Good morning and happy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we’re following.
1. Cochran edges Tea Party challenger to survive
Six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran barely survived a primary runoff with Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a bitterly fought race in Mississippi. With all but a single precinct reporting, Cochran held a lead of about 6,400 votes out of 375,000 cast. McDaniel said there was something strange about a race decided by Democrats, whom Cochran had courted as he fought for survival. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Another sharp drop in support for Iraq war
Only 22 percent of Americans now believe the war in Iraq was worth the fighting, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll. That is down from 35 percent a year and a half ago and reflects the lightning takeover of much of the Iraqi north by Sunni Islamist insurgents. Half the respondents in the poll say the United States has no responsibility to help the Iraqi government. Read more in NEWS.
3. Fight over Sudanese woman sentenced to death
A diplomatic fight is brewing over a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity from Islam. The woman, Meriam Ibrahim, tried to leave Sudan for the United States on Tuesday and was arrested at the Khartoum airport. Her husband is a naturalized American citizen. The Sudanese foreign ministry has summoned the U.S. ambassador for a meeting. Read more in NEWS.
4. Inadequate controls fed scandal at VA
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki signed off in 2010 on a plan to attack a scheduling backlog so veterans could see doctors faster. What followed was a debacle that encouraged cheating and cost Shinseki his job. The VA’s own internal controls were woefully inadequate, according to an examination of VA documents and congressional testimony by NBC News. Read more from NBC News Investigations.
5. What makes Ebola so devastating?
Hundreds of people in West Africa have died in the worst outbreak of Ebola virus since 1976. It has a death rate of up to 90 percent, and there’s no way to treat people — before or after they’re exposed. Tracing the source of the virus and trying to stop it are daunting tasks for health officials. So what makes Ebola so deadly? Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, explains it all in 30 Seconds to Know.
6. Happy hunting: How you can look for asteroids
It’s crowdsourcing for space: A new citizen-science project aims to have people online look through images and identify asteroids. It’s called Asteroid Zoo, and it’s nothing like the old “Asteroids” arcade game. The results will help the experts train computers to look for near-Earth asteroids that might pose future hazards — or opportunities. Read more in SCIENCE.
… What’s trending today?
Will FIFA show its teeth and punish Luis Suárez — or just chew him out? In the most talked-about moment of the World Cup, the Uruguay striker appeared to bite an Italian defender on Tuesday. Soccer’s governing body could suspend him up to two years. Today in Brazil, Ecuador and Switzerland are among the teams with their fates on the line. Read more from NBC Sports.