10 things you need to know today: September 9, 2016

Clinton slams Trump's "scary" praise of Putin, North Korea conducts its fifth nuclear weapon test, and more

A TV news report about North Korea's nuclear test
(Image credit: Woohae Cho/Getty Images)

1. Clinton attacks Trump for his praise of Putin

Hillary Clinton slammed Donald Trump as "unfit and unqualified" on Thursday in her first formal news conference in 278 days. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, said the previous evening's Commander-in-Chief Forum "was yet another test and Donald Trump failed yet again" with his "scary" praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. A Trump spokesman called Clinton's criticism of the Republican nominee "the desperate attacks of a flailing campaign sinking in the polls." Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said "it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country."

NBC News The New York Times

2. North Korea says it has conducted its fifth nuclear test

North Korea said Friday that it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead, its fifth and most powerful such test to date. Sensors detected shockwaves from what South Korea's military described as a 5.3-magnitude "artificial" earthquake. The news drew swift condemnation from China, Japan, and South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the detonation demonstrated the "fanatic recklessness" of North Korea's isolated communist regime. North Korean state media said the test marked a step toward a "standardized" warhead to fit on rockets, and demonstrated the country's "toughest will" to respond to threats.

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Los Angeles Times

3. Prosecutors decide not to retry ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that they would not retry former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on public corruption charges. McDonnell was a rising star before he was accused of accepting gifts, such as a Rolex watch, as well as money and loans from businessman Jonnie R. Williams in exchange for official acts. He was convicted in 2014 but maintained his innocence, saying he never did anything but set up some meetings for Williams. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction this year. McDonnell said now his "final day of vindication has arrived."

4. Trump repeats claim he opposed Iraq war, countering 'dishonest' media reports

Donald Trump on Thursday repeated his insistence that he had opposed invading Iraq. "Had I been in Congress at the time I would have cast a vote in opposition," Trump said, contradicting what he called "terribly dishonest" media reports that have directly quoted him saying he was in favor of the invasion at the time. Echoing his statements from the Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday, Trump said that he has "been a critic" of foreign invasions "for years" and that these sorts of "interventions" were much more the "hallmark of trigger-happy Hillary [Clinton]."

Talking Points Memo The Washington Post

5. Gary Johnson's foreign policy qualifications questioned after 'what's Aleppo' remark

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson faced brutal criticism over his foreign policy knowledge on Thursday after he flubbed a question from MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle about how he would handle the besieged and divided city of Aleppo in Syria. "What's Aleppo?" Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, asked. Johnson later said he "blanked" but was well-informed about the Syrian conflict. Both Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and The View host Joy Behar said the response "disqualified" Johnson from the presidency.

The New York Times

6. Israel building underground barrier against Hamas tunnels

Israel is building a huge underground barrier to keep Hamas militants from tunneling into Israel from Gaza, Israeli defense officials said Thursday. Hamas militants have used such tunnels to launch attacks. Israel destroyed 32 tunnels during a 2014 war, and recently discovered more. Israel already has encircled the Palestinian territory with a guarded above-ground fence equipped with sensors and cameras.

The Associated Press

7. Israeli researchers say Abbas spied for KGB in '80s

Soviet-era documents indicate that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spied for the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Israeli researchers said Thursday. Abbas received a Ph.D. in Moscow in 1982, and the researchers said he later worked for the KGB, the now-defunct Soviet intelligence agency. The Palestinian government said Abbas once served as an "official liaison with the Soviets," not a spy. Palestinian officials accused Israel of "waging a smear campaign" to derail efforts to restart peace talks that fell apart in 2014.

Reuters

8. Airbnb enacts new anti-discrimination measures

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky unveiled the room-listing company's new anti-discrimination policy on Thursday. The move came after months of complaints and widespread criticism for allegations of racial and other bias on the platform. "Discrimination is the opposite of belonging, and its existence on our platform jeopardizes this core mission," Chesky wrote. "Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them." Chesky apologized for the company's "slow" response and said Airbnb was enacting several new anti-discrimination measures, including a new system for filing bias complaints.

Time

9. Lochte agrees to 10-month suspension over Rio scandal

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte has agreed to a 10-month suspension over his behavior at the Rio Olympics. Lochte, a 12-time medalist, and three other American swimmers were caught by security guards after damaging a poster at a gas station, and Lochte later claimed he had been robbed at gunpoint. Under the suspension, he will be ineligible for the 2017 world championship meet. He also will lose his United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming medal funding for his gold medal in the men's 4x200 freestyle relay, and perform 20 hours of community service. His teammates — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen — will be suspended for four months.

USA Today

10. Serena Williams ousted in U.S. Open semis

Serena Williams lost to Karolina Pliskova in the U.S. Open semifinals on Thursday, 6-2, 7-6. The defeat knocked Williams out of the world No. 1 ranking she had held for a record-tying 186 straight weeks. Angelique Kerber, who plays Pliskova in Saturday's final, will be No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday. This is the second year in a row in which Williams has lost in the semifinals of the high-profile tennis tournament. It was Pliskova's first appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal. The 24-year-old from the Czech Republic became just the fourth player ever to beat both Williams and her sister, Venus, in the same Grand Slam.

ESPN

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