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June 10, 2014
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Never mind that a single goal can change an entire game. Never mind that the last World Cup saw Switzerland beat Spain in the first round, as well as the implosion of traditional powerhouses Italy and France. The reason I know Nate Silver's World Cup predictions — based on his so-called Soccer Power Index (SPI) — are bunk is because Japan has been given a 70 percent chance of flaming out in the first round.

Now, being half-Japanese, I may be biased. I am not a statistician, nor even an expert in soccer. But consider this: Japan's top two forwards — Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa — play for AC Milan and Manchester United, respectively. Shinji Okazaki, meanwhile, scored 15 goals in Germany's Bundesliga last season, easily making him a top 10 scorer in a top-flight league. And we haven't even gotten to Japan's solid midfield and fullbacks. As Zonal Marking writes, "In a purely technical sense, Japan are arguably in the top ten sides at this competition."

And yet Greece, a middling team if there ever was one, which is in Group C with Japan, is sitting comfortably above Japan in the SPI. So is the United States, whose starting striker scored one goal last season for Sunderland (one!). A mere five teams (out of 32) have a smaller chance of winning the World Cup than Japan, according to Silver's model.

Call me innumerate. But this is crazy talk. See you in the second round, haters! Nippon Ichiban! Ryu Spaeth

7:52 p.m. ET

Monday night saw the first Miami Marlins game since the team's star pitcher, José Fernández, 24, was killed Sunday morning in a boat crash in Miami Beach, Florida. With the entire team wearing Fernández's jersey number in tribute to their teammate, leadoff batter Dee Gordon stepped up to the plate against the New York Mets.

Gordon's first swing was right-handed, mimicking the way Fernández hit at the plate. Then Gordon switched over to his natural left hand to take the second pitch — and hit his first homerun of all of his 323 plate appearances this year:

It doesn't matter who you root for — this one is for the books. Watch the incredible moment, below. Jeva Lange

7:38 p.m. ET
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On Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, also known as Timochenko, formally signed a peace accord in Cartagena, ending the longest running armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

The deal came together after four years of negotiations and 52 years of war, which resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 people. There's one final step left: On Sunday, voters will participate in a national referendum to either support or reject the peace deal. The Colombia Reports news site says a recent poll shows 66 percent of voters support the 297-page accord, and if it is approved, the government expects it will take 10 years for rebels to be disarmed and reintegrate into society. The government also plans to compensate victims of violence and try war criminals in court. Catherine Garcia

6:46 p.m. ET
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Credit scores are checked by employers, landlords, utility companies, and lenders, and that's one reason why some consumer advocates are worried about Wells Fargo opening millions of phony accounts.

Wells Fargo has been fined $185 million for letting employees open checking and credit card accounts for customers without their knowledge, and while the company says it is contacting customers to find out if the accounts they have are authorized and promises to try to make restitution, it's highly likely credit scores have been majorly affected. When credit cards are issued, it's reflected on an individual's credit report. In some cases, NPR reports, Wells Fargo employees took money from a customer's existing account and moved it into a new account, which could have lead to insufficient funds and late fees. There's also the possibility of customers not paying the annual fee for a credit card, since they couldn't make a payment for an account they didn't know was open.

These little dings to a credit report can add up, Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, told NPR. "You may not have qualified for a mortgage or you might have been dinged by getting charged a little higher interest rate because of what was reported wrongly on your credit report," he said. Rheingold wants to know how Wells Fargo is going to be able to figure out how the fake accounts affected customers — did a person miss out on getting a job because an employer saw late payments on their credit score? Will they be able to find out if a person received a higher interest rate on their mortgage because of inaccurate information? Even if all that can be determined, "once something affects a consumer's credit report and credit scores, it has the potential to have a lot of impact across the consumer's entire economic life," attorney Chi Chi Wu of the National Consumer Law Center told NPR. Catherine Garcia

6:29 p.m. ET

The first gaffe of the presidential debate goes to … the presidential debate itself!

Of Hofstra University's 10,870 enrolled students, 350 won tickets to attend the debate through a lottery system. Hofstra University spokeswoman Karla Schuster clarified to NBC New York that the misspelled tickets "are not official tickets to the debate. They were printed at the last minute to create a souvenir for the students. We'll be reprinting them for all those who won tickets." Still, students were not having it:

Don't sweat it, kids — in a few years, those "Hilary" tickets might even be collectibles. Jeva Lange

6:08 p.m. ET

Green Party candidate Jill Stein was escorted away from Hofstra University ahead of Monday night's presidential debate — the second time in four years that she's had a run-in with the police at a debate hosted on Hofstra's campus.

Stein won't be appearing on the debate stage Monday because she failed to reach 15 percent in the national polls, the minimum requirement for a candidate to be included in the presidential debate. She is polling at around 2.4 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson also failed to reach 15 percent nationally, and will be live tweeting the debate from Twitter's offices in New York City.

Stein, on the other hand, planned to livestream "from a protest outside the debate venue," The Daily Dot reports, only when she turned up, the Nassau County police promptly sent her packing:

It could have been worse: In 2012, Stein spent eight hours handcuffed to a chair at Hofstra University for protesting her exclusion from the debate. Jeva Lange

4:49 p.m. ET
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Data released Monday by the FBI revealed that murders in the United States rose dramatically between 2014 and 2015. After two decades trending downward, the murder rate rose 10.8 percent between 2014 and 2015, the "biggest single-year percentage jump since 1971," The Guardian notes.

The bulk of the increase was due to a jump in the murders of black men, as the data shows at least 900 more black men were killed in 2015 than in 2014. Additionally, 71.5 percent of murders in 2015 were committed with firearms, up from 67.9 percent in 2014.

The increase put the total murders in the U.S. at 15,696, just shy of 2009's number — but still just half of the total in 1991, the peak of the country's violent crime wave. Read more about the FBI's latest data at The Guardian. Kimberly Alters

3:58 p.m. ET

NASA announced Monday that its Hubble Space Telescope has found more evidence of "water plumes" on the surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa. If the plumes, which NASA describes as water vapor "erupting off" Europa's surface, do in fact exist, it would offer scientists hoping to study Europa's massive subsurface ocean a way to study the water without having to drill through miles of hard ice to get there.

Europa's ocean has two times the amount of water Earth's oceans have, making it "one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system," Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a press release.

The latest findings mark the second time NASA has reported spotting water plumes on Europa's surface; in November and December 2012, scientists noticed water vapor near the moon's southern pole. NASA is planning to launch two missions to Europa sometime in the next decade, Ars Technica reported.

For more on the plumes — including what they may look like — watch NASA's video, below. Becca Stanek

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