In our news wrap Friday, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear its first case on transgender rights, which involves a transgender teen in Virginia who was barred from using the boys' bathroom at a high school. Also, the secretary of the interior says she’s “profoundly disappointed” with the acquittals of seven defendants accused of conspiracy for taking over an Oregon wildlife refuge for 41 days.
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In the day's other news: The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will take up the issue of transgender rights for the first time. The justices accepted a case from Virginia. It involves a transgender teen who was barred from using the boys' bathroom at a high school. A lower court has ordered the school board to accommodate the student.
The secretary of the interior says she is — quote — "profoundly disappointed" with the acquittals in Oregon's wildlife refuge takeover. Secretary Sally Jewell says she's concerned that it will damage the security and management of public lands. Seven defendants were charged with conspiracy after they occupied the refuge for 41 days. They say yesterday's verdict vindicates their claims of federal overreach.
SHAWNA COX, Acquitted Defendant:
We have to say we are so grateful for the patriots and for those jurors who spent their time. And we know it's a great sacrifice, and we are so grateful. We are in tears because we were so happy that they heard the truth and they didn't — and they weren't intimidated enough that they did come back with the right judgment.
The group's leader, Ammon Bundy, is being held on other charges from a 2014 Nevada standoff. His lawyer also faces charges after yelling at the judge yesterday to release Bundy. U.S. Marshals used a stun gun to subdue him in court.
The U.S. economy surged ahead in the year's third quarter by the most in two years. Commerce Department numbers today show the gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent. That's twice the growth rate in the second quarter.
In Syria, opposition fighters launched a new offensive today, pushing back against the government's siege of the city of Aleppo. The rebels, including some Islamist militants, attacked the western half of the city, the side controlled by government troops. State media said the military repelled the attack.
Later, the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has decided against resuming airstrikes on Aleppo.
The war in Yemen may be taking a sharp new turn. Overnight, Shiite rebels fired a ballistic missile deep into neighboring Saudi Arabia, which backs the Yemeni government. Saudi officials say the missile was intercepted about 40 miles outside the holy Muslim city of Mecca. The rebels claim the actual target was the international airport at Jiddah northwest of Mecca.
The United Nations warns that Islamic State fighters in Iraq are using tens of thousands of civilians as human shields in the battle for Mosul. Iraqi troops have been closing in on the city. And U.N. officials said today that,as the militants retreat, they're forcing men, women and children to go with them.
RAVINA SHAMSADANI, Spokeswoman, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights: ISIL's depraved, cowardly strategy is to attempt to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations, effectively using tens of thousands of women, men and children as human shields. Many of those who refused to comply were shot on the spot.
The U.N. estimates ISIS killed more than 200 civilians on Wednesday alone.
There is new unrest in Pakistan: Anti-government protesters fought with police today in Islamabad and other cities. Crowds threw rocks, and officers answered with batons and tear gas. Several people were arrested, but the street clashes eased at nightfall. The protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down over corruption charges.
It is the deadliest incident yet in the Philippines' drug war. Police in a southern province killed a mayor and nine of his men in a shoot-out today. Hours earlier, outspoken President Rodrigo Duterte declared thousands more may die in the drug war. He also said that he's going to stop swearing because God spoke to him and warned him to mend his ways.
Back in this country, the death of a two-star U.S. Army general just two days before he was to assume command of the Space and Missile Defense Command has been ruled a suicide. Major General John Rossi was found dead at his home at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, in July. He's the first general officer to take his own life since record-keeping began in 2000. Military suicides have risen in recent years, but an Army statement shed no light on Rossi's motive.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost eight points to close at 18161. The Nasdaq fell nearly 26, and the S&P 500 fell six. For the week, the Dow gained a faction, the Nasdaq fell more than 1 percent, and the S&P dropped seventh-tenths of a percent.
And Bob Dylan will accept the Nobel Prize for Literature after all. He had not been heard from since the prize was announced two weeks ago. But, today, the Nobel Foundation said that Dylan has now called to say he — quote — "appreciates the honor" and accepts. No word yet on whether he will attend the award ceremony in December.