A government shutdown remains nigh. An extortionist compromise by GOP leaders, meant to put off the fight over Obamacare for another month, has not only been rejected by Democrats. It's also been rejected by a cadre of far-right nihilists in House Speaker John Boehner's own party. Still the Worst. Congress. Ever.

Syria has a deadline for destroying its chemical weapons stocks: November. The good news, sort of? Americans and Russians now say that work will be easier and more secure than thought, because most of the chemical agents hadn't been "weaponized." The United Nations, meanwhile, is investigating several other potential chemical attacks by Bashar al-Assad's government.

A 20-minute side meeting between Iranian foreign minister Javed Zafir, and his American counterpart, John Kerry, was "energetic" and several other nice adjectives, an apparent breakthrough keeping alive hopes of a genuine accord over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Mars has water, in its soil, bound to other minerals, according to peer-reviewed studies of samples collected by the Curiosity rover.

America's spymasters have bluntly told Congress that honoring public outrage over the National Security Agency's hidden and pervasive digital snooping will directly lead to American deaths at the hands of terrorists.

Human-driven climate change is very real, according to an alarming United Nations report that calls for immediate steps to reduce emissions of so-called "greenhouse" gases. Those calls will be very hard to hear, however, from the circular file where polluters, paralyzed politicians, and dangerous climate-change deniers are terribly eager to place it.

Scientists are 95 percent sure about global warming. Science is just as certain, and in some cases less so, about several other facts that clear-eyed people have no trouble objectively accepting: that cigarettes are a slow-acting deadly poison, the age of the universe, the fatal effects of dioxin in Superfund sites.

Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat whose filibuster against draconian abortion regulations glued Americans all around the country to wee-hours web feeds, has will announce a run for governor—enthusing operatives who suggest circumstances are ripe for "turning Texas blue."

A plane to Seattle made an emergency landing in Boise after its pilot suffered a fatal heart attack in mid-air.

Barack Obama has thrown some loose change Detroit's way, $100 million—a modest offering meant to help the troubled city raze derelict buildings and hire some more cops and firefighters.

The Multnomah County DA's Office, after budget cuts in past years, needed help from the feds before it could afford a crackdown on johns targeting underage girls.

Google Earth helped a man in Mississippi (why, they do have the internet there!) find his stolen SUV.