth name of William Bruce Jenner. The former Olympic gold medalist came out as a transgender woman earlier this year, formally unveiling her new identity in Vanity Fair.

CNN Vanity Fair

10. National Zoo names giant panda cub Bei Bei

The National Zoo's 1-month-old panda is named Bei Bei, First Lady Michelle Obama announced Friday, along with Peng Liyuan, China's first lady. The name means "precious treasure." Bei Bei's twin died of pneumonia four days after Mei Xiang gave birth. The zoo scrapped its tradition of naming pandas after 100 days so the first ladies could name him together. Zoo director Dennis Kelly said Bei Bei is healthy.

The Washington Post

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Julie Kliegman

Julie Kliegman is a freelance writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in BuzzFeed, Vox, Mental Floss, Paste, the Tampa Bay Times and PolitiFact. Her cats can do somersaults.