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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.

Curt Schilling in Twitter trouble again, Southwest Airlines goes international & more

It's almost the end of the week, but we're not quite there yet. While you're waiting, catch up with what's going on in the world. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. Change of plans

President Obama will announce today that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at their current levels until 2016. That means Obama's plan to withdraw troops before the end of his presidency isn't going to happen. Instead, they'll reduce the number of troops from 9,800 to 5,500 in 2017. From there, they'll reassess and determine what needs to be done. The estimated annual cost of keeping troops at their current levels is $14.6 billion. Clearly, this was not a decision the administration made lightly. — CNN

More: Angelina Jolie opens a school in Afghanistan

2. Gun control

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a 2016 ballot initiative that would make California the first state to have a law on the books requiring background checks for ammunition purchases. It would also require gun owners to turn in any high capacity magazines and to report any time their gun is lost or stolen. If these things all sound pretty common sense to you, it's because they are. In decidedly different gun news, today a Maine law goes into effect that will allow people to conceal carry guns without a permit. Who's going to say California's ideas are better? — ABC News

3. So funny we forgot to laugh

Suspended baseball analyst Curt Schilling is in hot water again after comments about Tuesday night's Democratic debate. When Donald Trump took to Twitter to ask who everyone thought was winning, Schilling responded, "ISIS." Schilling is known for his outlandish political opinions. In August, he was suspended by ESPN for tweeting a meme that compared Muslims to Nazis. They declined to comment on his latest word vomit. Apparently he just doesn't want his job back. — Huffington Post

4. More money, more problems

Walmart is expecting lower profits, and that has shareholders shaking in their boots. The retail giant is raising the minimum wage for most workers to $10 per hour and taking a break from expansions. As a result, Walmart had its worst stock day in history yesterday. Shares dipped 10 percent, and the Waltons — the family behind Walmart — saw about $11 billion of their net worth disappear. Ultimately, though, they're investing in the future of their company and it could pay off if they can turn things around. In the meantime, let's hope they don't tank the entire stock market. — Bloomberg

More: Ashton Kutcher slams Walmart over low wages

5. Here's a tip

Danny Meyer, the man behind Shake Shack and the Modern, is doing away with tipping in all of his restaurants. Instead, menu prices will go up about 30 percent and staff will receive a full wage. Meyer calls the plan "hospitality included" and will phase it in slowly over the next year. Under the plan, cooks will make $14 per hour, and servers will make $9. Meyer is wildly influential and is hopefully doing something that will catch on in many more places. — The New York Times

6. Holiday, celebrate

Good news, travelers: Southwest Airlines is going international. They'll serve 12 destinations in eight different countries, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean. The flights will leave from Houston and Ft. Lauderdale, where Southwest spent millions building fancy new international terminals. Oh, and the best part? Bags are still free. They've also identified 50 more international destinations as growth markets, so plenty more international flights are in our futures. — USA Today

More: The top 5 pet-friendly airlines

7. You are not America's next top model

Tyra Bank's hit reality show America's Next Top Model will come to an end in December, the supermodel confirms. The show, which pits aspiring models against each other for a chance at a professional modeling contract and other prizes, has been around for a staggering 22 seasons. In that time, it's grown from a competition for stereotypical models and expanded to include plus-size models, petite models and men. It also gave fans a glimpse into what the world of modeling really looks like. We'll miss seeing Tyra teach 'em all how to strut. — TIME

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