Russia

10 things you need to know today: November 13, 2014

A convoy of pro-Russian tanks rumbles towards Donetsk, Ukraine. 

A convoy of pro-Russian tanks rumbles towards Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/ Mstyslav Chernov)

The Week

Russian tanks return to Ukraine, Europe’s Philae probe lands on a comet, and more

1. Russia invades Ukraine… again
Russian tanks and troops entered Ukraine near strongholds of pro-Moscow separatists, NATO officials said Wednesday. Russia, which had been accused before of invading, denied it was intervening in the conflict. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was resuming the Cold-War-era tactic of flying bomber patrols near U.S. territorial waters due to NATO’s “anti-Russia inclinations.” [The New York Times, Los Angeles Times]

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2. Philae makes first landing on a comet in history
A European Space Agency probe from the mothership Rosetta made the first landing on a comet ever on Wednesday. The 220-pound Philae lander’s two harpoons, designed to anchor it to the surface of the comet, failed to deploy, but scientists said Philae will still be able to take samples that could unlock how planets and life formed. [National Geographic]

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3. Courts rule in favor of same-sex marriage in Kansas and South Carolina
Gay-marriage advocates added to a string of victories on Wednesday when the Supreme Courtended a stay that had prevented Kansas from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier the same day a federal judge in Charleston struck down South Carolina’s gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional. [Los Angeles Times]

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4. New Orleans watchdog says sex crimes were not investigated
Five New Orleans police detectives charged with investigating sex crimes failed to look into the vast majority of cases assigned to them over three years, according to a city inspector general report released Wednesday. Out of 1,290 sex crime calls, the detectives dismissed 840 as “miscellaneous” and did nothing. [The New York Times]

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5. Minor earthquake hits Kansas and Oklahoma
A 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday. It was the strongest temblor since a series of minor quakes began over a year ago. Wednesday’s earthquake came a day after a 2.6-magnitude quake in southern Kansas. The only damage reported from Wednesday’s quake: Trees fell and damaged one house’s foundation. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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6. NOAA confirms cyberattack by China
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that four of its websites were attacked by Chinese hackers. NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, said hackers struck a few weeks ago. An internal report warned in July that NOAA had grave technology security problems. [NBC News]

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7. Turkish nationalists rough up U.S. sailors
A group of young Turkish ultranationalists assaulted three U.S. sailors on shore leave in Istanbul early Wednesday. The attackers shouted anti-American slogans, such as “Yankee, go home,” threw red paint at them, and called them murderers. The sailors escaped. The U.S. Navy called the attack “appalling.” [The Huffington Post]

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8. New York prosecutor directs $35 million to testing rape kits
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced Wednesday that he would dedicate $35 million for helping U.S. prosecutors clear a backlog by testing tens of thousands of rape kits. Vance was flanked by Law & Order actress Mariska Hargitay, whose Joyful Heart Foundation will put up some of the money. [New York Daily News]

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9. Stranded window washers saved at World Trade Center tower
Emergency crews rescued two window washers from scaffolding dangling at the 68th floor of the 104-floor One World Trade Center building in New York City on Wednesday. The rescuers cut through three layers of glass to get to the men and pull them to safety. The men were taken to a hospital to be treated for mild hypothermia. [CNN]

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10. Kershaw and Kluber win Cy Young Awards
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won his second straight National League Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians narrowly beat the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, who won the pitching prize in 2010, to win in the American League. [Fox News]

 

10 things you need to know today: November 6, 2014

The midterms were...

The midterms were… (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Week

Republicans lay out their legislative agenda, Obama assesses the damage, and more

1. Republicans lay out their legislative agenda
A day after retaking the Senate and adding to their majority in the House, the GOP leadership is letting Americans in on their plan for the next two years. Chief among their priorities is balancing the budget, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and revising or repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republican lawmakers are also expected to use their new-found control of the Senate to work towards large-scale revisions to the tax code. [The New York Times]

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2. Obama assesses the midterms
President Obama on Wednesday assessed his party’s resounding defeat in the midterm elections, saying the clear message from voters was that Washington needs to scrap the dysfunction and finally “get stuff done.” Obama said he would work with Republicans on issues where there is broad bipartisan agreement, and take executive action when he is compelled to act alone. “Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions Congress won’t like.” [Time]

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3. Judge overturns Missouri’s same-sex marriage ban
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison struck down Missouri’s ban on gay marriage. In June, St. Louis officials handed out four marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of the state’s 10-year-old constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage. The move was designed to set up a show down in the courts over the ban in the hopes of overturning it. Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster, announced that he would not appeal the ruling because he wanted Missouri’s future to “be one of inclusion, not exclusion.” [CBS]

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4. Russia snubs 2016 nuclear arms summit
Russian officials have decided to skip a 2016 nuclear security summit being held in Chicago, according to the U.S. State Department. Russia will instead attend a symposium hosted by the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency. The move comes at a time when the relationship between Washington and Moscow has been severely strained thanks to the crisis in Ukraine. In March, both Russia and the United State attended the last nuclear summit, which took place in The Hague. [Reuters]

