The president will tap Ron Klain, the former chief of staff of two vice presidents, to head up the nation’s Ebola response after major glitches in infection control. This follows the alarming revelation that the second infected Texas nurse could have been ill on two commercial flights. Meanwhile, a Dallas health care worker who “may have” handled Ebola lab specimens has entered voluntary quarantine on a Caribbean cruise ship. And after an appallingly poor response for Ebola donations, UN chief Ban Ki-moon is urging well-heeled nations to pay up and help battle the spreading contagion.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The Russian president is playing hardball, threatening to stop European natural gas supplies through Ukraine if Kiev diverts any for itself. The threats came as Putin visited Serbia with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, who said he’s worried about Ukraine stealing from Russian pipelines bound for Europe. Today, Putin is in Italy for peace talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, having met overnight with European leaders. Asked whether he’s stoking the Ukrainian crisis, Putin said, “I’m always accused of doing something.”
What a difference a week — and scores of U.S.-led airstrikes — can make. Kurdish forces say they have nearly expelled ISIS militants from the Syrian border town, noting two remaining pockets of resistance in eastern areas. U.S. military leaders are hesitant to declare an early victory in Kobane against the militant group one U.N. official calls a “genocidal movement.” And ISIS may be prepping airstrikes of its own — a new report says Iraqi pilots are training rebel fighters to fly three captured Syrian jets.
They’re ganging up on Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bid to loosen their belts. Tough Teutonic demands to slash budget deficits and reduce public services have led to soaring unemployment and poor growth in Western Europe. So France, Italy and the European Central Bank are taking a stand, insisting Berlin change its ways. With Europe again causing volatility in global markets, the bloc is showing Merkel there’s a new bully in town and demanding that she set aside rigor and austerity in favor of growth and investment.
Florida man gets life in prison in loud music killing (The Guardian)
A grate collapse at a South Korean girl-band concert kills at least 16. (AP)
Hong Kong cops tear down barricades. (LA Times)
Hurricane Gonzalo rushes toward Bermuda. (USA Today)
Bishops dismayed by ‘liberal’ Vatican report. (NYT)
Relative of missing actress Misty Upham finds body. (NBC)
They’re having Nunavut. In the northernmost Canadian territory — famed for its polar bear-shaped license plates— arctic predators are driving trick-or-treating indoors. “Picture 1,200 kids going door to door … in the middle of polar bear season,” said a town official from the hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut, where the carnivorous white giants have increasingly visited in recent years. Instead, the spooky excitement will be held in a community hall where kids can still collect candy and play tricks, but won’t risk becoming polar bear treats.
They’ve got skin in the game now. Kering, the parent company of Gucci and Alexander McQueen, is joining forces with the U.N.-affiliated International Trade Centre to monitor Madagascar’s Nile crocodile trade. Will Kering engineer some of the animals into handbags and shoes? Probably, but first they’ll teach locals not to collect and sell so many croc eggs to ensure they keep reproducing. Trade was suspended in 2010 because no one was monitoring the giant reptiles’ population, but the ban has been lifted — just in time for new shoes.
He’s not in the Navy now. Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter got the boot after testing positive for cocaine. “I deeply regret … that my actions led to my administrative discharge,” said the 44-year-old lawyer. Hunter was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve last year and worked as a public affairs officer in Virginia. He tested positive for cocaine a month after he started and was discharged in February. The Vice President’s office had no comment.
The Cards won’t be in the World Series, but the wild cards will. St. Louis lost Game 5 of the NLCS 3-6 to San Francisco last night, sent home by Travis Ishikawa’s three-run, walk-off blast. That pits perennial contender San Francisco against longtime underdog and fellow wild card Kansas City in the Fall Classic, which begins Tuesday. While it’s the Royals’ first playoff appearance since 1985, the team swept the Giants in August and has won every postseason game. We’ll soon see whether the wild ride continues.
CBS has announced a prequel to HBO’s online-only streaming service. They beat the cable giant to the punch with CBS All Access, which went live yesterday. For a monthly fee of $6, the service offers current shows and golden oldies like Cheers and Twin Peaks, as well as live content from 14 local CBS markets. HBO’s version doesn’t launch until 2015. Fox, ABC and NBC don’t appear to be following suit, but they’re already available through Hulu. This could mean the final season for traditional cable TV.