Israeli air strikes — intended to stop Hamas rocket fire — killed eight members of a family, including five children, in Gaza early Thursday, according to Palestinian officials. Israel's three-day air offensive has killed at least 66 people, Gaza medical authorities said. Israel says it is targeting Hamas sites, including launchers behind a barrage of more than 320 rockets into Israel. The rockets have paralyzed businesses and sent thousands fleeing southern Israel but caused no serious casualties.
Israel steps up its Gaza offensive as death toll rises
Utah asks the Supreme Court to take gay marriage case
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Wednesday that he was taking his state's appeal of a ruling declaring its same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reyes said he was seeking "clarity and resolution from the highest court" instead of appealing to the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A panel of three of the court's judges last month upheld a lower-court decision overturning the ban. It was the first federal appeals court ruling on gay marriage.
Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years in bribery scandal
A federal judge sentenced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for public corruption on Wednesday. A jury in February found the two-term Democrat guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and favors from businessmen seeking special treatment from his administration. Nagin, who was the city's face in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, maintains his innocence. He is the first New Orleans mayor ever sent to prison for corruption.
Snowden asks Russia to extend his temporary asylum
Fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has officially applied to Russia to extend his temporary asylum in the country, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia's Interfax news agency on Wednesday. Snowden's year-long Russian visa is set to expire on July 31. Snowden, 31, was trying to flee to Cuba after leaking secret documents on NSA mining of phone and internet records, but he got stuck in a Moscow airport after the U.S. revoked his passport.
Report finds 40 percent of colleges have not investigated a rape in five years
Many colleges are "failing to comply with the law" in investigating campus rapes, according to a report released Wednesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). About 40 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in five years, and one in five institutions allowed their athletic departments oversight of cases involving student athletes. McCaskill said that was a "big problem" because the departments want to protect athletes.
Obama urges Rick Perry to back $3.7 billion immigration plan
President Obama challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to rally his fellow Republicans behind a $3.7 billion White House proposal to address a crisis created by a wave of Central American immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. over the Mexican border. Obama said he told Perry the proposal to care for and deport the children would meet GOP calls for increased border security. Perry said later on Fox News that Obama could stop the "humanitarian crisis" by sending National Guard troops to secure the border.
Weakening storm hits Japan's main islands
Typhoon Neoguri, once the strongest storm yet of the Pacific season, has slammed into Japan's southernmost main island, flooding hundreds of homes with heavy rain. Authorities urged thousands of people to seek shelter from the storm, which has injured nearly 50 people and been linked to five deaths. The weakening storm, which first ravaged the Okinawa island chain, is expected to hit the country's biggest island, Honshu, next, and reach the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday.
Colorado says annual legal pot demand will reach 130 tons
A day after Washington became the second state to allow legal marijuana sales, Colorado, where the nation's first licensed pot stores opened in January, released a study estimating its marijuana demand at 130 tons per year. The projection was far higher than expected, and it came as tax figures showed that the state's retail supply was growing. "The primary difference is caused by much heavier dosage amounts consumed by the state's 'heavy user' population," the Colorado Department of Revenue report said.
Alleged prostitute arrested in connection with Google executive's overdose
Police have uncovered a surveillance video they say suggests that a Google executive, Forrest Hayes, found dead on his yacht of an apparent overdose in November might actually have been a victim of manslaughter. Santa Clara, California, police have arrested Alix Tichelman, whom they describe as a high-end call girl, and accused her of injecting Hayes with heroin and callously leaving him to die on his yacht, Escape. Hayes was on the team working on the rollout of Google's cutting-edge Glass eyewear.
Argentina beats the Netherlands to advance to World Cup final
Argentina eliminated the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday to win a spot in the World Cup final against Germany. After 120 minutes of regulation and extra time, the teams remained locked in a scoreless tie. Then Argentina's goalkeeper, Sergio Romero, confidently blocked two Dutch players' penalty kicks, while his teammates Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, and Maxi Rodriquez blasted their shots into the net. Argentina and Germany now square off July 13 for their third meeting in a World Cup final.