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KNOW IT ALL: Friday's Top Stories at NBC News

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Al-Qaeda inspired militants stand with a captured Iraqi Army Humvee at a checkpoint belonging to Iraqi Army outside Beiji refinery some 150 miles north of Baghdad on Thursday. The fighting at Beiji comes as Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. AP

Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we're following today:

1. Iraq in turmoil: Is ISIS more extreme than al Qaeda?

Sunni militants the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, are shaking up Iraq and seizing town after town in a bid to capture Baghdad. Its tactics — operating more as a traditional insurgency — differ greatly from the carefully planned terror attacks launched by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said Thursday that the United States is prepared to take “targeted and precise” military action against Islamist militants in Iraq, but he pledged that American forces “will not be returning to combat.” Read more in NEWS.

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2. CDC scientists possibly exposed to anthrax

As many as 75 scientists working in government laboratories may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency's Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. The scientists are being offered treatment. Read more in HEALTH.

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3. U.S. border crisis heats up political blame game

Democrats say Republicans are unintentionally encouraging migrant children from Central America to sneak into the United States when they claim border security and immigration are weak. The accusations are an attempt to seize and hold the narrative on the children, whose arrivals have triggered a government-wide response as immigration opponents question President Obama’s ability to enforce immigration law. Read more in LATINO.

4. Fewer Americans blame poverty on the poor

A growing portion of the country thinks poverty is caused by circumstances beyond one’s control, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has found. That’s a shift from even 20 years ago, when a majority of respondents believe poverty struck because people weren’t doing enough for themselves. Yet despite the recent change in attitudes about the causes of poverty away from an individual responsibility narrative, data shows very little change in opinion about spending on government programs traditionally associated with the poor. Read more in NEWS.

5. Pope Francis on legalizing pot: Just say no

The pontiff said at a drug enforcement conference today that he’s not in favor of legalizing recreational drugs. Legalizing them, he said, “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.” Francis has frequently spoken out against the “evil” of drug addiction. Meanwhile, New York is set to become the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana in a deal announced Thursday. Read more in NEWS.

6. Engineers begin mapping ocean as part of jet hunt

A survey ship has begun charting the deep-sea terrain of the Indian Ocean some 1,000 miles east of northwestern Australia. It’s the latest step in finding any wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8. The process also comes after independent experts said this week that they believe the search zone should be moved hundreds of miles southwest from where subs were looking last month. Read more in NEWS.

… What’s trending today?

How do you save face when you’re a referee snubbed at the World Cup? A Canadian ref waiting in line for a handshake with an official made a suave maneuver when he was skipped over.

Here’s what he did: