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

coal plant
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File))

1. Obama aides defend deal to free Bergdahl

President Obama's national security team on Sunday defended the decision to trade five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was the only remaining American P.O.W. captured in Afghanistan. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. had "a sacred obligation" to bring Bergdahl home while Republicans said the deal would only embolden U.S. enemies.

The Miami Herald

2. EPA plan would cut power-plant greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday is expected to unveil a plan to slash emissions of global-warming gases from power plants by 30 percent before 2030. The proposal would amount to the biggest U.S. effort ever to combat climate change. The regulations, which would take effect next year, would target emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

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The Associated Press

3. NSA intercepts millions of images daily for facial recognition programs

The National Security Agency is collecting millions of images of faces a day to help identify people using advanced facial recognition software, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing top-secret documents. The effort has intensified in the last four years as the NSA has tried to capitalize on the abundance of images available in intercepted emails, social media, and other sources.

The New York Times

4. Inquirer owner Katz dies in plane crash

Lewis Katz, co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, was one of seven people killed over the weekend when a private jet crashed on take-off from an airport near Boston, his son confirmed Sunday. Katz, 72, made his fortune with private parking lots before raising his profile by briefly owning the New Jersey Nets and hockey's New Jersey Devils. He bought the Inquirer just last week.

The Washington Post

5. Ukrainian separatists launch unprecedented assault on border guards

About 500 pro-Russian separatists attacked a border control office in eastern Ukraine on Monday, using rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Five rebels were killed and another eight wounded; seven border guards were wounded. It was the biggest assault on the country's border with Russia since the separatist revolt began.

The New York Times

6. Netanyahu warns against accepting a Palestinian government with Hamas in it

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging world leaders not to recognize a Palestinian unity government due to be unveiled Monday. The government is being formed under a pact between Fatah, which runs the West Bank, and the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. "Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction," he said, "and the international community must not embrace it."


7. California officials say pot farms are an "environmental disaster"

Medical marijuana farms are polluting and drying up drought-stricken streams in Northern California, according to a study by state wildlife officials. Biologists examined four watersheds and estimated there were 30,000 pot plants in each system, with each plant using six gallons per day during a 150-day growing season. Pot growers said the estimate was high while wildlife officials called the situation a "full-scale environmental disaster."

The Associated Press

8. Spain's King Juan Carlos decides to step down

Spanish King Juan Carlos is abdicating, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced Monday. Juan Carlos' son, Crown Prince Felipe, will take the throne. The king's reign began nearly 40 years ago when he led the country through the transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. The once popular king has had health problems, and his standing has suffered recently due to a corruption scandal involving his daughter, Princess Cristina.


9. L.A. Kings beat Blackhawks for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals

The Los Angeles Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Sunday night to advance to hockey's Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers. Alec Martinez scored during overtime to give the Kings the win after the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead. Martinez's winning shot bounced off two players before going in, stunning the crowd. " I've lost some tough games," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "but nothing like tonight."

10. Ann B. Davis of The Brady Bunch dies

Actress Ann B. Davis, best known as housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch, died Sunday in San Antonio hospital, a day after suffering a fall in her home. She was 88. More than a decade before The Brady Bunch, Davis won two Emmys for a role on another sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show. Davis said her ordinary looks and comforting presence made her successful. "I think I'm lovable," she said. "That's the gift God gave me."

The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.