5 things you need to know for your new day

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 12:00am

 The White House seeks a greenlight to attack Syria, Diana Nyad is about to make history and Nelson Mandela goes home.

It's Labor Day, and here are "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." Every weekday morning, we'll hit the top five stories of the day and clue you in on a few other buzzy items.


Time for the hard sell: It may be Labor Day, but they're working overtime at the White House, burning up the phone lines to line up votes from skeptical lawmakers for a military strike on Syria. The White House's stand is this: The Assad regime used chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb last month. That's against international law, and there has to be consequences. It held a classified briefing yesterday to make its case. But one after another, lawmakers emerged supremely unconvinced. Some say what Obama's asking for is too broad. Others want a firm expiration date on American action. Congress doesn't officially come back until September 9. That buys the White House a little time.


She wades, we wait: If all goes swimmingly, Diana Nyad's 35-year-long dream is about to come true today. The 64-year-old has tried four times to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, wet suit or flippers. But bad weather and those pesky jellyfish stings kept messing with her plans. This time, the weather's playing nice, and she's got a special mask on to keep the jellyfish from stinging her tongue. She's been ticking off about 2 miles every hour, and Team Nyad says it can already see the lights of Key West.


Déjà vu all over again: Looks like Mohamed Morsy's career is taking the same arc as Hosni Mubarak's. Both were president, both were tossed from office deposed amid huge protests. Mubarak was then put on trial for inciting murder and violence. And this weekend, we learned Morsy will be too. The only difference so far? Mubark had his charges thrown out and is being tried again; no date's been chosen for Morsy's day in court.


Who says you can't go home: There were times when his condition was so critical, we thought Nelson Mandela may have been at the end of his eventful journey. But the 95-year-old icon's is at home this morning -- discharged over the weekend from the Pretoria hospital he was checked into back in June. It's not all great news though: "Madiba's condition remains critical and is at times unstable," President Jacob Zuma's office says.

There's an odd sidebar to this story: the confusion surrounding his release. First, we had two sources telling us he returned home before he actually did. Then, a spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush misread a news alert, thought Mandela had died and issued a statement of condolence on Bush's behalf. Jim McGrath did the mea culpa. But still, talk about egg on your face.


It's worse than you think: The Fukushima nuclear meltdown happened two years ago. But the fallout continues. The latest? A sharp spike in radiation at the crippled plant. The owners say don't worry. It's only a single drop of highly contaminated water. The problem is there's an awful lot of it stored at the site enough to fill 160 Olympic-size swimming pools. By 2015, over 600,000 tons of highly radioactive liquid are expected to collect in temporary vats never designed to hold this kind of water for so long. Experts suggest that at some point the plant will have to dump it in the ocean. Ruh Roh!

Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.

"Tebowing? Tebooted:"

The NFL quarterback known for his outspoken Christian faith now needs a Hail mary himself. The New England Patriots nixed him from the roster this weekend -- just 12 weeks after signing him ... and just five days before the start of the season. Ouch!

"Will you marry me? No? What about now?:"

The folks who track such things say there's a growing trend of women buying and selling positive pregnancy tests. Now why would anyone do that? Let the sales pitch sway you: "Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question?"

"Photo(shop) finish:"

Hong Kong couples spare no expense when they tie the knot. They shell out an average of $2,700 for a package that includes the photographer, a make-up artist and stylist. Want to add a special touch? They'll Photoshop your dearly departed pet into the picture, put you underwater or paste you into that favorite historical site you've never visited.

There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.


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