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5. Deadly attack in Jerusalem fuels tension
Two people were killed in Jerusalem when a driver rammed into a line of commuters waiting for a train. The authorities killed the assailant but not before he got out of his car and assaulted a group of bystanders with a metal bar. The attack was the latest deadly incident in a city that has seen mounting tension over the past few months. [Time]

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6. Kerry pushes for deal with Iranians over their nuclear program
Secretary of State John Kerry said that he is hoping to finalize a deal with Iran over its nuclear capacity before a Nov. 24 deadline for negotiations. “I want to get this done,” said Kerry, who added that Iran has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The U.S. and five other countries have been in talks with Iran for months to convince the rogue nation to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. [The Washington Post]

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7. Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola is released from hospital
Teresa Romero Ramos, the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa, left the hospital after a month of treatment. The Spanish nurse was still weak, but called her recovery a “miracle” from God. Doctors said Ramos is no longer contagious and that they learned several lessons about treating Ebola patients from her case. [CNN]

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8. Tesla beats third quarter expectations
Tesla, the manufacturer behind the all-electric Model S car, reported a modest, third-quarter profit of $3 million. The company delivered a record-setting 7,785 sedans, which boosted its sales to $932 million. Analysts had expected the company to report lower revenues. [Forbes]

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9. Van Gogh painting sells for $61.8 million
Vincent van Gogh’s “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies” fetched $61.8 million at auction — almost $12 million more than its estimated value. The painting, which van Gogh created at his doctor’s house just a few months before his death, was purchased by a private collector from Asia. The still life was one of the few canvases van Gogh was able to sell before he passed away in 1890. [BBC]

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10. Public outcry prompts Starbucks to bring back Eggnog Latte
Starbucks is bringing back its seasonal — and apparently very popular — Eggnog Latte after an outpouring on social media. The company had decided to take it off the menu to streamline its offerings but decided that was the wrong move. “We made a mistake,” says spokeswoman Linda Mills. “We are very sorry.” [USA Today]

10 things you need to know today: September 28, 2014

Hong Kong police fire tear gas and pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators

Hong Kong police fire tear gas and pepper spray into a crowd of demonstrators Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

The Week

Hong Kong police disperse protesters with tear gas, Russia calls for another “reset” with the U.S., and more.

1. Hong Kong police bombard demonstrators with tear gas
After days of pro-democracy protests outside government headquarters, Hong Kong police on Sunday bombarded protesters with tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The escalation came after police blocked entrance points to the main demonstration site, leading protesters to spill onto a six-lane highway and block traffic. Thousands of demonstrators camped outside the government complex through the weekend as part of the Occupy Central movement, which is protesting restrictions China imposed on the first ever election to choose Hong Kong’s leader. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]

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2. Russia calls for ‘reset 2.0′ with Washington
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday said it was time for a second “reset” moment between Moscow and Washington. “The current U.S. administration is destroying today much of the cooperation structure that it created itself along with us,” he said. “Most likely, something more will come up — a reset no.2 or a reset 2.0.” Lavrov was referring to the Obama administration’s infamous “reset” with Russia, in which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Moscow with a big red button that, due to a translating error, said “overload” and not “reset.” [Reuters]

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3. Police seeking two suspects in shooting of Missouri cop
A manhunt is on for two suspects accused of shooting a police officer Saturday night in Ferguson, Missouri. The two men ran when an officer approached them outside a closed community center, and during the chase one of the men turned and fired a handgun, striking the officer in the arm, according to police. Ferguson has been rocked by extreme racial unrest since August when a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. [CBS]

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4. Ex-congressman James Traficant dead at 73
Former Rep. James Traficant died on Saturday after sustaining injuries in a tractor accident on an Ohio farm. He was 73. The ex-Democratic lawmaker was helping his daughter move a tractor last week when the vehicle tipped over and landed on top of him. The eccentric politician — known widely for punctuating speeches on the House floor by exclaiming “Beam me up!” — was expelled from Congress in 2002 after being convicted of federal corruption charges. [The New York Times,Politico]

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5. Catalonia calls for secession vote
The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region on Saturday defied the central government and called for an independence vote. “Like all the nations of the world, Catalonia has the right to decide its political future,” President Artur Mas said. The Spanish government said it would hold an emergency session to challenge the referendum before Spain’s Constitutional Court. [The Associated Press]

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6. George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin wed in Venice
George Clooney is Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor no more, as the actor on Saturday married British human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin. Technically, Saturday’s lavish ceremony, held at the seven-star Aman Canal Grande Hotel, was symbolic. The civil ceremony is to take place Sunday at the historical Palazzo Cavalli. [USA Today, CNN]

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7. Dozens feared dead in Japanese volcano eruption
At least 30 people are believed to have been killed following the eruption on Saturday of a volcano in central Japan, according to rescue workers. Mount Ontake erupted Saturday just before noon, spewing ash and rocks on climbers who were hiking the popular mountain. About 250 people were initially trapped on the hillside following the eruption, and another 45 were reportedly missing. [The Associated Press, BBC]

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8. Air France pilots end strike
After a two-week stalemate, Air France pilots on Sunday agreed to end a strike over cost-cutting proposals. A union spokesperson said no final deal had been reached, but that pilots would return to the job so negotiations could “continue in a calmer climate.” The strike grounded half of the airline’s flights at an estimated cost of about $25 million a day. [USA Today, BBC]

