Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 5, 2014


G7 leaders show support for Ukraine at Brussels summit

President Obama and other Group of 7 leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday for talks expected to focus on pressuring Russia to stop supporting separatist unrest in Ukraine. The summit was supposed to be held in Sochi, Russia, but the group froze out Russian President Vladimir Putin after his government annexed Ukraine's Crimea region. In a joint statement Wednesday, G7 leaders pledged to support Ukraine in the face of Russia's "unacceptable interference."


Bergdahl's hometown cancels plans to celebrate his freedom

As the controversy continued over the prisoner swap that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former POW's Idaho hometown on Wednesday canceled a rally that was to celebrate his return. Critics say Bergdahl deserted his unit in Afghanistan before being captured by the Taliban, and former comrades called on Hailey, Idaho, to cancel the event. The town's administrator, Heather Dawson, said it was unprepared for the crowds it expected.


Application inconsistencies could affect ObamaCare coverage for some

Paperwork errors could jeopardize health coverage for two million people who enrolled for subsidized insurance through the ObamaCare website, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press. About 5.4 million people signed up through the federal exchange, and another 2.6 million enrolled through state-run websites. The people whose coverage could be at risk provided information that doesn't match data already on record.


Assad officially declared the winner of Syria's presidential vote

Syrian election officials declared Wednesday that President Bashar al-Assad had been elected to a third term, as expected. Assad reportedly was credited with winning 89 percent of the vote. The balloting took place as the country's three-year civil war continued, with rebels declaring it a "farce" and demanding that voters stay home.


Sprint nears a deal buy T-Mobile

Sprint is close to an agreement to buy T-Mobile for $32 billion. Sprint would pay about $40 per share in cash and stock — a 17 percent premium over T-Mobile's share price at Wednesday's closing. The merger of the nation's third and fourth largest mobile phone carriers could still fall through, but analysts say the two companies need to join forces to compete with their larger rivals, Verizon Wireless and AT&T.


Canadian authorities hunt for man who gunned down three police officers

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police continued a search early Thursday for a man — Justin Bourque, 24 — suspected of killing three police officers in the city of Moncton, New Brunswick. Witness Vanessa Bernatchez, 19, said she and her family saw the gunman, dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying two rifles, shoot one of the officers from behind. "He was just calm and cool..." she said, "as if he'd do it every day."


Montana judge suspended for blaming rape victim

The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Yellowstone County District Judge G. Todd Baugh suspended without pay for saying a 14-year-old sexual assault victim was as much to blame as her attacker. Baugh sentenced the man, former teacher Stacy Rambold, to 31 days in jail, but sparked eight formal complaints and angry protests by saying that the girl was "older than her chronological age" and as much in control as Rambold.


Report says U.S. plans for a manned Mars trip will fail

The National Research Council released a report on Wednesday saying that a NASA plan — favored by President Obama — to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s won't work. The authors of the 300-page study, which was mandated by Congress, instead argues that the U.S. should send astronauts back to the moon. NASA was pushing a moon mission under former president George W. Bush, but Obama said in 2010, "I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We've been there before."


Last of the original World War II code talkers dies

Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo Code Talkers who served in World War II, died Wednesday in New Mexico. He was 93. Nez, then in 10th grade, lied about his age and joined the Marines with 28 other Navajo shortly after Pearl Harbor. The men were assigned to develop a code based on their language for the Pacific theater that could not be deciphered by the Japanese. The code was later used by 400 code talkers.


Sterling agrees to sell the Clippers for $2 billion

Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has dropped plans to sue the NBA and agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, Sterling's lawyers said Wednesday. Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, negotiated the sale to Ballmer last week. Resistance from her husband, who was banned from the league for life over racist comments, had threatened to spoil the deal. NBA owners still must sign off.


Plane carrying aid can't land in Tonga after COVID case reported on board
Aid from Australia that will help people in Tonga.
change of plans

Plane carrying aid can't land in Tonga after COVID case reported on board

The credulous response to Havana syndrome
The US Embassy in Havana.
Picture of Ryan CooperRyan Cooper

The credulous response to Havana syndrome

Zelensky disputes Biden's 'minor incursions' comment
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
in reply

Zelensky disputes Biden's 'minor incursions' comment

CIA doubts 'Havana Syndrome' sustained assault by hostile power
US Embassy in Havana
Havana syndrome

CIA doubts 'Havana Syndrome' sustained assault by hostile power

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Florida advances ban on making white people feel 'discomfort' over past racism
Ron DeSantis

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California deputy DA opposed to vaccine mandates dies of COVID-19
Kelly Ernby.

California deputy DA opposed to vaccine mandates dies of COVID-19

Joe Biden meets the press
President Biden.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

Joe Biden meets the press