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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Facebook gets a thumbs down, Pope Francis is at it again & more big news

It's Wednesday but we'll spare you the "hump day" jokes. Instead, we offer the CliffsNotes version of the morning news. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about today:

1. The circus continues

Tonight the second GOP debate will take place at the Reagan Library. Just like the first Republican debate, candidates will be split into two groups based on polls. The most popular candidates — Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush — will be a part of the main debate at 8 p.m. ET. The remaining candidates — Lindsay Graham, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki — will participate in a pre-debate at 6 p.m. Noticeably absent from the event? Former Texas Governor Rick Perry. We won't really miss him, though. We've got more than enough candidates to keep us occupied. — CNN

More: A Democrat's reenactment of the Republican debate

2. We love this guy

In an interview with a Portuguese Catholic broadcaster last night, Pope Francis called for ending the tax-exempt status of any church that doesn't actively funnel their resources toward helping the needy. He called out religious institutions for worshiping the "God of Money" and said buildings that are functioning as businesses, rather than churches, should be paying taxes like everyone else. It's something the Vatican already stands by. The Church owns more than 100,000 buildings in Italy and has been paying taxes on those used solely for commercial purposes since 2013. If U.S. churches followed suit, it's estimated it would generate about $83.5 billion in annual tax revenue. That's a lot of dough. — U.S. Uncut

3. This is so sad

Yesterday five men were charged in the hazing death of Michael Deng. Authorities are bringing charges against 37 people in total. In 2013, the group — all members of Baruch College's Pi Delta Psi chapter — allegedly blindfolded Deng, made him wear a backpack filled with sand and then forced him to run across a snowy field while they headbutted him and tackled him repeatedly. Deng sustained a head injury and lost consciousness, but the frat members allegedly waited hours before bringing him to the hospital, where he later died. According to court documents, the medical examiner determined the delay in treatment played a "significant role" in Deng's death. His family has filed suit against both the fraternity and Baruch College. — NBC News

4. Upgrade

The iOS 9.1 update is scheduled to be released for iPhone users today. The update will include changes to improve battery life, better security, changes to the Notes app and proactive searching that finds things based on your location. It's also rumored the update will include the much-anticipated taco and middle finger emoji, along with several others, like a hot dog, a unicorn and a cheese wedge. The update should release sometime this morning, and then you can commence texting all of your friends to flip them the bird and invite them out for tacos and margaritas after work. — USA Today

More: How to download and use emoji icons

5. Play nice, everyone

Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that Facebook is getting a 'dislike' button. He says the button will allow people to show their empathy when people share sad news, but knowing the Internet, it will be approximately one second before people are using it to dislike baby pictures and politics and getting in all sorts of ridiculous fights. Zuckerberg promised they're trying to combat that problem and don't want Facebook to turn into a place where things are being upvoted and downvoted like Reddit. They're going to launch a test feature and then see where it goes from there. Everybody be cool. — CNN Money

6. We are not alone, maybe

The NASA probe Cassini has uncovered evidence that one of Saturn's moons is covered in water. The moon Enceladus shows evidence of a global ocean beneath its icy surface that is comparable in salinity to Earth's oceans and has some of the organic compounds necessary to create life. There are, of course, still a lot of unanswered questions, but the finding is a major accomplishment and opens up tons of new possibilities for future research. — NASA

More: NASA broadcasts song from Mars

7. Beatles mania

Beatles fans rejoice: Ringo Starr is having the coolest garage sale ever. The former drummer says he has tons of "stuff" in storage that he intends to sell off via auction. That "stuff" includes amazing collectibles, like drum kits used in actual Beatles performances, costumes, artwork, photos and other memorabilia any fan would kill to get their hands on. Luckily, you don't have to kill anyone; you just have to give your credit card a workout. The auction will take place over two days in December and a portion of the proceeds will go to Starr's Lotus Foundation that focuses on social welfare issues around the world. You can find a complete list of items for sale here. — The Independent

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