Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Most Americans still favor death penalty: poll
Despite a botched prisoner execution in Oklahoma last month, Americans aren’t shying away from the death penalty. A comfortable majority of those questioned — 59% — said they favor the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for murder, while 35% said they are opposed, a new NBC News poll has found. And two-thirds would back an alternative to the widely used lethal-injection method, such as the gas chamber or firing squad. Read more in NEWS.
2. Southern California wildfires force residents to flee
The fast-moving fires sent 21,000 residents of a San Diego suburb racing to safety Wednesday, while flames destroyed more than two dozen homes in the city of Carlsbad alone. The threat of fires forced colleges to close and left a thick layer of smoke in the air. The Carlsbad fire was about 50 percent contained early Thursday. Officials, however, still don’t know what caused these brush fires, but have warned residents that the intense heat and dry winds is making this a dangerous wildfire season. Read more in NEWS.
3. Fire hinders rescue efforts at Turkish mine
At least 363 people have been saved from the Turkish mine disaster that trapped nearly 800, but crews are still trying to reach the other victims. Rescuers are focusing on two areas, one of which was still on fire, officials said today. Meanwhile, protesters have criticized Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the government, blaming them for the poor work conditions in the mines. Read more in NEWS.
A photo of an Erdogan aide kicking a protester has further incited protesters:
4. South Korean ferry captain, crew charged with murder
The captain of the doomed Sewol vessel and three senior crew members were indicted today for homicide after they abandoned the sinking ship, South Korean prosecutors said. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, only 172 people were rescued with the rest presumed to have drowned. Most of the passengers were high school students on their way to a class trip to a tourist island. Read more in NEWS.
5. Obama will help dedicate 9/11 Memorial Museum
After years of delays, the museum at ground zero will have a preview opening today, offering a glimpse of the artifacts and stories that mark America’s darkest day. President Obama will join politicians from New York and New Jersey who will speak at the somber site. NBC News toured the museum, which includes the antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, fragments from Flight 11 and a fire truck that raced to the chaos. The museum opens to the public May 21. See the PHOTOS.
6. Missing radio icon Casey Kasem found safe
Kasem’s daughter says the famed disc jockey has been located in Washington state. His strange disappearance grabbed headlines as a family dispute played out in court between Kasem’s children and his wife. Daughter Kerri Kasem, who was appointed as her father’s temporary caretaker Monday, said the family is “grateful to the local authorities for finding my Dad. We are one step closer to bringing him home.” Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
The Standard Hotel in New York City says it has sacked the employee who leaked a May 5 surveillance video that purportedly shows Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles, attacking brother-in-law Jay Z in an elevator. Beyonce and a bodyguard were also reportedly in the elevator at the time.
“The Standard has already terminated the individual and will now be pursuing all available civil and criminal remedies,” the statement said.