Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Gaza cease-fire crumbles as death toll rises
An exchange of gunfire between Israel and Hamas quickly dissolved any hope of maintaining a three-day cease-fire that began Friday. About two hours after it went into effect, Israeli tanks shelled a town, with at least 35 people killed and 200 others wounded in the action, officials said. Earlier, Israel and Hamas had agreed to halt all aggressive operations and conduct only defensive missions. The return to fighting is expected to ramp up the death toll further as Israel has vowed to continue its mission to eradicate Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza. Read more in NEWS.
2. U.S. hospital prepares to receive Ebola patient
Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital said Thursday it’s prepping to receive a patient infected with the Ebola virus in the “next several days.” The patient’s identity hasn’t been confirmed, but there are two known Americans in Liberia who are being treated for Ebola. Colleagues of Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the infected Americans, said in a statement that both he and the other victim, aid worker Nancy Writebol, were in stable but grave condition. Writebol, 59, was given an “experimental serum” — but there was just enough for one dose. Brantly, 33, had asked that she get it. Read more in HEALTH.
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3. Congress fails to act on border crisis before break
Only some of the nation’s major issues have been addressed before Washington legislators go on a five-week break. Chiefly, Congress managed to pass a $17 billion bipartisan bill to address mismanagement at the VA and long wait times for veterans seeking health care. Members of both parties spoke out about the need for reform, but bickering over the legislation’s price tag threatened the bill’s final passage. What wasn’t sufficiently tackled? Immigration reform. That means no legislation to address the issue will reach the president at least until September. Read more in POLITICS.
4. House leader Eric Cantor to step down next month
Cantor’s loss to a Tea Party-favored candidate in the Republican primary means he’s out of the House of Representatives — and he’s expected to step down sooner than expected. A report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch says it will be as soon as Aug. 18. Cantor tells the newspaper he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the Nov. 4 general election. That would enable his successor to take office immediately. Read more in POLITICS.
5. ‘Tons of love’: Sudanese woman arrives in U.S.
Well-wishers greeted Meriam Ibrahim on Thursday evening when she arrived at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, after diplomatic negotiations helped her immigrate to the United States. Ibrahim was being jailed in Sudan because she was unwilling to renounce her Christian faith. She spent more than a month preparing for her arrival, and will live with her husband, a U.S. citizen, and her two children in Manchester, which has a large south Sudanese expat community. Read more in NEWS.
6. FAA restricts U.S. airlines over Iraq conflict zone
After a surface-to-air missile took down a jetliner over eastern Ukraine two weeks ago, the Federal Aviation Administration has called for American-based airlines not to fly at or below 30,000 feet over Iraq. The agency already had restricted flights in Iraqi air space to a 20,000-foot minimum. Iraq has been in turmoil as militants have fought government forces, and several European carriers have developed alternate flights plans because of the hazardous situation in Iraq. Read more in NEWS.
7. President Clinton: ‘I could have killed’ bin Laden
Sky News in Australia has aired an eerie audio of the former president speaking on Sept. 10, 2001, in Melbourne talking about Osama bin Laden — just 10 hours before the darkest day in American history. Clinton refers to the 9/11 mastermind as a “smart guy” whom he almost “got.” But if he killed him, Clinton said, he would have had to sacrifice “300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him.” Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
An anatomically correct baby doll is getting some backlash. The You & Me Mommy Change My Diaper Doll collection is featuring a boy doll — with genitals — and that's a little too revealing for some parents who think their kids don't need to see all that, The Huffington Post reported.