Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Obama to break bread with congressional leaders
Pass the humble pie, Mr. President. After the Democrats took a beating in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Obama is having 16 top-ranking congressional leaders from both parties over for lunch Friday. But has the table already been set for a new era of divided government? On the agenda is a host of unfinished business that the current Congress must wrap up before a new, fully Republican-controlled Congress is seated early next year. And House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, already warned Obama on Thursday not to “poison the well” if he takes executive action on immigration. Read more in POLITICS.
2. President penned secret letter to Iran’s leader
While the exact contents of the letter from President Obama to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weren’t disclosed, the missive was meant to outline the two countries’ shared interest in fighting ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria. The State Department declined to discuss the letter on Thursday with reporters, but said it is not linked to a nuclear agreement with Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry is head this weekend to meet with Iranian and European officials over Iran’s nuclear program. Read more in NEWS.
3. Is gay marriage debate inching closer to Supreme Court?
Despite the growing tide of federal judges striking down states’ same-sex marriage bans, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld such bans in four states: Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. The ruling was at odds with decisions from four other federal appeals courts. But while the Supreme Court last month declined to hear the issue — essentially allowing gay marriage to stand in those affected states — the latest appeals court decision could send the issue back to the justices. Read more in NEWS.
4. Texas’ Ebola outbreak comes to a close
The case of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan being diagnosed with the disease while staying in Dallas touched off a health emergency in September. Duncan, who later died, also ended up infecting two nurses — an incident that had officials scrambling to contain the crisis. But finally, good news came as of midnight Friday: It was officially 21 days since anyone got Ebola or was in contact with someone who got the virus in Texas. Twenty-one days is considered the maximum incubation period for the disease to show symptoms in the human body. Read more in HEALTH.
5. Kidnapping suspect hit with federal charges
Delvin Barnes, who’s accused of randomly abducting a woman off of a Philadelphia street, now faces federal kidnapping charges in the case. According to the complaint, Barnes, 37, confessed to the crime. A number of tips and surveillance videos led police on a trail to Barnes and his victim in Maryland on Wednesday. Barnes is now being held on an arrest warrant issued by police in Charles City County, Virginia. Authorities there accuse Barnes, a grocery store worker, of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl on Oct. 1. Read more in NEWS.
6. Hit-man charge dropped against AC/DC drummer
One day after drummer Phil Rudd appeared in a New Zealand court for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill two people, prosecutors have now decided not to pursue their case. But while the charge of attempting to procure murder — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — is the one that was dropped, other charges against Rudd remain. They include a count of threatening to kill. Rudd’s arrest shocked fans of the legendary hard rock group, and his lawyer said Friday that his reputation has been damaged. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
Want a new way to snap a selfie? Researchers at Stanford University have created a wearable device that transforms into a drone that can fly off and take your picture.