Iran strikes called off, Facebook's rapid response team & Zion is No.1: The Morning Rundown

Trump reportedly approved military strikes on Iran, but then called off the mission.
Image: Zion Williamson, 2019 NBA Draft
No.1 NBA draft pic Zion Williamson was all smiles at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday. Sarah Stier / Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick and the U.S. women do it again at the World Cup.

Here's what we're watching today.


U.S. was posed for retaliatory attack on Iran, then called off operation

President Donald Trump approved military strikes on Iranian targets in retaliation for a strike on a U.S. drone but called off the mission at the last minute, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported Thursday night, citing multiple administration officials.

The Times quoted a senior administration official as saying the operation was under way in its early stages — with planes in the air and ships in position — when word came to stand down.

On Friday, White House officials declined to comment on the Times' report. Defense Department officials hadn't commented Thursday night.

The incident prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to prohibit most U.S. civil aircraft from flying in Iranian-controlled airspace over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.


Document shows drug firm knew it was shipping suspiciously large amounts of opioids — and kept doing it anyway

A consultant hired by one of the country's largest opioid distributors told the firm in 2008 it was violating federal guidelines by filling large, potentially "suspicious" orders for drugs and failing to report them to the government, according to an internal corporate document viewed by NBC News.

The consultant found that instead of canceling the orders and reporting them to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Cardinal Health was reducing the size of the orders and then filling them anyway, according to the document.


Facebook's new rapid response team has a crucial task: Avoid fueling another genocide

According to United Nations researchers, Facebook was the go-to tool for spreading propaganda in Myanmar that helped drive a genocide of the Rohingya religious minority that is estimated to have killed more than 10,000 people.

Now the tech giant is putting a team in place to try to stop that from happening again.

The newly formed strategic response team has been tasked with putting in place concrete changes to Facebook’s products that could prevent violence in conflict-torn countries.


The Zion era begins

It's official: Zion Williamson was selected as the No. 1 NBA draft pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.

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The pick came as a surprise to no one. Williamson, the 6-foot-7 Duke freshman, was the best men's player in college basketball last season.

But for the 19-year-old, it's still a dream come true.

"For me to be selected No. 1, I can't dream it any better than that," he said Thursday.


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Plus

  • Roy Moore is back. The U.S. Senate candidate who lost amid sexual misconduct allegations, announced he will run for Alabama's seat again — despite fierce opposition from figures within his own party, including Trump.
  • Not backing down: Hong Kong protesters hit the streets again on Friday and demanded an apology from police for their heavy-handed response to demonstrations.

THINK about it

Reparations for slave descendants aren't just a dream — they could work. William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen explain how in an opinion piece.


Science + Tech = MACH

NASA hopes modern tools and techniques will allow for fresh discoveries from rocks that astronauts collected during a mission in 1972.


Live BETTER

These are 2019's the best states to live in. Here's what they do differently.

Boston is not so bad. With its abundance of colleges and universities, hospitals and healthcare systems, Massachusetts ranks among the best states to live in. joe daniel price / Getty Images

One fun thing

The U.S. women are on a roll at the World Cup.

The Americans beat Sweden 2-0 on Thursday — posting their third straight shutout to complete the group play portion of the tournament undefeated.

"To have the players in a good place with self-belief makes my job easier," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said, "because certainly they are highly motivated and hungry."

The Americans will take the field next for their round-of-16 match against Spain on Monday at noon ET.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates after the Americans' second goal. Christophe Ena / AP

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com If you're a fan, please forward it to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.

With all the news this morning, we didn't mention that today is the summer solstice — the longest day of the year. Go out and enjoy it!

Thanks, Petra