Israel and Palestine
July 27, 2014
Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Hamas on Sunday requested a 24-hour humanitarian truce with Israel, one day after the militant Palestinian group rejected Israel's offer of a temporary cease-fire. The request came hours after Israel stepped up its offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas' continued lobbing of missiles into Israel.

On Saturday, Israel proposed and Hamas rejected a temporary truce that would have lasted through midnight Sunday, with Hamas calling the terms "unacceptable" because they would not have mandated the withdrawal of Israeli troops. The newly proposed truce — which was to go into effect at 2 p.m. local time, or 7 a.m. EDT — comes just ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is to begin either Monday or Tuesday depending on the position of the moon.

Israel did not immediately say whether it would accept Hamas' offer of a new cease-fire. More than 1,000 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have died in the conflict; Israel has lost 43, 40 of them soldiers. Jon Terbush

Really?
12:50 p.m. ET

The Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Daily Item issued an apology Thursday for printing a letter to the editor that called for President Obama's execution on Memorial Day.

Lewisburg resident W. Richard Stover, author of the letter, wrote that it was "time to rise up against an administration who has adequately demonstrated their gross incompetence." Stover adds that the needed "regime change" has "previously been accompanied by execution by guillotine, firing squad, [or] public hanging." Stover's letter was critical of Obama's handling of the ISIS situation in Iraq and the fall of Ramadi.

In its apology Thursday, the Daily Item said there was "no excuse" for its printing the letter. "We should have recognized that the final two metaphorical paragraphs of the Ramadi letter were inescapably an incitement to have the chief executive of our government executed," the newspaper wrote. "They should have been deleted."

The Daily Item also admitted its staffers' shortcomings, adding that the reason the letter was published was that "no bells went off when the editor handling the letter read it and placed it on the opinion page." Meghan DeMaria

Coming Soon
12:38 p.m. ET

It's only May, but this year's wannabe Oscar contenders are already jockeying for buzz. The first trailer for Edward Zwick's Pawn Sacrifice — a biopic of chess legend Bobby Fischer — shows off star Tobey Maguire in a trailer that recalls last year's Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game:

Pawn Sacrifice focuses on Fischer's legendary 1972 match against Boris Spassky — arguably the most famous game in chess history. "It's a war of perception," says the trailer. "A poor kid from Brooklyn against the whole Soviet empire." But as the pressure builds, Fischer begins to snap, eventually leading to his well-publicized reclusion.

Pawn Sacrifice hits theaters in September. Scott Meslow

We all scream for ice cream
11:28 a.m. ET

Ben & Jerry's wants ice cream lovers to know their dessert isn't the only thing in danger of melting. They announced new flavor Save Our Swirl, or SOS for short, to draw awareness to December's UN Climate Summit in France. There, global leaders are expected to work toward establishing a universal climate change agreement.

The flavor combines raspberry ice cream, marshmallow and raspberry swirls, and dark and white fudge ice cream cones.

"We created a flavor to bring attention to this historic issue and to send out our own SOS for our planet," the company said in a news release Wednesday.


Ben & Jerry's is also encouraging fans to sign activist group Avaaz' petition to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Julie Kliegman

it's getting hot in here
11:20 a.m. ET

Parts of India are in the grips of a brutal heat wave that has risen to a hellish 117 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas. Some 1,100 people have died from causes related to the heat wave, which is expected to continue through next week.

It's gotten so bad that asphalt roads are literally melting, as captured here by The Hindustan Times' Sanjeev Verma, in New Delhi: Ryu Spaeth

beep boop
11:11 a.m. ET
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If you're a young, technologically inclined person in America, you probably have an opinion on the highest-stakes competition currently dominating the national conversation: Plants vs. Zombies. Lucky for you, so does one of the politicians vying for your vote to be the next president.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), best known as a polished Ivy League debate champion beloved by the far-right Tea Party wing and one of the many Republican candidates for president in 2016, is also a huge video game nerd, The Daily Beast reports. In fact, the senator is so enthralled by the likes of Super Mario Brothers and Centipede that he denies himself a game console "because if I had one, I would use it far too much."

Apparently, Cruz's current vices include Plants vs. Zombies, Candy Crush, and The Creeps!, all of which are playable via smartphone. But gaming is a family affair in the Cruz household, with the senator telling the Beast that he and his daughters "curl up and play games," which drives his wife Heidi "crazy." Seeing as President Obama famously gave up his own addiction — smoking — at the urging of the First Lady, perhaps Mrs. Cruz will have similar luck should her husband win the nation's highest office. Kimberly Alters

new york city cops
10:48 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority recently began a campaign to improve etiquette on the subway, plastering signs within carriages encouraging commuters to, for example, give their seats up for the elderly and disabled. One such sign tells men not to "manspread," i.e. sit with their legs spread so far apart that it disturbs other passengers. (It's a problem.)

But it appears a couple of zealous police officers took the MTA's tips a tad too far, arresting a pair of Latino men for manspreading. As Gothamist notes, the men were arrested after midnight, which makes it unlikely their alleged manspreading actually impinged on anyone's space.

Indeed, it's possible that the men were arrested so that the police could meet their quotas, a much criticized aspect of the city's so-called "broken windows" approach to policing, in which even minor crimes are aggressively prosecuted. Ryu Spaeth

FIFA
10:44 a.m. ET
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

After Wednesday's news that the U.S. has indicted nine FIFA officials and five sports marketers on 47 charges including bribery, money laundering, corruption, and racketeering, some of the organization's largest corporate sponsors — including Visa, Adidas, and Coca-Cola — are threatening to revoke their sponsorships if FIFA doesn't implement reforms.

"Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement — and it is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remains on these going forward," Visa said in a statement. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, said the World Cup's reputation is "tarnished" by the FIFA scandal and encouraged the organization to make changes.

Nike, another huge FIFA sponsor, has so far stayed mum, and some suspect that the "multinational sportswear company headquartered in the United States" mentioned in the indictment in relation to 1996 bribery allegations involving a sponsorship deal with Brazil is a reference to the athleticwear giant. For its part, Nike said it was concerned about the "very serious allegations" — though the company did not directly admit it was the multinational sportswear company in question. Meghan DeMaria

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