Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. NSA releases Edward Snowden email asking questions
After NBC’s Brian Williams sat down for an exclusive interview with ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the Obama administration decided to respond Thursday to one part: Snowden claiming he sent emails during his employment raising concerns about the surveillance program. The email — sent in April 2013 — seeks clarification about a legal point in training materials for a mandatory course regarding policies and procedures restricting domestic surveillance by the NSA. The lack of context surrounding the email leaves room for interpretation on Snowden’s motives for making the inquiry. Read more in INVESTIGATIONS.
2. Former Microsoft CEO inks $2B deal to buy Clippers
He’s the next billionaire baller. Steve Balmer, who was the first business manager hired by Bill Gates at Microsoft, agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, the Sterling Family Trust confirmed Thursday. “I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,” Shelly Sterling said in a statement. But her husband, Donald Sterling, whose racist comments forced the sale of the team, may not sign off on the deal. The situation is even stickier after Shelly Sterling had her husband declared mentally incapacitated. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
3. Embattled VA secretary to meet with homeless veterans
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is scheduled to address the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans today as he continues to come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats. The retired Army general has previously apologized for claims that dozens of veterans died awaiting treatment at some VA hospitals, which allegedly manipulated wait times. Pressure for Shinseki’s resignation has intensified since the VA inspector general released a report Wednesday that supplemented those claims. Read more in POLITICS.
4. Spelling Bee co-winners take home trophy in historic tie
For the first time since 1962, the Scripps National Spelling Bee chose to declare two winners of Thursday night’s finals following six rounds of impeccable spelling. Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sunjoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas, were crowned co-champs. Hatwar’s final word was “stichomythia” and Sujoe spelled “feuilleton.” Read more in NEWS.
5. Nigerian president declares ‘total war’ against Boko Haram
President Goodluck Jonathan said in a televised speech Thursday that he’s determined to protect the democracy of Nigeria, which means going after the Islamic militants, Boko Haram. The group, responsible for deadly violence, captured nearly 300 schoolgirls in April, sparking global outrage. “I assure you that Nigeria will be safe again and that these thugs will be driven away,” Jonathan said. U.S. officials have expressed concern that the Nigerian military is not equipped enough to root out Boko Haram. Read more in NEWS.
6. SpaceX unveils capsule for future space missions — even to Mars
SpaceX CEO and chief designer Elon Musk introduced the Dragon V2 spacecraft on Thursday at the company’s Southern California headquarters. The Dragon V2 could be one of the first U.S-built spaceships to carry NASA fliers since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011. SpaceX and two other companies, the Boeing Co. and Sierra Nevada Corp., have been receiving more than $1 billion from NASA to develop replacements for the shuttle. Read more in SCIENCE.
… What’s trending today?
This baby sure knows how to bust a move.
A video uploaded to YouTube this week, entitled, “What a dance by a chubby Korean baby!” has earned more than 7.2 million views. The tiny dancer has her routine perfectly choreographed to the electronic dance music, but her brother can’t seem to keep up.