Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Pro-Russian rebels vow to hold Ukraine vote
The referendum calling for more autonomy in the eastern regions is planned for Sunday, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying there should be a delay in the vote. “It’s going to happen and there is going to be only one question, whether you support the independence of the Donetsk republic,” separatist leader Denis Pushilin told reporters. Read more in NEWS.
2. U.S., France offer support to flush out Boko Haram
France plans to dispatch a team of agents to help find the more than 200 girls kidnapped by the Islamist group. The United States has also pledged support, as protests calling for the girls’ safe return heat up around the world. Boko Haram has said they could sell the girls into slavery. Meanwhile, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, told NBC News that she is thinking about the young hostages. Read more in NEWS.
3. Cargo company chief held over sunken ferry
Kim Han-sik, president of the cargo company Chonghaejin, was detained today and could be formally arrested after officials say he knew that the doomed Sewol ferry exceeded its cargo limit and failed to do anything about it. The ship sank April 16, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing. Read more in NEWS.
4. Climate change will grow unhealthy crops: report
Think a rise in carbon dioxide amid the threat of climate change would be good for plants? Think again, says a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. While grains such as corn, wheat and rice might grow faster and even taller, they’ll carry fewer of the nutrients that people need, such as zinc and iron. Read more in HEALTH.
5. Colorado approves banking structure for pot industry
Lawmakers have allowed for a network of uninsured cooperatives to create the banking system. Marijuana businesses in the state have had to rely on using cash — opening them up to safety risks. Regular banks have been unable to do business with legal pot sellers because federal law still considers the crop illegal. Read more in BUSINESS.
6. NFL kicks off three-day draft spectacle
The draft begins at 8 p.m. with the Houston Texans getting the opening round’s first pick. An estimated 7.7 million people watched the draft on TV last year, and fans will get an added treat this year when the first 30 picks will be allowed to choose their own entrance music at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The top pick could be Jadeveon Clowney, who was a defensive end for the University of South Carolina and has already signed an endorsement deal with Puma. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
Clowney appeared on “The Tonight Show” on Wednesday, and host Jimmy Fallon faced off with him:
… What’s trending today?
Using a cellphone to call 911 might not be the best bet. That's because your wireless device has a big limitation: It doesn't give the 911 operator your exact location.
"It's a public safety hazard that is largely unrecognized," said Jamie Barnett, director of the Find Me 911 Coalition. "People's lives are at risk right now because they cannot count on 911 being able to find them when they call from a cell phone."