Good morning, and happy, soggy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. ‘Totally botched’: Okla. inmate dies after execution halted
Tuesday night’s execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett was halted after he appeared to gain consciousness in the midst of a lethal injection cocktail. But he died anyway, suffering a heart attack, according to reports. Defense lawyers are calling for an independent investigation after saying the execution was “totally botched.” The execution of his accomplice has been delayed 14 days. Read more in NEWS.
2. Deep South in crosshairs of dangerous storm system
The risk of deadly tornadoes and major flooding is on high alert in parts of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. The extreme weather comes as at least 35 people have been killed in six states from twisters. More than 24 inches of rain fell in a 26-hour period in Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday, washing away bridges and closing roadways. Flash flooding is expected to continue. Read more in NEWS.
3. NBA bans Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that the league was suspending Sterling for life and fining him $2.5 million. Silver made the decision after the league said it confirmed it was Sterling’s voice on an audio tape asking his girlfriend to stop bringing black people to the games. Fans and players lauded the ban, and the Clippers went on to win their playoff game against the Warriors on Tuesday night. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
The Clippers call for unity was shared among the NBA:
4. Iraqis vote in national elections amid heightened security
Iraqis are going to the polls today in the first nationwide elections since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. Violence, however, has continued to rock the country, where the Shiite-dominated government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking to keep control. While there are more than 9,000 candidates in the running for 328 parliamentary seats, al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition is widely expected to win the most seats. Read more in NEWS.
5. Italian court report: Amanda Knox wielded fatal slash
An Italian court released a 337-page report explaining Knox’s motivation for killing her university roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. The court said Knox is one of multiple attackers, although she was the one who “lashed the deadly wound to the throat,” killing Kercher. The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy must decide whether to confirm the murder conviction against Knox, who is fighting extradition from the U.S. Read more in NEWS.
6. U.S. should be less active in world affairs: poll
Forty-seven percent of Americans want the U.S. to dial down its activity in foreign affairs, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. That represents a major flip after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when nearly four in 10 Americans said they wanted more engagement. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
We’ll have what they’re having.
Twenty-five years after Harry met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan were together again to celebrate their “When Harry Met Sally” director, Rob Reiner.
Reiner was the recipient of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Chaplin Award on Monday night, and the pair shared the stage to salute him — and explain what was behind the movie’s infamous fake-orgasm scene.