Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Netanyahu declares victory in tight Israeli prime minister race
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the win Wednesday to grab his fourth term in office in the election against his main opponent, Zionist Union co-leader Isaac Herzog. But Netanyahu's victory could frustrate Middle East peace efforts after he said he would fight against a Palestinian state if re-elected. "Against all odds: a great victory for the Likud," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter even before all the votes were counted. "A major victory for the people of Israel!" Herzog and Netanyahu went into Tuesday's election neck-and-neck but with 99.5 percent of votes counted, Likud had won the equivalent of 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset compared to the Zionist Union's 24 seats. Read more in NEWS.
2. U.S. veteran accused of trying to join ISIS
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A former U.S. Air Force mechanic accused of trying to join ISIS will appear in court Wednesday to face terrorism charges. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, had been indicted by a grand jury in Brooklyn on two counts, including attempting to provide material support to a terror organization. According to the indictment, Pugh was fired from a job in Kuwait as an airplane mechanic in December 2014. He then allegedly flew from Egypt to Turkey on Jan. 10 in an effort to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS and wage violent jihad. Read more in NEWS.
3. Penn State fraternity suspended over illicit Facebook photos
Penn State's Kappa Delta Rho chapter is under police investigation and was suspended Tuesday by its national headquarters for a secret, members-only Facebook page that allegedly featured pictures of scantily-clad females, drug deals and hazing rituals. A former fraternity member alerted police to the page. John Gardner, a State College Police Department captain, said a criminal investigation was ongoing, but no arrests have been made. "The pictures were disturbing," Gardner added. Read more in NEWS.
4. Rep. Aaron Schock announces resignation over spending query
Schock, 33, will become the youngest ever to step down from Congress after he said Tuesday he is resigning following weeks worth of questions about his use of taxpayer dollars. "I do this with a heavy heart ... The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District (in Illinois) with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself," Schock said in a statement. Schock's lavish spending first came to light in February after the fourth-term Congressman redecorated his Capitol Hill office in the style of the hit television show "Downton Abbey." Read more in POLITICS.
5. Japan probes death threats to U.S. envoy Caroline Kennedy
Japanese officials were investigating death threats made against U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and another American diplomat in the country, local media reported Wednesday. The reports came out on the same day that Michelle Obama arrived in Japan, her first stop on a trip to Asia aimed at highlighting the importance of girls' education. The embassy received "several" telephone calls last month threatening to kill Kennedy and Alfred Magleby, the U.S. Consul General in Okinawa, a senior official at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police told a Japanese newspaper. Read more in NEWS.
6. California paying farmers top dollar for water
As the state continues to endure its historic drought, a huge water district in Southern California is offering to pay what is thought to be its highest price ever for water from farmers in the north — more than double what it paid just five years ago. "We're going to make a lot more selling the water than planting the rice," Lance Tennis, whose family owns about 900 acres of farmland in southern Butte County, about 80 miles north of Sacramento, told NBC News. "This is a huge deal." Read more in ENVIRONMENT.
And now this ...
How would you celebrate your 100th birthday? One great-grandmother in South Africa strapped on a parachute and went skydiving to mark the milestone, putting on a brave face.