Subscribe to Mic Daily
We’ll send you a rundown of the top five stories every day

1. Is Iraq Headed Towards a Civil War?
The United Nations announced on Thursday that July was the deadliest month in Iraq since 2008; attacks killed 1,057 Iraqis and wounded another 2,326. The uptick in violence can be traced to tensions within Islam in the Middle East and North Africa: Violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq. The high-profile jailbreak at Abu Ghraib last week underscores Iraq’s weakening security. Reuters reports some Iraqis fear the violence could drag the country into another war.
More from around the web:
This infographic provides an in depth look into the violence in Iraq (Al Jazeera).
Why the next few decades will be dominated by the divide within Islam (FP).
More From PolicyMic:
The Ideological War in the Middle East No One is Talking About (Nick Demas)

2. Snowden Asylum Damages U.S.–Russia Relations
Russia offered Edward Snowden temporary one-year asylum on Thursday, bringing an end to the NSA leaker’s five-week stay at the Moscow airport. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama is “extremely disappointed” with Russia’s decision; the New York Times reports the president may call off a meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin planned for September. It didn’t take long for Snowden to get settled in Russia: He received a job offer from social-networking site VKontakte within hours of entering the country.
More from around the web:
Take a look at Snowden’s asylum papers (RT).
Test your knowledge of the NSA with CSM’s quiz.
More From PolicyMic:
Could Edward Snowden Get a Nobel Peace Prize? (Luis Costa)
3. Italian Court Hands Berlusconi First Definitive Sentence
Italy’s highest court handed former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi his first definitive conviction in 20 years of trials on Thursday. The Court of Cassation found Berlusconi guilty of lying about the cost he paid to air American movies on his Mediaset network in order to evade taxes. He will likely serve his one-year sentence under house arrest or by performing community service. The conviction could fracture Italy’s fragile coalition government: Berlusconi’s conservative party may split, while left-wing politicians won’t want to share power with a convicted criminal.
More from around the web:
Bone up on Berlusconi’s troubled past (BBC).
More From PolicyMic:
• The Berlusconi Sex Scandal Makes People Question, Should We Legalize Prostitution? (Cristina Maza)
4. Cleveland Kidnapper Sentenced to Life in Jail
Judge Michael Russo gave Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro a sentence of life in jail plus 1,000 years with no chance of parole on Thursday. Police arrested Castro in May when one of his three victims escaped; he had abused and raped the women for over a decade. Michelle Knight was the only survivor at the sentencing. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning,” she said. Castro blamed pornography and past sexual abuse for his actions. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” he said.
More from around the web:
Watch survivor Michelle Knight confront her captor in court (NY Mag).
Seven crazy things Ariel Castro said in court (Daily Beast).
More From PolicyMic:
We All Know What He Did, So Why Did Ariel Castro Plead Not Guilty? (Laura Zhang)
5. Motorola Reveals First Google Phone
Motorola revealed details on its new Moto X smartphone on Thursday; it’s the first phone the company has made since it was purchased by Google two years ago. The phone comes in 504 color combinations and features hands-free interaction with Google Now. You can get your hands on one at the end of this month. Will the Moto X vindicate Google’s decision to buy Motorola for $12.5 billion? Google baffled techies with the high price it paid for the cellphone company.
More from around the web:
Here’s how the Moto X stacks up against your iPhone or Galaxy S4 (AllThingsD).
The Moto X shows why Google bought Motorola (Wired).
More From PolicyMic:
Motorola Wants to Turn Your Body Into a Giant Internet Password (Medha Chandorkar)
Take a terrifying trip to Guantánamo Bay (Vice).
How Google Glass is revolutionizing crisis journalism (Fast Co.)
Take a ride on California’s biggest rollercoasters (NY Times).
Where in the world are there no McDonald’s? (NPR)
• Check out the 20 most inspiring photos from Red Bull’s epic photo contest (My Modern Met).
Thanks for reading!
Want do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Should Russia have handed over Snowden? Share your thoughts with me on twitter @nicholascbaker.
Share Mic Check and help your friends stay informed: