The sexual assault case against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn may be collapsing, as we reported earlier, and the White House wants a deal on the debt ceiling and budget deficit by July 22.
Other stories making headlines include:
— Minnesota State Government Shuts Down: "Talks imploded Thursday between [Democratic] Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders in the final hours before a midnight deadline, and Minnesota began a historic government shutdown. 'This is a night of deep sorrow for me,' Dayton said in an address at 10 p.m. that was punctuated by jeers and hisses from Republicans, including some lawmakers." (Star Tribune)
From a related story by Minnesota Public Radio: "The shutdown leaves more than 20,000 Minnesotans out of work and others without state services. The sticking point to negotiate late Thursday night is the same as it was at the start of the legislative session: taxes."
— NBA Locks Out Its Players: "On Thursday afternoon, three weeks after the least predictable and most entertaining of seasons, the NBA promised to exercise its long-anticipated threat to lock out the players. Instead of building upon the recent success, the league is risking cancellation of the entire 2011-12 season." (Sports Illustrated)
— Chavez Has Cancerous Tumor Removed: "Doctors in Cuba detected and removed a cancerous tumor from Hugo Chavez's body, the Venezuelan president announced in a speech broadcast on state-run VTV Thursday night. Chavez said he was continuing treatment, but did not specify what that treatment entailed, where the tumor was located or when he would return to Venezuela." (CNN)
— Confidence Rising In Battle Against Los Alamos Fire: "Firefighters battled a 145 square-mile fire burning in a canyon leading to parts of the Los Alamos nuclear lab and an evacuated town, even as confidence rose that both would be spared from the flames. Some of the 1,000 firefighters at the scene lit backfires Thursday to remove brush and other fuels as well as coat a canyon slope with a thick line of fire retardant foam." (The Associated Press)