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9. Kenyan man sets marathon world record
Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto set a new world record marathon time on Sunday, finishing Berlin’s race in an astonishing two hours, two minutes, and 57 seconds. The 30-year-old Kimetto, who last year won marathons in Tokyo and Boston, is the first runner to finish the 26.2 mile race in under two hours and three minutes. “I felt good from the start and in the last few miles I felt I could do it and break the record,” he said after the race. [NBC, BBC]

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10. Baseball’s regular season ends today
It’s Game 162 across Major League Baseball today, as the regular season comes to a close. The outcome of a few games could shake up the playoff seeding or force one-game tiebreakers to settle divisional and wild card races. Yet for the first time in two decades, neither the Yankees nor Red Sox will play October baseball. Speaking of those two clubs, Yankee legend Derek Jeter, who is retiring, will fittingly play the final game of his career in Boston. [MLB.com, ESPN]

10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2014

Incursion? What incursion?

Incursion? What incursion? (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Week

Ukraine accuses Russia of a new military incursion, a mother pleads with ISIS for her son’s release, and more

1. Ukraine says Russia is sending more troops over the border
Ukraine accused Russia of sending a fresh wave of troops over its eastern border on Wednesday, dimming hopes that a meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier would lead to a cease-fire. A rebel leader said thousands of Russians were fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists, but Russia denies its soldiers are involved. Ukraine said it had detained a Russian soldier who confessed his unit was helping rebels open a new front near Crimea, which Moscow annexed in March. [Reuters, BBC News]

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2. Journalist’s mother pleads with ISIS for his release
The mother of kidnapped American journalist Steven Sotloff released a video on Wednesday in which she pleaded directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to release her son. Sotloff was shown in the ISIS video of the beheading of journalist James Foley in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. In her video, which aired on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network, Shirley Sotloff asks the ISIS leader “to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.” [The Christian Science Monitor]

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3. Apple loses bid to ban sales of old Samsung phones
A judge on Wednesday denied Apple’s request for an injunction to stop Samsung from selling older-model smartphones that contain components infringing on Apple patents. The case was based on a $119.6 million jury verdict Apple won against Samsung in May. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, however, ruled that Apple would not “suffer irreparable harm” if Samsung continued to sell the devices, which include the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S2, and Galaxy S3. [CNET]

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4. CBO predicts a $506 billion deficit
The federal government should finish its fiscal year in September with a deficit of $506 billion, according to a projection released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office. The figure is slightly higher than April’s estimate of $492 billion, due to lower-than-expected corporate income tax receipts. It is still significantly lower than the previous fiscal year’s deficit of $680 billion. The deficit has fallen for five straight years, from 9.8 percent of GDP in 2009 to 2.9 percent this year. [The New York Times]

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5. Judge effectively decriminalizes polygamy in Utah
A federal judge struck down a key part of Utah’s bigamy law, effectively legalizing polygamy in the state. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups on Wednesday ruled that a provision in the law making it a felony to cohabit with someone out of wedlock was unconstitutional, although it’s still illegal to have more than one active marriage license. The law was challenged by Kody Brown and his four wives — the stars of the TLC show Sister Wives. The state plans to appeal. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

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6. Michael Egan drops sex-abuse lawsuit against X-Men director Bryan Singer
Michael Egan, 31, on Wednesday withdrew his lawsuit accusing X-Men director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him when he was a teenager. Courts had already dismissed three other lawsuits Egan filed accusing other entertainment executives of abusing him when he was an aspiring teen actor. Singer had asked that the lawsuit against him be dismissed, calling it a “sick, twisted shakedown.” Egan’s two original lawyers last month asked to be withdrawn from the case. [NBC News]

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7. Jury acquits Texas man accused of shooting driver who killed his sons
A Texas jury on Wednesday acquitted a man, David Barajas, who was accused in the shooting death of the drunken driver who crashed into his pickup, killing his 12- and 11-year-old sons. Prosecutors said Barajas ran to his home 100 yards from the crash site, got a pistol, and came back to shoot the driver, 20-year-old Jose Banda. Defense attorneys said there was no evidence linking Barajas to the shooting. Barajas said he was praying for Banda’s family. “They lost a son, too,” he said. [The Associated Press]

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8. Tsarnaev sister accused of making a bomb threat
A sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was arrested in New York City on Wednesday for allegedly threatening a Harlem woman. Ailina Tsarnaev, 23, was charged with aggravated harassment. She allegedly threatened the woman in a phone call, saying, “I have people that can go over there and put a bomb on you.” Police officials did not immediately provide any other details in the case. Ailina Tsarnaev reportedly lives with another sister, Bella, in North Bergen, N.J. [The Boston Globe]

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9. Cops crew member killed covering a robbery
A crew member with the Spike TV show Cops was shot and killed during filming as officers disrupted a robbery at an Omaha fast-food restaurant, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday. The suspect, Cortez Washington, fired an Airsoft pellet gun at officers, who mistook the toy for a real weapon and returned fire. Police kept firing as Washington, mortally wounded, stumbled outside. That was when a bullet struck sound-mixer Bryce Dion through a gap in his bullet-proof vest, killing him. [Entertainment Weekly]

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10. USC suspends star Josh Shaw over phony tale of heroism
University of Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw admitted Wednesday that he had lied when he said he sprained both ankles jumping from a balcony to save his young nephew from drowning. Shaw, a senior and team co-captain, said he really just fell from the balcony. “I was wrong not to tell the truth,” he said. The university, calling Shaw’s tale of heroism a “complete fabrication,” suspended him indefinitely from the football team’s activities. [NBC News]

10 things you need to know today: August 12, 2014

Fans pay tribute.

