Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Rockets fired into Israel during five-hour cease-fire
The United Nations had asked for a five-hour break from fighting to allow Gaza residents to gather supplies and repair infrastructure during intense warfare between Israel and Hamas. But Israeli military say three mortars were launched from Gaza amid the truce, although no injuries or damage was immediately reported. No one claimed responsibility for the mortars, and it’s unclear whether Israel plans to retaliate. Meanwhile, a Palestinian-American teen who was brutally beaten by Israeli police returned home to Florida on Wednesday, calling the ordeal “the scariest thing that ever happened to me.” Read more in NEWS.
2. Who is the lawyer defending Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl?
His name’s Eugene Fidell, a former judge advocate in the Coast Guard who teaches at Yale. Bergdahl, who was returned in May from the Taliban in a controversial swap, could be sent to military prison if he is found to have deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Fidell told NBC News that the soldier has been “entirely cooperative” after his return. Meanwhile, people who know Fidell said it was no surprise that he accepted such a prominent and bitterly disputed case. Read more in NEWS.
3. Arizona lawmaker mistakes bus of campers for migrants
Adam Kwasman, a GOP House legislator in Arizona, mistook a group of YMCA campers for migrant children Tuesday during a protest near a shelter in the community of Oracle. “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law,” Kwasman initially tweeted. But he quickly apologized for his blunder when he realized the bus was filled with campers. Oracle is the latest flashpoint in the immigration debate as local law enforcement has suggested undocumented children who crossed the border are being temporarily housed there, which the feds have denied. Read more in NEWS.
4. U.S. increasing sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis
Moscow failed to meets its obligations in tempering the fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels have been clashing with government troops. Now, Russia is going to have to pay the price with increased sanctions. In a briefing Wednesday afternoon, President Obama said that while the sanctions are significant, they are also targeted to limit spillover effects on the economy of the United States and its allies. “What we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that their actions in Ukraine have consequences,” Obama said. Read more in POLITICS.
5. California’s water wasters the targets of nosy neighbors
The Golden State is in the midst of a difficult drought, and residents are being asked to refrain from overindulging with watering their lawns, washing cars or filling pools — unless they want to face fines of up to $500 per day. That has given rise to “drought shaming,” which even has its own hashtag. Essentially, people are calling their utility hotlines to call out their neighbors. Read more in NEWS.
6. Washington state wildfire threatens hundreds of homes
A new wildfire whipped by strong winds and hot temperatures at Chiwaukum Creek, east of Seattle, has raced across more than 1,200 acres. More than 800 homes near Leavenworth are under a Level 3 evacuation, with residents being told to leave immediately. Firefighters are battling several wildfires in the state amid triple-digit temperatures; emergencies have been declared in 20 counties. This wildfire season has been especially excruciating, with crews currently battling blazes across Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and California. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
A high-flying former gymnast is the first woman to complete the “American Ninja Warrior” course — and she seemed to do so with ease. Kacy Catanzaro, who competed in the show's Dallas finals, is also the first woman to even attempt the last part of the course, yelling out, “I did it!” after finishing.
“America Ninja Warrior” airs Mondays on NBC.