(Sept. 20) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - Today's Headlines - Explorer

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(Sept. 20) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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1. Iran's new president reportedly seeks a nuclear deal

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, plans to push for an international agreement over his country's nuclear program in the hopes of swiftly ending crippling sanctions, an adviser said Thursday. Rouhani has made a series of goodwill gestures. The latest was an op-ed published in The Washington Post late Thursday in which he offered to work with the U.S. to end "unhealthy rivalries" that "fuel violence and drive us apart." [New York Times, Washington Post]

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2. House passes food-stamp cuts in a tight vote

The Republican-led House narrowly passed a bill late Thursday approving $40 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over a decade. Conservatives say the cuts, included in a five-year farm bill, are necessary to stop the program, which doubled in cost during the Great Recession, from mushrooming out of control. Democrats say the cuts are draconian and would diminish a critical safety net. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to flatly reject the proposal, and President Obama has threatened to veto it. [USA Today]

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3. Pope Francis wants the church to focus less on gays and abortion

Pope Francis warned Thursday that the Catholic Church is driving people away by focusing too much on divisive issues like abortion, contraception, and gay marriage, putting its spiritual mission at risk. The comments were the latest in a series of efforts by the pope to bring a more welcoming touch to the Vatican. "We have to find a new balance," he said. "Otherwise, even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards." [Wall Street Journal]

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4. Court overturns DeLay's money-laundering conviction

An appeals court in Texas overturned a money-laundering conviction against former House GOP Leader Tom DeLay, who was convicted in 2010 on charges of trying to influence state elections by funneling corporate money to candidates. "We won the Super Bowl," DeLay's lawyer said. But DeLay might not be in the clear yet. Prosecutors say they "strongly disagree" with the ruling and plan to appeal. [Austin American-Statesman]

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5. 3-year-old and 12 others are wounded in Chicago shooting

Thirteen people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot at a park in Chicago late Thursday night. The boy was the most seriously wounded. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Police had no suspects in custody, and said the shooting appeared gang related. Chicago has seen an outburst of gun violence recently. Eight people were killed and 20 others injured over the Labor Day weekend. [Chicago Tribune, Associated Press]

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6. Rival rebel factions fight each other in Syria

Al Qaeda militants seized a Syrian town on the Turkish border on Thursday from a rival opposition group. The battle threatened to deepen divisions among rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Assad regime's deputy prime minister, Qadri Jamil, told Britain's Guardian the civil war had reached a stalemate, and the government would call for a cease fire if long-delayed talks ever convene in Geneva. [Reuters, Guardian]

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7. Obama pushes carbon limits on new power plants

The Obama administration is announcing Friday that, despite angry industry opposition, it will move forward with the first tough limits on carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants. House Republicans have denounced such measures as part of what they call President Obama's "war on coal." The proposed regulations would let Obama bypass Congress and cut pollution blamed for climate change on his own. [New York Times]

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8. A clash with co-workers might have driven the Navy Yard rampage

Investigators suspect a workplace dispute might have sparked the Washington Navy Yard shooting spree that left 12 victims and suspected shooter Aaron Alexis dead. The FBI says Alexis, who was employed by a defense subcontractor, went to the fourth floor of Building 197 and began shooting people who worked with him. "He was not doing a very good job, and somebody told him that there was a problem," a law enforcement official said. [Washington Post]

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9. New iPhones make their global debut

Shoppers lined up at Apple stores around the world on Friday as the company began selling its new, faster iPhone 5S and cheaper, colorful iPhone 5C in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, U.K., and the U.S. No early sales figures were available, but several mobile carriers in Britain reported that they didn't get enough phones to meet demand, and delivery dates for online orders in the U.S. are already being pushed into October. [BBC News, USA Today]

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10. Rover deflates hope of finding life on Mars

NASA reported Thursday that its Mars rover, Curiosity, had detected no trace of methane on Mars, dimming hope of finding life on the surface of the Red Planet. The news, published in the journal Science, contradicted data from spacecraft that had reported spotting the gas, a potential sign of primitive life, on Mars. "It would have been great if we got methane," says Sushil K. Atreya, a member of the science team. "It just isn't there." [New York Times]

Compiled by theweek.com

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