AdamGregor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday approved a special permit permitting a Lake Forest, Illinois-based company to transport large quantities of Ebola-contaminated waste from a Dallas hospital for disposal.

The permit covers all waste within the state of Texas, in case another diagnosed case presents in the state. Special permits, the DOT says, “are issued to individual companies to ensure that each holder is fit to conduct the activity authorized. Stericycle, Inc. The permit largely sets the standards by which the company must package and transport the materials.

The permit grants Stericycle two options for packaging, each consisting of a series of inner and outer packaging and the use of CDC-authorized disinfectant.

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ABC/Donna Svennevik(PHOENIX) — Sen. John McCain sent a letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday appealing for the release of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in Mexico since March.

McCain acknowledges that the case “is rightfully a Mexican judicial matter,” but calls the incident “the clear result of an honest mistake.” Tahmooressi reportedly visited shops in Tijuana, Mexico by foot after leaving his car in San Diego. After returning to his vehicle, he apparently made a wrong turn, crossing the border into Mexico, where he was stopped an apprehended after disclosing the presence of three loaded firearms in his car.

Tahmooressi was arrested on March 31, McCain says. “I continue to hope that your government will find, after full examination of the facts of his case, that he committed an honest mistake; harbored no malign intent toward your country or its citizens; and, therefore, can be allowed to return home to the United States.

McCain sent the letter two days after a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing that featured multiple congressmen calling for Tahmooressi’s release.

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The White House(PRINCETON, Ind.) — President Obama on Friday trumpeted the latest better-than-expected jobs report, saying “we’re on pace for the strongest job growth since the 1990s.”

“All told, the United States has put more folks back to work than Europe, Japan and all other advanced economies combined. All them combined, we’ve put more folks back to work right here in the United States of America,” the president told workers at Millennium Steel in Princeon, Indiana.

Obama’s remarks came just hours after the Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent.

“This progress that we’ve been making, it’s been hard. It goes in fits and starts. It’s not always been perfectly smooth or as fast as we want, but it is real and it is steady and it is happening, and it’s making a difference in economies all across the country,” he said.

As part of “National Manufacturing Day,” the president took the economic campaign message that he outlined on Thursday directly to workers and young people in Princeton, fielding their questions and underscoring the important role that American manufacturing plays in job growth.

“There are a number of steps that we can take to make unemployment go down faster, to make sure that wages are rising faster, and it would benefit everybody,” he said, as he stood in front of massive wheels of steel in a huge plant. “If you look at American history, the times we grow fastest and do best is when we’re growing the economy from the middle out, when middle class families are growing, when working folks can get their way into the middle class.”

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Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(WASHINGTON) — Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the ongoing global Ebola outbreak.

With a handful of Americans being treated for the disease, largely after returning from West Africa, Frieden will speak before the committee on Oct. 16 to discuss his agency’s preparedness for and response to the outbreak. Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, called Ebola “a global public health issue that demands an all-hands-on-deck response.”

“We cannot afford to look back and say we could have done more,” Upton said in a statement.

In addition to Frieden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, will also testify at the Oct. 16 hearing. Additional witnesses remain to be announced.

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ABC/Lou Rocco(WASHINGTON) — On her hit HBO show Girls, Lena Dunham’s character broke up with a guy once she found out he was Republican. It turns out that life imitates art.

The actress has teamed up with EMILY’s List for her Not that Kind of Girl book tour to help pro-choice female Democrats get elected this November.

“Lena stands for what we stand for at EMILY’s List–making sure women’s voices are heard,” said EMILY’S List communications director Jess McIntosh. “She’s committed to electing more pro-choice Democratic women to office because she knows that’s how we get the policies that work for women. We’re thrilled to have her on our team.”

Dunham posted on her Instagram page Friday morning, “I am thrilled to support Emily’s List candidates (pro-choice pro-woman!) on my trip across America! #voteearlyvoteoften”

BuzzFeed first broke the news of Dunham’s alliance with EMILY’s List.

The 11-state book tour will make stops in Iowa and Texas, where EMILY’s List has been endorsing Staci Appel for Congress and Wendy Davis for governor, respectively.

Dunham has become Hollywood’s poster-girl for feminism and frequently addresses woman’s issues on her show, Twitter account and most recently, in her memoir.

The actress has also teamed up with Planned Parenthood and published a blog on their site to encourage people to get out and vote.

