Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 21, 2015

A driver plows into a crowd on the Las Vegas Strip, FIFA's Sepp Blatter banned from soccer for eight years, and more

1

Driver plows into crowd in Las Vegas, killing one

A woman drove her car onto a crowded sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing one person and injuring dozens more. The driver had a 3-year-old in the car with her. The woman was expected to be charged Monday, on suspicion that she plowed into the crowd deliberately. Witnesses said the impact sent victims "flying through the air." Investigators could not immediately determine a motive, but they ruled out terrorism. The incident occurred near the hotel where the Miss Universe pageant was being held.

2

Longtime FIFA chief Sepp Blatter banned from soccer

On Monday the ethics committee of FIFA, soccer's global governing body, barred outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter from the sport for eight years for ethics violations. His presumptive successor, Michel Platini, was banned, too. The men were among the most powerful in the sport. FIFA is scheduled to hold a vote on Blatter's replacement in February. Both men are expected to appeal the ban. The suspensions stemmed from a $2 million payment Blatter authorized in 2011 that resulted in a criminal investigation in Switzerland and FIFA charges of breaking rules on conflicts of interest, gifts, and loyalty to the organization.

3

Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is lying about ISIS using him for recruitment

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton a liar on Sunday for saying that the Islamic State was using video of his remarks about Muslims to attract new supporters. Clinton said in a Saturday debate that Trump, who has proposed barring Muslims from entering the U.S., was "becoming ISIS's best recruiter." "It's just another Hillary lie," Trump said. "She lies like crazy about everything." Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri defended Clinton's claim, saying she was not referring to a particular video, but that Trump is "being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda."

4

Hezbollah commander reportedly killed in airstrike

Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar, who participated in a notorious 1979 terrorist attack in Israel, was killed in an airstrike in Syria, his family and Hezbollah said Sunday. Hezbollah blamed the missile strike on Israel, but Israeli officials had no comment. Kuntar served nearly 30 years in prison in Israel for his role in the 1979 killings of four Israelis, including a civilian and his 4-year-old daughter. He was freed in 2008 as part of an exchange involving the return of two soldiers' bodies to Israel.

5

Spain's ruling conservative party loses majority

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party lost its majority in parliament in a national election on Sunday, dropping from 186 seats in the 350-member lower house to 123 seats. The conservative party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy collected the most votes of any single party, but its rivals on the left surged ahead. The main opposition, the Socialists, took 90 seats, while a new far-left party called Podemos took 69. The centrist Ciudadanos party won 40 seats. With nobody winning a clear mandate to govern, Spain's political leaders headed into what could be weeks of talks on forming a coalition.

6

Dozens missing in China landslide

A landslide on Sunday buried 33 buildings in an industrial park, leaving 91 people missing in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Rescuers were searching for survivors on Monday, and detected "signs of life" in three places. The Public Security Ministry's Firefighting Bureau said that a wave of excavated soil and construction debris had filled many of the buildings, making the "room of survival extremely small." The city is a major manufacturing center — across the border from Hong Kong — where products from cell phones to cars are made for export around the world.

7

New Hampshire district shuts schools Monday due to threat of violence

The Nashua, New Hampshire, school district canceled Monday classes after police received threats of violence. "We have a detailed threat of violence to harm students at both high schools," Superintendent Mark Conrad said. The district is one of the state's largest, with 11,500 students. The scare came days after school officials in Los Angeles, California, closed their district — the second largest in the U.S. — due to a terrorist threat that turned out to be a hoax.

8

Rapist's release sparks protest in India

Hundreds protested in India's capital on Sunday after the release of the youngest male convicted in a notorious rape case. The juvenile was moved from prison to a rehabilitation home run by a nonprofit group. The former prisoner, convicted of raping a woman in a moving bus three years ago, will continue to be monitored. He will undergo psychological rehabilitation and do sewing work. After the news broke, protesters shouted "Shame, shame," and said releasing a rapist endangered women. "As a mother, I feel quite helpless today," said Asha Singh, the victim’s mother.

9

Mistake mars end of Miss Universe pageant

The Miss Universe pageant ended in confusion Sunday night, when host Steve Harvey mistakenly named the first runner-up as the pageant's winner. Moments later, he apologized and said that the crown actually belonged to Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines, not runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo from Colombia, who was visibly upset and comforted by fellow contestants. The Family Feud and Steve Harvey Show host apologized and said he took full responsibility for not reading his cue card right.

10

The Force Awakens smashes box office records

Star Wars: The Force Awakens continued to demolish records in its opening weekend, earning $238 million in domestic ticket sales in its opening weekend. The old record, $208.8 million, was set by Jurassic World in June. The new Star Wars film has earned about $517 million worldwide already. Avatar, the 2009 film widely considered to be the highest-grossing film in history, made $85 million in its first three days in the U.S. on the way to a total of $3.1 billion in global ticket sales.

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