Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 20, 2014

Jon Terbush
A man picks through the wreckage of Flight 17 Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images
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Ukrainian rebels recover downed plane's black boxes

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine collected the flight recorders from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. A separatist spokesman, Alexander Borodai, said Sunday the rebels would turn the recorders over to international aviation experts. Armed militiamen also reportedly seized the remains of nearly 200 victims from the crash and loaded them on to refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, prompting complaints from Western leaders that the rebels were hampering recovery and investigative efforts. [Associated Press, The New York Times]


Gaza death toll climbs above 400

Israeli forces ramped up their offensive in Gaza Sunday, moving armored vehicles into densely-populated areas and killing more than 50 while injuring around 200 more. It was the most intense fighting in the now two-week-long campaign aimed at crippling Hamas. An estimated 400 Palestinians have now died in the conflict, some 75 percent of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations. [Los Angeles Times, BBC]


22 shot in 12 hours in Chicago

A spate of shootings from Friday night into Saturday morning left one dead and more than 20 others injured in Chicago. Eleven-year-old Shamiya Adams was killed during a sleepover at her best friend's house when a stray bullet flew through the wall and struck her in the head. [Chicago Tribune]


R.J. Reynolds hit with $23 billion verdict

A Florida jury on Friday awarded a widowed woman a record $23 billion in her lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. It was the single biggest legal payout in a wrongful death case in Florida history. The plaintiff, Cynthia Robinson, sued in 2008 claiming that the cigarette company hid the dangers of smoking and was thus culpable for her husband's death, in 1996, at 36 years of age. [USA Today, Reuters]


Russia bans 13 in retaliation for sanctions

Moscow announced Saturday it was banning 13 Americans from entering the country in response to the new U.S. sanctions, announced last week, against Russian companies. Those barred from entry include Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) as well as several military officials linked to the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons scandals. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]


Vikings suspend coach over anti-gay remarks

The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer three games after an internal investigation determined he'd made homophobic remarks while on the clock. The investigation came after former punter Chris Kluwe — who is an outspoken LGBT advocate, and who claimed the team fired him for that advocacy — alleged Priefer taunted him with anti-gay remarks during practices. Kluwe has said he plans to sue the team if they do not make the full report on the investigation public. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, ESPN]


Actor James Garner dead at 86

Legendary actor James Garner, best known for his role on the 1950s Western show The Maverick, passed away Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old. Police said Garner died of natural causes. [BBC]


Massive wildfire spreads in Washington

Spurred on by extreme winds and dry weather, a sprawling wildfire in Washington state continued to grow over the weekend. Dubbed the Carlton Complex fire, the disaster had spread to cover more than 330 square miles as of Saturday, up from 260 square miles one day prior. The fire already destroyed about 100 homes late last week. [Associated Press]


Rory McIlroy chases history at British Open

The final round of the British Open tees of Sunday with Rory McIlroy sitting comfortably in the lead. After three rounds, McIlroy finished at 16 under par, giving him a six-shot lead over Rickie Fowler. If he holds on to win, McIlroy will join Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers ever to win three majors by age 25. [ESPN]


Moon landing celebrates 45th anniversary

Forty-five years ago today, Apollo 11 safely deposited the first humans on the surface of the moon. Though Neil Armstrong's iconic remark about taking a "small step" on to the lunar surface may be a slight misquote, the statement and the landing itself remain defining, historic moments for the U.S. space program. [NBC]

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