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What's Going On In The News Today?

BuzzFeed News visited New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities to find out what’s happened in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina took its destructive path. The Boy Scouts ended its ban on gay leaders. And a couple had a beautiful wedding after returning to Syria.

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The Boy Scouts of America has ended its ban on gay leaders.

The executive board voted yesterday to end the blanket ban on gay people serving as Scout leaders, two years after lifting a ban on gay youth members. However, under the new policy, “individually chartered troops, many of which are backed by churches, will be allowed to continue the ban,” BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner writes. Monday’s vote comes more than 15 years after the Supreme Court upheld the right of the Boy Scouts to ban gay leaders.

“While this isn’t a complete victory, it’s an enormous step forward,” Scout leader Brian Peffly, who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts this spring because he is gay, said.

And a little extra.

Robert Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and now Boy Scouts president, is America’s unlikely gay-rights hero, David Graham writes in The Atlantic. Under his tenure as defense secretary, Gates oversaw the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring openly gay people from serving. And in May, at an annual Scouts meeting, Gates said “the status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” leading to a unanimous executive committee vote two months later recommending the end to the ban.


Boston is no longer pursuing its bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign a contract requiring Boston taxpayers to pay for excess costs to host the Olympics. The bid was unpopular with residents and because of that, the United States Olympic Committee didn’t think it had enough support to beat competing bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto.

“Although the bid team said the games would only cost $4.6 billion, Olympic budgets have a habit of swelling,” The Guardian writes. “By comparison, the London Olympics budget came in at around $14 billion.”

What’s next?

The city of Los Angeles could be a likely alternative. Despite Boston’s withdrawal, the USOC said it “would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.” The last time the U.S. hosted the Summer Games was in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia.



What’s happened in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina took its destructive path?

“If you were old enough to pay attention to the news in August and September of 2005, there are certain scenes and phrases burned into the brain: rows of bright-white FEMA trailers, the crumbling roof of the Superdome, Anderson Cooper choking back tears on screen, Kanye West declaring, ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’ at a benefit concert,” BuzzFeed News Executive Editor Shani Hilton writes.

Our reporters went to New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities to find out what's happened in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina. And over the next several weeks, we’ll be publishing more than a dozen stories on how life, crime, and politics have shifted since the storm hit.

In the first piece, Washington bureau chief John Stanton and senior national reporter Joel Anderson spoke to the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, about gentrification after the storm. “We stopped ourselves from going over a cliff,” Landrieu said.

Two people who were once the youngest murderers convicted as adults in the U.S. are due to get out of prison this week.

In 1999, 12-year-old Curtis Fairchild Jones and 13-year-old Catherine Nicole Jones were convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison. But some say their prison term was unjust. “Following reports that the children were being horrifically sexually and physically abused, the entire official narrative behind the killing has been thrown into question — and raised doubts about whether an injustice occurred,” BuzzFeed News’ David Mack writes.

Curtis is set to be released Tuesday and his sister, Catherine, on Saturday. But both will spend the rest of their lives on probation. “The youngest convicted murderer in U.S. history got very little media, if any. Now he’s getting out and everyone wants to talk about it,” attorney Tony Hernandez III, who was briefly assigned to represent Curtis and Catherine, said.

Donald Trump’s lawyer falsely claimed that, legally, a person cannot rape their spouse.

The Daily Beast wrote about Donald Trump’s ex-wife’s use of the term “rape” to describe an incident between them before their divorce in the early 1990s. In response, a lawyer for Trump threatened the reporter and defended his boss by saying “You cannot rape your spouse. There’s very clear case law.” In the U.S., marital rape has been illegal since 1993 and was made illegal in New York state in 1984, five years before the alleged incident, according to The Guardian.

“The statements from the real-estate tycoon’s long-time attorney may, campaign watchers said, prove to undermine a campaign that officially began with Trump’s incendiary remarks about migrants from Mexico whom he called ‘rapists’ and has survived a series of increasingly controversial remarks over the following six weeks,” The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs writes.

In the latest CNN/ORC Poll, Trump leads with 18% support among Republicans, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush just behind at 15%.

Quick things to know:

  • The investigation into Sandra Bland’s July 10 traffic stop and her death in a Texas jail cell three days later will be independently reviewed. (BuzzFeed News) Meanwhile, another black woman, Ralkina Jones, has died while in police custody. (BuzzFeed News)

  • South Korea has declared a “de facto end” to the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) after 23 days with no new infections. (BBC News)

  • The National Security Agency will stop looking at, and will ultimately destroy, millions of American phone records after Nov. 29. (The Guardian)

  • The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter to a training camp/preseason coaching internship, making her the NFL’s first female coach. (Sports Illustrated)

  • Champion sprinter Dutee Chand, who tests positive for naturally high levels of testosterone, won a landmark case to let her compete in female athletic competitions. (BuzzFeed News)

  • SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, warn of a killer robot war. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A major flaw in Android phones would let hackers in with just a text. (NPR)

Today in foods: “The available evidence points to the fact that there appears to be a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems; none can be detected with artificial sweeteners.” (New York Times) And scientists have discovered a new taste that could make food more delicious: fat. (Washington Post)

Happy Tuesday

While working for the U.N. Refugee Agency, Fadi met Rana, a woman who, like him, fled the Syrian city of Homs while it was under siege as part of the civil war between rebels and government forces. They fell in love and, after returning to Homs, decided to get married in a church that was badly damaged. Love finds a way.

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