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Back from the Brink
June 24, 2014
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Sen. Thad Cochran has just pulled off one of the biggest political comebacks of the year, winning tonight's Mississippi Republican primary runoff against Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel — after having trailed McDaniel in the original primary vote three weeks ago.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Cochran has 182,507 votes, or 50.6 percent, against McDaniel's 177,709 votes, 49.4 percent. The Associated Press has projected Cochran as the winner.

McDaniel, a state senator, led in the initial primary with 49.5 percent against Cochran's 49.0 percent. But because no candidate reached over 50 percent of the vote, with a little-known third candidate taking the balance, under Mississippi election law the two contenders were then pushed through to a runoff.

Cochran aggressively attacked McDaniel's past career in talk radio, presenting him as undignified and not fit to serve in the U.S. Senate. And the Cochran campaign reached out heavily to African-American voters, who normally vote Democratic, to vote in the Republican runoff in order to stop the more extreme McDaniel.

Moreover, the Cochran campaign also had a finely tuned message in its campaign ads: That as the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, as well as the powerful Appropriation Committee's defense subcommittee, only he could continue to bring home the federal projects that are really so vital to the state's economy.

As the Jackson Free Press pointed out, Cochran also ran a cleverly bifurcated outreach. In white areas, campaign literature touted his many votes against the Affordable Care Act and his support for gun rights; in black areas, he touted his work on behalf of historically black colleges and universities, and his support for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, a program that is not too near and dear to Republican primary voters. Eric Kleefeld

The price we pay
3:01 p.m. ET
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For the second year in a row, Starbucks is set to raise prices, tacking on anywhere from 5 to 20 cents to affected beverages' prices. Both a small and a large cup of coffee, for instance, will go up by 10 cents in most areas of the country, Starbucks says, bringing the price of a plain ol' cup of joe up to $2.45. The upped price tags will take effect on Tuesday and will apply to beverages only.

Starbucks' plan to raise prices comes amid some coffee sellers' decision to lower prices, The Associated Press reports. Just last week, The J.M. Smucker Co. docked prices in anticipation of lower unroasted coffee bean prices. According to Starbucks, its decision to raise prices included factors such as rent, labor, marketing, and equipment. Becca Stanek

2015 World Cup
2:55 p.m. ET
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The U.S. Women's soccer team won the 2015 World Cup against Japan last night, with a score of 5-2. The victory made the USA the only team to have won three championships in the Women's World Cup — but that's not the only thing the numbers reveal. Below, the 2015 World Cup, by the numbers:

3 — Number of goals scored by Carli Lloyd, whose hat trick was the fastest in Women's World Cup history.

16 — Number of minutes it took for the U.S. to score four goals against Japan.

539 — Number of minutes the U.S. team had been scoreless, just short of a record. The streak ended after the Japanese goal by Yuki Ogimi.

2011 — Year the U.S. Women's team last faced Japan in tournament. They lost to Japan on penalty kicks.

1991 — Year the U.S. Women's team won their first World Cup. They have now repeated the act three times, in 1999 and 2015, making them the reigning champions with the most wins ever. Germany follows with two titles, in 2003 and 2007. The U.S. Men's team has never won the World Cup.

2 millionDollars earned by the U.S. women's soccer team for winning the World Cup.

52,341 — Number of fans in attendance at the final match in Vancouver, B.C. 

20 millionNumber of people who watched the game on Sunday, breaking the record for the most watched soccer match in U.S. television history. Some estimates are as high as 25.4 million viewers, making the game far more viewed than this year's NBA or NHL finals. Jeva Lange

2016 Watch
2:22 p.m. ET
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Since the launch of her presidential campaign in April, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has remained rather tight-lipped when it comes to speaking with the press. However, the Democratic candidate for president will break her silence on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar.

While Clinton continues to hold her place as the frontrunner of the Democratic field, fellow candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made significant gains in recent polls. A recent CNN/ORC poll found that 43 percent of New Hampshire Democrats back Clinton, while a substantial 35 percent support Sanders. Clinton's campaign is maybe even a little worried.

The Clinton campaign's Communications Manager Jennifer Palmieri noted that Clinton is "paying a price" for refusing to do national interviews until now. "The more media interviews you do, the less any one interaction matters," Palmieri said. "America will see more of her." Stephanie Talmadge

This just in
1:44 p.m. ET
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Euclid Tsakalotos was sworn in as Greece's finance minister on Monday, after the previous officeholder, Yanis Varoufakis, abruptly resigned earlier that morning. An Oxford-educated economist, Tsakalotos was Greece's chief negotiator with creditors and is said to be adept at the finer points of eurozone etiquette. "He speaks their language better than they do," a unnamed Greek official told The Guardian. That would be a departure from the pugilistic Varoufakis, who said upon his exit, "I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride."

On Sunday, Greece overwhelmingly voted to reject a bailout deal with its creditors, handing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a decisive victory and strengthening his position in negotiations.

You can read more about Tsakalotos' aristocratic upbringing at The Guardian. Nico Lauricella

Le Crash
1:37 p.m. ET

Several riders are out of the Tour de France after a crash involving 20 or so cyclists led to a massive pile up on the road. Organizers halted the race following the incident, with the Daily Mail reporting that "the number of doctors that had to stay behind at the scene would have meant it was unsafe for the peloton to ride ahead." Former pro Paul Sherwen told NBC that he couldn't remember a time when the Tour had actually stopped the race due to a crash; the Daily Mail likewise dubbed it "one of the worst crashes" in the race's history. Several cyclists are out of the race entirely due to injuries, including Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin, who had been in third place before the crash. Jeva Lange

Debating E.T.
1:30 p.m. ET
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Data relayed by the Rosetta spacecraft's Philae probe that landed on Comet 67P indicate the duck-shaped rock body could be home to alien life, astronomers reported Monday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.

Astronomers from the University of Cardiff and Buckingham University said the unusual organic black crust on the surface of the comet, formally known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, appears to have frozen lakes beneath it that could be inhabited by microbial organisms.

"Rosetta has already shown that the comet is not to be seen as a deep-frozen inactive body, but supports geological processes and could be more hospitable to micro-life than our Arctic and Antarctic regions," Dr. Max Wallis said in a statement.

However, scientists behind the Rosetta project are less convinced that the comet could harbor alien lifeOpen University Professor Monica Grady, who helped design Philae's chemical spectrometer, and Rosetta project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor both dismissed claims of alien life as "highly unlikely."

“It's pure speculation,” Dr. Taylor said.  Kelly Gonsalves

Trump's take
1:02 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump just can't seem to learn his lesson. Just last week, the Republican presidential candidate and business mogul landed himself in a heap of trouble for making racist comments about Hispanic-Americans, which cost him contracts with Macy's, Univision, and NBC. But Trump seems to be having a tough time containing himself, tweeting Monday that Jeb Bush likes "Mexican illegals because of his wife." Bush's wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.

Trump seemingly tried to correct his political incorrectness, eventually deleting the offending tweet, but it was too little, too late. The tweet remained up for a total of 24 hours, according to screenshots captured by The Wrap.

Bush, however, isn't too flustered by Trump's derogatory comments. "He's doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign," Bush said. "To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party." Becca Stanek

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