10 things you need to know today: September 7, 2016
Activists accuse Syrian forces of chlorine gas attack, Clinton and Trump trade attacks as race tightens, and more
Syrian government blamed for chlorine gas attack in Aleppo
The Syrian Civil Defense rescue organization accused Syrian government forces of dropping barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on a rebel-held neighborhood in the divided city of Aleppo on Tuesday. The group said 80 people experienced severe wheezing and other breathing difficulties, although none of the victims died. Civil Defense blamed the government for two chlorine gas attacks in August, and a United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report concluded that Syrian government forces were responsible for two toxic gas attacks in 2014 and 2015 involving chlorine. The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons during the country's civil war.
Clinton and Trump escalate attacks as polls tighten
With Donald Trump narrowing Hillary Clinton's lead — even pulling slightly ahead — in the latest polls, Clinton stepped up her attacks on her Republican rival's character as the presidential campaign entered the post-Labor Day homestretch on Tuesday. Clinton called renewed scrutiny of an improper political donation Trump made to Florida's attorney general, right as she mulled whether to join a lawsuit against Trump University, evidence that he was trying to conceal "scams." Trump hit his Democratic rival with attacks of his own, saying she doesn't have a "presidential look," and that her use of a private email server as secretary of state was "disqualifying."
Chicago homicides hit a 20-year one-month high
Thirteen people were killed in shootings in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend, pushing the city's homicide total for the year to 512 — surpassing last year's total with four months left in 2016. In August, 90 people were killed, Chicago's deadliest month in 20 years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the problem is complex, and the solution will be, too. "It's not just about more police, but it will include that," he said. "But it's also about more resources for our children, more resources for our neighborhoods, and stiffer laws that reflect the values of our city."
Senate fails to pass Zika spending bill
The Senate failed to pass a $1.1 billion bill to fund the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus on Tuesday, after returning from a seven-week recess. Democrats blocked the legislation, calling on Republicans to remove a rider preventing Planned Parenthood from receiving money to fight the virus, which can cause severe birth defects. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was "hard to explain" why Democrats were blocking "plans to keep women and babies safe." Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republicans were sabotaging the bill by using it to attack Planned Parenthood. The White House said progress on four potential Zika vaccines would stop if funding isn't approved by the end of September.
Man confesses to killing Minnesota boy 27 years ago
Danny James Heinrich, 53, confessed to abducting and killing 11-year-old Minnesota boy, Jacob Wetterling, 27 years ago. The case agonized the state and led to changes in national sex offender laws, remaining unsolved until Heinrich agreed to confess as part of a plea deal as he faced a host of child pornography charges. Heinrich said he snatched Jacob while the boy was riding his bike, then handcuffed him. "What did I do wrong," he said the boy asked. Heinrich said he then drove him to a remote area where he molested, then killed him. Heinrich will get 20 years on child pornography charges, but won't be prosecuted for the murder under the deal.
Construction temporarily halted on part of Dakota Access pipeline
A federal judge said Tuesday that he had partially granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and a neighboring tribe to temporarily halt construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The company said it had agreed to halt construction until Friday on parts of the pipeline in North Dakota where Native Americans have been protesting, saying construction is threatening ancient burial and prayer sites. The tribes requested a temporary restraining order on Sunday after security agents used attack dogs and pepper spray to push back protesters after bulldozers started clearing on part of the pipeline's planned path.
LAX shooter pleads guilty to killing TSA officer
Paul Ciancia, a 26-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic, pleaded guilty to murder and other charges on Tuesday for fatally shooting one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding two others, as well as a traveler, at Los Angeles International in 2013. Ciancia faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. He avoided the possibility of the death penalty under a plea deal. Before the shooting, which sent panicked travelers scrambling for cover, Ciancia wrote a note expressing anger over security checks.
Ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner registers as sex offender
Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner registered as a sex offender on Tuesday in Xenia, Ohio, following his release from jail last week after serving three months of a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus. Turner's jail term was shortened for "good behavior," even though the short length of his original sentence had sparked an angry backlash. Turner, now 21, will have to update his registration every 90 days for life. Neighbors will get postcards alerting them to his presence, and law enforcement officers will occasionally drop in at his home, unannounced.
Cosby sexual-assault trial delayed until mid-2017
A judge on Tuesday pushed back comedian Bill Cosby's trial on sexual assault charges from this fall to June 2017. Judge Steven O'Neill said the move was necessary because Cosby's lead defense lawyer was "extraordinarily overbooked." Cosby is accused of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee who viewed him as a mentor. The defense was trying to throw out his deposition from a civil case on the 2004 encounter. Prosecutors are pushing to introduce testimony from 13 women who have come forward with similar accusations against Cosby. His lawyers say the avalanche of new cases was due to "racial bias."
Fox settles Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment suit for $20 million
Fox News reportedly will pay $20 million to settle former anchor Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment lawsuit. The conservative cable news network ousted longtime leader Roger Ailes in July after Carlson accused him of sabotaging her career because she rejected his sexual advances. Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox also apologized to Carlson as part of the deal. Ailes denies the harassment. He has hired libel lawyer Charles Harder, who has represented Hulk Hogan and Melania Trump, to prepare for a possible defamation lawsuit against New York magazine over its coverage.