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This just in
July 22, 2014

UPDATE: The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a statement banning U.S. airlines from flying to or from Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, beginning Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. EST. The agency said the move was a response to a rocket strike Tuesday morning, which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.

Citing security concerns around Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, several airlines have altered or suspended their service to Israel.

Delta Air Lines announced on its website Tuesday that is has suspended its service to Israel "until further notice" following reports of "a rocket or associated debris" near Ben Gurion International Airport. The airline also made the announcement on two of its Twitter accounts.

Meanwhile, American Airlines responded to a passenger's question on Twitter regarding flights to Israel, announcing that it canceled both its flight to Tel Aviv from Philadelphia and the reverse flight "in response to security concerns at TLV." It also posted an official "Israel Travel Policy" on its website, allowing passengers with ticketed flights to Tel Aviv through the end of July to adjust their flights until the end of August. (US Airways, which has merged with American Airlines, made a similar announcement on its still-separate Twitter page.)

United Airlines canceled its two flights between Tel Aviv and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, as well.

After last week's tragic Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, it isn't terribly surprising that airlines are taking extra precautions with flying near conflict-ridden zones. Kimberly Alters

paper-thin questions
12:05 p.m. ET

Being a movie star isn't all flashy premieres and high-profile interviews, as model-turned-actress Cara Delevigne is learning. The Brit, who stars opposite Nat Wolff in the big screen adaptation of John Green's YA novel Paper Towns, sat through what was surely one of the most cringe-inducing interviews ever this week with morning show Good Day Sacramento.

While it's fair to say that Delevigne gave back as much sass as she was given, the anchors' questions to the actress were downright embarrassing. In fact, the whole thing seemed designed to irritate anyone who has endured an exhausting press tour. It got us thinking: There's definitely a formula at work here.

How to have a disastrously awkward interview with Cara Delevigne, in 7 easy steps:

1. Call her "Carla" on first introduction.

2. Ask her if she read the book the movie was based on. "No, I never read the book or the script," Delevigne deadpanned. At least she's acting like a teenager — she does play one in the movie, after all!

3. Ask her the most unoriginal question you can think of. "What do you like about [your character] Margo? Do you have anything in common with her?" one of the anchors asked. Delevigne has surely been asked this question hundreds of times, so she was having none of it. "I actually hate her," she said, before pivoting to actually answer the question seriously.

4. Call her out for not being super excited about your interview. One of the male anchors noted that Delevigne seemed more excited in previous interviews she had done for Paper Towns. "You seemed a lot more excited about it [in those interviews] than you do right now. Are you just exhausted?" he asked. Delevigne assured him she is still pumped for the movie.

5. Call her attitude out again. "You do seem a bit irritated. Perhaps it's just us," the anchors continued. "I think it's just you," Delevigne replied. A beautiful double entendre.

6. Condescendingly cut the interview off. "We'll let you go then, take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull, how about that?" Kids these days. Always tired.

7. Talk about her immediately after the interview. Proving that the anchor desk has much in common with a high-school cafeteria table, Good Day Sacramento anchors wasted no time in trashing Delevigne's attitude on the air immediately after her interview ended. "She was in a mood, jeez!" one of the anchors actually exclaimed. Can't say we blame her!

Watch the full interview below. Samantha Rollins

This just in
11:59 a.m. ET
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Penn.) and four of his associates were charged with 29 counts of corruption on Wednesday morning for a racketeering conspiracy related to the Democrat's failed 2007 bid to become mayor of Philadelphia. Per the U.S. Attorney's Office, Fattah and his associates were involved in "several schemes that were intended to further the political and financial interests" of each of them.

The government's charges include bribery, the illegal use of campaign contributions, and theft of charitable funds, NPR reports. According to the indictment, Fattah borrowed $1 million from a supporter, but only paid back $400,000 — and put the rest of the tab on the back of a nonprofit he and his associates controlled. Fattah also allegedly falsified records in efforts to conceal the payment. Becca Stanek

What's in a name? That which we call a Birkin.
11:57 a.m. ET
IMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The Birkin bag, a celebrity staple made by high-fashion brand Hermès, may have to find a new name to carry its clout.

Jane Birkin, the British singer and inspiration behind the handbag, told AFP in a statement that after learning of the "cruel" methods used to make the crocodile version of the status symbol, she wants her name back.

"I have asked Hermes to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place," Birkin said.

Animal rights group PETA recently alleged that it takes up to three crocodiles to make just one Birkin Croco and that the animals are often conscious as they are "crudely hacked" for their skin. Birkin Crocos can cost upwards of $20,000, and are routinely sold out. Sarah Eberspacher

trump mania
11:30 a.m. ET

The one criticism you can make of The Daily Beast's big story this week about Donald Trump — in which the site reported that Trump's ex-wife, Ivana, once accused The Donald of "rape" in a legal deposition — is that it takes Trump's candidacy too seriously, putting him in a category of candidates who actually have to be vetted. But there's no denying the fact that he's leading the GOP primary polls, which means his past life is fair game.

