Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 11, 2014

Harold Maass
Palestinians look over the remains of a house destroyed by an Israeli missile strike.  (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)


Obama offers to broker truce between Israel and Hamas

President Obama offered to help start cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. Obama condemned Hamas' firing of rockets into Israel and reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself. Rocket fire continued early Friday from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. One rocket struck a gas station in southern Israel, igniting a fire and seriously injuring one person. Israel has hit Gaza with more than 1,000 air strikes, killing at least 98 people.


HIV returns in girl believed cured by early treatment

A Mississippi girl who appeared cured of H.I.V. after aggressive drug treatment as a newborn is now showing signs of infection, federal health officials announced Thursday. The March 2013 report that the child, now 4, appeared cured raised hopes that aggressive early treatment could reverse infections in babies, and possibly adults. Dr. Hannah B. Gay, the University of Mississippi pediatrician who started the child on antiretroviral drugs, said the setback was "like a punch in the gut."


Court rules Boulder's clerk can continue issuing same-sex marriage licenses

A state judge in Colorado on Thursday ruled that Boulder County's clerk can continue issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Clerks in two more counties — Denver and Pueblo — promptly said they would do the same. Boulder's clerk, Hillary Hall, began issuing the licenses on June 25 when a federal appeals court found neighboring Utah's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, although the ruling is on hold pending further appeal. Another federal judge struck down Colorado's gay marriage ban on Wednesday.


Kerry tries to referee Afghanistan's electoral crisis

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kabul early Friday to attempt to mediate a dispute over Afghanistan's disputed presidential election, urging Afghans to let an audit of the vote count settle allegations of fraud. The initial count gave former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai 56.4 percent of the vote. His rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, refused to accept the result. The showdown threatens to disrupt 13 years of U.S. democracy building in the country.


White House tape reveals Nixon thought gays were "born that way"

Former president Richard Nixon believed gay people are "born that way," according to newly unearthed White House recordings posted by Vanity Fair on Thursday. That view was moderately progressive for 1971, and the late president said in the recording that he was "the most tolerant person" in his administration, but then he went on to describe being gay as "a problem" the government should not condone. Nixon also said "smart girls" don't swear, because then "all femininity is gone."


Germany kicks out U.S. intelligence official over double agents

Germany on Thursday ordered the U.S. embassy's intelligence chief to leave the country after investigators in Berlin interviewed a man suspected of passing defense ministry information to the U.S. A week earlier an officer in Germany's foreign intelligence service said he had sold classified information to the CIA. German leaders were already frustrated with Washington over revelations on U.S. spying revealed in secret documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.


Court finds Florida redistricting unfairly favors GOP

A Florida judge ruled Thursday that the state's congressional redistricting map favored Republicans and was therefore invalid, a decision that could impact 2014 elections. Leon County Judge Terry P. Lewis wrote in a scathing opinion that the GOP-controlled Legislature had "made a mockery" of the 2012 redistricting process, which was supposed to produce fair districts under state constitutional amendments voters approved in 2010. League of Women Voters of Florida President Deirdre Macnab called the ruling "a great day for democracy."


FTC sues Amazon over kids' in-app purchases

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon over unauthorized in-app purchases made by children, according to court papers filed Thursday. Amazon last week said it would not agree to a settlement with the FTC because it had already given refunds to parents who complained. The dispute centers on charges racked up by kids playing games on Kindle devices, due to confusion about whether the money they are spending is virtual or real. The complaint cites a woman billed $358.42 for her daughter's in-app spending.


Polar vortex returns for summer

A wave of unseasonably cold air reminiscent of January's polar vortex is due to hit the North and Northeast next week with temperatures as much as 30 degrees below normal. Morning temperatures could dip into the 40s in some areas as the cold blast from Alaska crosses the Great Lakes en route to the East. Weather Underground's Jeff Masters blames the chill on Typhoon Neoguri, which triggered a chain reaction of weather shifts.


Game of Thrones stands out with 19 Emmy nominations

HBO's Game of Thrones led the 2014 Emmy Award nominations with 19 nods. The FX miniseries Fargo was close behind with 18 nominations. Other noteworthy shows included AMC's Breaking Bad with 16 nominations for its final season, and Netflix's House of Cards with 13. PBS's Downton Abbey and HBO's True Detective each got 12. It was clearly another big year for cable — HBO piled up 99 nominations, compared to 47 for CBS, 46 for NBC, and 37 for ABC.

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