Good morning! Here’s what people will be chatting about on Friday.
1. President Barack Obama ordered limited airstrikes into Iraq Thursday night. The aim is “to protect our American personnel and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death,” Obama said in a statement from the White House.
2. The 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expired Friday morning and there are already reports of rockets being fired from Hamas. This comes after opposing sides failed to reach an agreement during talks brokered by Egypt. According to the Guardian: “Israeli officials said Hamas had rejected their offer to extend the ceasefire. Hamas did not confirm or deny the claim.”
3. It’s unclear whether the experimental drug used to treat two U.S. Ebola patients is even effective. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns people not to be too optimistic. “We don’t know if [the drugs] work and we can’t have them in significant numbers,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, told a House subcommittee hearing, the Los Angeles Times reported. “I don’t want any false hopes out there.”
4. Following Russia’s ban of food ports from the U.S., E.U., and other countries, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi warned that increasing tensions and sanctions against Russia “remained a risk to the fragile eurozone recovery and could have hit economy already,” the Guardian writes.
5. China posted a record trade surplus in July. “Exports in July jumped 14.5 per cent from a year earlier — the fastest pace in 15 months, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday, doubling from 7.2 per cent in June and roundly beating market expectations,” Reuters said. Exports were stronger than expected even after pricing in inflated export data in early 2013, when firms falsified invoices to skirt capital curbs.
6. Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned of stronger sanctions against Russia if “Moscow fails to accept responsibility for downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17,” she said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The broader sanctions might include banning the sale of uranium.
7. Hawaii is bracing for the approach of Hurricanes Iselle, which could become the “first hurricane or tropical storm to hit the island chain in 22 years,” ABC News said.
8. Alex Salmond, the first minister arguing for the independence of Scotland, said that an independent Scotland “would use sterling even if a formal sterling zone were rejected by the UK government,” the Guardian said. Salmond added: “It’s Scotland’s pound and we are keeping it.”
9. Khazanah Nasional, the majority stakeholder in Malaysia Airlines, wants to remove the carrier from the stock exchange and make it fully state-owned. The airline has been financially crippled by two major disasters in the last year — Flight 370 disappeared in March and Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine in June, killing everyone on board.
10. Researchers have developed self-folding robots that shift shape and crawl without the help of humans. The origami-inspired robots have a huge number of design applications from folding home structures to space satellites.
A toddler caused a brief security lockdown near the White House when she squeezed through the main gates. “Secret Service agents regularly close off the area due to suspicious packages near the White House, but pint-sized intruders are far less common,” Reuters notes.
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