Welcome to the Thursday edition of “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
Every weekday morning around 6, we’ll hit the top five stories of the day, clue you in on a few other buzzy items, and let you know about some of the must-watch stories coming up on CNN’s morning show “New Day.”
1. ARIEL CASTRO
From horror comes hope: “Life is tough, but I'm tougher.” Those are the heartening words of Michelle Knight, one of the women Ariel Castro held captive for many years. Knight, who intends to speak at today’s sentencing hearing, also says she’s like the worm that “thought the world was over,” but turned into a butterfly. Castro’s sister says her brother - who pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping - will show the world that he’s not the monster they think he is, that he has another side. But she won’t be there to hear his speech; it will be too graphic, she says.
Pamela Brown has more this morning on the chilling details from the prosecutors’ sentencing memo.
2. ALEX RODRIGUEZ
Deal in the making? You’d think Yankees fans would want a player of Hall of Fame-caliber to return to the team. Now whether or not Alex Rodriguez plays for the Yankees again remains to be seen. ESPN says his reps are talking with MLB officials about a suspension deal that would help A-Rod avoid a lifetime ban. Most Yankees fans have had enough and hope A-Rod is done with the Bronx Bombers.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 1, 2013
Joe Carter will join us at 6 with what the talks will mean for Rodriguez and the struggling Yankees.
3. EDWARD SNOWDEN
The NSA can tell if you’re reading this: For weeks, Glenn Greenwald has been saying that NSA leaker Edward Snowden had more information the government didn’t want released. Yesterday, Greenwald and the British newspaper The Guardian had a story about an NSA program that can collect data on almost everything an Internet user does. It could be an e-mail, a visit to a chat room, posting a video online – just about anything. The program is called XKeyscore and it doesn’t need a warrant or any court approval, the Guardian says. The NSA says that’s not true and it makes sure its people don’t run uncalled for searches.
Barbara Starr will join us all morning from the Pentagon and former congresswoman Jane Harman will be our guest at 7.
4. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Wedding bells in two more states: The slow but steady march toward the acceptance of same-sex unions continues, with such marriages becoming legal in Minnesota and Rhode Island today. At midnight, the mayor of Minneapolis married 42 couples at city hall. In Rhode Island, the first nuptials are scheduled to take place later this morning.
JUST WITNESSED MINNESOTA'S FIRST GAY MARRIAGE AT MINNEAPOLIS CITY HALL!!!! pic.twitter.com/9l7pbUeLft
— Alex Webb (@alexspiderwebb) August 1, 2013
5. SAN DIEGO MAYOR
Don’t blame me: Every day, an interesting twist to the sexual harassment scandal involving the San Diego mayor. Bob Filner wanted the city to pay his legal fees in the suit filed by his former spokeswoman. The city said no. Buy hey! I never had sexual harassment training as mayor, he says in a letter sent to the San Diego city council by his lawyer. That means you should be the hook for the court costs should we lose the case, he says. As a side note, the lawyer also says that Filner never had such training while he was in Congress for nearly 20 years.
— Bill Nelson (@Thelscwxman) August 1, 2013
Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.
– Michael Vick forgives him: Riley Cooper swears that it’s not like him to use the N-word. But there he was on videotape, using it during a verbal altercation with a security guard at a concert. The video was shot in June and posted to a blog that covers the Philadelphia Eagles, the team Cooper plays for. Michael Vick knows a little about being in trouble and he says he and other teammates are cool with Cooper’s apology.
– A little time off: He's been called "America's scariest police chief" and "Patriot police chief." But what you won't be calling him is Gilberton's police chief - at least for the next 30 days. Mark Kessler, top cop in the Pennsylvania town, has been taken off the beat for a month for using government property to make pro-gun videos. The controversial chief thinks it’s a conspiracy and thinks the borough council is out to fire him.
"HEY BOXER, MALLOY , HANNON, YOU'RE COWARDS, YOU'RE HACKS, YOU PRETEND TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION,YOU SICKEN ME !" - Kessler on his website after the meeting
– Speaking of guns: Two things: George Zimmerman is in Texas and he has a gun. He was recently stopped for driving too fast in the Lone Star state. When a police officer came up to his truck, Zimmerman explained to the officer that he had a gun in the glove compartment. Interesting news, considering the gun Zimmerman used when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin is in an evidence locker right now.
Our family receives many death threats. We all continue to take our security seriously and to ensure our safety in accordance with the law.
— Robert Zimmerman JR (@rzimmermanjr) July 31, 2013
– I guess I’ll just resign then: Daytona Beach Sgt. Penny Dane accused another officer of sexual harassment and internal affair detectives said, “OK, we need to get your laptop and desk computer then.” Bad move on her part, because there were hundreds of photos that were “extremely pornographic in nature” to quote the police chief. And they didn’t have anything to do with the other officer. Police say she was posting the nude shots – some taken in her uniform – to a virtual sex club. Officer Dane is now looking for another job. And the sexual harassment claim? It was dropped.
– Parking lot revenge: Really, dude? You have to park over the line just because you don’t want someone to scratch your fancy car? You made one mistake, however, so let’s see you get in your car now.
Oh, check out where the guy parked the next day.
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day," from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, join us at CNN.com/NewDay and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY