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A dried-out lawn is seen in the city of Glendora, east of Los Angeles, this week. About 58 percent of California is now under the most extreme drought conditions, a new report says.

Most Of California Reported To Be In 'Extreme Drought'

The latest Drought Monitor report from U.S. agriculture and weather experts finds 58 percent of California in the worst of its four drought levels, in conditions normally seen only once every 50-100 years.

For our Newscast unit, Nathan Rott reports:

Flares light up the night sky over Gaza City early Friday, Aug. 1. Leaders of Hamas and Israel have agreed to begin a cease-fire Friday at 8 a.m. local time, the U.N. says.

Israel And Hamas Agree To 3-Day Cease-Fire, U.N. Says

A temporary peace will begin Friday morning in Gaza, as Israel and Hamas agree to an "unconditional humanitarian ceasefire," according to a statement by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The truce is set to begin at 8 a.m. local time Friday and last for 72 hours. U.N. Special Coordinator Robert Serry says he's been assured by officials from both Israel and Hamas that they will abide by the truce. The envoys will also travel to Cairo to negotiate a possible longer peace deal, in talks hosted by Egypt.

A corn purchaser writes on his account in northwest China in 2012. In November 2013, officials began rejecting imports of U.S. corn when they detected traces of a new gene not yet approved in China.

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

For a while there, China was the American farmer's best friend. The world's most populous nation had so many pigs and chickens to feed, it became one of the top importers of U.S. corn and soybeans almost overnight.

Red Cross volunteers prepare to bury the body of an Ebola victim in Pendembu, Sierra Leone, early this month.

As Ebola Surges, CDC Sends Aid And Warns Against Travel

For the second time this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised the travel alert for three West African countries, as the death toll in the Ebola outbreak increased at an alarming rate.

"The bottom line is that the multiple outbreaks in West Africa are worsening right now," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told NPR on Thursday. "This is the biggest, most complex and the most difficult outbreak of Ebola that we've had to deal with."

On Either Side Of Gaza, Leaders' Gain Support — But Blame Game Awaits

Nearly a month into the war in Gaza, pollsters have been taking a look at how attitudes in the region have changed among Israelis and Palestinians. For more on the changes to public opinion, Ari Shapiro speaks with Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University and Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.

Tobacco giant Reynolds American is buying Lorillard and acquiring Newport, a popular menthol cigarette. In a shrinking market, Newport is one of the few U.S. brands gaining market share. It is particularly popular among African-American smokers.

Amid Smoking Decline, Look Who's Still Lighting Up

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

With Prosecutors Circling, Ethics Questions Get Serious For N.Y. Governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing reports that his administration interfered with the work of an anti-corruption commission that he created — and then abruptly disbanded. The U.S. Attorney for New York is threatening to investigate the administration for possible obstruction of justice.

In Debt Duel, It Was Argentina V. Paul Singer

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In Obama's Foreign Policy, Some See Patience; Some See Passivity

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CIA Director Apologizes For Meddling In Senate Computers

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