HUFFINGTON POST
08/20/2014 07:47 am ET Updated Aug 20, 2014

Wednesday's Morning Email: ISIS Beheads American Photojournalist

TOP STORIES

FERGUSON UNREST CONTINUES “It was almost a peaceful night. But late Tuesday, the tension in the air broke and there were, once again, confrontations between police and the protesters out calling for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown … According to Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, police encountered fewer violent incidents on Tuesday, no Molotov cocktails and no live gunfire. In response, officers did not feel the need to use smoke bombs or tear gas, though a limited amount of pepper spray was deployed, he said.” Earlier in the day, officers in North St. Louis had fatally shot a man wielding a knife. Attorney General Eric Holder, who arrives in St. Louis tod~ay, wrote an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the grand jury probe begins today, witnesses of the shooting can’t agree on the chain of events that led to the fatal act. Support for Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, is growing. And the Pentagon defended the program that has armed police departments across the country with military gear. [HuffPost]

ISIS BEHEADS AMERICAN PHOTOJOURNALIST “James Foley, an American journalist who went missing in Syria more than a year ago, has reportedly been killed by the Islamic State, a militant group formerly known as ISIS. A YouTube video and photos purportedly of Foley emerged on Tuesday. The video -- entitled 'A Message to #America (from the #IslamicState)' -- identified a man on his knees as ‘James Wright Foley,’ and showed his beheading.” Foley is being remembered as a “funny, warm, Big Lebowski-loving guy,” and was movingly eulogized in his mother’s heartbreaking statement. Here are some of the stories Foley “risked his life to tell.” [HuffPost]

ROCKET ATTACKS RESUME IN GAZA The latest attempts at peace stalled out after Hamas launched rockets at Israel yesterday. A retaliatory Israeli airstrike allegedly killed a top Hamas leader’s wife and toddler. [WaPo]

CALIFORNIA PATIENT TESTED FOR EBOLA “Trained staff are using protective equipment, coordinated with infectious disease specialists, to provide care for the patient, said Dr. Stephen M. Parodi, director of hospital operations at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, in a statement. ‘The patient is considered “low-risk” and tests are being conducted out of "an abundance of caution,’ the California Department of Public Health said.” The last U.S. scare, in New York City, turned out to be unfounded after a patient's test came back negative. [CNN]

ICELAND VOLCANO COULD DESTROY YOUR FLIGHT PLANS The threat level for one of Iceland’s largest volcanoes, Bardarbunga, has been raised, possibly disrupting tens of thousands of flights. “The seismic activity raised concern that airlines may face a repeat of the 2010 disruptions when a cloud belched from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano forced carriers to erase more than 100,000 flights and caused about $1.7 billion in lost revenue. Ash is a menace to jetliners because the glass-like particles can damage engines by melting and congealing.” Here’s how much havoc such a volcanic eruption could wreak. And check out the live cam of the area. [Story, Image via Bloomberg]

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, PER STATE This graphic breaks down how far $100 dollars will get you across the country. Let’s just say your wallet doesn’t want you to move to D.C., New York, New Jersey, or Hawaii. [HuffPost]

TEEN PREGNANCY STATISTICS POINT TO THE SOUTH “More teens are having babies in the South and Southwest while the fewest are in the Northeast, according to new state-by-state breakdowns of federal data out Wednesday. Births per 1,000 teenagers (ages 15–19) range from a low of 13.8 in New Hampshire to a high of 47.5 in New Mexico, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics based on 2012 data, the most recent available for the states. In addition to the wide state variations, the same can be said for racial and ethnic breakdowns. Asian or Pacific Islanders had the lowest 2012 rate at 9.7, compared with Hispanic teens who had the highest rate at 46.3. Rates for the other groups are 20.5 for white, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native and 43.9 for black teens.” [USA Today]

