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5 things to know for October 9: Impeachment, Turkey, power outages, Ecuador, STDs

We wish our Jewish readers a meaningful fast today on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the year.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Impeachment inquiry

If the House of Representatives wants to impeach President Trump, it won’t get the White House’s help. The White House sent a blistering letter to House leaders saying the Trump administration won’t cooperate in the impeachment inquiry, calling the whole thing an illegitimate and unconstitutional effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Earlier in the day, the State Department had blocked Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before Congress about the Ukraine controversy. Sondland is now being subpoenaed.

The Trump administration’s stance leaves House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a big decision, says CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson: Take the fight to the courts, where the impeachment drive could get bogged down in months of legal challenges, or move quickly in drafting articles of impeachment and play into Trump’s claims that she’s running a “kangaroo court.”

2. Turkey

Turkey said its military will cross the border into northern Syria “shortly.” That comes from a tweet sent out early this morning from Turkey’s communications director. After President Trump this week agreed to move US troops out of that part of northern Syria, Turkey basically has a green light to attack Kurdish forces, which Turkey considers a threat. Critics on both the political left and right say Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds, who were instrumental in the fight against ISIS, is a betrayal.

3. California power outages

Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric started shutting off the power early this morning in parts of Northern California in an effort to prevent starting a wildfire. Almost 500,000 customers are in the dark right now. Another 300,000 will lose power later in the day. The electricity could be off for days. Forecasters warn that many parts of Northern California are under extreme fire weather danger, with windy and dry conditions forecast for the region. PG&E equipment started the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, a state investigation found, after a power line touched nearby trees. So, the extreme measure of shutting off the power is being used to try to prevent future blazes.

4. Ecuador

Violent protests have raged for days in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. It’s so bad that the country’s President says he’s moving the government out of town. President Lenin Moreno announced earlier in the week that government business will be conducted in the southern city of Guayaquil. People have been protesting his plan to end state fuel subsidies. It’s unleashed the wrath of labor and transport unions, which have called for a nationwide strike. More than 50 members of the country’s military were held hostage by protesters before they were rescued.

5. Sexually transmitted diseases

STDs are on the rise in the US. Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have all risen for the fifth consecutive year, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Possible factors driving this rise include a surge in people getting tested and cases being diagnosed and reported. There’s also a decline in people using condoms. The number of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea cases is also growing. Alaska has the highest number of chlamydia cases, while Mississippi has the highest rates of gonorrhea. Nevada has the highest rates of primary and secondary syphilis.


Nobel history

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a trio of scientists for their work on the development of lithium ion batteries. One of the winners, American John B. Goodenough, is the oldest person to ever be awarded the prize.


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All fall down

It took five days to set up these 24,000 dominoes. They’ll come down in less than three minutes. (Click to view.)


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