Fans pay tribute. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

The Week

1. Robin Williams dies at the age of 63
Robin Williams, the actor who gave us Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society,and Good Will Hunting, has died. Though the investigation is ongoing, the Marin County Sheriff’s Department said the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.” The Oscar-winning actor had been battling severe depression, according to one of his representatives. [Fox]

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2. Iraq nominates new prime minister, ignites impasse with Maliki
Iraqi officials on Monday nominated a new prime minister to replace embattled Nouri al-Maliki, who has been blamed for deepening sectarian divides across the country. Maliki vowed to fight the nomination of Haider al-Abadi through the courts and even by force, sparking fears that his threats could destabilize the country or even lead to a coup. President Barack Obama has publicly backed Abadi’s nomination and made Maliki’s replacement a prerequisite for further American military aid in Iraq’s fight against the militant group ISIS. [The New York Times]

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3. Iraqi and Kurdish forces rescue about 20 Yazidis stranded in the desert
About 20 Yazidis were rescued from Mount Sinjar after Iraqi and Kurdish forces swooped in on a helicopter to airlift the people out. The mission also dropped off much-needed supplies, including diapers, food, and water, to the thousands of families who were left behind. The dramatic rescue comes as the Yazidis, a small Kurdish minority, have been targeted by the militant group ISIS. [CNN]

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4. FBI launches investigation of Michael Brown shooting in St. Louis
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown was a civil rights violation. Brown, who is black, was on his way home from a convenience store when he was shot by a police officer in the suburbs of St. Louis. He was shot multiple times; the officer said Brown got into a physical altercation with him and pushed him into his squad car while Brown’s friend said they were unarmed and had their hands up. [New York Daily News]

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5. NATO warns Russia’s humanitarian mission to Ukraine could be a prelude to invasion
Early Tuesday, Russia said it is sending a convoy of about 280 trucks carrying food, medicine, and other supplies to the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, controlled by pro-Russia separatists and under siege by Ukrainian troops. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday warnedthat there is “a high probability” that Russia will stage a military intervention in Ukraine, saying that as Ukraine closes in on the major separatist-held cities, Russia’s state-run media has increasingly warned about the humanitarian crisis.

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6. Talks resume as Israeli-Palestinian truce holds
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in Egypt in the hopes the two sides will soon be able to reach a lasting cease-fire agreement. The two entities are currently in the middle of another 72-hour cease-fire designed to give both sides some breathing room to come up with a more long-term solution. It’s not clear how much progress has been made. Hamas is demanding an end to the Gaza blockade, while Israel wants Hamas to fully disarm. [ABC]

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7. Drugmaker runs out of Ebola treatment
Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego says it has exhausted its supply of a revolutionary newEbola treatment credited with saving lives during the latest outbreak. Known as ZMapp, the last of the medication was sent to Liberia to treat doctors who have contracted the deadly disease. The announcement came amid heated debate as to the ethics of whom should receive the drug when hundreds are dying and there is such a limited supply. [The Washington Post]

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8. California school district shelves controversial sex ed book
After getting complaints from 2,200 parents and residents, the Fremont school district has decided hold off using a controversial health textbook that discussed everything from sexual bondage to vibrators and sex games. The superintendent has asked that the book remain on hold until the matter is fully investigated. The book was supposed to be given to ninth-graders. [Los Angeles Times]

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9. Barneys settles over racial profiling allegations
Barneys has decided to settle over allegations that it racially profiled at its store in New York City. After a nine-month investigation, the retailer will pay a $525,000 fine and implement new policies designed to spot employees who profile. Last year, two black customers reported that the store had falsely accused them of credit card fraud. [NPR]

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10. Doctors in Mexico remove a 150-pound tumor
It took four hours, but surgeons in Mexico were able to remove a 150-pound tumor. The patient, 51-year-old Mercedes Talamantes, said that the tumor began growing in her ovaries five years ago, but that she had been housebound for only the last two. About a month ago, her daughter convinced her to see a doctor about the growth. [ABC]

10 things you need to know today: July 30, 2014

A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli airstrike seeks treatment.

