Friday News Bites: Syrian Refugee Updates, U.S. Open + More

Greetings, everyone. Here we are firmly into September, and hopefully those of you in super-hot weather will get a break soon. Let’s get right into this week’s news stories that caught my eye.

Syrian Refugee Crisis Updates:

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is “reviewing” the number of Syrian refugees the country will take in, after public outcry that the government was not doing enough.

Pope Francis has asked “every European parish” to take in one refugee family. He said he would start by doing so in the Vatican.

President Obama has said that U.S. will take in “at least” 10,000 Syrian refugees beginning October 1 [auto-playing video]:

Earlier, Secretary of State John Kerry, said at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill that that the total number of refugees taken in by the United States could rise to more than 100,000, from the current figure of 70,000. State Department officials said that not all of the additional 30,000 would be Syrians, but many would be.

But [White House Press Secretary] Earnest said members of Congress “misunderstood” Mr. Kerry when he said the number of refugees could rise to as high as 100,000 next year. Mr. Earnest emphasized that the administration had no intention of relaxing the significant and lengthy criminal and terrorist background vetting procedures demanded of refugee applicants, an expensive process that can take 18 to 24 months to complete.

If you are a bit fuzzy on the details of the refugee crisis (and there’s no shame in that, truly), this comic by Audrey Quinn and Jackie Roche sums it up pretty well.

In Other News:

Here’s a graph showing who are the U.S. presidential candidates getting the most TV time. Or, as my mom put it, “Every time I turn on CNN, it’s Donald Trump! Like, with no commercial breaks! It must drive the other people crazy.”

A New York City teacher was arrested after he crashed a drone into the stands at the U.S. Open. Whoops.

Speaking of the U.S. Open, former player-now commentator James Blake was assaulted by NYC police after they mistook him for a suspect in one of their cases. The officer who attacked him has been put on desk duty while they investigate the incident.

A security guard at an Oakland-area Whole Foods violently attacked a customer, allegedly after the customer used his EBT card to pay for his purchase.

The Pullman, Washington Planned Parenthood clinic was the victim of arson, investigators have determined. No one was injured.

Horrible Person Kim Davis was released from jail this week. Mostly, I don’t want to give her any more attention, but I do want to share this meme:

Scully: Doesn't believe in UFOs; Still does her fucking job.

Always share Scully memes. That’s just good livin’.

President Obama has ordered federal contractors to provide paid sick leave for their employees. Appropriately, he made this announcement on Labor Day.

Speaking of Labor Day, here is a short history of the Labor Movement and how that granted the U.S. and Canada this holiday. (But please, tell me how protest isn’t a viable means of effecting change…)


In Montana, there’s a salmonella outbreak traced to cucumbers. Two people have died so far.

A zoo in the Netherlands was using a drone to film their chimps. The chimps did not appreciate this, so they planned to take the drone down.

A new species of human has been discovered in South AfricaHomo naledi. Neato. [auto-playing video]

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, are studying evidence that a Parkinsons-like disease may be transmissible. So that’s worrisome.

In Entertainment:

The Queen apparently not only loves Downton Abbey, she loves pointing out what they get wrong too. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

Ellen DeGeneres made Caitlyn Jenner talk about her conservative views when Jenner was a guest on her show. Mixed results.

And finally, in news you didn’t even know you wanted, David Bowie is apparently writing the music for a Spongebob Broadway show? WTF.

I’ll leave you to ponder the outcome.

Until next time, friends.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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