“I vote because the number of backwards, out-of-touch, downright freaking unbelievably anti-women’s health politicians out there right now makes my blood boil,” Dunham writes. “But rather than go deep into a rage spiral, I vote. It’s healthier, more effective and infinitely more pleasant.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — How do you get millennial voters from their dorm rooms to voting booths on Election Day? Try sarcasm.

Rock the Vote, best known for its celebrity endorsers and partnership with MTV, has released five new ads featuring cynical narrators daring young voters to turn out in the midterm cycle.

The ads, part of the “Care Like Crazy” campaign, focus on issues young voters care about, said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote. “We really wanted to drive home the message that if you care like crazy about issues, you have to vote,” she said.

While young Americans are less likely to vote this year than they were in 2010, according to a survey by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, Rock the Vote is hoping the ads will change that.

In one, a man with a grocery bag under his arm talks about the importance of voting to women’s issues—before taking a surprising turn.

“I never forget [to vote] because I care about people, like women,” he says. “I love women — but they’ll never be as smart as men.”

In another, concerning student loan debt, a callous businessman tells the camera he won’t “let a bunch of kids whining about their student loans ruin my business.”

“If you still live in your parents’ basement, you shouldn’t decide our future,” he says.

Both ads end with the same question to viewers: He Votes. Do You?

“These aren’t the traditional political ads,” said Spillane. “We went to edgy and funny to get their focus.”

The TV ads, backed by a $250,000 buy, will appear in college towns throughout six states, as well as on websites including YouTube and Hulu.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says in a new book that the administration should have left a residual force of American troops in Iraq following the 2011 military withdrawal, despite Baghdad’s refusal to grant soldiers immunity from prosecution for any alleged war crimes.

Panetta, who served as defense chief from 2011 through 2013, claims he tried to convince President Obama that some U.S. presence would be needed in Iraq to keep the government stabilized and prevent the rise of militant groups.

His advice may have been prescient. Panetta was fearful that without American troops, Iraq “could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.”

The U.S. is now waging an air offensive against Sunni extremists known as the Islamic State, which has overrun large regions of both Iraq and Syria.

Panetta also writes in Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace that the arguments he and others had with the president and his staff “occasionally became heated.”

Nonetheless, Panetta maintains that the administration was “so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.”

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — Acknowledging doubts about immigration reform and questions about his commitment to it, Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala attendees on Thursday night, “Let me put those questions to rest right now,” and pledged not to give up on a comprehensive fix to U.S. immigration policies.

“Fixing our broken immigration system is one more big thing that we have to do and that we will do,” he said after referencing health care.

Repeating something he often says about big initiatives on his agenda, Obama warned that Republican opponents will bring out every “excuse” they can find to block it.

However, Obama said, “If House Republicans brought the Senate bill up for a vote today, I would pass…it would pass today…I would sign it today and they know it.”

Obama urged those in attendance for their support, asking them to “keep putting pressure on Congress,” noting that a Senate bill would be more “comprehensive” and “lasting” than any executive order he made.

“The next month, month and a half, six weeks, eight weeks, I’m going to be spending that time, not just talking about what we’ve done for the economy but explaining why immigration reform is good for our economy and why it’s good for everybody,” Obama said Thursday night.

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US Senate(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. praised a Turkish vote to allow its military to join the coalition operating against ISIS in Iraq and Syria Thursday.

Calling the vote “a very positive development,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the U.S. “will continue to consult with the Turkish government on the specifics of how the implementation of that authority would be carried out.” Hagel, speaking at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Yves LeDrian, said that the U.S. does not currently plan on implementing a “buffer zone” that would give Syrian refugees a humanitarian area — something that has been discussed by Turkey.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also praised the vote, noting “numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria.”

Gen. John Allen, recently named Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk are in Iraq drumming up support for the coalition, and will travel to Turkey later on their current trip.

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US Senate(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. praised a Turkish vote to allow its military to join the coalition operating against ISIS in Iraq and Syria Thursday.

Calling the vote “a very positive development,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the U.S. “will continue to consult with the Turkish government on the specifics of how the implementation of that authority would be carried out.” Hagel, speaking at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Yves LeDrian, said that the U.S. does not currently plan on implementing a “buffer zone” that would give Syrian refugees a humanitarian area — something that has been discussed by Turkey.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also praised the vote, noting “numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria.”

Gen. John Allen, recently named Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk are in Iraq drumming up support for the coalition, and will travel to Turkey later on their current trip.

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