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Five Things to Know for Your New Day -- Thursday, June 19

By CNN Staff
updated 6:35 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014

(CNN) -- Obama says he'll do what he wants about Iraq, authorities nab suspected American terrorists, and a teen stowaway talks about his crazy flight inside a plane wheel well.

It's Thursday, and here are 5 things to know for your New Day:

1. Iraq crisis

Should he stay or should he go now? There's a growing chorus that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki must go if there's any hope of unifying Iraq as Islamic militants take city after city, a U.S. senator said.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is talking about efforts to help strengthen Iraq's security forces against the threat of the militants. And while he said he'll tell Congress what he plans, he said he doesn't need Congress' approval.

2. Texas terror suspects

Right here at home: Cops nabbed two young men in Texas suspected of supporting terrorist groups in Syria and Somalia. One was scoping out "potential recruits for committing violent jihad overseas" from his Austin home, authorities say.

The other 23-year-old was caught before boarding a plane in Houston en route to provide "his services to radical groups." Analysts believe as many as 100 American citizens have traveled to fight in Syria.

3. Benghazi arrest

Like a movie: Interrogators don't expect to have it easy with Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the alleged mastermind of the 2012 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, a Washington law enforcement official told CNN. After all, he's had time to rehearse his story. But an interrogation expert thinks there's a good chance Abu Khatallah will crack, if interrogators punch the right buttons. Others have done so before him.

4. Veterans Affairs troubles

More money, more problems: The director of the embattled Phoenix VA Health Care System is still on the government's payroll - a month after President Obama pledged to hold VA officials involved in fraudulent scheduling practices accountable.

One VA official said Director Sharon Helman and two other officials at the Phoenix VA have been "removed" from their positions, but he said the government continues to pay federal employees during the termination process.

And he doesn't know if the $9,000 in bonuses that the Helman received last year has been paid back.

5. Plane stowaway

Wild ride: The California teenager who defied laws and nature by surviving a plane ride to Hawaii in the wheel well says he remembers seeing the ocean from 38,000 feet above the earth. "It was above the clouds, I could see through the little holes," Yahya Abdi, 15, of Santa Clara told CNN affiliate KPIX on Wednesday. He was hoping to see his mother in Ethiopia, but ended up in Maui.

CNN's Holly Yan and Chandler Friedman contributed to this report.

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