Good morning, here are our early stories:
And here are more early headlines:
Rain Could Help Ease Threat Of Western Wildfires. (AccuWeather)
Deadlock Ends In Cambodian Political Crisis. (Bangkok Post)
Police Find Body Of Capsized South Korean Ferry Owner. (Bloomberg)
Current, Retired Detroit Workers Approve Cuts To Pensions. (Detroit News)
Georgia Republicans Hold Senate Runoff Election Today. (ABC)
Senate Panel To Open Confirmation Hearings For VA Nominee. (The Hill)
Montana Judge Faces Reprimand Over Rape Remarks About Victim. (AP)
Chicago Cubs Suing 2 Imposter Mascots Who Misbehaved. (Chicago Tribune)
As Israel's offensive against Hamas entered its 15th day, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo pressing for a truce modeled after the 2012 cease-fire.
Still, the violence continued unabated with the death toll on both sides rising: More than 500 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed.
With that here's what you need to know:
— Later today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"Ban was traveling to the region to discuss [an] effort to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip," the Jerusalem Post reports.
— Reuters quotes Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the prime minister's most dovish cabinet member, saying "a ceasefire is not near."
"I see no light at the end of the tunnel," the wire service quotes her saying.
— In Gaza City, USA Today reports that this Israeli offensive has "led many Palestinians to express their support for Hamas." The paper reports:
"'We faced two Israeli wars before but this one is the most bloodiest and most cruel,' said Abu Awni, 38, of Gaza City. 'Civilians are attacked in their homes. I'm against Hamas, but when Israel is killing my family, then I will join Hamas.'
"'The world must wake up and stop consuming Israeli propaganda,' he added. 'More than half of the population in Gaza is not affiliated with Hamas. But we have been collectively punished.'"
— The Washington Post reports Israel says one of its soldiers is missing, but it is not known if he is dead or alive.
"The development," the paper reports, "could complicate diplomatic efforts underway to stop the conflict between Israel and Hamas as it enters its third week."
— NPR's Emily Harris visited Al-Aksa hospital in the middle of the Gaza strip that was shelled yesterday.
"Four people were killed, according to hospital officials," Emily tells our Newscast unit. "Israel says it's 'initial investigation suggests' anti tank missiles were stored nearby."
"It's clear that more than one rocket or shell hit the hospital. Judging by the pattern of shrapnel gouges in the concrete and charr marks on the ceiling, it looked like at least two rooms on the fourth floor were directly hit. At least one missile travelled through three rooms, making a series of holes in a walls. Other rooms had broken windows, broken beds. Supplies were on the floor, the ceiling lights were twisted. There had been shelling in the area - I could see a building close by was also hit. And it smelled different that the rest of the hospital," Emily reported. "On the ground floor, when we came in, someone was mopping and its smelled sort of soapy clean. Upstairs, as soon as we entered the hospital units that were damaged, it was dusty, chalky kind of smell."
— Correspondent Daniel Estrin tells our Newscast unit that the Israel's military says it has killed 10 militants today "who had infiltrated Israel through tunnels." Israel also said that militants fired at least a dozen rockets into Israel today. For the first time, one of those rockets landed in the Tel Aviv area.
"Dammit, why is this happening to me? I mean, this shouldn't happen to people like me."
This desperate question from a beloved character (Rose) on a beloved show (The Golden Girls) is the defining moment in yet another landmark episode in the critically-acclaimed series. The show known as much for its hilarious comedy as for fearlessly venturing into taboo TV territory was tackling its next sensitive topic: AIDS.
In "72 Hours," Rose receives a letter alerting her that she may have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during gallbladder surgery six years earlier, and she is advised to get a test. As she waits for the results, worry and a deep-rooted panic take hold, and a pivotal scene takes place between the delightfully dimwitted Rose and saucy Southern belle Blanche.
Rose's dialogue embodies several misconceptions about HIV infection, pervasive at the time: that "people like her" — an older, middle-class, heterosexual, "innocent" woman — shouldn't get such a disease, that none of her friends will want to associate with her now, and that she is being punished for some kind of bad behavior.
To which Blanche thoughtfully replies, "AIDS is not a bad person's disease, Rose. It is not God punishing people for their sins."
In 1990 when the episode first aired, AIDS testing was still relatively new; just five years prior the FDA licensed the first commercial blood test. Since 1981, over 100,000 deaths from AIDS had been reported to the CDC by that year — almost one-third of them during 1990. It was a scary time, and despite efforts to educate the public, myths and misinformation ran rampant.
Cue the ever-tactless Sophia, who reacts by using Dorothy's bathroom so she won't have to share one with Rose and prominently marking her coffee cups with an "R." The kind of groan-worthy moments of TV that make you want to crawl under the couch. After a verbal slap from Dorothy, Sophia admits, "I know intellectually there's no way I can catch it, but now that it's so close to home, it's scary."
But this is what The Golden Girls was so good at: bringing home those topics that often made people uncomfortable — racism, homosexuality, older female sexuality, sexual harassment, the homeless, addiction, marriage equality and more — and showing us how interconnected and utterly human we all are at any age. Served, of course, with that delicious trademark humor that infused the show throughout its groundbreaking, taboo-busting seven-season run.
In true kick-ass Golden Girls fashion, the storyline reinforces the importance of friendship — in this case, staring into the face of a terrifying disease. Because, of course, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia showed up at the hospital while Rose took the HIV test and supported her during the nail-biting, three-day wait for the results.
