5 things for October 17: Politics, Philippines & ISIS, Iraq, plague, migrant deaths

Meet artist Kehinde Wiley. He’s been picked by Barack Obama to paint the former President’s official portrait. 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. Politics

President Trump stood next to Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden and tried his best to have it both ways. Yes, things have been tense between the President and the Senate Majority Leader (just scroll through Trump’s Twitter feed), but the pair emerged from a lunch at the White House as best buddies, according to Trump. The President knows he needs McConnell’s expertise to have any hope of getting tax reform through Congress this year.

But Trump also knows he’ll need to keep his base with him, and that’s why he also voiced support for Steve Bannon, his ex-chief strategist. Bannon pretty much declared war on the GOP establishment during an appearance over the weekend at the conservative Values Voter Summit and called out McConnell by name. Bannon wants deep-red conservatives to take on traditional elected Republicans in primaries. Trump said he understands Bannon’s frustrations but hopes to talk him out of some of his primary targets.

2. The Philippines & ISIS

Militants linked to ISIS have been kicked out of a city in the Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte said the nation’s security forces liberated Marawi, a city on the southern island of Mindanao. The militants overran Marawi in May, forcing more than 350,000 residents to flee. A few thousand people were held hostage; most of them have been rescued. Duterte said a handful of militants were still holed up in the city, and it would be a few days before the military could clear them out.

3. Iraq

Iraqi security forces took control of Kirkuk, a strategic northern city that had been under Kurdish control for more than two years. The operation was ordered by Iraq’s President, who wants to clamp down on the Kurds after they held a referendum for independence and claimed Kirkuk as their own. Kirkuk, in an oil-rich area, lies just outside the autonomous Kurdish region in northwest Iraq. Iraq’s move to quell the Kurds’ drive for independence worries Washington, which doesn’t like seeing two of its allies in the region — both of them critical in the fight against ISIS — take each other on.

4. The plague

You say “plague,” and most people think “the Middle Ages,” but the disease is still very much a part of our lives today. Right now in Madagascar, there’s a plague outbreak that’s spreading at frightening speed. There have been more than 680 cases of the disease on the island nation, with 57 deaths. Madagascar has regular outbreaks of the plague, but this one is different because the infections started much earlier in the year and are in new areas, including cities.

Plague is a bacterial infection that’s typically spread through the bite of infected fleas, frequently carried by rats. Symptoms include painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills and coughing. It’s treated with antibiotics.

5. Texas migrant deaths

The driver of a tractor-trailer that was found in Texas over the summer — filled with undocumented immigrants — may end up spending the rest of his life in jail. James Matthew Bradley, 61, pleaded guilty to federal charges and faces up to life in prison. He’ll be sentenced early next year.

The truck, packed with dozens of people, was found in July in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. The air conditioner in the trailer was not working, and 10 people died from the heat. Bradley originally told authorities he didn’t know the truck was filled with people.

20 points

That’s how far President Trump’s approval rating for handling the federal response to hurricanes has dropped since Hurricane Maria.



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Pack your charger

Who’s up for a 17-hour flight? Australian airline Qantas can finally offer you one, now that it has nonstop flights to Europe.

Gold star

Astronomers are geeked about seeing for the first time two neutron stars collide. We’re geeked about what the collision creates: gold.

Locked down

Can’t get the kids to focus on their Happy Meals because they’re tapping on their phones? McDonald’s will let you lock those pesky little devices.

Best. Gender. Reveal. Ever.

After Army Spc. Christopher M. Harris was killed in Afghanistan, his pregnant wife asked his fellow soldiers to unveil the baby’s gender.

Pet pics

Since we love our furry friends as much (or more) as our friends and family, Google Photos will now start IDing Fido and Fluffy.

$8 billion

That’s how much Netflix may spend next year on programming. But it won’t just be for the next season of “House of Cards.” The streaming company plans to release about 80 original movies in 2018. 

Mom or Dad?

One hundred kids are asked the ultimate question: Who do you like better — Mom or Dad? (Click to view)

No Aaron Rodgers? Packers fans start a petition for the perfect replacement -- Colin Kaepernick
Mudslide hits Puerto Rico neighborhood that Trump visited

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