Looking for romance? Don’t count out that guy or gal shoving a carry-on in the overhead bin. Turns out 1 in 50 people find the love of their life on a plane. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. White House
Don McGahn heads for the exits. The departure of the White House counsel was announced by President Trump on Twitter. McGahn will leave this fall after the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (which start Tuesday). McGahn’s had an interesting ride. He has been a huge part of Trump’s successful conservative reshaping of the federal courts, but he’s also clashed with the President over the Russia investigation. And the disclosure that McGahn had cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller didn’t help his relationship with Trump, either.
Syria is prepping for a final assault on the last rebel stronghold in the country, and the US is worried that chemical weapons are part of its plans. Syria moved armed helicopters closer to Idlib in the past couple weeks, two defense officials tell CNN. Those could be used to launch chlorine-filled barrel bombs on Idlib. The concern has also sparked a new tussle with Syrian ally Russia. The Russians claim the US and its allies are using the alleged chemical weapons threat as an excuse to launch airstrikes in Syria.
3. Duck boat tragedy
A federal investigation has started into the tragic sinking of a duck boat on a Missouri lake that killed 17 people in July. The feds got involved after the US Coast Guard determined that the deaths resulted from “misconduct, negligence or inattention to the duties” by the captain of the duck boat. The probe will also look at the company that operates the tourist ride. It’s one of many investigations into the tragedy. Survivors of those who perished are also suing Ripley Entertainment, which operated the duck boat tour.
Looks like the end could be near for China’s infamous family-planning rules. The current rules limit Chinese couples to just two children (the “one-child” policy ended a few years ago). Now, a government statement indicates families may be allowed to have as many kids as they like for the first time in decades. The drive to end birth restrictions is fueled by China’s aging population and a slowing birth rate. The revised code will be completed in March 2020.
An Uber driver in Florida shot and killed a man, and he may not be charged because of the state’s “stand your ground” law. The Uber driver, Robert Westlake, fired once and killed Jason Boek after Boek approached Westlake’s vehicle, raised his hand and yelled, “You know I got a pistol? You want me to f****** shooting you?” Police say Boek had a cell phone, not a gun. But a local sheriff says this is a case of “justifiable homicide all day long. You have the right protect yourself.” Westlake, who’s also a licensed armed security guard who’d just finished training to be a police officer, is cooperating with the investigation. Uber policy prohibits its drivers from carrying guns while working.