Then the happy ending: Rose gets the all-clear and we've all had a hearty laugh. But in 21 minutes we've also learned something: AIDS is not just a "gay disease" and it can happen to anyone. Understanding is vital. A pretty good lesson from a show about four older women living together in Miami, Fla., don't you think?
Watch the full episode here.
Imagine a school where classes are organized not by subject but by project ...
A school created not by administrators but by teachers fed up with the status quo ...
A school where kids from a city's toughest neighborhoods are given the opportunity to experiment and the freedom to fail.
In West Philadelphia, that school is a reality. It's called The Workshop School.
The idea started with an innovative project for a few dozen kids at one of Philly's most troubled high schools, West Philly High. The project: building hybrid cars.
In 2010, students there entered an international hybrid-building competition and survived the first round. The West Philly effort rivaled adult projects backed by major corporations and universities. That's when they got the attention of President Obama:
"They didn't have a lot of money," Obama said of the West Philly High team. "They didn't have the best equipment. They certainly didn't have every advantage in life. But what they had was a program that challenged them to solve problems, work together, to learn and build and create. That's the kind of spirit and ingenuity that we have to foster."
The Workshop School embodies several big trends in education that the Obama administration has supported, including a renewed focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and career technical education.
With the program's success, its founding teachers were able to raise private money and convince the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia to let them think bigger. The result: The Workshop School.
This year was the school's first as a full-fledged public high school. It hosted 90 students and will grow to 160 kids next year.
Haziz Self just graduated from The Workshop School and says he loves the fact that the learning there is project-based.
"Once you start something," Self says, "you've got to finish it. That's a life lesson: Once you start something, you got to finish it."
Project-based learning is characterized as "inquiry-based," meaning students start by generating their own questions. They then research and try to solve real-world problems and, either solo or in groups, present an outcome of some kind to an external audience. Projects tend to be interdisciplinary.
In research dating back to the 1990s, this approach has been shown to improve student attitudes and performance, especially in math.
But most public schools don't have the resources or ability to overhaul their schedules and apply a fully project-based curriculum the way The Workshop School has.
Unlike traditional high schools, The Workshop School doesn't divide each of its class periods by subject. While students get traditional math and English instruction in the afternoon, mornings consist of two 90-minute project blocks in which students learn multiple skills at once.
One of teacher Frankie Bonilla's lessons earlier this year turned a classroom closet into a recording studio.
"It used to be a regular closet," Bonilla says. "And they gutted everything out, put up walls."
The renovation alone allowed him to teach a broad spectrum of skills.
"When we built the studio there was so much math involved," Bonilla says. "It wasn't scaffolded. It was kinda like, 'Put this wall up, this is how you do it.' They made a lot of mistakes. So it was a lot of English, some science and a lot of math."
And the project didn't end there. Once the students had finished the renovation, they learned to compose and produce songs.
The Workshop School hums with the hubbub of experimentation and collaboration. Here, a ninth-grader connects the wires on a miniature solar panel. There, another student develops a concept design to make Philadelphia's 52nd Street more pedestrian-friendly. And, on the ground floor, students work in three large automotive shops, designing and building hybrid cars.
For Matthew Riggan, one of the school's founding teachers, what really sets The Workshop School apart is its insistence that kids need to have the freedom to learn from their mistakes.
"We give our students a lot of freedom and responsibility to sort of organize and carry out the work," Riggan says. "There's less emphasis on telling everybody exactly what they have to do all the time. And more emphasis on them figuring out what that is, and understanding what it means to sort of live up to your goals and your values."
Graduate Haziz Self says it's working. He's been amazed at the evolution he's seen in his classmates. Many are talking about college for the first time.
"It's a big change, 'cause they want to go to [community college] when last year they just say, 'I'm going to just have a little job,' " Self says. "They want to do something with their life. Everybody wants to do something with their life now."
He knows the change perhaps better than anyone.
"Last year, was like, I wasn't even talking to nobody. I couldn't. I was too mad about a lot of stuff."
Self's mother had been arrested and imprisoned, and he had to leave his home with her in New Jersey to live with his father in West Philly.
"I still send her cards. I still write her letters and everything. She's happy for me, 'cause, even though it was a big change for me, I was still able to stay on task, go to college like I said I was."
In the Fall, Self will head to Shippensburg University. And The Workshop School has a green light to expand to 500 students by 2018.
Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo won 53 percent of the vote in Indonesia's presidential election, according to a final tally released Tuesday by the country's Election Commission.
Widodo, a former furniture maker who entered national politics only two years ago, received 70,997,859 votes of the nearly 133 million valid ballots cast; his rival former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, received 46.85 percent of the votes. Turnout was high — nearly 71 percent.
The figures were reported by The Associated Press.
But just before Tuesday's results were announced, Subianto said he was withdrawing from the election, calling it unfair and undemocratic.
As we told you earlier this month, Widodo, who is widely known as Jokowi, claimed victory citing early results in the world's most-populous Muslim nation.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn profiled the former furniture salesman in December 2012. Here's what he said: "Jokowi built his political track record as mayor of the Javanese city of Surakarta. He won the Jakarta gubernatorial election with a populist touch and an effective social media campaign."
The AP noted at the time that Widodo is the first presidential candidate with no connection to former dictator Suharto's 1966-98 regime.
"Widodo's appeal is that despite a lack of experience in national politics, he is seen as a man of the people who wants to advance democratic reforms and is untainted by the often corrupt military and business elite that has run Indonesia for decades," the news agency said.
By contrast, it noted, Subianto was a former Suharto-era general with "a dubious human rights record during his military career."