Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Obama administration pleads case for border funding
Show us the money. That’s what Homeland Security is asking Congress as part of a $4 billion aid package that would help address the flood of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States illegally. Without help to mitigate the crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the situation could worsen with as many as 90,000 unaccompanied children trying to cross the border in September. Without the additional funds for the surge of undocumented migrants entering the country, he added, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will run out of funding by next month and Customs and Border Protection would soon follow. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Israel fires back in increased attacks from militants
Tensions continue to rise in the Mideast after rockets were fired from southern Lebanon today for the first time since the launch of Israel’s offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza. The Lebanese military said three rockets were fired toward Israel around 6 a.m. local time, and the Israelis retaliated by firing about 25 artillery shells on the area. Israel has suspected that Lebanese militants may try to join the fray in the region, although it was still unclear whether today’s attack was “symbolic or something more substantial,” Israeli military said. Read more in NEWS.
Meanwhile, residents of Gaza are enduring the worst of the violence:
3. Friend recalls Georgia dad in hot-car death as fun-loving
The dad accused of leaving his 22-month-old son to die in a sweltering SUV last month seemed like a “loyal husband” and “good father,” a long-time friend told NBC News. But Justin Ross Harris, who is charged with murder, was also one to enjoy the spotlight and a good time, and was even the “Ferris Bueller of Tuscaloosa,” his friend said. Prosecutors allege Harris was in an unhappy marriage and wanted to live a child-free life. Meanwhile, his wife, Leanna, retained a lawyer herself Thursday, although she has not been charged in the high-profile case. Read more in NEWS.
4. Lone survivor in Texas shooting hailed as hero
Ron Lee Haskell is accused of killing his ex-wife’s sister, the woman’s husband and four of their children in their suburban Houston home on Wednesday, leaving a fifth child to survive after she played dead. The girl called 911 and alerted police to Haskell’s identity and that he was planning to attack other family members, police said. “We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives,” the girl’s grandfather said Thursday. Haskell, who was revealed to have had a history of terrorizing his own family in domestic disputes, is expected to appear in court today on capital murder charges. Read more in NEWS.
5. Big chill is back with return of polar vortex
Here’s something to send shivers down your spine: The polar vortex that defined this past winter will make another appearance next week. Morning temperatures could dip into the 50s for many Midwesterners, potentially setting seasonal records, according to The Weather Channel. So what’s prompting this weather phenomenon’s comeback? It turns out it’s Typhoon Neoguri. Read more in NEWS.
6. Indecision 2014: Where will LeBron James go?
There’s a lot of speculation about which team James will play for next season. Will he stay in Miami or could he even come back to Cleveland in his native Ohio, where fans are eagerly anticipating a possible return. The four-time MVP has spent the past few days at his hoops camp in Las Vegas, and was headed for Miami on Thursday night. He is expected to put rumors to rest before he hops a flight to the World Cup in Brazil this weekend, ESPN reported. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
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With the World Cup finals set for Sunday, the game between Germany and Argentina could prove to be an epic matchup. But before you wrack your brain about who’s going to take home the trophy, one tiny hamster already has a winner all wrapped up.