Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 28, 2014

Sarah Eberspacher
No injuries were reported in the border patrol incident. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Mexican military helicopter crosses border, fires on U.S. border patrol

A Mexican military helicopter flew across the border and fired at U.S. border patrol agents on Thursday. Two shots were fired from the Mexican chopper, but both missed the agents.The incident occurred southwest of the Village of San Miguel in Arizona. The U.S. Border Patrol released a statement saying the Mexican authorities were "on a drug interdiction operation" near the border. Luckily, "no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported," Andy Adame, a Border Patrol spokesperson said. Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. and apologized for the shots, and the incident is currently under investigation. [News 4 Tucson]


United States announces plans to join land mine elimination treaty

The Obama administration announced on Friday that it will begin reducing and eventually eliminating its antipersonnel land mine stockpile, with the intention of joining the Ottawa Convention. The global, 15-year-old treaty prohibits nations from keeping the land mines, and the U.S. reportedly has between 10 million and 13 million. For that reason, some were skeptical of the administration's true aims, saying a definitive timeline for the destruction of the stocks should be set. [The New York Times]


Mississippi Tea Party leader found dead in apparent suicide

Mark Mayfield, a Tea Party official and a member of the board of directors for the Central Mississippi Tea Party, was found dead of an apparent suicide on Friday. Mayfield was arrested in May and charged with conspiracy after he allegedly directed a political blogger to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) ailing wife in a private nursing home. Mayfield's case was scheduled to go before a grand jury in July. [Talking Points Memo]


European Union votes against Cameron on new Commission president

Having forced a rare vote at this week's European Union summit, British Prime Minister David Cameron still found himself in the minority, 26-2, as fellow EU leaders nominated Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission president. Cameron had vocally opposed the nomination, saying the former Luxembourg prime minister is too old-fashioned and federalist-minded to lead the EU. Hungary was the only other nation to vote along with Cameron. "The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed EU," Cameron said. "The battle to reform this organization is going to be longer and tougher, no doubt about that." [Reuters]


VA clinic in the Philippines used unapproved drugs for two decades

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel released findings this month showing a hospital run by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Philippines dispensed unapproved medications for more than two decades. The only clinic operated by the VA not on U.S. soil, it turned to non-FDA-approved drugs after a U.S. military base stopped supplying medications, in 1991. While the clinic began using a U.S.-approved supplier in May 2013, the findings come in the wake of a larger scandal for the VA, in which investigators say VA hospitals falsified records and delayed treatments, which may have resulted in the deaths of a number of veterans. [The Washington Post]


German parliament announces plans to end Verizon contract

Germany's lower house of parliament says it will not continue using Verizon telecoms services, as a result of Edward Snowden's allegations of U.S. surveillance on the country. Germany overhauled its internal communications networks following the NSA scandal, and this is the first resulting action. For its part, Verizon said its German unit follows the country's laws and did not receive demands from Washington for information. [Reuters]


Golden Gate Bridge officials approve suicide barrier funding

The board of directors for San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge voted on Friday to approve a $76 million funding package, meant to develop a net system that will stop people from leaping to their deaths. The money will be a combination of bridge toll revenue, federal and state funding. Since the bridge opened in 1937, more than 1,400 people have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. Bidding on the project will begin next year, with an anticipated completion date of 2018. [The Associated Press]


Arizona death row inmates sue state over 'human experimentation' executions

Citing the botched April execution of an Oklahoma death row prisoner, attorneys for six inmates in Arizona filed a lawsuit alleging "human experimentation" against the state on Thursday. The Arizona Department of Corrections currently uses pentobarbital for executions, but it intends to use a new, two-drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone in the July 23 execution of plaintiff Joseph Wood, saying the state can no longer procure the old drug. "I really think they're making it up as they go along," Dale Baich, Wood's attorney, said. [Los Angeles Times]


New study says people should halve sugar intake to curb obesity

A draft report for England from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition released on Friday says the old target of daily sugar intake needs to be halved. Formerly, researchers said sugar added to food should account for just 10 percent of people's daily energy intake. Now, they say it should be just five percent. To put that in perspective, just one can of soda would send a typical adult to his or her daily allowance. The study for England, which faces a similar overweight problem to that of the United States, notes that people who consume less sugar lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and bowel cancer. [Time, BBC News]


Legendary soul singer-songwriter Bobby Womack dies at 70

Bobby Womack, a legendary soul singer and songwriter, has died at the age of 70. Womack, who reportedly had battled both cancer and drug addiction, was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee wrote such hits as It's All Over Now, performed by the Rolling Stones. He also played guitar, backing up stars such as Aretha Franklin. After a 20-year span in which Womack charted 36 singles, he disappeared from the music scene in 1990, only to reappear in 2009 and record a song for the Gorillaz's third album. Three years later, Womack released an album of his own, titled The Bravest Man in the Universe. [BBC News]