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Rapid Reads: 7 Big stories of the day

Hit the snooze button one too many times this morning? That’s OK because we’ve got all the news you missed. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about today:

1. Ch-ch-changes

President Obama is in Alaska to rename Mt. McKinley and to draw attention to the devastating effects of climate change. Alaska is in the midst of its worst wildfire season ever and the state is expected to see average temperatures rise six to 12 degrees due to global warming. Four Alaskan villages are in imminent danger of being completely wiped out by rising sea levels. Said Obama, “If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves. Climate change poses the same threat, right now.” Obama hopes his visit will encourage leaders to sign off on a major climate change agreement. — USA Today

More: What your kids should know about global warming

2. This is just awful

Over the weekend, a Houston police officer was gunned down in a gas station parking lot. Deputy Darren Goforth was filling up his patrol car when the suspect approached him from behind and opened fire. He died at the scene, leaving behind a wife and two children. Police have the suspect in custody and he’s expected to appear in court later today. They’re unsure of the exact motive, but they think the shooting was the result of increased tensions between police and black Americans. Either way, it’s a senseless tragedy and our hearts go out to the officer’s loved ones. — Los Angeles Times

3. Hollywood heartbreak

Famed horror movie mastermind Wes Craven died of brain cancer yesterday at the age of 76. He’s the twisted genius behind A Nightmare On Elm Street, the Scream movies and The Hills Have Eyes. Many were shocked by his passing and didn’t even know he was sick, which is a testament to the quiet, private life he led outside of his successful career. Craven will be remembered not only for his brilliance and incredible work ethic, but also for scaring all of our collective pants off. — The Hollywood Reporter

More: Top 10 scariest horror movies of all time

4. We’ll miss you

Oliver Sacks also died of cancer this weekend. The 82-year-old neurologist and famed author was known for writing about the brain and neurological conditions in a way that was both fascinating and approachable. In doing so, he achieved a level of fame rare among scientists. Over a million copies of his books are currently in print in the U.S and his work has been adapted for both film and stage. In February, Sacks wrote an op-ed in The New York Times announcing that he was in the late stages of terminal melanoma. He passed away at home on Sunday, and he will be sorely missed. — The New York Times

5. She’s just being Miley

Last night the MTV Video Music Awards took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Miley Cyrus hosted the event, got into a spat with Nicki Minaj and then unexpectedly dropped a new album. The singer also had social media abuzz with a series of eye-popping outfits that left little to the imagination. Her new album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, is available for free on her website. Be sure to check out our VMA winner’s list and the rest of our up-to-the-minute coverage.  — SheKnows

More: Reactions to Miley Cyrus’ nude pre-VMAs selfie are really surprising (PHOTO)

6. Game, set, match

The U.S. Open begins today at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Serena Williams has been dominating the tennis scene lately, and many are calling her the one to watch. If she wins, she’ll have a Grand Slam, which is when a tennis pro takes the top title in all of the major tournaments. She’d be the first player to complete the challenge since Steffi Graf in 1988. Go make history, Serena! — CNN

7. Still a legend

Today marks the 18th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. The beloved royal was killed in a car accident in a Paris tunnel at age 37 and it’s widely believed the paparazzi was responsible. Diana’s death was one of the first major news stories to break on the Internet and sparked intense conversation about how invasive the media can be in the lives of public figures. Her loss is largely responsible for the trend of preemptive photo releases and scheduled outings, like Prince William and Kate Middleton posing for photos immediately following the births of their children. Even though it’s been 18 years, her death is still absolutely heartbreaking. — USA Today

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