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This just in
July 16, 2014
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The chance of a ground invasion of the Gaza strip is "very high," according to a senior Israeli military official who spoke anonymously.

"If you want to efficiently fight terrorism, you must be present, boots on the ground," the official said at a briefing on Wednesday. He said that an Israeli takeover of Gaza will not be "a huge challenge," and would only take "a matter of days or weeks."

"Every day that passes makes the possibility more evident," said the official. "We can hurt them very hard from the air but not get rid of them." The official said the military has a number of plans in mind, including "taking specific parts of the strip, taking places with tunnels [and] places with rockets."

Similarly, Mark Regev, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Wednesday that invading Gaza is "definitely an option" and is "being discussed."

The military official's announcement comes after Israel bombed 60 targets, the majority of which were in northern Gaza, raising the death count to 205 by Wednesday afternoon. Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas officials refused to participate in peace talks in Cairo. However, Hamas did make its own proposal offering 10 years of peace if Israel reopens the Gaza border crossings and releases 50 Palestinians who were re-arrested after their 2011 release in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier. Meghan DeMaria

global matters
1:57 p.m. ET
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel will reportedly seek a fourth term in 2017, unnamed sources told German newspaper Der Spiegel. She's expected to officially announce her run in 2016, Politico reports.

Should Merkel win a fourth term, the first female chancellor would find herself right behind the longest-serving leaders in German history, Helmut Köhl and Otto von Bismarck.

There's no obvious successor in place and Merkel is popular in polls, so Politico reports her 2017 candidacy has been anticipated. Julie Kliegman

race in america
1:33 p.m. ET
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The NAACP kicked off a 40-day march through the U.S. South on Saturday meant to highlight issues of racial injustice in the country, Reuters reports. The Journey for Justice organizers started with a civil rights rally in Selma, Alabama, a city key to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The march was sparked by the many recent instances of police officers killing unarmed black men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. 

"We can continue to be serially outraged, or we can engage in an outrageously patriotic demonstration with a commitment to bringing about reform in this country," NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said.

Marchers will conduct teach-ins in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, as they make their way to Washington, D.C., for a final rally Sept. 16. Julie Kliegman

strange species
1:06 p.m. ET

For years, scientists thought Africa's golden jackals to be the same as Eurasian golden jackals. Only one problem: the African ones turned out to not be jackals at all, The Huffington Post reports.

In a new DNA study published Thursday in Current Biology, researchers concluded that what they thought were jackals are actually African golden wolves, the first new species of canine found in Africa in 150 years, according to The Guardian.

Consider the two species distant cousins. Julie Kliegman

Olympics
12:27 p.m. ET

The World Health Organization asked the International Olympic Committee to conduct tests for viruses on the water in Rio de Janeiro, the site of 2016's summer games, The Associated Press reports. The move comes days after an AP investigation found high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in the city's water, where open-water swimming and boating events will be held for 1,400 athletes.

The international Sailing Federation will also run independent tests for viruses in the water. One unique feature of Rio playing host to the Olympics is that the boating events are set to be contested unusually close to the rest of the action, offering good publicity to those sports and their athletes. But the venue could change if the waters are deemed unsafe. Julie Kliegman

Science!
11:27 a.m. ET
Johns Hopkins University

Amazon employees aren't the only people aiming to ship things quickly via drone. Doctors are testing out the technology, too.

A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One reports early findings that it might be possible for doctors to send blood samples to laboratories from remote clinics up to 30 miles away. They ran 56 blood samples from healthy patients through common tests doctors order and found that the drone samples were preserved just as well as the ones that hadn't been airborne, Pacific Standard reports.

The Johns Hopkins University researchers say the next step could be testing the practice in remote regions of Africa. They'll also need to ensure drone flights perform equally well with blood from sick patients. Julie Kliegman

Let's talk about sex
10:46 a.m. ET
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Image

Rite Aid and Food Lion don't want minors in their store learning "25 Ways to Kiss a Naked Man," apparently. That is, you guessed it, a run-of-the-mill Cosmopolitan headline. The pharmacy and grocery chains announced Wednesday they'll shield minors from the horrors of sexual content by putting blinders on the magazine's cover, The New York Times reports.

The blinders will hide the cover's headlines, but not the magazine title or model. So not to worry, your kid can still gaze at barely naked women — he just can't read about them.

The move comes in response to a campaign against Hearst by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, ironically started by William Randolph Hearst's own granddaughter, who does not have an official title at the company.

There's no word yet if other magazine-selling chain stores will follow suit. Meanwhile, the Times points out even racier covers routinely go unguarded. Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, anyone? Julie Kliegman

Free trade
9:31 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The 12 Pacific Rim countries working in Hawaii to establish the biggest free trade deal in history failed to reach an agreement Friday, the end of their latest round of talks. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would cover 40 percent of the global economy.

Negotiators say significant progress was made, according to CNN, but there's no date set yet for the next round of talks. An agreement would lower trade barriers between the nations and encourage economic growth.

President Obama had all but ensured a deal would cruise through Congress, but with the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, if a deal is reached down the road, its fate would be less clear. Julie Kliegman

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