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

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Volunteers in the newly formed “ Peace Brigades” participate in a parade near the Imam Ali shrine in the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf, Wednesday, June 18, 2014 after calls by the radical Shiite cleric Muqtatda al-Sadr to form brigades to protect Shiite holy shrines against possible attacks by Sunni militants. Jaber al-Helo / AP

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

1. Iraq requests U.S.-led airstrikes against militants

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Wednesday that American airstrikes were needed “to break the morale” of the Sunni insurgents threatening to overrun Baghdad. So far, the Pentagon has moved several naval ships to the Persian Gulf and the U.S. has sent 170 military personnel to Iraq to shore up security at its embassy in Baghdad. In the mix is a major oil refinery, which militants and the Iraqi government are giving differing accounts of who has gained control of it. Read more in NEWS.

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2. U.S. drone helped to capture Benghazi mastermind

Before he was captured over the weekend, wanted Libyan terrorist Abu Ahmed Khattala was being trailed by a U.S. surveillance drone. Special Operation forces were then able to swoop in and stop Khattala, who was driving at the time. He surrendered with no resistance and no shots fired. His apprehension marks the first of the alleged key players in the attack against the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Read more in NEWS.

3. Fierce fighting reignites in eastern Ukraine

Rebels rejected a call to lay down their guns in a peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko. With no agreement, heavy fighting continued into the early morning near the town of Krasny Liman. Poroshenko, installed as a president on June 7, is pushing his plan to end the separatist rebellion including an offer of a unilateral ceasefire by government forces and amnesty for the separatists as long as they stop the violence. Read more in NEWS.

4. Will it catch fire? All about the Amazon smartphone

The Fire is flashy, but will all of its bells ‘n whistles attract customers? Among the long-rumored smartphone’s features is a “dynamic perspective,” which tracks your face to change the angle from which you seem to view various images and items. But outside of the mesmerizing new lockscreens, which do appear to be portals into tiny worlds, the tech doesn’t seem to add much utility. Read more in TECH.

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5. American Apparel moves to oust controversial CEO

Racy ads and repeated sexual harassment lawsuits became the hallmark of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney’s tenure with the clothing company. But now, the company’s board moved Wednesday to fire Charney — without specifying why — for an “ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.” Charney, 45, who founded American Apparel’s predecessor companies in 1989, had been at the helm since 2007 when the company went public. Read more in BUSINESS.

6. After World Cup test, is Brazil ready for Olympics?

While the world’s most-watched sporting event is not even halfway through, Brazil will have to look ahead two years from now to the other big sports spectacle: the Summer Olympics. But the International Olympic Committee is worried that Brazil isn’t ready. IOC Vice President John Coates called Brazil’s preparations “the worst ever.” Read more in NEWS.

But so far, the World Cup appears to be running relatively smoothly — unless you're on the Spanish national team, that is. A major upset occurred Wednesday after reigning world champion Spain suffered a humiliating loss to Chile 2-0, and saw an unexpected early exit from the competition.

… What’s trending today?

Vine maker Christian Leonard is known for his popular illusions on the video app. But his latest one, viewed more than 146,000 times, is making a pre-summer splash.

“It’s a simple trick of the camera,” Leonard told BuzzFeed. “which further simulates an amazing illusion.”