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July 17, 2014
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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]

11:22 a.m. ET

Britain's Natural Environmental Research Council made a fateful mistake by allowing the internet to vote on a name for its new $287 million research vessel. On Friday, the Ministry officially vetoed the wishes of the 124,000 people who voted for the winning name "Boaty McBoatface," instead choosing a more "suitable name" — the much duller "David Attenborough," in honor of the famous naturalist.

But in an attempt at softening the blow, the Research Council announced they weren't scrapping the winning name entirely, The New York Times reports. "We're ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew," Science Minister Jo Johnson said.

There is one glaring problem with that plan, however:

Bon voyage, Boaty. Jeva Lange

11:14 a.m. ET
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Drake has been crushing on Rihanna since the two were first spotted together in a bowling alley seven years ago. Now, according to an anonymous source that spoke with People, Drizzy and RiRi are apparently "secretly dating" — and have been for months.

Of course, the couple is famously on-again off-again, so who can really keep track? We tried, using seven years' worth of Drake's lovesick lyrics. Jeva Lange

"Fireworks" (2010)
Who coulda predicted Lucky Strike would have you stuck with me?
What happened between us that night, it always seems to trouble me

"Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge is a popular bowling alley/nightclub in New York — it is also the first place Drake and Rihanna were ever spotted together." [Genius]

"Made Men" (2011)
One of my baddest women ever, I call her Rihanna
But that's 'cause her name is Rihanna

"Remember, back in June Drizzy confessed that Rihanna left him high and dry after a brief fling. Well, since then they've collaborated on her No. 1 single 'What's My Name?,' and apparently everything's on the up and up." [Entertainment Weekly]

"No Lie" (2012)
Chances are it's what's her name
Chances are, if she was acting up
Then I f----d her once and never f----d again
She could have a Grammy, I still treat her ass like a nominee

"The 'No Lie' verse refers to a female Grammy winner, with Rihanna already having five of the awards to her name, and also seems to refer to Rihanna and Drake's 2011 collaboration 'What's My Name?'" [Capital FM]

"5 AM in Toronto" (2013)
I mean, where you think she at when she ain't with ya?
Wildin', doin' shit that's way out of your budget

"Lines like 'Where you think she at when she ain't with ya?' fuel speculation that the Toronto MC is taking shots at the once-rumored love triangle between him, Chris Brown, and Rihanna." [MTV]

"Views From the 6" (2014)
You must remember wakin' up in Paris with the blunt
You must remember f---in' me like anytime you want
What made us wanna act like we were married for two weeks?
Now we back in California, we don't even speak

"RiRi showed up to L'Avenue, one of Paris' most famous celebrity hotspots, on 23rd of February, to have dinner with her back then on-and-off boyfriend, Drake." [Genius]

"My Side" (2015)
Why you never come to where I'm staying?
Always hiding out in your New York condo
Why you never come to where I'm staying?
If anybody knows, girl, you know I know

"Not only does that Bad Gal live in New York (and probably one of the few people able to afford a condo in NYC), but she and Drake attempted a relationship multiple times and couldn't make it work." [Celebuzz]

"Hype" (2016)
You cannot be here right next to me
Don't you see Riri right next to me?

"Following the release of 'Hype,' the Twitterverse exploded with speculation that Drake is confirming his rumored romance with Rihanna." [ET Online]

10:34 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump downplayed evidence of his early support for the war in Iraq — an invasion he has insisted throughout his campaign that he opposed from the get-go — when confronted by Fox News' Bret Baier on Thursday evening.

After Trump mentioned his criticism of the war, Baier pointed out that during an interview with Howard Stern in 2002, Trump answered, "Yeah, I guess" when asked whether he backed the invasion. Trump's account to Baier was a little different: "I'm talking to Howard Stern, weeks before, the first time anybody had ever asked," he said, "and don't forget, I was a civilian. The first time anyone ever asked me about the war, about should we go in, because it was a question, are we going in? And I said very weakly, well, blah, blah, blah, yes, I guess."

Baier then recalled Trump's declaration of the war as "a tremendous success from a military standpoint" on its very first day. "What I said is it was a success, because they thought it was a success," Trump countered, before insisting again, contrary to the available reports, that he opposed the invasion before it happened.

But hey, if Trump doesn't want to dwell on his Iraq record, perhaps the real story here is that The Donald said he did something "weakly." Bonnie Kristian

10:15 a.m. ET

If you're not watching the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs, well, you should be. The powerhouse franchises of late have already been knocked out of the running, so the race for the Cup from here on out is between a bunch of scrappy teams who haven't touched it in a while. And if you're inexplicably unimpressed by incredible feats of dexterity and grace alone — while balancing on ice with knives strapped to your shoes, mind you — well, just check out the ecstasy in this photo of the Nashville Predators bench, after the team outlasted the San Jose Sharks in triple-overtime to even their second round series at two games apiece:

Convinced? Good. The Sharks host the Predators on Saturday for Game 5, and you can check out the rest of the Stanley Cup schedule here. Kimberly Alters

10:10 a.m. ET
Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central

Does the long road to November stretch out before you like a dry and dusty wilderness of endless horse-race polls and infinite hypothetical delegate counts?

HBO CEO Richard Plepler is here with a balm for your weary soul: Jon Stewart might be back on TV before the election. Plepler said he is "hopeful" that the former Daily Show host, who signed a deal with HBO this past fall, would be installed in a new show within the next few months.

And when Stewart's new show does happen, Plepler added, the network will give him significant latitude to play with the format. "It is a perfect example of bringing a remarkable original voice into the house, giving a new opportunity of expression to that original voice and saying, 'We now have the flexibility to let you paint however you want to,'" he explained. "My hunch is it will evolve over time." Bonnie Kristian

9:49 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump's spokesperson Katrina Pierson thinks that if House Speaker Paul Ryan can't get behind Trump as the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, then he shouldn't be speaker at all. Even if Ryan doesn't like Trump, Pierson said, he should at least align his actions with all his calls to "bring unity."

Pierson's comments came during a Friday morning interview with CNN's John Berman, who asked her whether Ryan is "still fit to be speaker" if he doesn't jump on the Trump train. "No, because this is about the party," Pierson said. On Thursday, Ryan declined to endorse Trump, saying he was "just not ready to do that at this point."

"We were told to hold our noses and vote for the sake of the party," Pierson said. "These same people are now telling us that because their guy didn't want to win, they want to hurt the party. If you can't hold yourself to the standard that you're holding everyone else, the problem is with you."

Watch Pierson's full takedown of Ryan here. Becca Stanek

9:14 a.m. ET
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Nearly half of likely Hillary Clinton voters say they are only supporting her to keep Donald Trump out of the White House — but before Trump backers start cackling, they ought to keep in mind that they're in the same boat. Nearly half of Trump supporters are only backing the Republican candidate in order to keep Clinton out of office.

The uninspiring situation was discovered in a new Reuters/Ipsos survey that claims many voters this election season are only going to the ballot boxes to keep the opposition out of the White House, rather than to get their candidate in. With Trump supporters, a whole 47 percent are voting just to keep Clinton out; by comparison, only 43 percent are voting for Trump because they like his political positions, and only 6 percent because they like Trump personally.

Among likely Clinton voters, 46 percent are voting for her just to keep Trump out of office, with 40 percent backing her because they like her politics and 11 percent because they like her personally.

The results come from likely voters who were interviewed online between April 29 and May 5, with the margin of error for Trump supporters being plus or minus 5.3 and for Clinton supporters, plus or minus 4.7. Jeva Lange

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