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5 things to know for September 17: Saudi Arabia, Israel, politics, Ecuador

Need some extra cash? Florida is looking to hire 50 new citizen python hunters.

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. Saudi oil field attack

President Trump seemed to point the finger more forcefully at Iran as being behind the weekend drone attack on a Saudi oil field. He also insisted he doesn’t want a war with Iran, all the while talking up America’s military might. So, it’s just not clear at this point what the US response would be, if any, if it were indeed proven that the Iranians were behind the devastating attack, which knocked out almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity. Iran denies any involvement in the drone strikes. Oil prices have fallen slightly after skyrocketing after the attack.

2. Israel

It’s Election Day — again — in Israel. Voters there are hitting the polls for the second time in five months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government. Once again, Netanyahu’s Likud Party is in a tight race with the Blue and White Party, led by Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is doing all he can to fire up his right-wing base and playing up his close relationship with US President Donald Trump, who is quite popular there. But, CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann notes, Trump’s popularity may not be enough to get Netanyahu over the finish line this time.

3. Politics

A House Judiciary Committee hearing today might be missing a little something — the witnesses. The panel, which is considering whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Trump, has subpoenaed ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former White House aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter. But Dearborn and Porter probably won’t be there to testify because the White House asserted immunity for them. Lewandowski is expected to attend, but he may not say much because the White House has told him not to answer questions about his conversations with the President where executive privilege could be invoked. Democrats on the committee reject the Trump administration’s immunity and executive privilege arguments, with committee chairman Jerry Nadler calling them “shocking and dangerous.”

4. Minneapolis police shortage

There’s a shortage of police in Minneapolis, and that law enforcement absence is being felt in the city’s downtown district. Robbery is up almost 54% in downtown Minneapolis compared with last year, and there has been a string of brutal assaults in the area, several of them captured on video. There were more than 6,000 “priority one” 911 calls made — those are robberies, shootings and sexual assaults — for which an officer wasn’t immediately available to respond. The pool of applicants for police jobs is significantly smaller than it used to be, the president of the Minnesota Police Officers Union said. The city’s police chief wants to add 400 officers by 2025, but Minneapolis’ mayor said there’s just not money in the budget to do that.

5. Ecuador data leak

If you live in Ecuador, you might want to invest in some credit monitoring. That’s because detailed information about potentially every person in the South American country was leaked online. Info on more than 20 million people was exposed. (Ecuador’s population is 16.5 million, but the number of those affected is higher because some of the leaked data belongs to people who are dead.) The leak came from an unsecured server in Miami belonging to an Ecuadorian consulting and analytics company. The breach has been fixed, but the damage is already done. In response, Ecuador’s legislature is fast-tracking work on a personal data protection bill.


“There was still insulation falling from the sky like a gentle snow … “

Jacob Gage, a Farmington, Maine, resident describing the scene after a building exploded there yesterday, killing one person. The blast may have been related to a gas leak.

“I was always a ‘Mad TV’ guy anyway.”

Comedian Shane Gillis, who was fired from his new gig on “Saturday Night Live” just days after videos of him making bigoted comments surfaced


Stay at the top of the world …

If you’ve got $100,000 to spare, you can spend one night — one night! — in an igloo at the North Pole.

… or stay out of it completely

If staying at the North Pole just isn’t exotic enough for you, perhaps a cruise ship in space would do the trick.

Lucky charm

If you beat cancer twice, you might as well try to keep your hot streak going by buying a lottery ticket. This guy did — and he won.

Who needs ‘The Office?’

After losing Michael Scott and company to NBCUniversal, Netflix fired a big shot in the streaming wars by getting the worldwide rights to “Seinfeld.”



The number of people in the US to die from a vaping-related illness. The latest death was a 40-year-old California man who died over the weekend.



Ancient vessel

Check out the 700-year-old temple in China that just seems to float in the Yangtze River. (Click to view.)

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