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SOTU Scoop
October 16th, 2014
04:27 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 16, 2014.

1. Ebola hearing on the Hill. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was grilled by members of Congress about the response to Ebola cases in the United States. Many lawmakers expressed concern about how the CDC is handling a limited outbreak of the virus. Amber Vinson, the second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse to contract Ebola, said she was cleared by someone at the CDC to board a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week after she called to report that she had a fever and had previous contact with an Ebola patient. "I have not reviewed exactly what was said but she did contact our agency and she did board the plane," Dr. Thomas Frieden told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Frieden has said that Vinson should not have been allowed to take a commercial flight. Vinson is being treated at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital.

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SOTU Scoop
October 15th, 2014
05:29 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 15, 2014.

1. Ebola in the U.S. A second nurse at Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has contracted Ebola. Amber Vinson, who helped care for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan when he was most infectious, also took a flight from Cleveland to Dallas one day before she was diagnosed as having the virus. Vinson is being transferred to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, which has successfully treated two other Ebola patients. Meanwhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking speak with all passengers who were on Vinson's flight, Frontier Airlines Flight 1143. The first nurse who contracted Ebola has been identified as Nina Pham. She also cared for Duncan and is in improving condition, according to Texas Health Presbyterian.

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SOTU Scoop
October 10th, 2014
05:09 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 10, 2014.

1. Ebola. The World Health Organization says 4,033 deaths can now be attributed to the virus. The WHO says 233 of the victims are health workers. Starting this weekend, five major U.S. airports will begin screening passengers arriving from three West African nations that are the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.

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SOTU Scoop
October 9th, 2014
04:40 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 9, 2014.

1. Ebola. The United States is stepping up efforts to prevent an outbreak of the virus in America. The Obama administration announced five U.S. airports will begin screening passengers arriving from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Ebola has taken a severe toll on all four West African countries. The new screenings will be conducted at New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports, Chicago's O'Hare, Washington, D.C.'s Dulles and Atlanta's Hartsfield airports. Great Britain says it is also beefing up its screening of passengers arriving at London's two airports. Meanwhile, the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital Wednesday, is questioning his treatment. They want to know why he was not immediately administered an experimental drug that has shown promise in fighting the virus.

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SOTU Scoop
October 8th, 2014
04:56 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what we're watching October 8, 2014

1. Ebola in America. The first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S. has died. Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in America from Liberia in mid-September. Although some members of his family are now isolated and being monitored, they so far have shown now symptoms of Ebola. In announcing Duncan's death, the Dallas hospital where he is being treated, said in a statement "Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in this unit, as well as the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital community are grieving his passing.  We have offered family our condolences and support at this difficult time.

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SOTU Scoop
October 1st, 2014
05:10 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 1, 2014

  1. Ebola.  A man being treated at a Dallas hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.  The man, identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled from Liberia on September 19 and arrived in Dallas one day later. He went to the hospital on September 26 feeling sick, but was sent home.  He returned to the hospital two days later and was placed in isolation.   Since his arrival in Dallas, Duncan has had contact with five children.  City school officials say none of the children are showing Ebola symptoms, but are being kept at home for monitoring.  "I know parents are extremely concerned about that development, but let me assure you, these children have been identified and are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
  1. U.S. Secret Service. The embattled agency's director has resigned.  Julia Pierson, faced calls from lawmakers in both parties to resign after being grilled at a Wednesday hearing about recent security lapses.  It was revealed that a security contractor with a gun was allowed to ride in an elevator with President Obama during his visit to Atlanta last month.  Three days before the Atlanta security breach, a man jumped a White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion before being stopped.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Pierson offered her resignation because she believed it was in the best interest of the Secret Service.  Pierson told Bloomberg news that it was "painful" to resign from the agency where she worked for 31 years, "we were at the point where it was going to be hard for the department and president to have confidence in the Secret Service leadership if I didn’t step down."  Pierson became the first woman to head the Secret Service with Obama appointed her 18 months ago.  Joseph Clancy, a former special agent in charge of the Service's presidential protective division, has been appointed as interim acting director.
  1. The war against ISIS.  The U.S. and its allies are hitting more ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria.  The targets include the terror group's command and control centers, heavy weaponry and oil refineries that are a major sources of ISIS funding.  Despite the airstrikes, ISIS is threatening to take control of more territory.  Jihadist fighters are closing in on the town of Kobani on the Syria-Turkey border.
SOTU Scoop
September 25th, 2014
05:09 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 25, 2014

