This just in
August 2, 2014
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The Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, released a statement early this morning saying the Islamist Palestinian faction is not holding an Israeli officer who Israel claims was abducted in an ambush after a short-lived ceasefire had begun.

"Until now, we have no idea about the disappearance of the Israeli soldier," the statement, reported on by The New York Times, read. "We do not know his whereabouts or the conditions of his disappearance." Saying it had lost contact with its troops in the ambush, Hamas also suggested that the abducted soldier could have been killed by a subsequent Israeli assault: "Our account is that the soldier could have been kidnapped and killed together with our fighters."

Hamas and Israeli officials differ on the timing of a Friday clash that collapsed a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and Secretary of State John Kerry. A spokesman for the Israeli military, though, refuted the statement released by the Qassam Brigades, saying that the search for Second Lt. Hadar Goldin is ongoing and that Hamas is responsible for the abduction. Sarah Eberspacher

9:52 p.m. ET
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Writer-director Wes Craven, best known for the blockbuster Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday in Los Angeles from brain cancer. He was 76.

His family confirmed Craven's death Sunday evening. Craven started working in academia, then left to pursue a career in Hollywood. His first feature film, Last House on the Left, came out in 1972. The Hollywood Reporter says that he came up with the idea for the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, which were released from 1984 to 1989, when he was growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland and lived next to a cemetery. Catherine Garcia

Gun Violence
9:08 p.m. ET
Jay Paul/Getty Images

On Sunday, the father of slain WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker reiterated comments he made on Wednesday, saying he would push for gun control legislation and adding, "They messed with the wrong family."

Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed live on air by a former employee of their Virginia television station. Her father, Andy Parker, told CNN that her family and boyfriend, WDBJ7 anchor Chris Hurst, would "hold the politicians' feet to the fire" in order to enact "real, constructive" legislation that would "get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them." He added, "You always think there's a tipping point. We always thought when Gabby [Giffords] was shot, something would happen; with Sandy Hook, something would happen; with Aurora, something would happen, and it never did."

Parker said he has been in contact with Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.); and representatives of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He believes people are tired of the "same old same old" in Washington, and that's why candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump are doing well in the polls. "The difference in this situation is [the feeling has] got to apply to sensible gun control legislation," he said. "Controlling the loopholes in gun shows, doing those kinds of things." Catherine Garcia

The Last Frontier
8:06 p.m. ET

The tallest peak in North America is getting a name change: Alaska's Mount McKinley will now be called Denali, the White House announced Sunday.

"With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. In 1898, a prospector named the mountain after William McKinley, who had just become the Republican nominee for president. The mountain — which stands at 20,320 feet and grows one millimeter every year — has long been called Denali (the Athabascan word for "the high one") by Alaskans. Since 1975, there has been a standing request by the state to change the name back to Denali, but politicians from McKinley's home state of Ohio always fought to keep it.

Obama will arrive in Alaska on Monday for a climate change summit in Anchorage. He will also meet with fisherman in Dillingham, hike a glacier in Seward, and cross the Arctic Circle to visit the rural town of Kotzebue, The Associated Press reports. In addition to bringing attention to melting glaciers and other issues, Obama is expected to detail steps that will be made to assist Alaskan Native communities. Catherine Garcia

les miz
1:52 p.m. ET

Broadway actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21, died Saturday after falling from his mother's Brooklyn fire escape late the night before, Playbill reports. Jean-Baptiste made history as Broadway's youngest and first black Jean Valjean, the Les Misérables protagonist.

Jean-Baptiste, an understudy, debuted in the role July 23, and performed as Valjean for the last time Friday, hours before his fall. Ramin Karimloo, the current Valjean, gave a curtain call speech after Saturday's matinee and asked for a standing ovation to honor Jean-Baptiste.

The actor posted a photo of himself to Instagram on Friday showing before-and-after shots with his Valjean makeup.

"The tragic loss of Kyle to our company, just as he was on the threshold of a brilliant career, is a numbing reminder of how precious life is," Les Miz producer Cameron Mackintosh wrote. Julie Kliegman

a tale of two walls
1:06 p.m. ET

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) has had a tough time clarifying his immigration platform in recent days, wavering on whether he supports birthright citizenship. The presidential hopeful called that debate a distraction in an interview for NBC's Meet the Press, focusing instead on border security.

Walker took the familiar Republican proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border one giant step further Sunday. He said he'd also consider building one along the U.S.-Canadian border, which runs 5,525 miles long.

"Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," Walker said. "They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at."

Watch Walker's full interview with Chuck Todd below. Julie Kliegman

Let's make a deal
12:08 p.m. ET

Ann Arbor resident and big-time sneakerhead Matt Neal never expected a hobby could end up saving his life. But with two failing kidneys, the 26-year-old stumbled upon a solution: He could trade his limited-edition Yeezy Boost 350s for a new kidney.

Neal's offer, which he posted to a Facebook sneakerhead group on Thursday and then to his own timeline, started entirely as a joke, he told The Ann Arbor News. To his surprise, strangers actually started getting in touch, many of whom didn't even care about rocking Kanye West's Adidas sneakers, which are going for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

People are always joking that they would give a kidney for a pair of yeezy's!!Well here's your chance, I'm 26 with 2...

Posted by Matt Neal on Thursday, August 27, 2015

"A lot of people have been getting in contact with me to get tested!" he wrote on a Facebook thread Thursday. "I can't believe the love and support I'm getting from random strangers."

Neal started dialysis two years ago after his Berger's disease led to kidney failure. A healthy kidney from a Type B positive donor would last him up to 15 years. He's on the waitlist at University of Michigan Hospital, and is encouraging potential donors to get tested through that facility. But now that he's seen an outpouring of support, he recognizes the potential he has to help other patients, too.

"Now that I've gotten the world's attention, I would like to raise awareness about organ donation," Neal said.

Praise Yeezus. Julie Kliegman

By the numbers
11:25 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Two men in Washington, D.C., were fatally shot Friday night, bringing the city's 2015 homicide count to 105 so far. That's the same number the nation's capital saw in all of 2014, The Washington Post reports.

"We face complex challenges, which is why I stand here not to give you half-truths or oversimplified answers," Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said Thursday, when she launched a $15 million plan to address the city's 40 percent increase in homicides over the same period in 2014. She said there's not just one reason for the spike, but suggested an increase in synthetic drugs and a small number of repeat violent offenders are possible contributing factors, The New York Times reports.

The mayor's announcement was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters, who took issue with her pledge to place more police officers in the city's most violent neighborhoods. Julie Kliegman

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