Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 9, 2014

Harold Maass
The scream.  (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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Obama urges approval of $3.7 billion plan to handle child-immigration crisis

Senate Democrats vowed to move quickly on passing a $3.7 billion package President Obama proposed to confront a wave of thousands of children illegally pouring across the Southwest border. President Obama urged Congress to approve the spending, which would pay for caring for the children but also swiftly deporting them. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he aimed to finish a bill by Congress's August recess, but many Republicans withheld support due to what they called Obama's failure to secure the border. [The Hill, The New York Times]


Brazil stunned in historic World Cup loss

Germany humiliated Brazil in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday, eliminating the host team 7-1 in the most lopsided semifinal in World Cup history. The defeat devastated soccer fans across Brazil, which spent a record $12 billion to stage the tournament. Brazil's team, playing without injured superstar Neymar, never had a chance after Germany scored four goals in six minutes early in the game. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari called it the worst day of his career. "We ask for forgiveness," he said. [The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times]


Israel says Palestinian rocket fire declined after air strikes

Israel's military said it had hit more than 130 sites linked to the Islamic militant group Hamas early Wednesday as it continued a two-day offensive aiming to stop rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said that four rockets were fired into Israel overnight, a significant drop from the night before. Palestinian leaders say Israel's strikes have killed 27 people, and the Arab League on Tuesday called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the "dangerous Israeli escalation." [Fox News, The Jerusalem Post]


Islamist militants fight their way into Somali president's compound

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabab militants fought their way into the Somali presidential compound in Mogadishu on Tuesday, detonating a car bomb near the entrance before moving inside. Security officials said all of the gunmen — nine of them, by some accounts — were killed as government forces reclaimed the compound. A Shabab spokesman claimed that 14 government soldiers were killed. President Hassan Sheik Mohamud was away meeting with the United Nations' envoy at the time of the attack. [Los Angeles Times]


Republicans pick Cleveland for their 2016 convention

The Republican National Committee announced Tuesday that it had selected Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The pick, made by the Site Selection Committee, still has to be ratified at a meeting of the full RNC membership in August. The competition was down to two finalists — Cleveland and Dallas. Choosing Cleveland gives the GOP the chance to nominate its next presidential ticket in a key swing state. No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio. [CNN]


Citigroup nears a massive settlement over mortgage securities

Citigroup is close to a $7 billion settlement agreement to resolve a Justice Department investigation into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday. The case is linked to a broader investigation of faulty mortgage securities that helped fuel the mid-2000s housing bubble. Several billion from the settlement, which could come next week, would go toward helping struggling borrowers. [Reuters]


Deadly storms strike the East Coast

Severe storms killed five people on the East Coast on Tuesday. Four died in when a violent storm leaving telltale signs of a tornado struck in upstate New York. One child died and another eight were injured at River Valley Ranch, a Christian camp near Baltimore, when a storm rushed in, knocking down trees with high winds before counselors could get everyone to safe cover. The storm also left about 42,000 customers without power. [NBC News]


Decades-old vials of smallpox found in federal lab

A scientist cleaning out a storage room at a government lab last week found vials of smallpox dating from the 1950s. The vials, which were found in the National Institutes of Health's Bethesda campus, were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where initial tests confirmed the presence of smallpox DNA. Further tests will determine whether the virus is live. There was no evidence workers in the lab were exposed to infection. [The Washington Post]


Rosie O'Donnell nears a deal to rejoin The View

Rosie O'Donnell has reportedly struck a deal to return to The View, the long-running ABC talk show she left in 2007 after a heated argument with fellow co-host Elisabeth Hasselback. Nothing had been announced as of early Wednesday, but Page Six said O'Donnell had been offered a "one-year, seven-figure deal." O'Donnell would join Whoopi Goldberg as the producers rebuild the team of hosts following the departure of co-creator Barbara Walters and the firing of co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy. [TMZ, Page Six]


Harry Potter reappears as a 34-year-old dad

Author J.K. Rowling surprised fans on Tuesday with a new chapter in the wildly popular Harry Potter saga. In the 1,500-word story on her website, Pottermore, the boy wizard reappears all grown up, with a wife, two sons, and "threads of silver" in his hair. The new piece, appearing seven years after the publishing of the last Harry Potter novel, is presented in the form of a gossip-column item on the nearly 34-year-old Harry's attendance at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals. [The Boston Globe]

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