Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 1, 2014

Harold Maass
Palestinians walk through their heavily-bombed town. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis


Violence shatters Gaza cease-fire hours after taking effect

Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire starting Friday, but the kidnapping of an Israeli solider and heavy exchanges of fire two hours after the truce took effect unraveled it. According to Israel, a unit clearing a Hamas tunnel was set upon by militants, who made off with one of the soldiers. "The cease-fire is over," said an Israeli spokesperson, as Israel set about looking for the missing soldier.


GOP division blocks House immigration bill

House GOP leaders abandoned an effort to pass a bill to fund border security on Thursday, after a Tea Party revolt. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lobbied against the bill because it didn't reverse President Obama's policy of suspending deportations of undocumented immigrants brought in as children by their parents. Republicans and some Democrats also blocked a Democratic border bill in the Senate.


Brennan apologizes for CIA searches of Senate computers

An internal investigation found that CIA employees searched computers used by Senate staff members as they prepared a report on the CIA's harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects. A summary of the CIA findings, released Thursday, said that 10 agency workers, including two lawyers, improperly searched Senate files and emails. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to lawmakers, but at least two Senate Democrats said he should resign.


U.S. Ebola patients expected to return to the U.S. for treatment

Two American missionaries stricken with Ebola in Liberia are expected to be flown back to the U.S. Both patients — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — are in stable but grave condition. One will be treated at Emory University near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. They would be the first Ebola patients in the U.S.; CDC officials said the outbreak could worsen in West Africa but is unlikely to threaten the U.S.


Stock indexes lose all of their July gains in one terrible day

U.S. stocks took their worst plunge in months on Thursday as rising labor costs triggered fear that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates faster than many hoped. Argentina's default on its debt a day earlier spooked investors further. The S&P 500 index lost all of its July gains, resulting in its first monthly decline since January. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 317 points, or 1.88 percent, erasing its 2014 gains.


Investigation team finally gets to see Ukraine crash site

Investigators on Thursday reached the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. It was their first look at the July 17 crash site. Earlier attempts to survey the wreckage were blocked by pro-Russian separatists. The team — from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — will do "initial reconnaissance," searching for evidence and human remains not yet moved from the site.


Californians face just a 4.2 percent increase in ObamaCare premiums

California announced Thursday that the 1.2 million Californians insured through the state-run ObamaCare exchange will face just a 4.2 percent premium increase next year. Officials at Covered California, which negotiated the rates, said the deal will break the trend of double-digit rate hikes. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said this is "merely a pause" in the big annual premium increases.


Colorado prepares tighter rules on edible pot

Colorado regulators are putting together emergency rules requiring makers of edible marijuana products to make it clear to buyers just how much pot they will be consuming. The new policy, which is aimed at reducing complaints of nausea and other bad experiences, will mandate that edible marijuana be sold in 10-milligram "servings" of THC, pot's intoxicating ingredient. The result will be weaker pot brownies and cookies.


Court upholds controversial Wisconsin union law

Wisconsin's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial 2011 law that limited collective bargaining for public workers. The law sparked massive protests, and a failed 2012 effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R). Walker, who is seeking reelection, called the decision vindication for a law that has saved taxpayers $3 billion. A Madison teachers union that challenged the law called the ruling "morally bankrupt."


Cantor announces he will resign early

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that he would resign his seat on Aug. 18 so his district would "have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame-duck session of Congress." Cantor stepped down as House majority leader, effective Thursday, after suffering a stunning defeat to Tea Party-backed challenger David Brat. He announced his unexpected decision to give up the seat early in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed article.

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