National News

5 things for January 16: Shutdown, sibling captives, Simone Biles, Hawaii, Venezuela

Posted January 10, 2018 6:08 a.m. EST

— If you're in the neighborhood, the eye-popping (and controversial) new US embassy in London opens today. 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. Shutdown & DACA

It's about to be some kind of week in Washington. The government's going to shut down Friday without a spending bill. But passage of that bill seems far less likely after last week's drama over immigration and DACA. Democrats say they straight-up won't vote on a spending plan without a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. Congress could just pass another short-term spending bill, but the GOP's more conservative members may balk at that. And no one on Capitol Hill trusts anybody after President Trump's "s-hole" quip torpedoed a bipartisan compromise on immigration.

2. Siblings held captive

Police arrested a California couple, accused of essentially holding their 13 children captive in their own home. Some of the siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, were shackled to beds with chains and padlocks in filthy conditions. This bizarre story was uncovered after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house and called police, who were shocked at how she looked. She "appeared to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated." The other 12 also appeared malnourished and dirty. Even the adults looked like children. The parents were charged with torture and child endangerment and each held on $9 million bail.

3. Simone Biles

Simone Biles says #MeToo. The Olympic gymnast, who won four gold medals at the Rio Games, took to Twitter to accuse USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing her. Nassar will be sentenced today after he pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and admitted that he used his position as a trusted medical professional to sexually abuse young girls. More than 140 female athletes, including members of the gold medal-winning "Fierce Five" team from the 2012 London Games, have accused Nassar of abuse. Biles called out USA Gymnastics, saying it allowed Nassar to abuse girls for years. She also said what happened was not her fault: "I will not and should not carry the guilt."

4. Hawaii false alarm

Hawaii is suspending nuclear warning siren tests while it investigates just how the heck a false emergency missile alert inadvertently got sent out. The alert created instant chaos Saturday morning in Hawaii, where residents and tourists had been told they'd have less than 20 minutes to find shelter if North Korea launched a missile attack. Terrified people shared what they thought were their final good-byes to loved ones via text messages. The state says an employee hit a wrong button, but everybody, from President Trump on down, wants a more thorough explanation. 

5. Venezuela

The Venezuelan police pilot accused of launching a shocking helicopter attack on the country's Supreme Court is dead. A government official told CNN that Oscar Perez was killed Monday. CNN has not been able to independently confirm Perez's death, but Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said an operation had been held to hunt down the "terrorist group that attacked the Supreme Court." Last summer, Perez reportedly used a helicopter to attack the Supreme Court building with gunfire and grenades.


"It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned."

Comedian and actor Aziz Ansari, responding to an allegation of sexual assault made by a woman he went out on a date with last year


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Rock in peace

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Trashy tomes

Welcome to a public library in Turkey, made up of books that garbage collectors saved from going to the landfill.

Groupon gig

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Getting together

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The number of people still missing a week after Southern California's devastating mudslides. The disaster has killed 20 people.


Free fireworks

An ingenious dad, plus helium-filled balloons and a ceiling fan add up to one happy little girl. (Click to view.)