A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli airstrike seeks treatment. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Week

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis deepens, Obama unveils new sanctions against Russia, and more

1. Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza
Israel continued its intensified bombing and shelling of Gaza on Wednesday, killing an estimated 40 people overnight and pushing the Gaza death toll to 1,270. The humanitarian crisis deepened after Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power plant, leaving the Palestinian enclave without power or sewer services. Israel says the campaign will continue until it stops rocket fire and destroys the tunnels Hamas militants are using to attack Israelis. [The Washington Post]

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2. Obama unveils new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis
President Obama announced tough new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday over artillery strikes fired from Russia into Ukraine, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 earlier this month in a part of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The measures targeted banks, the energy sector, a large defense firm, and other key contributors to Russia’s economy. The European Union imposed even tougher sanctions. [The New York Times]

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3. Yosemite fire threatens redwoods and limits park access
A wildfire in Yosemite National Park grew on Tuesday, expanding to 3,060 acres and temporarily cutting off access to some of the California park. The flames threatened a grove of giant redwoods and forced authorities to close three campgrounds at the height of the summer tourist season. The fire was the latest in a flare-up caused by extreme drought conditions affecting 80 percent of the state. [USA Today]

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4. Knife-wielding mob kills dozens in China
A mob armed with knives attacked ethnic Han and Muslim Uighur civilians in the latest in a series of violent outbursts in China’s tense Xinjiang region. Dozens of people were killed by the gang, according to local police interviewed by the official Xinhua News Agency. Dozens of the attackers also were killed, shot dead by authorities after targeting government offices and a police station. [Bloomberg News]

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5. European ransom payments now bankroll al Qaeda
European governments have quietly paid al Qaeda between $125 million and $165 million in ransoms for kidnapping victims since 2008, including at least $66 million in the past year alone, according to a New York Times investigation. The money, funneled through intermediaries, is sometimes disguised as development aid. Counterterrorism officials believe the payoffs now overshadow cash from big donors as al Qaeda’s main funding source. [The New York Times]

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6. Colorado high court orders halt to Boulder same-sex marriage licenses
The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Boulder County Court Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples until the high court rules on the state’s gay-marriage ban. Hall began issuing gay couples licenses in June after a federal appeals court in Denver overturned Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. She said she would comply but expected the stay to be brief, “given the avalanche of recent cases determining that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.” [NBC News]

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7. Massive water-line break floods part of UCLA’s campus
The main water line broke at UCLA on Tuesday, sending water shooting 30 feet into the air. Eight million to 10 million gallons of water flooded parts of campus — including Pauly Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball and other sports teams. Water also covered a stretch of Sunset Boulevardbefore the ruptured line was shut off after four hours. The 90-year-old line was nearly three feet wide and carried 75,000 gallons a minute. [Los Angeles Times]

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8. Court ruling keeps Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic open
A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a Mississippi law that threatened to close the state’s lone abortion clinic, saying it would essentially end abortion in the state and place an undue burden on women. The court didn’t overturn the law, which required clinic doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, but the decision could doom it. Clinic supporters said the law amounted to an unconstitutional state ban on abortion. [The Clarion-Ledger]

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9. NCAA agrees to $70-million concussion lawsuit settlement
The NCAA has agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action lawsuit over head injuries in contact sports by creating a $70 million fund to monitor the health of athletes who suffer brain trauma. The governing body of college sports also said it would establish rules on how schools handle such injuries. Critics, including the plaintiffs, had said leaving the policies up to individual institutions put players’ health at risk. [ESPN]

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10. Ebola kills leading doctor fighting the virus in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s leading doctor fighting West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak died Tuesday afternoon from the virus. The physician, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, had treated more than 100 patients and was hailed as a national hero by his government. More than 670 people, including three nurses who worked with Khan, have died in the outbreak, which is already the largest ever recorded. [Los Angeles Times]

10 things you need to know today: July 29, 2014

Putin watches a parade to celebrate Russia's Navy Day on Sunday. 

Putin watches a parade to celebrate Russia’s Navy Day on Sunday. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

The Week

Judges rule Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, the U.S. and Europe tighten sanctions against Russia, and more

1. Court rules overturns Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban
A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional because barring gay couples from marrying amounted to a new form of “segregation.” The 2-to-1 decision, upholding a lower court ruling, extended a winning streak for gay marriage advocates in court. After the decision, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) said his state would end its “vigorous” defense of a similar ban. [The Washington Post]

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2. Washington and Europe tighten Russia sanctions
The U.S. and the European Union agreed to intensify sanctions against Russia for allegedly returning troops to the Ukraine border and sending heavy weapons to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The E.U. had been resisting tougher sanctions, but in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, European leaders have rallied behind measures more severe than Washington’s. [The New York Times]

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3. Court says Donald Sterling can’t block Clippers’ sale
Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling lost a battle to block the team’s sale, when a California judge issued a preliminary ruling allowing Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, to proceed. Judge Michael Levanas said Shelly Sterling had the authority to negotiate the $2-billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after two doctors found Donald Sterling to be mentally incapacitated. [USA Today]

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4. U.S. accuses Russia of violating missile treaty
The Obama administration on Monday accused Russia of violating a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a cruise missile. The State Department said it had attempted to talk to Moscow about the issue for more than a year. Under the treaty, Russia is not supposed to possess or test missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Moscow said it dismissed the charge after an investigation. [CNN]

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5. Three law enforcement officers wounded in shootout with accused pedophile
Two federal marshals and a New York City detective were wounded Monday in a shootout with a fugitive child molestation suspect in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The suspect, Charles Mozdir, died after being shot seven or eight times. Mozdir, 32, had been on the run for two years since a family friend accused him of molesting her son. Mozdir’s girlfriend reported him after seeing the case featured Sunday on John Walsh’s show The Hunt on CNN. [New York Post]