  1. ISIS.  The U.S. and its allies are hitting more ISIS targets in Syria.  Overnight airstrikes pounded oil refineries believed to help fund the terrorist group's operations.  War planes also struck an ISIS headquarters and training camp. Meanwhile FBI Director James Comey says the U.S. believes it has identified the man speaking in the ISIS videos in which Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines were murdered.
  1. Subway plot?  U.S. officials say there is no indication of a terrorist plot against U.S. subway systems. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country's intelligence agency had uncovered an ISIS plot to target American subways.  "We have not confirmed any specific threat," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One. "We want to review the information from the Iraqis and seek to corroborate that. In terms of specific plotting, we'll have to follow up with the Iraqis."
  1. Syrian rebels.  A group of Syrian rebel commanders have signed off on what they are calling a historic agreement to fight ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.   Under the agreement, moderate Muslim rebel groups fighting under the Supreme Military Council in Syria will partner with the predominantly Christian Syrian Military Council. The deal also calls for the groups to work together to assure any free Syria will be inclusive of all ethnic, religious and political parties. The agreement follows Congress' approval of President Obama's plan to train and arm moderate rebels to fight ISIS.
  1. Attorney General Eric Holder. The nation's top lawyer is resigning after six years on the job.  His tenure was sometimes marked by controversy, including gun trafficking controversy known as Operation Fast and Furious that led to him being the first sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. But Holder's supporters praise his Justice Department's response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri as well as his fight against voting restriction laws and advocating for changes in sentencing guidelines in certain non-violent criminal cases.   In announcing Holder's resignation, Obama praised his friend and expressed gratitude for Holder's service.  "I just want to say thank you, Eric, thank you to the men and women of the Justice Department who work day in and out, for the American people, and we could not be more grateful for everything you've done- not just for me and the Administration, but for our country," Obama said.  Holder will remain attorney general until his replacement, who has not been named by Obama, is confirmed.

 

SOTU Scoop
September 4th, 2014
04:53 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 4, 2014.

1. NATO Summit. A two-day meeting of the alliance is underway in Wales. On the agenda: the ISIS threat, the crisis in Ukraine and dealing with a post-war Afghanistan. President Obama is under intense pressure domestically for a strong U.S. response to ISIS. In a joint op-ed in the Times of London, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to fight the terrorist group. "If terrorist think we will weaken in the face of their treats they could not be more wrong. Countries like Britain and America will not be cowed by barbaric killers," the two men wrote.

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SOTU Scoop
September 3rd, 2014
04:30 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 3, 2014.

1. ISIS. U.S. intelligence officials are examining the terrorist group's latest execution video. They are trying to determine where and when it was shot and whether the man seen beheading American Steven Sotloff is the same person who murdered U.S. photojournalist James Foley. ISIS says the executions of Sotloff and Foley were in retaliation for the ongoing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. President Obama said Wednesday the United States would not be intimidated by the jihadist group, while Vice President Biden vowed that the U.S. would pursue ISIS "to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice."

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SOTU Scoop
August 29th, 2014
05:08 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 29, 2014.

1. The terror threat. The British government has raised its terror threat level from "substantial" to "severe," in response to the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While raising the threat level means a terrorist attack is highly likely, Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said "there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent." Prime Minister David Cameron said Islamic extremism is the "root cause" of the terrorist threat in the UK, and that ISIS' fight in Syria and Iraq "is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore." Cameron added that he would soon announce plans to keep jihadist sympathizers from traveling to Syria and make it easier to seize their passports. The ISIS fighter who murdered American James Foley is believed to be from Britain, and British authorities estimate that 500 UK nationals have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Islamic groups.

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