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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2014

Harold Maass
The aftermath of an Israeli airstrike.  (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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1.

Protests rock the West Bank ahead of a "day of rage"

Israel deployed thousands of security forces around Jerusalem after Palestinian leaders called for a "day of rage" on Friday following massive overnight protests in the West Bank. Israeli tank shells reportedly hit a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people. Dozens of Palestinians had sought shelter there from fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that runs Gaza. Israel said it did not target the school.

2.

Obama urges Congress to close overseas tax loopholes for businesses

President Obama on Thursday called on Congress to close loopholes allowing businesses to use foreign partnerships to avoid taxes at home, even when their headquarters and main operations remain in the U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he was all for asking companies to pay their fair share, but that Obama administration policies were "punitive and restrictive to businesses."

3.

Ukraine's prime minister submits his resignation

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk resigned on Thursday after two parties quit the government coalition, forcing new elections to renew a parliament unchanged since the ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich in February. The country's new president, Petro Poroshenko, backed Yatseniuk's departure, saying forcing new elections would purge the chamber of "Moscow agents."

4.

Air Algerie wreck blamed on weather

The wreckage of a chartered Air Algerie jetliner was found Thursday in Mali. The plane was carrying 110 passengers and six crew members when it left Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, for Algiers early Thursday. There did not appear to be any survivors. Burkina Faso's top military leader, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, said fierce thunderstorms that were pounding the Sahara as the plane flew over probably played a role in the crash.

5.

Amazon losses climb due to big investments to woo customers

Amazon.com reported its biggest quarterly loss since 2012 on Thursday. The world's largest online retailer lost $126 million, far higher than the average analyst's forecast of $66.7 million. Amazon's sales climbed by 23 percent to $19.3 billion, but CEO Jeff Bezos' strategy of investing heavily in services and gadgets to inspire customer loyalty hurt profits. Amazon stock fell by more than 11 percent on the news.

6.

One killed, two wounded in Pennsylvania psychiatric hospital shooting

A gunman killed one person and wounded two others during a Thursday shooting at the psychiatric unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in the Philadelphia suburb of Darby, Pennsylvania. The suspect — a patient — entered Dr. Lee Silverman's office with a female caseworker and allegedly opened fire. Silverman, who was wounded, pulled his own gun and wounded the assailant after the caseworker was killed.

7.

Arizona officials defend controversial execution

Arizona prison officials denied Thursday that the two-hour execution of double-murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood had been "botched." State officials said that Wood was brain-dead during 90 minutes of gulping and snorting before he was declared dead. Wood's attorneys unsuccessfully asked a judge to stop the procedure as Wood got a second round of lethal-injection drugs. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the process "torture."

8.

U.S. considers screening refugees in Honduras to discourage illegal immigration

The Obama administration is considering screening thousands of young people in Honduras to see if they should be allowed to enter the U.S. as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first such move involving a country linked by land to the U.S. The White House is seeking ways to discourage young Hondurans from joining the wave of undocumented child immigrants streaming over the U.S.-Mexico border.

9.

Pope meets with Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for her faith

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death by an Islamist judge for refusing to renounce her faith, met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday. Ibrahim was convicted for apostasy for allegedly converting from Islam to Christianity. She insisted she had been raised Christian, and was released last month under international pressure. The pope thanked her for staying true to her faith, a Vatican spokesman said.

10.

Fifty Shades of Grey trailer debuts

The first trailer of the film adaptation of author E.L. James' wildly popular, bondage-themed Fifty Shades of Grey books made its debut on NBC's Today on Thursday. NBC only aired part of the steamy clip, in which the Christian Grey character tells paramour Anastasia Steele to stay away from him because she wouldn't understand his quirky tastes. "Enlighten me," she replies. The film opens Feb. 13.