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6. Israel steps up strikes in Gaza
Israel hit Gaza overnight with the heaviest bombing of the three-week conflict. Israel targeted more than 70 sites, including government offices and other symbols of Hamas’ power. Israel also reportedly shelled Gaza’s only power plant, shutting it down. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “prolonged” fight, and a Hamas leader whose house was hit said the strikes would not break Palestinians’ determination. [ABC News]

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7. Texas man charged with sending envelopes with harmless white powder
A Rowlett, Texas, man was accused on Monday of sending more than 500 letters containing white powder to government offices, schools, and other locations since December 2008. The suspect — Hong Minh Truong, 66 — was charged with false information and hoaxes. One batch of the mailings included a letter stating, “Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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8. Congress announces $17 billion deal to improve veterans’ health care
House and Senate Veterans Affairs committee members unveiled a three-year, $17-billion deal on Monday to fix the veterans health-care system. Senate Democrats wanted $25 billion to reduce wait times for care; House Republicans wanted $10 billion. “The United States Congress is in my view a dysfunctional institution,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate committee, “so I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished.” [Fox News]

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9. Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar for $8.5 billion
Dollar Tree announced Monday that it was buying rival discount retailer Family Dollar for $8.5 billion. The surprising move came three months after Family Dollar announced that it would close 370 stores and slash prices following the latest in a series of disappointing earnings reports. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn had pushed for the merger of the No. 2 and No. 3 discounters, calling it “a big win” for Family Dollar shareholders. [The Washington Post]

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10. Bad timing killed the dinosaurs
What really wiped out the dinosaurs was a run of terrible luck, according to a new study published in Biological Reviews journal. The dinosaurs might have survived the impact of a six-mile-wide asteroid that paleontologists believe was the biggest factor in their demise if big plant eaters — prey for big carnivores — hadn’t just entered a period of decline. “If the asteroid hit five million years later or earlier, the dinosaurs might still be around,” one of the researchers said. [National Geographic]

10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2014

Gaza residents are using the short cease-fire to salvage what belongings are left.

Gaza residents are using the short cease-fire to salvage what belongings are left. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Note: The Week was published online at 10:33 am this morning, hence the late post…

The Week

Israel and Hamas enter 12-hour cease-fire, the U.S. embassy in Libya evacuates its staff, and more

1. Israel, Hamas enter 12-hour cease-fire as death toll passes 1,000
Gaza residents are taking advantage of today’s 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire to gather supplies, inspect damaged homes, and recover bodies from the rubble. Israeli forces are continuing to search for Hamas-built tunnels; meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry reported that the death toll has passed 1,000. The lull in fighting comes less than a day after Israeli cabinet members “unanimously rejected” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s week-long cease-fire proposal. [The Associated Press, NPR]

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2. U.S. embassy in Libya evacuates staff
The State Department evacuated its staff from the U.S. embassy in Libya today due to “the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias.” The embassy, located in Tripoli, was already running with very few staff members. Heavily armed Marines drove the remaining personnel to Tunisia early this morning, with air support in the form of two American F-16 fighter jets, along with several unmanned drones. In addition to evacuating the embassy, the State Department issued a travel warning, urging U.S. nationals not to enter the country, and those already in Libya to depart. [BBC News, NBC News]

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3. Russia reportedly firing across border on Ukrainian forces
Russia is carrying out artillery attacks on Ukrainian soldiers and gathering more sophisticated weaponry along its side of the border, likely to be used by separatist insurgents in the neighboring country, according to reports from Ukrainian and American officials. As the Ukrainian military has made inroads on retaking militant-controlled areas of the country in the last few weeks, Moscow has answered with drone attacks and the sending of more high-powered weaponry, such as tanks and rocket launchers, to Pro-Russia separatists. American officials say the attacks are likely meant to keep Ukrainian soldiers away from the border, which then clears the way for Russia to interact freely with the militants. [The New York Times]

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4. Iran confirms arrest of four journalists
Iran confirmed the arrest of Jason Rezaian, a correspondent for The Washington Post, on Friday. Rezaian, 38, is a U.S.-Iranian dual national. He was reportedly detained on Tuesday, along with his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who works as a correspondent for the National, a United Arab Emirates-based newspaper. Two other American citizens working as photojournalists were also detained with the couple, according to Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, director general of the Tehran Province Justice Department. The reason for the reporters’ arrest is unknown, and because the U.S. and Iran do not have a formal diplomatic relationship, negotiating a release may be difficult. [The Washington Post]

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5. Australia, Netherlands to send police to Flight 17 crash site
Both Australia and the Netherlands are negotiating with Ukraine to send dozens of police to the debris field from downed Flight MH17. The Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens to last week’s tragedy, hopes to send 40 unarmed military police, while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he intends to send an additional 100 Federal Police, to bolster 90 Defense Force troops already on the ground. Both countries’ decisions come following a week in which Russian-backed separatists, blamed for shooting down the jetliner, first tampered with and then impeded Ukrainian officials’ attempts to secure the crash site. [NPR]

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6. Bose files lawsuit against Beats over headphone patents
Less than three months after Apple agreed to buy Beats Electronics for $3 million (that deal is pending regulatory approval), Bose is suing Beats for what it claims are five different patent violations. Bose filed the lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Delaware on Friday, claiming Beats’ Studio noise-canceling headphones are in patent violation for use of technologies such as “dynamically configurable ANR filter block technology.” Bose is seeking an award for damages, along with an injunction to stop Beats from selling the headphones. [Time]

