HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
Investigators say a fire that destroyed a predominately black church in South Carolina on Tuesday night was not a case of arson.
The fire that destroyed Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville was sparked by natural causes, Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, told BuzzFeed News, adding that the investigation is now finished. That classification rules out arson, as well as fires started accidentally by people, though it’s still unclear what caused the blaze. Berry said the “natural” classification includes weather-related causes.
Investigations into other recent church fires in southern U.S. states, however, are ongoing. Officials have classified some of those fires as the work of arsonists.
BP has agreed to pay a $18.7 billion fine to settle legal actions over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“The U.S. Justice Department, along with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Florida, all sued BP for damages not covered by the company’s earlier settlements with businesses and individuals harmed by the worst offshore spill in U.S. history,” The Guardian writes.
The 2010 explosion killed 11 people and 4.2 million barrels of oil spilled into the ocean, affecting the shore of the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida. “Its impact on seafood and wildlife is still being assessed,” according to The Guardian.
And a little extra.
“The tentative settlement brings to an end a trial that began more than two years ago, in one of the most complex and closely watched civil cases in American history, and it comes on top of more than $4 billion in criminal fines that BP had already agreed to pay,” the New York Times writes in this graphic showing the extent of the spill and why BP is paying the record fine.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
The Hulk Hogan v. Gawker trial was supposed to start on Monday, but is now postponed. No new trial date is set yet.
Gawker is in a legal battle with Hulk Hogan over its publication of a sex tape featuring the wrestler. Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for $100 million for publishing a portion of the video between him and Heather Clem, the wife of his friend, Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, BuzzFeed News’ Mary Ann Georgantopoulos reports.
No new trial date is set. “Legal experts said the outcome of the case could set a larger precedent for the media’s right to publish other ‘nonconsensual porn’ (or what we call ‘revenge porn’),” Fusion’s Kashmir Hill writes. Others have “speculated that it will set a terrible precedent for the privacy of intimate images and sex tapes if Gawker wins,” Hill writes.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
How can you prove airlines conspired to keep ticket prices high?
The U.S. government is investigating whether America’s biggest airlines conspired to keep ticket prices high. But the Department of Justice needs to answer a couple of basic questions: Was there a real conspiracy? And how do you prove it?
“There’s plenty of precedent for the DOJ proving these kind of pricing conspiracies really happened. Throughout the second half of the last decade, 21 airlines have been fined by the Justice Department for price fixing,” BuzzFeed News’ Mariah Summers writes.
Meet the badass women of the 2015 U.S. soccer team, who will be playing Japan on Sunday for the World Cup championship.
If you haven’t been watching the Women’s World Cup, it’s not too late. On Sunday, Team USA will play Japan for the championship in the first repeat Women’s World Cup final. The two teams faced each other in 2011 when Japan beat the U.S. in a shootout to win its first title.
If the U.S. wins, it’ll be the first team to win three World Cup titles. Meanwhile, “Japan is trying to match the German teams of 2003 and 2007 as the only country to successfully repeat as Women's World Cup champion,” ESPN writes in this piece on six storylines to watch.
Quick things to know:
Liberia has reported three new cases of Ebola this week after being declared Ebola-free on May 9. (Live Science)
Health insurer Aetna will buy its smaller rival Humana for $37 billion in the largest-ever insurance industry deal. (Reuters)
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat with a military background, is running for president. Webb is the fifth Democrat in the race, alongside 14 Republican candidates. (NPR)
The U.S. recorded its first confirmed measles death in 12 years. (Washington Post)
Uber suspended its UberPOP service in France after protests last week. (TechCrunch)
Cuba launched its first public Wi-Fi hotspots in Havana. (Associated Press)
MasterCard will approve purchases by scanning your face. (CNN Money)
A man in a solar-powered plane broke the record for world’s longest solo flight. (BuzzFeed News)
An iconic San Francisco rainbow tunnel has been renamed after the late actor Robin Williams. (BuzzFeed News)
Do you know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News quiz!
Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed News’ Anita Badejo sharing some of her favorite pieces from a collection of 16 stories capturing the culture, politics, and people of the U.S.A. for the 4th of July weekend.
This cross-country cash cow starring seven of America’s biggest Vine and YouTube stars may have all the trappings of a traditional rock tour — long bus rides, concert hall stages in front of screaming fans, staying up late — but it’s the clearest sign yet that the entertainment industry’s star-making apparatus is being turned upside down.
In 2009, an American aid worker seeking to provide internet service for Cubans was thrown in jail for more than five years. Now, as relations with Cuba finally thaw, the imprisonment of Alan Gross remains a prime example of how promoting American values in countries that don’t want them is a policy that is as well-intentioned as it is poorly executed.
Boasting 100,000 residents over the age of 55, The Villages may be the fastest growing city in America. It’s a notorious boomtown for boomers who want to spend their golden years with access to 11 a.m. happy hours, thousands of activities, and no-strings-attached sex, all lorded over by one elusive billionaire.
Transgender people are still barred from openly serving in the military. Yet, a small but increasingly visible population of veterans are demanding health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs — and getting it.
Check out the rest of her picks here.
Did you know BuzzFeed has a series of 10 life-changing things to try every month? Well, we do and here’s July’s. It includes tips like keeping flowers in the fridge to keep them fresh longer, “a Cliffs Notes for all the books your smart friends are reading,” and the foam pillow you won’t want to travel without. Consider this a ~Happy July~