10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2015

Pope Francis wraps up synod, Democratic candidates woo Iowa, and more

Pope Francis
(Image credit: Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press)

1. Pope Francis calls for more merciful Catholic Church

Pope Francis concluded a three-week summit for Catholic Church leaders by sharply criticizing elders who use faith to exclude people instead of showing mercy. "A faith that does not know how to grow roots into the lives of people stays barren," he said Sunday in a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. "And instead of an oasis, it creates more deserts." The synod focused on the changing meaning of family in Catholicism, primarily with regard to welcoming divorced and remarried couples.

The Washington Post The Associated Press

2. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders rally Iowa voters

Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley rallied a crowd of 6,600 in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, indirectly criticized Clinton, the frontrunner, for being slow to support same-sex marriage and slow to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Keystone pipeline. Clinton's appearance was bolstered by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and pop star Katy Perry. O'Malley, a longshot contender, called out both of his opponents by name in asking them to help crack down on gun manufacturers.

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ABC News Politico

3. Tony Blair makes qualified apology for Iraq War

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized for his role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, acknowledging "some of the mistakes in planning." In the interview airing Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Blair apologized for following incorrect intelligence reports indicating that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction under then-leader Saddam Hussein. But Blair pushed back against claims that he should stand trial for war crimes, standing by the coalition's removal of Hussein.

CNN The Guardian

4. Patricia remnants cause flooding in Texas

Parts of Texas have seen up to 20 inches of rain so far as two storm systems continue to move through the state Sunday. The remnants of tropical depression Patricia, which was once a Category 5 hurricane, contributed to flash flooding in southeastern Texas. There are reportedly no confirmed deaths from the flooding so far, but one man is considered missing, motorists were stranded, and a freight train derailed. About 100 flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were cancelled Saturday.

CNN Reuters

5. Obama calls for caps on standardized testing time

President Obama called for capping standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time in a video released on the White House's Facebook page Saturday. "Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble," he said. "So we're going to work with states, school districts, teachers, and parents to make sure that we're not obsessing about testing." Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan plan to meet Monday with teachers and school officials who support less testing time.

White House The Associated Press

6. NATO calls civilian death toll in Afghan hospital airstrike 'credible'

NATO investigators said Saturday that the reports of civilian casualties in a U.S.-led air strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan are "credible." The humanitarian aid group has most recently put the death toll of the Oct. 3 incident at 23 staff members and patients, with three other missing who are now presumed dead. Also on Saturday, Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, appointed an Army general outside the chain of command to independently investigate the Kunduz attack.

NPR The New York Times

7. Israel, Jordan take steps toward defusing Jerusalem tension

Israeli and Jordanian leaders committed to easing tensions at a holy site in Jerusalem, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday. The Old City site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, will be monitored constantly on video cameras. Leaders say the agreement may help lessen violence between Israelis and Palestinians, which recently spiked, in part because Palestinians grew concerned Israel would try to give Jews access to the holy site, where only Muslims are allowed to pray.

The New York Times The Wall Street Journal

8. Car crash into Oklahoma State homecoming parade kills 4

A woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after she reportedly crashed her car into an Oklahoma State University homecoming parade Saturday. Four people, including a 2-year-old boy who died at the hospital, were killed in the crash where Adacia Avery Chambers, a 25-year-old from Stillwater, Oklahoma, was identified by police as the driver. Five of the 17 still hospitalized with injuries are reportedly in critical condition, police said.

Stillwater News Press CNN

9. India's air force to allow female fighter pilots by 2017

Women will be able to train and enter the Indian Air Force as fighter pilots, the defense ministry said Saturday. It's reportedly the first time India's armed forces will allow women to serve in combat roles. The government statement said women's skills were found to be on par with men's. Female pilots are expected to begin training in India in 2016 and entering combat in 2017. India joins countries including the U.S., France, and Israel in permitting female fighter pilots.

The Huffington Post The Associated Press

10. Movie star Maureen O'Hara dies at 95

Actor Maureen O'Hara, who starred in the 1941 Oscar-winning film How Green Was My Valley, has died in her sleep at age 95, her manager said Saturday. Appearing in more than 60 films, O'Hara starred frequently alongside John Wayne. She received an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar in 2014. "Her characters were feisty and fearless, just as she was in real life," her family said in a statement.

NPR The Guardian

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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.