February 26th, 2014
04:41 AM ET

Five Things to Know for Your New Day –Wednesday, February 26

President Obama has blunt words for his Afghan counterpart. An anti-gay bill is in the Arizona governor's court. And obesity rates have plummeted among U.S. children.

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."


U.S. running out of patience: We're not bluffing: That's what the Obama administration told Afghanistan yesterdayIf no bilateral security deal is signed, the U.S. says it's planning to withdraw all its troops from the nation by the end of the year. The White House statement showed President Obama's impatience with President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign the agreement, which would keep thousands of American troops in the country after combat operations conclude this year.

What does this mean for both nations? Barbara Starr tells us at 6.


Sharp drop among children: The scales are tipping – in a good way – for the nation’s smallest eaters.  Obesity rates  for those ages 2 to 5 years have plummeted over the past decade, a new study shows. Between 2003 and 2012, obesity rates for those ages declined from 14% to 8%.  Great news, hopefully enduring. But experts say the fight is far from over.  "We still have a long way to go before we solve this problem once and for all," first lady Michelle Obama said yesterday. She has been instrumental in pushing the Lets Move! campaign to fight obesity.

What's behind the drop? Joe Johns brings us the latest at 6.


The bill's in her court: To sign or not to sign? That’s the question for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. All signs indicate she'll probably veto the bill, which would allow the use of religious beliefs as a basis for businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians. Supporters say it promotes religious freedom; opponents say it discriminates. In an exclusive interview with CNN in Washington, Brewer did not signal her intention either way. "I'm going to go home, and when I receive the bill, I'm going to read it and I'm going to be briefed on it. And I will make my decision in the near future," she said.

Ana Cabrera is live all morning with the latest.


Numbers pared down: This doesn't sound good. The number of plainclothes  federal officers protecting aircraft from terrorists has gone down in the past three years, according to an internal e-mail obtained by CNN. The exact number of marshals is secret, and the Homeland Security Department declined to say how many positions have been eliminated. Nor would it say what percentage of marshal positions were cut. But that's disconcerting news just days after the U.S. warned of shoe bomb threats.


New video, more questions: Relatives of a man who died after a struggle with cops at an Oklahoma movie theater released a cell phone video showing five officers restraining him on the ground. His wife, Nair Rodriguez, shot the video of her husband, Luis Rodriguez, outside a Moore theater this month. But questions remain about the manner of his death, and why the altercation between his wife and daughter prompted police action.


Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.

Runaway koala: Everyone fantasizes about breaking free from life's constraints. Mundu, a curious koala at the San Diego Zoo, did just that.  The 2-year-old escaped from his enclosure yesterday and spent the day sleeping in a tree high above his exhibit. Zoo officials say he’s on  the cusp of sexual maturity, and with raging hormones, he's constantly testing limits. Rage on, lil' fella. Rage on.

Close encounter: Girl gets whacked in the head by a whale. Maybe it just wanted a high-five?

Hands-free selfies: No more straining your arms for a good shot. The CamMe App lets you prop up your phone and take a picture from 16 feet away.  Just raise your fist to activate a 3-second timer, pose and off it goes. Clever, right? And free.


Oh, bear: We nearly overlooked this video of frolicking bear cubs. Until one of them started twerking, and we were sold. See how much thought goes into this?


Special kinda genius:  Oh, what to do when your car stalls? I know, I know! Tie it to a random bus for a free tow. Then sit back and watch the hilariously bad end result.



There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day" from 6 to 9 a.m. ET. Join us at NewDayCNN.com, and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY!

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. joldham

    It's funny that people like Red and Dan here think everything is so great but when it all goes to he#l in a hand basket they'll be the first to cry and moan..

    February 26, 2014 at 9:57 am | Reply
  2. whatever123

    @joldham Considering that was front page news all day yesterday, I'd say CNN covered that already.

    Bear cubs being born in captivity IS a story and they were only given a video slot, but I'm sure it doesn't fit with your personal agenda.

    February 26, 2014 at 9:47 am | Reply
  3. John Malcomb

    Why do you say fewer air marshals doesn’t sound good? You don’t back it up with facts like a news channel should. Maybe better pre-boarding screening has allowed it, saving the TSA money.
    I have a better idea than advertising an app for free (why are you doing that, anyway?). Just tell people to use their phone’s built-in timer.
    I love your YouTube videos on this page. You obviously don’t get permission to use these people’s material. Maybe your lawyers say it’s okay if they are embedded. If so, I have a great idea to make you more money: Have pages on CNN.com where you just post embedded stuff that will get eyeballs on the accompanying ads, even if it’s not news.

    February 26, 2014 at 8:43 am | Reply
  4. Dan

    lol come on man. Who, exactly, do we need to blow to hell right now with a massive military? Pretty sure if the defeat of our enemies were simply a matter of military conquest, we would have won every war in the past decade in about 2 weeks. I'm tired of people like you looking at any sort of reduction in military and not even pausing to think about why it might actually be a good idea.

    February 26, 2014 at 8:25 am | Reply
  5. Bill D

    CNN has too many video stories and not enough readable stories. Don't they know most people at work can't watch the videos?

    February 26, 2014 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Thank you for sharing, Bill. We appreciate the feedback and will provide this to those who need to see it.

      Happy #NewDay!
      CNN VCM

      February 26, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply
      • Craig

        I agree with Bill 100%. I only get a few minutes here and there to read the headlines. Too often the topics I'm interested in (on the homepage) are videos. At the various least, please provide a short text summary below every video.

        I'm a big fan of this daily 'five things to know'. Please make this a CNN.com staple for years to come.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:19 am |
      • TeamCNNCNN

        Thank you, Craig. We'll share with the producers and CNN's senior management.

        Happy #NewDay!

        February 26, 2014 at 10:22 am |
  6. joldham

    Again CNN tries to tell us the % things to start your day. Yeah, them bears are really important...
    What about this quote about the government cutting the military Budget "The Obama administration acknowledges the defense cuts are controversial but maintains they are being done with a specific intention:"... Yeah, that intention is to destroy this country...

    February 26, 2014 at 6:51 am | Reply
    • RedSchwartz

      Judging from such brilliance above, it's too late. Minds have been melted. Hilarity ensues.

      February 26, 2014 at 8:24 am | Reply
      • joldham

        You may think it is funny now but you won't be laughing when it happens. Just remember, you were told....

        February 26, 2014 at 9:50 am |

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