First look
March 14, 2014

J.K. Rowling officially ended the Harry Potter series in 2007 — but even if her title character's story is over, there are plenty of aspects of the wizarding world left to explore. In addition to her upcoming screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling has taken to her website Pottermore to flesh out the long and storied history of the Quidditch World Cup.

The new story serves as a kind of guide to the sport, chronicling the precise rules of the game. The highlight, by far, is the section on "infamous tournaments," which describes several of the strangest moments in Quidditch World Cup History — including the "Reappearance of the Dark Mark":

Possibly the most infamous World Cup Final of the last few centuries was the Ireland-Bulgaria match of 1994, which took place on Dartmoor, England. During the post-match celebration of Ireland's triumph there was an outbreak of unprecedented violence as supporters of Lord Voldemort attacked fellow wizards and captured and tortured local Muggles. For the first time in fourteen years, the Dark Mark appeared in the sky, which caused widespread alarm and resulted in many injuries among the crowd. [Pottermore]

To read the full story, you'll need to sign up for a Pottermore account. Once you've been sorted — Go Gryffindor! — you can check it out here. Scott Meslow

$$$$
5:50 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly avoiding a requirement to report large cash withdrawals from banks and lying to the FBI, Bloomberg reports.

Hastert withdrew $952,000 in cash to give an unidentified person $3.5 million as a payoff for covering up "prior misconduct," U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors alleged. Starting in July 2012, the Illinois Republican allegedly withdrew money from the bank in increments less than $10,000 to avoid banks reporting large transactions, as required by law.

He then told the FBI he was keeping the money, Bloomberg reports. Julie Kliegman

court reports
4:59 p.m. ET
Dana Romanoff/Getty Images

Aurora movie theater gunman James Holmes was mentally ill but legally sane in July 2012 when he killed 12 people, psychiatrist William Reid testified Thursday, The Denver Post reports. He conducted a state-ordered exam on Holmes, from which jurors will watch 22 hours of footage.

"My opinion is that whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing," Reid said.

Reid's statement came unexpectedly, since the district attorney had not asked for his opinion. Judge Carlos Samour Jr. held a bench conference and dismissed the jury for lunch, but afterward ruled there was no mistrial. For prosecutors to prove Holmes' sanity, they need to show he did not have a mental illness that prevented him from telling right from wrong. Julie Kliegman

2016 Watch
3:45 p.m. ET
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A new study from George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management found that, at least by social media standards, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are leading the 2016 presidential race. The report looked at how well candidates' campaigns fared by comparing the popularity of candidates' names and websites, as well as what words are shared in conjunction with candidates' names.

Of all declared 2016 presidential hopefuls' websites, Hillary Clinton's campaign website received the most shares, with 4.8 million social media and news mentions. And it wasn't just the number of times her campaign was mentioned that was significant: Clinton's name was frequently shared with words like "champion," "everyday," and "Americans," which the researchers believe demonstrates that people are taking her campaign messages seriously.

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) campaign website received the second-most number of news and social media mentions, about 2.5 million. By social media posts alone, Clinton's website was shared 173,342 times, versus 85,235 for Cruz's website. The report looked at 10.3 million mentions of 2016 candidates' campaigns from March 15 to May 15.

On the losing end of the study, meanwhile, were Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), whose social media mentions most often had negative word associations. Read more on the report's candidate rankings over at Politico. Meghan DeMaria

welp
3:42 p.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Street artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the iconic "Hope" poster for President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, told Esquire he doesn't have much, well, hope for Obama anymore.

When asked if the president has lived up to his iconic poster, he replied "Not even close." Fairey continued:

Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he's compromised on that I never would have expected. I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he'd support]. I've met Obama a few times, and I think Obama's a quality human being, but I think that he finds himself in a position where your actions are largely dictated by things out of your control. I'm not giving him a pass for not being more courageous, but I do think the entire system needs an overhaul and taking money out of politics would be a really good first step. [Esquire]

Fairey also said fault lies with the American public, which he called "uneducated and complacent." Check out the entire interview here. Julie Kliegman

The Daily Showdown
2:08 p.m. ET

Trevor Noah won't take over the anchor chair for The Daily Show until fall — but that doesn't mean he isn't eager to give it a spin first. In a new promo for his upcoming "new and sexy" takeover of the Comedy Central series, Noah screws around on a (seemingly) empty set:

Jon Stewart's final episode of The Daily Show will air on August 6. Trevor Noah's first episode as host of the Daily Show will premiere on September 28. Scott Meslow

Science!
1:57 p.m. ET
iStock

A team of Swiss scientists has finally discovered the answer to a mystery close to their hearts: the reason Swiss cheese has holes.

The scientists at Agroscope, an agricultural research center, found that the holes are the result of hay inside the milk used to make the cheese, rather than from bacteria, as scientists previously believed.

The researchers explained to The Guardian that small bits of hay can fall into traditional milk buckets, which can cause holes in the cheese. Most modern cheesemaking techniques don't use traditional buckets, which eliminates the hay bits.

Before the new study, most scientists believed a 1917 study arguing that the holes were caused by milk bacteria releasing carbon dioxide during Swiss cheese production. But recent developments also side with the Agroscope team's findings — in the last 10 to 15 years, Swiss cheese has had fewer holes, as traditional milk buckets have been replaced by sealed milking machines. Meghan DeMaria

FIFA
1:13 p.m. ET
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

FIFA President Sepp Blatter spoke publicly about the organization's corruption scandal for the first time at the organization's annual congress in Zurich on Thursday, the New York Times reports. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted several FIFA members Wednesday, including two vice presidents.

Blatter was not implicated in the report, but said he knows soccer fans hold him responsible "for the actions and reputation of the global football community."

"We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time," Blatter continued. "If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it. But it must also fall to me to be responsible for the reputation of our entire organization, and to find a way to fix things."

Blatter said he still plans to run for re-election. Julie Kliegman

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