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7. Emergency contraceptives still effective for overweight women
The European Medicines Agency announced that Norlevo, a European drug “identical” to Plan B One-Step, would be an effective emergency contraceptive even for heavier women after all. The new report came after the EMA warned last fall that Norlevo might not work as well for women with BMIs over 25. The agency now says there “isn’t enough data to support the previous warning to women about weight.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not issued any similar warnings about Plan B’s effectiveness. [Time]

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8. Pope Francis reportedly plans visit to United States in 2015
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Caput told mass attendees at a Thursday mass in Fargo, North Dakota, that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to attend next September’s World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia. “Pope Francis has told me that he is coming,” the archbishop said, although the Philadelphia Archdiocese subsequently released a press release noting that the Vatican has not officially accepted the invitation, and probably will not do so until about six months before the event. Still, a spokesman for the Vatican said that Pope Francis is interested in making a trip to the U.S., and that he is also considering invitations from other cities. [Catholic News Service]

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9. New study shows Tylenol does not help ease back pain
Researchers published a new study which shows Tylenol and similar forms of acetaminophen may be no more effective than a placebo at treating back pain. Participants divided into three groups all reported similar variation in pain and recovery time, regardless of whether they were taking acetaminophen or a placebo. And, 75 percent of the participants reported being satisfied with their treatment results — including those given placebos. [Time, The Lancet]

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10. Russians lose control of gecko-filled satellite
Russian scientists sent a satellite filled with geckos into space on July 19, with the hopes of studying “the effects of weightlessness on lizard mating.” The geckos apparently put out a “do not disturb” sign, though, because Russian space firm Progress reported on Thursday that the scientists have lost control of the satellite, which is currently set to autopilot. While the scientists can still watch videos of the on-the-lam subjects, Progress said the satellite is not yet “responding to commands.” [Al Jazeera America]

10 things you need to know today: July 23, 2014

Kerry arrives in Tel Aviv. 

Kerry arrives in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Pool)

The Week

Kerry arrives in Israel for ceasefire talks, appeals courts clash on ObamaCare, and more

1. Kerry arrives in Israel to push peace
Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Israel on Wednesday to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. He flew into the country’s main airport in Tel Aviv a day after the FAA suspended U.S. flights to Israel due to the threat of rocket fire from Gaza.The fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that runs Gaza, has killed at least 31 Israelis and 650 Palestinians. [The New York Times, CBS News]

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2. Court confusion threatens a key part of ObamaCare
Two federal appeals courts handed down conflicting rulings Tuesday on a central component of ObamaCare — subsidies toward insurance premiums. The D.C. Circuit appeals court said only state-run exchanges, not the 36 federal-run ones, could award subsidies under the law — potentially eliminating assistance for 4.5 million people. The Fourth Circuit court then ruled all exchanges could distribute the subsidies. [Politico]

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3. U.S. concludes Ukrainian rebels — not Russia — shot down Malaysia Airlines plane
Evidence indicates that Ukrainian separatists allied with Russia — not Russia itself — fired the missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 people on board, U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday. Moscow, however, set up the tragedy by arming and training the rebels, the officials said. The European Union expanded sanctions against Russia for failing to rein in the rebels. [Fox News, The Washington Post]

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4. Border authorities arrest 200 in crackdown
U.S. authorities have arrested 200 people and confiscated $625,000 in a crackdown on human smuggling since a surge in illegal immigration over the U.S.-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday. The campaign, he said, shows that those entering the country illegally will be sent back, and “those who prey upon migrants for financial gain will be targeted, arrested, and prosecuted.” [Reuters]

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5. Justices rule Arizona execution can proceed
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared Arizona to carry out the execution of a murderer, Joseph Wood, who had demanded to know the maker of the two drugs the state plans to use to put him to death. Wood was convicted in 1989 of killing his estranged girlfriend and her father. He argued that the state’s refusal to provide information on where it got the drugs violated his rights. The drugs are in short supply due to a European export ban. [BBC News]

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6. Ex-CEO David Perdue wins Georgia GOP Senate primary runoff
Former Dollar General CEO David Perdue upset 11-term Rep. Jack Kingston in Tuesday’sRepublican Senate primary runoff in Georgia. That set up a general election duel for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat between Perdue and Michelle Nunn — daughter of former senator Sam Nunn and former head of George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light volunteer group. Nunn is considered one of the few Democrats with a shot at snatching a GOP seat. [The New York Times]

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7. Apple profits rise
Apple reported earnings of $1.28 a share on Tuesday, beating analysts’ expectations of $1.23 a share thanks to strong iPhone sales. Its $7.7 billion net profit was a record for a June quarter. Revenue came in at $37.4 billion, slightly lower than the $37.98 billion forecast. The iPhone and iPad maker’s stock inched down on the news, but CEO Tim Cook said he “couldn’t be happier” about the company’s performance. [CNBC]

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8. Largest wildfire in Washington history forces evacuations
Firefighters in Washington made limited progress Tuesday against the biggest wildfire in the state’s history. The massive Carlton Complex fire 120 miles northeast of Seattle has already destroyed 200 homes, and continues to force new evacuations. The fire was started last week by a lightning strike, and has burned 380 square miles. [Reuters]

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9. Packer recalls fruit sold at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and other stores
California’s Wawona Packing Co. is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots that were packaged between June 1 and July 12 due to possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. Wawona detected the problem through internal testing. The fruit was sold at Trader Joe’s, Costco, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., and Ralphs stores. [Los Angeles Times]

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10. Chinese city quarantined over bubonic plague cases
Major swaths of China’s northwestern city of Yumen have been sealed off after a resident died of the bubonic plague last week. Over 150 who came into direct contact with the victim were place under quarantine, although none has shown sign of infection. [The New York Times]

10 things you need to know today: July 10, 2014

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike. 

