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10 things you need to know today: August 4, 2014

Harold Maass
An Israeli drone circles over Gaza City.  (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
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Israel says it will hold fire in most of Gaza for seven hours

Israel declared a unilateral seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire for Monday in most of the Gaza Strip. The announcement came after unusually strong criticism of Israel by the U.S. and the United Nations over apparent Israeli shelling that killed 10 people at a U.N. shelter. Palestinian health officials accused Israel of bombing a refugee camp west of Gaza City, injuring 30, after the ceasefire started. [Reuters, ABC News]


Air Force Academy investigates reports of sexual assault

The superintendent of the Air Force Academy has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual assault, drug use, cheating on exams, and other misconduct by cadet athletes, academy officials said Sunday. The accusations were partly based on reports of a December 2011 party where witnesses said athletes used synthetic marijuana, and raped a women who had been drugged. [The New York Times]


Islamic State extremists advance in Iraq's Kurdish north

Sunni extremist militants seized two towns in northern Iraq on Sunday — after taking another on Saturday — overwhelming Kurdish forces and sending thousands of people fleeing on foot. The offensive marked the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's first major push into Kurdish territory. The advance put the Sunni fighters within reach of the Mosul hydroelectric dam, the largest in Iraq. [The Washington Post]


American spy plane flew through Sweden's air space to dodge Russian aircraft

A U.S. surveillance plane flew into Swedish air space last month to avoid possible interception by Russian jets, American military officials said Sunday. The incident took place a day after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a missile over rebel-held territory near Russia's border with Ukraine. It was the latest brush between the U.S. and Russia over Moscow's support of separatists rebels in Ukraine. [The New York Times, Fox News]


Toledo goes a second day without drinkable tap water

More than 400,000 people in and around Toledo were without drinkable tap water for a second day on Sunday, as the city awaited tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "This is not over yet," Mayor D. Michael Collins said. Levels of toxins — possibly due to algae on Lake Erie — appear to be decreasing, but city officials say the water remains unsafe to drink, even if boiled, or to use to bathe children. [Los Angeles Times]


China reports rising death toll from earthquake

The death toll from a magnitude-6.5 earthquake that struck in southern China's Yunnan province on Sunday rose to at least 398 people, more than double the earliest count. The temblor destroyed 12,000 homes in the provincial capital of Ludian alone. A resident of Zhaotong told the state Xinhua news agency that the streets of her city were like a "battlefield after bombardment." [The Associated Press]


Second Ebola patient being returned to U.S. for treatment

A second American missionary infected is due to be flown to the U.S. for treatment. The patient, Nancy Writebol, was scheduled to leave Liberia early Tuesday. A member of her mission team, Dr. Kent Brantly, showed signs of improvement on Sunday after being flown back to the U.S. and admitted to the quarantine unit of Emory University in Atlanta. The Ebola outbreak has killed 826 people in West Africa. [The Associated Press, Financial Times]


Portugal announces a $6.6 billion bailout of a major bank

Portugal is bailing out Banco Espirito Santo, one of Europe's oldest banks, with $6.6 billion from a fund set up during the eurozone's financial crisis, Bank of Portugal governor Carlos Costa said late Sunday. The move was meant to keep the bank from collapsing and dragging down the rest of the country's financial system. The bank's stock crashed last week after it reported a record half-year loss of 3.6 billion euros. [The Associated Press]


Mudslides cut off California mountain towns

Torrential rain triggered mudslides in Southern California mountains on Sunday, killing one person and leaving more than 2,000 people trapped, including 500 children and adults at a church camp. Crews were bulldozing a path to the camp. About 1,500 people in the town of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 in Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains are blocked from leaving by mud, rocks, and debris covering roads. [CBS News, CNN]


Australia looks into Thai surrogacy dispute

Australia is reviewing its regulations and considering intervening in the case of a baby with Down syndrome allegedly left with his Thai surrogate mother by his Australian biological parents. The Thai woman, Pattaramon Chanbua, says the biological parents left the 7-month-old baby, who also has a heart condition, and took home his healthy twin sister. The parents say they were never told there were two babies. [Financial Times]

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