Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Kidnapped American journalist beheaded in purported video
Freelance journalist James Wright Foley went missing on Thanksgiving Day 2012 as he reported in northern Syria. His family knew he was abducted, but little else — until Tuesday, when purported video surfaced of Foley appearing to be beheaded by Islamist extremists. The video claims his killing is in retaliation for the airstrikes ordered by President Barack Obama in Iraq. In the footage, an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighter also claims they are holding a second American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, and are threatening to kill him as well. The White House said it was determining the authenticity of the video. “If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” a spokeswoman said. Read more in NEWS.
2. Calmer night in Ferguson before U.S. attorney general's visit
While there was still some violence overnight Tuesday in Ferguson, police reported tensions were easing slightly in the St. Louis suburb that has been rocked by nightly protests. No Molotov cocktails were thrown and police didn’t fire tear gas at the crowd, although there were at least 47 arrests. While leaders hope a “turning point” has been reached in the unrest — sparked by the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by police — there’s no indication the protests are going to end any time soon. The deadly shooting of a black man in St. Louis on Tuesday by two city police officers only stoked tensions. Still, Attorney General Eric Holder will arrive in Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with the principal players, while a grand jury will begin examining preliminary evidence and ultimately decide whether to indict the police officer who shot Brown. Read more in NEWS.
3. Gaza cease-fire shattered with deadly airstrikes
A truce between Israel and Palestine collapsed after Israeli military said Hamas militants fired rockets several hours before the latest cease-fire was set to expire. The attack prompted Israel to pull out of diplomatic talks in Egypt, and then led Israel to commence its own airstrikes into Gaza. Hamas said a military chief’s home was hit, killing his wife and 2-year-old daughter. Read more in NEWS.
4. Rick Perry vows fight after turning himself in to police
Texas Gov. Perry surrendered to the Travis County Jail on Tuesday after a grand jury indicted him for abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. The charges claim the Republic governor used his political veto power to hold funding from a program run by a Democratic county prosecutor whom Perry wanted to step down. That prosecutor had been arrested on drunk driving charges. After getting his mugshot taken, Perry told reporters that the indictment is merely a “political act” that he will fight in court. Read more in POLITICS.
After court, Perry tweeted a picture of himself enjoying a post-jail treat:
5. Flash floods force dramatic rescues in Phoenix
Residents are cleaning up after Tuesday’s heavy rains soaked the region with 5 inches of rain. The downpour left drivers stranded on roads and even forced some people stranded on their rooftops, requiring them to be rescued by helicopters. No injuries were reported, but residents will have to brace themselves for the possibility of more rain this week. Read more in NEWS.
6. Pot delivery apps are a budding business
Think of it as Uber, but for pot delivery. With more states allowing for medical marijuana and two legalizing its recreational use, it was only a matter of time for crafty entrepreneurs to come up with apps allowing customers to order pot to their homes. But these nascent businesses are coming into fruition amid a complex patchwork of laws that vary by state and even by city. “All of these folks are operating in a gray area, going to bed each night knowing that their business model might collapse under the politics that gird all of this,” one marijuana lobbying executive told NBC News. Read more in TECH.
… What’s trending today?
Superstar pitcher Mo’ne Davis returns to the mound on Wednesday night in the Little League World Series. The 13-year-old Philadelphia girl won admiration after her 70-mile-per-hour fastball led her to throw a shutout in a game last Friday — the first female athlete ever to do so in the event.
Now, she’s also the first Little Leaguer — either male or female — to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The game will be televised at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.