Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 5, 2013

U.S. embassies remain closed as terrorism threats persist, San Francisco avoids a mass transit shutdown, and more

1. SEVERAL U.S. EMBASSIES REMAIN CLOSED OVER THREATSAbout a third the U.S. diplomatic posts that were temporarily shuttered due to a "serious threat" of al Qaeda attack reopened on Monday. Nine embassies and consulates opened their doors again, but a further 19 will be closed through Saturday "out of an abundance of caution," the State Department said. [NBC News]………………………………………………………………………………

2. CANTOR HINTS AT SEQUESTRATION DEALHouse Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Sunday that Republicans might be willing to compromise on sequester cuts in exchange for talks on reducing entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Both Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have suggested that the GOP is open to the agreement. [Huffington Post]

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3. SAN FRANCISCO AVOIDS SUBWAY SHUTDOWNWith an eleventh hour order, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) averted an employee strike that would have closed down San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system. Key issues in the dispute include wages, pensions, health-care costs, and BART worker safety. Brown named a board of investigators that will conduct a seven-day inquiry into the contract dispute that threatened to shut down the nation 's fifth largest rail line. [The New York Times]

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4. EXTENSIVE CLOSING ARGUMENT EXPECTED IN BULGER CASEProsecutors and defense attorneys are expected to present lengthy closing arguments to jurors as they lay out their cases in the racketeering trial of reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger today. Bulger, 83, is accused of committing a litany of crimes while leading the Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and '80s. [The Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

5. POLICE ARREST DRIVER OF CAR THAT KILLED ON L.A. BOARDWALKLos Angeles police arrested 38-year-old Nathan Campbell on suspicion of intentionally driving into crowds at the Venice Beach boardwalk, killing a woman and injuring 11 others. Investigators don't yet have a motive. Campbell turned himself in. [CBS News]………………………………………………………………………………

6. CHINA HALTS IMPORT OF MILK POWDERChina halted all imports of milk powder from New Zealand and Australia through New Zealand-based Fonterra Group, the world's largest dairy exporter, after three batches of an ingredient used in sports drinks and baby formula tested positive for a strain of bacteria that causes botulism. [CNN]………………………………………………………………………………

7. JAPAN LAUNCHES TALKING ROBOT INTO SPACE Japan launched Kirobo, the world's first talking humanoid robot "astronaut," toward the International Space Station on Sunday. Kirobo was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata and will communicate with another robot on Earth. [The Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

8. POWERBALL JACKPOT CLIMBS TO $400 MILLIONThe Powerball jackpot has climbed to $400 million ahead of Wednesday’s drawing after no one held the winning numbers this weekend. The midweek jackpot remains below the record $590.5 million jackpot, but it would be the third-largest Powerball jackpot ever. [The Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

9. RODRIGUEZ'S MLB SUSPENSION LIKELY TO BEGIN TODAYAlex Rodriguez will reportedly be suspended over his use of performance-enhancing drugs today, likely through the end of the 2014 season, though he plans to file an appeal so he can play Monday night against the Chicago White Sox. About 12 other players will also be suspended Monday, according to reports. [ESPN]………………………………………………………………………………

10. DOCTOR WHO NAMES NEW DOCTORScottish actor Peter Capaldi was named the new star of the British sci-fi franchise Doctor Who on Sunday. He will replace the departing Matt Smith. Capaldi, 55, will be the 12th man to play the Doctor since the cult show debuted in 1963. [USA Today]

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