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike | (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The Week

Israel launches a third day of air strikes on Hamas, Utah asks the Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage, and more

1. Israel steps up its Gaza offensive as death toll rises
Israeli air strikes — intended to stop Hamas rocket fire — killed eight members of a family, including five children, in Gaza early Thursday, according to Palestinian officials. Israel’s three-day air offensive has killed at least 66 people, Gaza medical authorities said. Israel says it is targeting Hamas sites, including launchers behind a barrage of more than 320 rockets into Israel. The rockets have paralyzed businesses and sent thousands fleeing southern Israel but caused no serious casualties. [Reuters]

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2. Utah asks the Supreme Court to take gay marriage case
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Wednesday that he was taking his state’s appeal of a ruling declaring its same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reyes said he was seeking “clarity and resolution from the highest court” instead of appealing to the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A panel of three of the court’s judges last month upheld a lower-court decision overturning the ban. It was the first federal appeals court ruling on gay marriage. [USA Today]

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3. Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years in bribery scandal
A federal judge sentenced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for public corruption on Wednesday. A jury in February found the two-term Democrat guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and favors from businessmen seeking special treatment from his administration. Nagin, who was the city’s face in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, maintains his innocence. He is the first New Orleans mayor ever sent to prison for corruption. [CNN]

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4. Snowden asks Russia to extend his temporary asylum
Fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has officially applied to Russia toextend his temporary asylum in the country, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia’s Interfaxnews agency on Wednesday. Snowden’s year-long Russian visa is set to expire on July 31. Snowden, 31, was trying to flee to Cuba after leaking secret documents on NSA mining of phone and internet records, but he got stuck in a Moscow airport after the U.S. revoked his passport. [Los Angeles Times]

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5. Report finds 40 percent of colleges have not investigated a rape in five years
Many colleges are “failing to comply with the law” in investigating campus rapes, according to a report released Wednesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). About 40 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in five years, and one in five institutions allowed their athletic departments oversight of cases involving student athletes. McCaskill said that was a “big problem” because the departments want to protect athletes. [NBC NewsThe Washington Post]

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6. Obama urges Rick Perry to back $3.7 billion immigration plan
President Obama challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to rally his fellow Republicans behind a $3.7 billion White House proposal to address a crisis created by a wave of Central American immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. over the Mexican border. Obama said he told Perry the proposal to care for and deport the children would meet GOP calls for increased border security. Perry said later on Fox News that Obama could stop the “humanitarian crisis” by sending National Guard troops to secure the border. [The New York TimesFox News]

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7. Weakening storm hits Japan’s main islands
Typhoon Neoguri, once the strongest storm yet of the Pacific season, has slammed into Japan’s southernmost main island, flooding hundreds of homes with heavy rain. Authorities urged thousands of people to seek shelter from the storm, which has injured nearly 50 people and been linked to five deaths. The weakening storm, which first ravaged the Okinawa island chain, is expected to hit the country’s biggest island, Honshu, next, and reach the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday. [AFP]

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8. Colorado says annual legal pot demand will reach 130 tons
A day after Washington became the second state to allow legal marijuana sales, Colorado, where the nation’s first licensed pot stores opened in January, released a study estimating its marijuana demand at 130 tons per year. The projection was far higher than expected, and it came as tax figures showed that the state’s retail supply was growing. “The primary difference is caused by much heavier dosage amounts consumed by the state’s ‘heavy user’ population,” the Colorado Department of Revenue report said. [Reuters]

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9. Alleged prostitute arrested in connection with Google executive’s overdose
Police have uncovered a surveillance video they say suggests that a Google executive, Forrest Hayes, found dead on his yacht of an apparent overdose in November might actually have been a victim of manslaughter. Santa Clara, California, police have arrested Alix Tichelman, whom they describe as a high-end call girl, and accused her of injecting Hayes with heroin and callously leaving him to die on his yacht, Escape. Hayes was on the team working on the rollout of Google’s cutting-edge Glass eyewear. [ABC NewsMercury News]

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10. Argentina beats the Netherlands to advance to World Cup final
Argentina eliminated the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday to win a spot in the World Cup final against Germany. After 120 minutes of regulation and extra time, the teams remained locked in a scoreless tie. Then Argentina’s goalkeeper, Sergio Romero, confidently blocked two Dutch players’ penalty kicks, while his teammates Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, and Maxi Rodriquez blasted their shots into the net. Argentina and Germany now square off July 13 for their third meeting in a World Cup final. [BloombergThe New York Times]