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In our news wrap Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported that the Islamic State militant group tortured and abused Kurdish children in Northern Iraq. Some 150 teenage boys were kidnapped and then beaten and forced to watch beheading videos. Also, the Ukrainian government announced it is sending more troops to the eastern part of the country to defend key cities against pro-Russian rebels.
All over the country, people cast ballots today, potentially shaking things up in Washington and a number of state capitals.
The voting followed the most expensive midterm campaign in history, with more than $4 billion spent.
We begin with how Election Day unfolded and what's at stake. After months of campaign ads, pitched appeals and hundreds of candidates' debates, Americans headed to the polls today. In some parts of the country, there were long lines. In others, turnout was lighter, as voters breezed in to elect officials for national, state and local offices.
ELAINE KRAUSE, New Hampshire Voter:
I think that this is what it is all about, to be able to vote and have a voice and hopefully select the people that you think are going to represent the state the most appropriately.
PAUL SMITH, North Carolina Voter:
It is really, I think, going to swing things here in North Carolina, as well as across the nation. So I thought of it as a very important election to kind of get out here and make my perspective heard.
Up for grabs, one-third of the Senate and party control of that chamber, plus all 435 seats in the House, where Republicans are expected to add to their majority.
Today, Democrats control the Senate with 53 seats, plus two independents who vote with them. Republicans hold 45 seats. But the GOP is hoping to add at least six more tonight and shift the balance of power.
Senate contenders, incumbents and challengers, Democrats and Republicans, cast their ballots early.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky., Minority Leader:
I think we're going to have a good day here in Kentucky and hopefully around the country.
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J.:
We need people down in Washington that are going to work together with folks, that are going to bring people together. The partisan gridlock, enough of that.
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the election, no matter its outcome, doesn't constitute a referendum on President Obama's job performance.
JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:
No. The fact is, the voters — again, the voters who at least pick up the phone to talk to people who are conducting a poll for CNN indicated that at least a majority of them were not trying to send a message to the president with their vote, that something else was driving their decision.
In many cases, that something else is the economy, and it's been a major factor in making many of the 36 governor's races very close.
This is also the first election for some states with new voter I.D. rules, and the Department of Justice and various other groups are monitoring for any irregularities, including suppression and voter fraud.
We will begin our deep dive into the election story in detail after the news summary.
In other news, there's new evidence that Islamic State militants tortured and abused Kurdish children in Northern Syria. Human Rights Watch announced the findings today. Some 150 teenage boys were kidnapped near the embattled town of Kobani in May. The report says they were beaten with rubber hoses and electrical cords and forced to watch beheading videos. All of the captives have now either escaped or been released.
Tensions mounted again today in Ukraine, as the government announced it's sending more troops to the eastern part of the country. President Petro Poroshenko said the reinforcements will defend key cities against pro-Russian rebels. Both sides agreed to a cease-fire in September, but it's been violated repeatedly since then.
In Mexico, federal police captured a fugitive former mayor who allegedly ordered an attack on student protesters; 43 of them are missing and feared dead. Early this morning, Jose Luis Abarca and his wife were taken by convoy to the Mexican attorney general's office, after being arrested in Mexico City.
Officials said they were giving statements. Parents of the missing students have complained of lack of progress in the investigation. But some of them welcomed news of the arrests. And, again, to repeat, Investigators say the mayor was in league with a drug gang whose members killed the students and buried them in mass graves. But, so far, no sign of the bodies has turned up.
The head of Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency is charging that U.S. social media outlets are command-and-control networks for terror groups. Robert Hannigan made the claim in The Financial Times. He said Islamic State militants use Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp to communicate with relative ease. Hannigan says the tech companies are in denial about the issue.
There's word from West Africa that thousands of people have broken Ebola quarantines in Sierra Leone to order to find food. Aid organizations warned today that food deliveries are not reaching many of the remote cordoned-off areas. Those left hungry people to search where they can, potentially spreading the virus.
The World Health Organization urged today that a prescription drug used to fight drug overdoses may be made more widely available. The U.N. agency said Naloxone could prevent more than 20,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone. The drug can counter the effects of heroin and some heavy-duty painkillers in minutes. And it can now be administered as a nasal spray.
Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson will avoid jail time for using a wooden switch on his 4-year-old son. Peterson pleaded no contest today to a Texas charge of misdemeanor reckless assault. The NFL star initially faced a felony charge, but appeared before a judge in suburban Houston this afternoon and formally accepted the plea deal.
He spoke outside the courthouse afterwards.
ADRIAN PETERSON, Minnesota Vikings Player:
I truly regret this incident. I stand here and I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine. And I'm looking forward to and I'm anxious to continue my relationship with my child. I'm just glad this is over.
Peterson has been on paid leave from the Vikings. There was no immediate word on how the plea deal affects his status.
A man long sought for pirating material from the music and movie industries was arrested today in Thailand. Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij co-founded the file-sharing Web site The Pirate Bay. He's already been convicted in Sweden of copyright infringement and sentenced to a year in prison. He and three associates will also have to pay $6.5 million in damages.
Major U.S. banks are joining forces to combat cyber-attacks. The Wall Street Journal reports several cyber-security firms will use money from 16 banks to create faster communication about potential breaches. The move follows attacks last month on computer systems at J.P. Morgan Chase and other institutions.
The price of oil kept falling around the world today, after Saudi Arabia cut prices for U.S. customers. Oil finished near $77 a barrel in New York trading, putting more pressure on energy stocks and Wall Street in general. The Dow Jones industrial average managed a small gain, up 17 points to close near 17,384, but the Nasdaq fell 15 points to close at 4,623. And the S&P 500 dropped five to finish at 2,012.
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