Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Missouri governor to visit Ferguson after chaotic night
For a fourth straight night, the streets of suburban St. Louis were rocked by protests between police and those outraged by the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown. A Washington Post reporter and another journalist were arrested by police earlier in the day by officers who ordered everyone out of a McDonald’s — an arrest the newspaper’s executive editor called illegal and unjustified. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French was also arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the situation “deeply troubling,” and planned to visit the area Thursday instead of going to the state fair. A moment of silence for Brown, who was shot by an officer on Saturday, is also planned in various cities at 7 p.m. ET. Read more in NEWS.
2. Evacuation mission of trapped refugees in Iraq less likely
Yazidi refugees holed up in Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains appear to be in better condition in part because of humanitarian aid drops, according to U.S. military officials. After initially floating the idea of an evacuation mission of the Yazidis, officials appear to be stepping back following an assessment. But the Pentagon said the U.S. will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities in the region. Read more in NEWS.
3. Pathway to peace? Israel, Hamas extend cease-fire
After a month of unrest in the Gaza Strip, the longest truce between Israel and Hamas has been holding. Violence briefly spiked as the extension of a previous, 72-hour truce was announced shortly before midnight on Wednesday. This extension is expected to last until midnight Monday. While Israel and Hamas remain at odds over completely ending the fighting, humanitarian groups are hoping the truce can lead to a more permanent end to the violence. Read more in NEWS.
4. Bali police probe motive in murder of U.S. tourist
A Chicago teenager and her boyfriend have been detained in the death of her mother, found stuffed in a suitcase while on vacation in Indonesia. The pair, however, isn’t talking, leaving police scratching their heads at why Sheila von Wiese-Mack was killed. Police have 20 days to charge daughter Heather Mack and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, while they’re detained. Friends, meanwhile, say the mother and daughter had a history of problems, and worried that their rocky relationship could end in trouble. Read more in NEWS.
5. Robin Williams’ publicist slams money woe rumors
Financial problems weren’t at the root of the acclaimed actor and comedian’s suicide this week, said a family spokeswoman. “I understand people’s desire to try to understand this, but we would encourage your focus be on working to help others and understand depression,” the spokeswoman said in an email. Money rumors persisted after Williams previously said his divorces were expensive and his 640-acre estate in California’s Napa Valley had been listed for sale for $29.9 million since April. Read more in POP CULTURE.
6. Why can the convicted Steubenville rapist play again?
Ohio high school sports officials say their hands are tied after Steubenville High School has allowed a convicted student rapist to return to the football field. “We are bound by the bylaws just like the schools are,” an official told NBC News. Ma’Lik Richmond, 18, is back playing despite being convicted last year of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old West Virginia girl at an alcohol-fueled party. Another football teammate, Trent Mays, was also convicted. An attorney for the girl’s family said they are ambivalent about his return to sports, but that they want to move on with their lives. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
Welcome, baby Vale! TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie gave birth early Wednesday to a daughter, a chubby-cheeked girl weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches long.
Guthrie, a first-time mom, had earlier blogged about being pregnant at age 42. “I know how lucky I am. For a long time, I think I was afraid to even let myself think about how much I hoped to one day have a baby,” she wrote in April.