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SOTU Scoop
August 14th, 2014
06:21 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 14, 2014.

1. Missouri unrest. Tensions escalated in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after the most violent night yet since the deadly police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The town's police chief said 12 people were arrested during protests in which heavily armed police fired tear gas and smoke bombs on largely peaceful protesters. Two reporters were also arrested as police tried to clear out a McDonald's where they were writing. The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly both described being roughed up by police. They were later released without explanation.

2. The reaction. President Obama appealed for calm and reflection in Ferguson and said the Justice Department is working with local authorities to help maintain security without restricting the right of peaceful protest. "There is never an excuse for violence against police of for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There is also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their first amendment rights and here in the United States of America," Obama told reporters from his vacation spot on Martha's Vineyard. Obama also spoke by phone with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who announced the state's highway patrol would assume control of security in Ferguson. "At this particular point, the attitudes weren't improving, and the blocks towards expression appeared to be a flashpoint, and that if we put some people first, that we'd be in a better situation," the governor said in explaining the move.

3. Iraq. A major rescue operation to help Iraq's Yazidis stranded in the Sinjar mountains is less likely after a visit to the area by U.S. military advisers. "The situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts because the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar and we helped save many innocent lives," said President Obama. U.S. military personnel said there were roughly a few thousand refugees left in the mountains and that their situation was not a dire as previously thought. The U.S. did launch a 7th humanitarian airdrop to assist the refugees. As many as 40,000 Yazidis were initially stranded on Mount Sinjar and faced near-certain death by ISIS fighters if they left. U.S. airstrikes and Kurdish ground troops are credited with keeping jihadists at bay and allowing many refugees to leave the mountain. Meanwhile, a white flag from Iraq's embattled prime minister. In a televised address, Nuri al-Maliki announced that he would not seek a third term and would support Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.

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