Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2014


Kerry warns Russia it's running out of time in Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that it would be making a "grave mistake" if it failed to comply with an accord requiring it to reduce tensions between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists. Meanwhile, Russia launched military exercises near the border. A U.S. official said Russian leaders could face new economic sanctions as soon as Friday if Moscow does not stop threatening force. "The window to change course is closing, Kerry said.


Conservatives rush to slam rancher's remarks on slavery

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy became a libertarian hero for his fight to graze his cattle on federal land, but his supporters rushed to denounce him Thursday for asking at a press conference if African Americans were "better off as slaves." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky.), one of Bundy's most influential supporters, called the comments "offensive." Fox News pundit Sean Hannity called them "ignorant" and "racist."


Israel ends peace talks over Palestinian unity deal

Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday after President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction agreed to form a unity government with its rivals Hamas. The U.S., which sponsored the talks, had been trying to extend them beyond an April 29 deadline for a deal. Israel's security cabinet said the country would not negotiated with Hamas, "a terror organization that calls for Israel's destruction."


Obama promises South Korea support as North Korean nuclear test looms

President Obama promised South Koreans on Friday that the U.S. would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with them against the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea. Obama, visiting South Korea on an Asia tour, said North Korea would only isolate itself further by pursuing nukes. The remarks came as North Korea reportedly prepared for its latest nuclear weapons test. Obama also offered condolences for South Korea's deadly ferry disaster.


Eleven middle-school students and driver injured in bus crash

Twelve people were injured, three critically, when a bus carrying middle-school students slammed into trees and a lamp post in California on Thursday. The driver appeared to have suffered the most severe injuries. Rescuers had to cut him from the bus and pull him out through the broken windshield. A student said the bus went off the road in a turn. A California Highway Patrol spokesman said the driver might not have hit the brakes.


Disorderly passenger triggers a hijacking false alarm

A drunk passenger caused a hijacking scare on Thursday when he tried to enter the cockpit of a Virgin Australia flight. The jet's crew stopped him, handcuffed him, and put him into a seat in the rear of the Boeing 737-800. The plane landed safely and the passenger was arrested after Indonesian authorities initially interpreted the incident as a hijacking and briefly closed Bali's Ngurah Rai airport.


Measles cases hit a 19-year high

The number of measles cases in the U.S. jumped to a 19-year high in 2014, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control. Measles was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, but the CDC said 129 cases had been reported so far this year. Most involved unvaccinated people who were infected abroad. Among those unvaccinated, 68 percent had "personal belief" exemptions from school vaccination requirements.


Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations over lawsuit

The company that manages the Buffalo Bills' cheerleading squad — the Buffalo Jills — has halted operations through next season, after five cheerleaders filed a lawsuit claiming they had to work hundreds of hours without pay and endured groping. The suit also says the company president — Stephanie Mateczun of Stejon Productions Corp. — made them take a "jiggle test." Stejon is hiring lawyers and declined to comment.


X-Men director Bryan Singer publicly denies sexual abuse allegation

X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer on Thursday made his first public statement about a lawsuit in which 31-year-old Michael Egan accuses Singer of drugging and raping him as a teenager, calling the allegations a "sick twisted shakedown." He also said he was dropping out of an X-Men promotional campaign to avoid diverting attention from the film.


Ex-justice Stevens joins the majority favoring legal pot

Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens said Thursday that the federal government should legalize marijuana. The "distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction," Stevens told NPR. The general consensus is that prohibition against alcohol nearly a century "was not worth the cost," Stevens said, and most Americans will eventually reach the same conclusion about pot. More than half already favor legalization.


Amsterdam launches campaign urging rowdy British men to 'stay away'
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Is the U.S. running out of ammunition?
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Is the U.S. running out of ammunition?

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France aspires to work by working less. Is it working?

Ukraine's looming counteroffensive
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