Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 25, 2014

Harold Maass
The once-and-future senator of Mississippi.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Cochran holds off a Tea Party challenge in Mississippi

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) narrowly defeated a Tea Party-backed challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel in a GOP primary runoff on Tuesday. The race was a critical win for mainstream Republicans and a blow to the Tea Party. McDaniel edged ahead in the first round, but Cochran bounced back by getting African-American Democrats to turn out and help him beat his more hard-line challenger. McDaniel, angry over Cochran's appeal to Democrats, refused to concede.


Putin backs extending Ukraine's cease-fire

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin urged pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government to extend a temporary cease-fire on Tuesday, and called on Russian lawmakers to rescind their authorization of the use of their country's military to intervene in Ukraine. Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, warned he might scrap the fragile truce after separatists shot down a military helicopter late Tuesday, killing nine servicemen.


Insider says Phoenix VA facility altered files of dead patients

Officials at a Phoenix VA hospital altered records of dead veterans to hide the number of patients who died waiting for care, a whistle-blower told CNN. "Deceased" notes were removed from files to improve the facility's statistics, the source — scheduling clerk Pauline Dewenter — said. The interview marked the first time she had spoken publicly about the scandal.


Methodist appeals court overturns defrocking of pastor over gay marriage

United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson of Pennsylvania said Tuesday that she would abide by a church appeals court order to restore the credentials of the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was suspended last year for officiating at his son's 2007 same-sex wedding. A jury of pastors defrocked Schaefer because he wouldn't promise not to perform any more gay weddings. The appeals panel overturned the decision Tuesday.


A woman is killed as attackers shoot at landing Pakistani plane

Gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines plane landing at Peshawar's airport Tuesday night, killing a female passenger and wounding three crew members. It was the third violent attack at a Pakistani airport this month. The plane, carrying 178 passengers, was hit by six bullets as it arrived on a flight from Saudi Arabia. One bullet narrowly missed the captain. Another hit the engine. The dead woman's 9-year-old daughter was seated next to her.


Judge finds no-fly list unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the federal government's no-fly list is unconstitutional because blacklisted people have no way to challenge the decision. The challenge came from 13 Muslims in Oregon who were prevented from boarding a 2010 flight. District Court Judge Anna Brown said the freedom to travel was not a luxury but "a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society." Brown ordered the government to devise a way for people to get removed from the list.


Brooks acquitted, Coulson found guilty in U.K. phone-hacking case

Rebekah Brooks, former head of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, was acquitted in London on Tuesday of conspiring to hack the phones of royalty, celebrities, and crime victims in search of scoops, a scandal that has rocked Murdoch's media empire. A jury found former editor Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-communications chief, guilty, however. The jury returns Wednesday to continue considering whether Coulson approved bribes for exclusives.


Official testifies that IRS failed to follow the law and report lost emails

U.S. Archivist David Ferriero told members of Congress on Tuesday that the Internal Revenue Service "did not follow the law" when it failed to report that two years of then-tax exempt division chief Lois Lerner's emails had been lost in a computer outage. The testimony came in the third hearing in the two weeks since the IRS revealed the glitch. Lerner was a key figure in the division's targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.


Dylan lyrics sell for a record $2 million

A handwritten manuscript of Bob Dylan's hit song "Like a Rolling Stone" sold for $2 million Tuesday in a Sotheby's auction in New York. The purchase set a record for an original set of lyrics, beating the $1.2 million paid for John Lennon's "A Day in the Life" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Dylan wrote the words for his classic on stationary from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington.


Uruguay's World Cup win marred when player appears to bite opponent

Uruguay's 1-0 World Cup victory over Italy was overshadowed by an incident shortly before the game-winning goal when Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez appeared to bite Italian Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. The match's outcome sent Uruguay to the next round, and eliminated Italy. The controversy was intensified by the fact that Suarez served a seven-game suspension in 2010 for biting a player in Holland and a 10-game one for a bite in England last year.

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