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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

Didn’t have time to catch the news this morning? That’s OK because we’ve got the CliffsNotes version for you right here. Take a look at the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. The War on Women rages on

Republicans in Congress are making a final push to defund Planned Parenthood. Today, House committees will vote to advance a procedural tool called “budget reconciliation” that allows them to pass certain spending bills with a simple majority and eliminates the possibility of a filibuster. They intend to use this to pass measures to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. President Obama has already said he intends to veto any such measures. In the meantime, a bill that funds the government through December is expected to pass the House, preventing a government shutdown and buying Congress some time to continue bickering about women’s health like an old married couple. — USA Today

More: 10 Ways Planned Parenthood is about more than just abortions

2. Talk about bad timing

There hasn’t been much breaking news out of Afghanistan, but that doesn’t mean the war is any closer to being over. Yesterday the Taliban took over Kunduz, a major city along a key trade route that was among the last to fall to U.S. forces when the war first started 14 years ago. A week from now, Gen. John F. Campbell is supposed to testify before Congress about progress in the region and what America’s continued involvement should look like. There was hope that we could reduce forces. That a major Afghan city fell to terrorist forces right before that status report is awful timing. — New York Times

3. Game-changer

If you were paying attention yesterday, then you probably know they found flowing water on Mars. What you might not know is what that means for the prospect of life on the planet and what happens next. Mars has always had water frozen at the poles, but this is the first time scientists have detected free-flowing liquid water. The Mars Rover has also detected methane, which indicates the presence of life at some point. It could be new, current, or long-extinct life — we don’t know yet. Still, the presence of water means life is distinctly possible. The next step will be efforts to detect the salinity and temperature of the water. NASA is also hoping for a mission to Mars in the 2030s. — CNN

More: NASA broadcasts song from Mars

4. Fiercely cool

Clothing company H&M just hired its first hijab-wearing model. Her name is Mariah Idrissi, and she’s featured in several upcoming ad campaigns for the brand. Idrissi says H&M was incredibly respectful during her time working with them, giving her a private dressing room and asking her preference for showing her neck and other parts of her body. The choice is a big one because Islam is the second largest religion in the world, yet the media offers almost no depictions of practicing women who choose to wear traditional head coverings. — Buzzfeed

5. So tragic

Paul Walker’s daughter, Meadow, is suing Porsche for wrongful death over the crash that killed her father. Walker, an actor, died in November 2013 after the driver of a Porsche Carrera GT he was riding in lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree. In the lawsuit, Meadow Walker claims the car did not have a proper stabilization system, which contributed to the loss of control, and that fuel lines in the car didn’t adequately protect it from catching on fire after it crashed. The lawsuit does not put a figure on damages. — TMZ

More: Vin Diesel names his baby girl after Paul Walker

6. You shall not pass

From now on, Mount Everest will be off-limits to inexperienced climbers. Permits to climb will only be issued to those who can prove they’ve scaled mountains higher than 6,500 meters, and those with physical disabilities will only be permitted to climb if they can do it without the aid of someone else carrying them. Nepalese officials say the new regulations are mostly for safety reasons but also to reduce overcrowding on the mountain. A series of major accidents in recent years has caused officials to rethink their policies. — The Guardian

7. Mind blown

Marine Biologist David Gruber found a glowing sea turtle in waters around the Solomon Islands. It is the first biofluorescent reptile in recorded history. The turtle does not produce its own light. Rather, it absorbs light and ejects it as different colors. Scientists speculate this trait could have evolved as a form of camouflage to help the turtle blend in with other biofluorescing animals in its habitat. Hawksbills are one of the most endangered species in the world, so further study of this incredible trait won’t be easy. — iO9

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