Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2014

Jon Terbush
An Israeli tank fires into Gaza Andrew Burton / Getty Images
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Hamas calls for 24-hour truce as death toll tops 1,050

Hamas on Sunday requested a 24-hour humanitarian truce ahead of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan. The request came one day after the militant Palestinian group rejected an Israeli-proposed truce, saying the terms were "unacceptable" because they did not mandate Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. More than 1,050 Palestinians have died in the three-week-old conflict, the majority of them civilians. [USA Today, NBC News]


MH17 investigators thwarted by fighting in Ukraine

International investigators who were to inspect the MH17 crash site Sunday called off their visit due to intense fighting in the area between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists. "The situation on the ground appears to be unsafe," Alexander Hug, deputy head of the European monitoring group said. Small contingents of international observers have reached the site since the plane went down July 17. But though the Malaysian government struck a deal to grant greater access to foreign observers, heavy fighting once again delayed the deployment of more experts to the area. [The New York Times, BBC]


New York Times endorses marijuana legalization

The New York Times editorial board on Sunday called on the federal government to repeal its ban on marijuana — which would effectively legalize the drug nationwide. Calling pot "less dangerous than alcohol," the Times said that though there remained legitimate concerns about legalizing the substance, "on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization." The Times did, however, add that the drug should only be sold to adults 21 and over. [The New York Times]


U.S. doctor in Africa contracts Ebola

An American doctor working to contain the Ebola outbreak in Africa has tested positive for the deadly virus. Thirty-three-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, who has been working in Liberia with the organization Samaritan's Purse since October 2013, recognized the symptoms and isolated himself to prevent further spread. It is not known how he contracted the virus, which kills 90 percent of those it infects, though a spokesperson for the group promised an "intensive and thorough investigation." [Associated Press, Reuters]


Fighting in Libya leaves dozens dead

At least 38 people were killed and another 50 injured in Benghazi, Libya, in clashes between the military and Islamist fighters. The conflict began late Saturday when Islamist groups launched an attack on a special forces base in the city. Also on Saturday, 23 people were killed in a rocket attack near the main airport in Tripoli. Citing a concern that the fighting could spread, the U.S. on Saturday evacuated all personnel from its Libyan embassy. [AFP, Al Jazeera]


Pope Francis begs for end to global crises

Pope Francis on Sunday made an emotional plea to end the various violent conflicts that have bubbled up around the globe in recent weeks. Citing the upcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the pontiff said he was dismayed by the chaos claiming the lives of innocents — especially children — in the Middle East and Ukraine. "Please stop," he said at the close of his regular address. "I ask you with all my heart, it's time to stop." [Reuters]


Video shows first American suicide bomber in Syria

An Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria has released a video showing a U.S. citizen who carried out a May suicide attack in Syria's civil war. The group, the Nusra Front, released a video on Friday that shows 22-year-old American citizen Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha smiling and speaking before a May 25 attack on the Syrian army. "I want to rest in the afterlife, in heaven," Abu-Salha says in the video. "There is nothing here and the heart is not resting." [The Guardian]


Costa Concordia reaches final resting place

The wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia completed its journey to a Genoa scrap yard Sunday, bringing to an end a two-year salvage operation. The ship capsized after running aground in January 2012, and sat partially submerged before being "re-floated" in one of the largest ever maritime salvage operations. [The Guardian, BBC]


Obama urges Central American leaders to stem immigrant surge

President Obama called on the heads of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to help curtail the flood of young migrants to the U.S-Mexico border following a 90-minute White House meeting with the foreign leaders. "Children who do not have proper claims, and families with children who do not have proper claims at some point will be subject to repatriation to their home countries," Obama warned. [Politico, The New York Times]


MLB Hall of Fame to induct three legends Sunday

Baseball's Hall of Fame will on Sunday induct three of the most iconic players from the past generation — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas — along with a handful of managers. All three players earned entry on their first year of eligibility. The trio of selections came one year after Hall voters selected zero players in what was widely seen as a symbolic rebuke of the steroid era. [Baseball Hall of Fame]

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