Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 13, 2014

Jon Terbush
Israeli troops along the Gaza border Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images
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1.

Israel sends ground troops into Gaza

Israeli troops briefly entered Gaza Sunday morning to attack a missile launching site, marking the most extreme escalation in the latest conflict between Israel and Palestine. The brief ground incursion, combined with Israel's decision to station tanks and troops along Gaza's border, stoked fears of an even wider military campaign. The United Nations called for a cease-fire Saturday, though both sides ignored the plea. 

2.

Netherlands tops Brazil for third place at World Cup

Brazil's embarrassing World Cup is finally over after the host team lost 3-0 to the Netherlands Saturday in the third place game. Brazil entered the tournament as heavy favorites to win it all, but a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals dropped them into the consolation match. Germany will play Argentina Sunday in the championship game.

3.

Merkel blasts U.S. over spying allegations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday criticized the U.S. for allegedly fielding spies within the German government, though she said the two nations were nonetheless better off working together. The espionage flap "is a sign that we have fundamentally different conceptions of the work of the intelligence services," Merkel said. Germany has accused two government employees of doubling as spies for the U.S., and it last week responded in dramatic fashion by asking the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country.

4.

Afghanistan to audit all votes in presidential election

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Saturday that he had brokered an agreement for Afghanistan to audit all eight million ballots cast in last month's runoff presidential election. The election was marred by accusations of rampant voter fraud on both sides, prompting the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, to each claim victory. Kerry said the results of the audit will be binding, and that he hoped it would be done by August 2.

5.

Russia warns Ukraine of 'irreversible consequences'

Moscow on Sunday warned Ukraine of "irreversible consequences" after a shell allegedly fired from Ukraine killed a man inside Russia. Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of a "provocation," though Kiev denied it was behind the shelling. Rather, Ukrainian Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko suggested pro-Russian separatists — which Ukraine considers "terrorists" — launched the attack in an attempt to dupe Russia into thinking it was under assault from its neighbor. 

6.

Survivor of Texas massacre speaks out

The 15-year-old Texas girl whose entire family was killed in a shooting rampage said Saturday that her parents and siblings were "in a much better place." Speaking at a memorial for the victims, Cassidy Stay quoted a message in Harry Potter about finding happiness in tough times, adding that she was "on a straightforward path to a full recovery." Stay's aunt's ex-husband, Ronald Lee Haskell, is accused of breaking into the family's home and shooting to death her parents and four siblings.

7.

Gunmen kill 33 in Baghdad

Attackers killed at least 33 people, 29 of them women, in an assault on two buildings in Baghdad on Saturday. The two buildings were suspected of being brothels, and a message left at the scene reportedly read, "This is the fate of any prostitution." Police have yet to offer a motive or identify any suspects.

8.

Costa Concordia to be re-floated this week

An operation to re-float the Costa Concordia is slated to begin Monday, more than two years after the cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy. Crews will pump air into 30 special flotation devices, called "sponsors," welded to the ship's hull to lift it from it's partially-submerged perch. The ship will then be towed to Genoa, where it will be broken down for scrap.

9.

Two killed by lightning in Colorado national park

Two people were killed over the weekend by separate lightning strikes at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. One man was killed and three others were injured by a strike Saturday, one day after lightning killed an Ohio woman and inured seven more.

10.

Hostess resurrects the Chocodile

One year after bringing back the Twinkie, Hostess is giving its chocolate-covered variety another run, too. Discontinued in 1999, the Chocodile will begin reappearing in stores this week. "We see basic consumer trends for Twinkies and we see trends of everything being dipped or wrapped in chocolate," Hostess CEO William Toler said, "and we thought that by putting the two together we would get a wonderful, fun snack."