So it has been downright bizarre to see the story dismissed in some very high-profile quarters of the media, with outlets as diverse as Fox News and MSNBC expressing deep skepticism about whether the substance of the story is even relevant. Megyn Kelly at Fox News, for example, grilled reporter Tim Mak on just that question, noting that the story, which she said read like a "hit piece," is decades old. She also asserted that "divorce proceedings are notoriously ugly."

Not to be outdone, the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, all but kicked Mak off their set on Wednesday morning. "Okay, you guys let me know when you uncover something new," Brzezinski huffed. A panelist said the report was "arcane." In the most surreal bit, Scarborough went off on a tangent about how reports like this keep "successful" people with "colorful lives" from running for office. "They know that a nasty thing that an ex-wife said in a moment of anger 20, 25 years ago will be dug up, brought out, put into articles, and it reads horribly," he said.

Of course it reads horribly — the allegation is horrible. And of course it's relevant that a leading presidential candidate was accused of rape, no matter how long ago the accusation was made, no matter who made the accusation, and no matter if the accusation was withdrawn. But it seems we've entered a new phase of the Donald Trump circus, in which even mainstream media outlets have been drawn into his funhouse mirror reality. Ryu Spaeth

FIFA Under Fire
11:17 a.m. ET
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

The FIFA scandal is going down in history as a classic case of organized crime. So classic, in fact, that the Mob Museum in Las Vegas — which is home to artifacts like Bugsy Siegel's glasses, John Gotti's suit, and a "St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall" — is installing a permanent display on FIFA that will include a "breakdown of the kickbacks, secrecy, and match-fixing associated with the scandal."

“This exhibit is ripped right from today's headlines about the globe's most popular sport," The Mob Museum's Executive Director Jonathan Ullman said in a press release, referring to the scandal that rocked soccer's governing body after the U.S. indicted several top FIFA officials on corruption charges in May. "To our growing number of visitors from places like the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and Italy, the FIFA scandal provides an especially resonant example of the different shapes organized crime can take."

"The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly" exhibit will open on September 1. Jeva Lange

Deflategate
11:16 a.m. ET
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

One day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the "Deflategate” scandal, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick gave a rather icy press conference during which Kraft made clear that he was displeased with Goodell's decision. It's no surprise Kraft would disagree with the league's suspension of his franchise player — but could the decision spell the end of Roger Goodell's commissionership?

Kraft's ire is likely drawn from the fact that he decided to accept the original punishment Goodell levied against the Patriots in May, which cost the team $1 million in fines and two future draft picks. (Brady's appeal of his own suspension was a separate effort initiated through the NFL Players Association.) Some thought Kraft's concession to the league would pave the way for a downgrade in Brady's post-appeal suspension — especially because Kraft and Goodell have long been friends — but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Now, Brady will likely file a federal suit against the NFL, which could spell disaster for Goodell by forcing him to air dirty laundry in court, The Daily Beast reports. Explaining his seemingly arbitrary punishments — two games for knocking a woman unconscious in an elevator, three games for driving a car under the influence and crashing into a pole, four games for maybe ordering up deflated footballs — could tie Goodell in knots in front of a judge. Under league policy, Kraft would have to convince 23 other team owners besides himself to vote Goodell guilty of actions "detrimental to the best interests of the league" in order to oust him — but with a federal lawsuit from Brady on the horizon, and with Kraft alienated as his biggest supporter, it's safe to say Deflategate will continue to haunt Goodell for months to come. Kimberly Alters

Gone to pot
10:54 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Colorado's marijuana dispensaries will be packing up shop if Chris Christie were elected president, the New Jersey governor promised at a New Hampshire town hall meeting on Tuesday.

"If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it," Christie said. "As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws." The recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in Colorado, Washington, D.C., Oregon, Alaska, and Washington state, but, under a Christie presidency, federal laws that criminalize marijuana would be enforced, he says.

Christie is staunchly opposed to marijuana, which he believes "alters the brain and serves as a so-called gateway to the use of harder drugs," Bloomberg reports. In his opinion, if marijuana is going to be legalized, it should be changed at the national level, rather than perpetuating "lawlessness" by allowing elected officials to pick and choose which federal statutes they abide by.

Christie's opinions on pot don't exactly fall in line with that of most Americans, however. A majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, with 53 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center found. Moreover, marijuana legalization is dominating the national conversation in ways that might make Christie want to reconsider his stance. At this point in the presidential elections, as The Week previously reported, marijuana is "more popular than any presidential candidate in national match-up polls," and over 20 marijuana ballot initiatives are already slated for 2016. Becca Stanek

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