WHAT’S BREWING

KATIE COURIC WON’T RETURN TO ‘TODAY’ While Katie Couric was approached to return to “The Today Show” for a day during Savannah Guthrie’s maternity leave, Page Six alleges Couric demanded her run be extended for a few weeks. When such an offer failed to materialize, Couric turned down NBC’s offer to return. [Page Six]

AWK...YOU NOW HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY THE SUPER BOWL HALFTIME? “In a twist this year, the league has asked artists under consideration for the high-profile gig to pay to play, according to people familiar with the matter. The NFL has narrowed down the list of potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl to three candidates: Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay, these people said. While notifying the artists' camps of their candidacy, league representatives also asked at least some of the acts if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.” No way they’d ask Beyonce to pony up. [WSJ]

THE 80s CALLED, THEY WANT UCONN QB’s MULLET BACK Casey Cochran was named UConn’s starting QB, and he’s definitely putting points on the board with the mullet and mustache he’s rocking. As Deadspin so eloquently stated, “That's not a haircut; that's the 1984 CMA Awards. You see hair like that and you wonder if there's a Fiero parked nearby … Please don't cut it, Casey.” [Story, Image via Deadspin]

MOVE OVER WILL SMITH Johnny Depp is starring in a movie with his daughter. [Vanity Fair]

AND YOU THOUGHT TRAFFIC WAS BAD NOW Turns out traffic lights are very susceptible to hackers. “‘Our attacks show that an adversary can control traffic infrastructure to cause disruption, degrade safety, or gain an unfair advantage,’ writes the [University of Michigan] research team led by computer scientist J. Alex Halderman. ‘With the appropriate hardware and a little effort, [a hacker] can execute a denial of service attack to cripple the flow of traffic in a city, cause congestion at intersections by modifying light timings, or even take control of the lights and give herself clear passage through intersections.’” [TIME]

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD STOP BITING YOUR NAILS And it’s not just because your mom told you to stop a gazillion times. [HuffPost]

UBER HIRES TOP OBAMA STAFFER “Uber, a fast-growing start-up that promotes private car sharing, announced on Tuesday that it had hired the political strategist David Plouffe to be its senior vice president of policy and strategy. The move further signaled the grand aspirations of companies like Uber, which are challenging entrenched industries and running into resistance from some local governments. Mr. Plouffe, who ran President Obama’s 2008 campaign, said he planned to run Uber’s communication efforts much like a political race, pushing to woo consumers and regulators alike in the company’s fast-paced expansion across the world.” Watch out Lyft. [Image, Story via NYT]

ON THE BLOG

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: USE YOUR VACATION DAYS “I hope you're not reading this. That's because, this being mid-August, I hope as many people as possible are on vacation somewhere -- maybe someplace exotic, or maybe just a relaxing staycation at home. And if you are on vacation, you definitely shouldn't be staring into screens -- so please, close the computer or power down your phone immediately and take a walk outside. Unfortunately, all too many of us could be on vacation but choose not to. That's the finding of a striking and important new study released this morning by Travel Effect, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association. Entitled "Overwhelmed America: Why Don't We Use Our Paid Time Off?," the study found that 40 percent of American workers will leave paid vacation days unused.” [HuffPost]

WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

~ Bad news bears: there might be a massive Nutella shortage.

~ Snapchat’s adding ads, because no social media is ever safe from the profit motive.

~ The first trailer for “Men, Women, & Children” makes it extremely clear that we need to get off our cellular devices and start talking to each other.

~ Here’s a list of all the Emmy parties you’re probably not going to.

~ Can’t.stop.playing.Hextris.

~ Katie Holmes is way too believable as a serial killer-slash-teacher in the trailer for “Miss Meadows.”. Warning: you will have nightmares.

~ Take heart: you’re definitely better at moving furniture than these folks.

~ And this Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reunion is everything you wanted and more.

Got something to add? Send tips/quips/quotes/stories/photos/events/scoops to Lauren Weber (lauren.weber@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter (@LaurenWeberHP). Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here.

CONVERSATIONS