July 17, 2014
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released this statement Thursday night regarding Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, with a call for a ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine, and pro-Russia separatists, in order for a full investigation of the evidence to be conducted. The statement also clearly puts the responsibility on Russia to take these actions, after having substantially aided the separatists, in contrast to a much clearer trust in the Ukrainian government. --Eric Kleefeld

The United States is shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and we offer our deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on board. We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.

It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains. The role of international organizations – such as the United Nations and the OSCE in Ukraine – may be particularly relevant for this effort, and we will be in touch with affected nations and our partners in these organizations in the coming hours and days to determine the best path forward. In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.

While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable cease-fire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward. [The White House]

started from the bottom now we an app
4:50 p.m. ET

An emoji might be worth a hundred words, but nothing captures an emotion quite like a Drake lyric. Now, thanks to the Drizzy iPhone app, you can let Drake do the texting for you. The app allows you to express all your feelings with Drake quotes, which are sorted into five categories: feels, hustle, exes, hate, and random.

As it turns out, there is a Drake quote to fit pretty much every real life situation: 

(Drizzy App)

The Drizzy App is all yours to download as long as you've got iOS 8.

Only in America
4:40 p.m. ET House

Officials in New York City are using a clip from the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie Road House to urge police officers to avoid unnecessary confrontations as part of a mandatory, $35 million retraining program. "I want you to be nice," Swayze's character says in the clip, which shows him training a group of bar bouncers, "until it's time not to be nice."

it's a bird it's a plane
4:19 p.m. ET

Another superhero have arrived on the scene. Today, CBS unveiled the first pictures of Melissa Benoist, the star of the network's upcoming Supergirl TV series, in full costume:

At the Television Critics Association press conference in January, CBS chairwoman Nina Tassler described the network's version of Supergirl as "a very strong, independent young woman." 

"We're big feminists," said Tassler. "It's her intellect, it's her skill, it's her smarts. It’s all of those elements."

Got the wrong guy
3:58 p.m. ET

Chris Hayes at MSNBC took a deep investigative look at the Texas case of Rodney Reed, who was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996. Despite some compelling evidence against him, it turns out the case is much weaker than it seemed at the time. Reed was scheduled to be executed yesterday, but in February an appeals court issued a temporary stay of execution.

Make sure to watch through to end of the third video, which carefully explains new exculpatory evidence which has come to light. —Ryan Cooper

Numbers don't lie
3:23 p.m. ET
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

A new CNN/ORC poll released ahead of the 50th anniversary of Selma, Alabama's "Bloody Sunday" march reveals that nearly 4 in 10 Americans think race relations under the Obama administration have gotten worse.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that race relations have worsened under President Obama, while 15 percent said they think race relations have improved. Forty-five percent said they think they've stayed the same.

Unsurprisingly, more Republicans (65 percent) said race relations have worsened under Obama compared to Democrats (26 percent), though only 20 percent of respondents from the president's own party said things have gotten better.

These findings are in contrast to a 2009 poll, which found that 32 percent of people thought Obama's leadership had improved race relations, 6 percent thought he made things worse, and 59 percent said nothing had changed.

Family Ties
3:08 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What do Sasha and Malia want to be when they grow up? There's at least one occupation that the first daughters seemed to have ruled out: Politics.

During an interview with radio host Tom Joyner, President Obama said it's unlikely either of his teenage daughters will want to run for public office "partly because they've been listening to their mother."

The president, who will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama tomorrow, said he hopes Sasha and Malia will be "engaged and involved" in whatever they decide to do in the future.

"If they want to do it through business, then I want them to have a business that is providing employment and opportunity for people who might not otherwise get it," he said.

"If they want to do it through the arts, then I want their art to be informed by the great social issues of the day so they are illuminating that for other people and telling stories that need to be told." [The Hill]

For those who have everything
2:47 p.m. ET
Courtesy photo

Tucking in beneath an eiderdown duvet from Norvegr (from $6,714 for a double bed) has to be “one of the chicest ways to hibernate,” says Jemima Sissons at Financial Times. The down is “some of the coziest in the world,” and collecting it is a challenge. Every year, just past midsummer, Norvegr’s veteran down gatherers head to the Norwegian island of Svalbard to handpick the down left in nests abandoned by the island’s eider ducks. A good yield for one nest is 15 to 20 grams of down, and the annual yield for the entire team is less than 100 kg. Still, “what sets Norvegr apart is its bespoke service.” The firm will even vary the weight of the filling on each side of the duvet to keep both bedmates happy.

This just in
2:31 p.m. ET
Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), sources told CNN. Menendez is accused of doing political favors for a Florida doctor, Salomon Melgen, a close friend and benefactor. CNN's sources said the official announcement from prosecutors may come within weeks. Menendez' office, meanwhile, has called the allegations a "smear campaign" and denied that the senator has done anything improper.

Coming Soon
2:20 p.m. ET

Following the unexpected resignation of the president, the fourth season of the acclaimed HBO comedy Veep sees Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) assume the presidency. It's everything she's ever wanted — but with an election around the corner, she'll need to prove herself to keep the seat, and her staff seems less than prepared for the contentious campaign:

Veep's fourth season premieres on April 12.

spoiler alert
1:38 p.m. ET

With just four episodes left in its freshman season, Fox's Batman prequel Gotham is taking a short hiatus before resuming in April. But anyone who can't wait to see how the season resolves was just dealt a major hint from star Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays the gangster Fish Mooney.

"I don't think [I'll be in the second season]," said Pinkett Smith in an interview on Live with Kelly and Michael. "I signed for a year, and the year's up."

Pinkett Smith's comments don't bode well for the fate of Fish Mooney — a major player in Gotham, but one who, tellingly, never appeared in a Batman comic book or film. If Pinkett Smith isn't booked for season two, there's a very real chance she'll be diminished or dead by the time the first season ends.

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