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July 15, 2014

On Monday, somebody shot down a Ukrainian military An-26 transport plane carrying food and water to Ukrainian troops trying to rout the pro-Moscow separatists gathered in their strongholds of Luhansk and Donetsk. The separatists claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane and said they captured four crew members, but Ukraine reportedly says it has "undisputed proof" that Russia was involved.

The airplane was flying at more than 21,000 feet, Ukraine says, putting it out of the reach of the shoulder-fired rockets the separatists have used so far. Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said that the plane had been "downed by another, more powerful missile that probably was launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," either from a surface-to-air system or a Russian jet. Russia, for its part, is threatening Ukraine with "irreversible consequences" for an artillery round that fell in Russian territory, killing a civilian.

NATO says that Russia has been slowly increasing its troop levels near the Ukraine border, with up to 12,000 troops in the area, from about 1,000 in mid-June. The U.S. is also accusing Russia of sending heavy weapons and military personnel to help lead the separatists in their battle against Kiev. "While Russia says it seeks peace, its actions do not match its rhetoric," the U.S. government said in a statement. Peter Weber

2:08 a.m. ET

It was just his second time outside, but Bei Bei was ready for an adventure. On Monday, the panda cub born last summer at the Smithsonian's National Zoo climbed a tree for the first time, but was hesitant when it came time to climb back down. Luckily, his doting mother, Mei Xiang, was there to gently give him some assistance. Watch the sweet video below. Catherine Garcia

1:47 a.m. ET
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Jim Gilmore has a theory as to why he's virtually unknown among the Republican presidential candidates.

"I entered the race having been out of office for a considerable amount of time," he told USA Today. "I wasn't a sitting governor, my father wasn't president, and my brother wasn't president." Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, was upbeat at his primary party in New Hampshire on Tuesday, attended by less than a dozen people. "I don't think we'll win this thing," he told one supporter, "but let's see if we can get some recognition."

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Gilmore received 125 votes, or 0.0 percent. It was, however, a major victory compared to how he did in Iowa, where he was backed by just 12 caucusgoers, and Gilmore said he's looking forward to campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday. New Hampshire state senator Sam Cataldo told USA Today Gilmore has a "hell of a background," but is practically invsible because "the media keeps playing Trump, Trump, and Trump. There's more to life than just Trump." Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

On Monday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that he's considering an independent run for president this year, telling the Financial Times that he finds "the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters." He'll decide soon, he said, and is "listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing." That's widely considered code for Bloomberg waiting to see if Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are likely to win the Republican and Democratic nominations, respectively.

Both Trump and Sanders notched solid victories in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. And a potential Trump-Sanders race is "a dream scenario for those — most notably Bloomberg himself — who dream of a real chance for the former mayor," says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. "I wouldn't fall down dead if later this week 'a Bloomberg insider' leaked either polling numbers or some sort of internal memo designed to stoke the fires for the former mayor’s independent bid." Since a Bloomberg run would probably ensure a Republican win in 2016, maybe this should be scored as two wins for Trump. Peter Weber

1:16 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

CNN and The New York Times are projecting Bernie Sanders as the winner of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. With 89 percent of 300 precincts reporting, Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton 60 percent to 38.4 percent, with 138,414 votes to Clinton's 88,623. Catherine Garcia

1:15 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Both CNN and The New York Times have called Donald Trump the winner of the New Hampshire primary, where he holds 35.1 percent of the vote with 88 percent of precincts reporting. Giving his first victory speech of the election, Trump vowed "to make America so great again. Maybe greater than ever before."

A number of news organizations have called John Kasich the second place winner with 15.9 percent. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio are locked in a battle for third place, virtually tied between 11 and 10 percent. Jeva Lange

1:10 a.m. ET
Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

FBI director James B. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that bureau technicians have been unable to unlock encrypted data on a cellphone that belonged to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.

The locked data could help explain why the shooters left a bag with pipe bombs inside the conference room at the Inland Regional Center, whether they planned any additional attacks, or if anyone else knew about their plan beforehand, the Los Angeles Times reports. Comey said that encrypted cellphones and text messaging apps make it difficult for investigators to trace locations or track active plots after they have a suspect's phone. Encryption algorithms scramble the data once a PIN code is set, and many companies say they don't have the capability to unscramble the memory, arguing such capacity would weaken security and privacy, the Times says.

The FBI did not disclose the model of the phone, nor if it belonged to Malik or Farook. The bureau also says there is no evidence that the married couple had any outside help or instructions on how to carry out the attack. Farook became self-radicalized, and the pair pledged allegiance to ISIS the day of the shooting. Catherine Garcia

12:59 a.m. ET

Katie Holmes doesn't seem like the type of person to attack Ryan Reynolds over a red Solo cup, but that's exactly what she did during an intense game of "Musical Beers" on The Tonight Show. Was her prowess enough to defeat Jimmy Fallon and various members of The Roots? Watch the dizzying video below to find out. Catherine Garcia

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