Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 7, 2013

Yemen thwarts an al Qaeda plot, a demolition crew heads to Ariel Castro's house, and more

1. YEMEN DISRUPTS TERRORIST ATTACK
Yemen's foreign minister confirmed on Wednesday that the nation's security forces disrupted an al Qaeda plot targeting Yemeni oil infrastructure and cities, not long after drone strikes killed at least six militants there. The thwarted plot comes nearly a week after the U.S. intercepted a threatening al Qaeda message that led to a global travel alert and the closure of several embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. [CBS News]
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2. FORT HOOD SHOOTING SUSPECT CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan admitted carrying out the massacre of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, on the first day of his trial Tuesday. Hasan is representing himself in the military trial at the base where he opened fire on Nov. 5, 2009. Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by military police during the rampage, which wounded more than 32 others. The trial continues today. [Reuters]

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3. DOJ SUES BANK OF AMERICA
The Justice Department sued Bank of America on Tuesday, accusing the bank of defrauding investors by vastly understating the risks of the mortgages backing some $850 million in securities. The lawsuit adds to the hefty legal burden of the bank, which has been badly battered by mortgage-related losses and litigation since the financial crisis. [The New York Times]

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4. U.S. FILES CHARGES IN BENGHAZI ATTACK
The Justice Department has filed sealed criminal charges against suspects in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. One of those charged is Ahmed Abu Khattalah, founder of Libya's Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia. The nature of the charges isn't clear, nor is the number of suspects named. [The Wall Street Journal]
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5. MAJOR FIRE SHUTS DOWN NAIROBI AIRPORT
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, is closed after a huge fire ravaged the main international airport in the capital city. The fire is now contained, but passengers were evacuated and incoming flights were diverted. There were no casualties, and the cause of the fire is not clear. This is the height of tourist season in Kenya. [BBC]
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6. GEORGE W. BUSH RECOVERING FROM HEART SURGERY
Former President George W. Bush is recovering in the hospital after having heart surgery to have a stent put in. "During President George W. Bush's annual physical examination at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas yesterday, a blockage was discovered in an artery in his heart," his office said in a statement Tuesday. The procedure was performed successfully, and Bush is expected return home today. [Politico]
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7. OBAMA URGES CONGRESS TO END FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC
President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to wind down government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama also unveiled a strategy that would ultimately place the mortgage finance system more in the hands of the private sector than in the government's. [NBC News]
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8. CASTRO'S CLEVELAND HOME TO BE DEMOLISHED TODAY
The Cuyahoga Land Bank will demolish Ariel Castro's Cleveland house today. The nonprofit acquired Castro's home last week and will take additional precautions to ensure that passersby do not collect rubble that could later be sold online. Castro was sentenced last week to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to hundreds of charges related to kidnapping, raping, and imprisoning three women over 10 years. [Huffington Post]
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9. CDC REPORTS DROP IN CHILDHOOD OBESITY
Obesity rates among preschoolers are falling in many states for the first time in decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Small but significant declines in obesity among low-income preschoolers were found in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands from 2008 to 2011. The numbers are published in the CDC's latest Vital Signs report. [USA Today]
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10. PBS NAMES IFILL AND WOODRUFF AS NEWSHOUR HOSTS
PBS NewsHour named Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as co-anchors and co-managing editors of the weeknight broadcast, the first female anchor team in the show's 38-year run. In recent years, NewsHour has had rotating teams of anchors who included Ifill and Woodruff. [The Washington Post]

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