Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 2, 2014

Harold Maass
So close.  (AP Images/Natacha Pisarenko, File)


Belgium knocks the U.S. out of the World Cup

Belgium beat the U.S. 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday, knocking the American men's soccer team out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The U.S. team went down fighting, with attempts off Clint Dempsey's foot and Jermaine Jones' head missing in the last minutes of extra time. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann tried unsuccessfully to get officials to add another minute of stoppage time to extend the match as it wound down. "It's heartbreaking," U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "We gave everything." [Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker]


Kentucky's gay marriage ban ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge struck down Kentucky's gay marriage ban on Tuesday, saying it violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. The ruling was put on hold while an appeals court hears challenges to similar decisions in other states. It is unclear whether Kentucky officials will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the meantime. District Judge John G. Heyburn II called the state's argument that the ban was necessary to preserve a stable birth rate "at best illogical." [The Washington Post]


Police arrest hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police arrested 511 people on Wednesday a day after a massive pro-democracy march. The defendants were accused of unlawful assembly after they refused to leave a street in the city's financial district, instead lying down with arms locked as officers pulled them up, one by one. The march, calling for democracy free from China's interference, attracted tens of thousands of people. It has become an annual event marking the anniversary of the day when China took over Hong Kong from the U.K. [The Associated Press]


Obama calls on Congress to fund highway projects

President Obama berated Congress on Tuesday for failing to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for state and federal road projects. With gas tax revenues declining, the fund is expected to run out in 58 days, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. That would put 877,000 jobs at risk, the group says. House Republicans have ideas — such as tougher online tax laws — for refilling the fund. Obama said the nation "can't wait for a Republican Congress to do stuff." [Time]


Tropical Storm Arthur gains strength

The first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur, gained strength off the central Florida coast early Wednesday. Overnight it had winds of 50 miles per hour as it headed north 90 miles east of Cape Canaveral. Arthur was expected to dump five inches of rain on parts of the Sunshine State by Thursday, and strengthen into a hurricane, possibly by Thursday afternoon, as it moved north just off the coast. [New York Daily News]


California protesters turn around busloads of undocumented immigrants

Protesters shouting "USA!" and "Impeach Obama!" and "Deport, Deport!" blocked three buses of undocumented immigrants in Southern California on Tuesday. The buses, which had traveled from Texas to San Diego, were forced to turn around instead of taking the 140 people on board to the Murrieta Border Patrol station for processing. The U.S. is struggling with a shortage of beds and other facilities needed to handle an influx of undocumented immigrants, including a spike in immigrant children. [CNN]


Howard promoted as Navy's first female four-star admiral

The Navy promoted Vice Admiral Michelle Janine Howard to its highest rank on Tuesday, making her the first female four-star admiral in U.S. history. Howard, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and has served for 32 years, will be the vice chief of naval operations. That makes her the Navy's No. 2 admiral, behind Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who is chief of naval operations. In 1999, Howard became the first African-American women to command a U.S. Navy ship. [The Associated Press]


Palestinian teen from East Jerusalem found dead

Jerusalem police found the body of a Palestinian teenager early Wednesday in a what investigators believe might have been a killing to avenge the murders of three kidnapped Israeli teens. Palestinian radio reported that Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, 16, was "kidnapped at dawn by three settlers," shortly before the body was found, burned in a forest. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a swift investigation, warning vigilantes "not to take the law into their own hands." [The New York Times]


Fighting resumes after Ukraine truce ends

Ukrainian forces attacked pro-Russian separatists with artillery and air strikes in the contested eastern part of the country on Tuesday. The renewed violence came after President Petro Poroshenko announced that he would stamp out "parasites" instead of renewing a cease fire with the rebels. Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately criticized the new offensive, saying that Poroshenko was now solely responsible for spoiling efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis. [Reuters]


Google acquires streaming-music start-up Songza

Google is buying music start-up Songza in a move that steps up the competition for customers of streaming music services. In May, Apple bought Beats Music from rapper Dr. Dre and his partners for $3 billion (the value of Google's deal has not been disclosed). Beats gave Apple a popular high-end headphone line as well as a streaming music service. Songza offers Google a complement for its Google Play streaming service that the company says will let users create playlists based on their mood. [BBC News]