White House Locked Down After Package Thrown Over Fence
The Presidential Daily Brief
Not again. In an occurrence that’s become all too common, Barack Obama’s home and office were locked down because someone chucked a suspicious package over the White House grounds’ seven-foot iron fence. A woman was put in handcuffs at the scene, and it’s not yet clear what the package contained. The area swarmed with emergency vehicles after the incident, but thorough security sweeps are expected — even if the package is benign. This new incident should help the Secret Service’s plan to build a new, 14-foot fence to ward off interlopers.
It’s a step down from “traitor.” The U.S. ex-attorney general said that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden “actually performed a public service by raising the debate” about government surveillance, one that prompted needed changes in the system. But Snowden’s leak of classified information was “inappropriate and illegal,” and merits punishment. Holder added that a judge sentencing the Russian-protected privacy crusader could take those positive results into account before handing down sentence. That’s purely hypothetical, of course, unless Snowden makes good on declarations he’d gladly give himself up and go to prison.
He’s not going to go quietly. Throughout his African Union-backed human rights trial, Hissene Habre has refused to recognize the court’s legitimacy, shouting over the proceedings and insisting on being carried into the Dakar courtroom. But the verdict is in: Habre is guilty of crimes against humanity for sexually enslaving and raping people, as well as ordering people killed while he controlled Chad between 1982 and 1990. Habre denies the accusations, but will be spending the rest of his life in prison.
It’s been a bad week for ISIS. The militant group has held Fallujah since January 2014, but a week ago the Iraqi army announced a new push to retake the city. Today, special forces marched in, backed by Shia militias and air support from Iraq’s military and a U.S.-led coalition. ISIS is reportedly trying to hold off the assault with suicide and car bombings, and the military forces have said they will likely pause before striking Fallujah’s center to give the estimated 50,000 trapped civilians a chance to escape.
It was a thunderous reception. Citing recent scandals in which veterans died waiting for care, Donald Trump told riders at Rolling Thunder, an annual Washington motorcycle ride to honor POWs and MIA troops, that immigrants to the U.S. have it better. The billionaire, who never served in the military, has drawn flak for ridiculing Sen. John McCain’s capture in Vietnam, and for delaying distribution of fundraiser money to veterans’ charities. But the 5,000-strong crowd was unbothered, indicating that the Donald may have a shot with veterans.
Fame is a dangerous game. Alan Pulido, a striker for Greek team Olympiakos, was abducted by a group of masked men while leaving a party in his home state of Tamaulipas, one of Mexico’s most violent areas. Police say he was rescued hours later and is unharmed, though local media photos showed him with a bandaged hand. The motive for the kidnapping remains unclear, but much of the violence in Tamaulipas has been pinned on battles between rival drug cartels, and Mexico has sent more federal troops to tackle the problem.
They’re looking to the future with interest. With the U.S. and the U.K. on vacation for the holiday weekend, Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.1 percent as investors were buoyed by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s statement Friday that interest rates would “probably” increase in the not-too-distant future. That brought the dollar up — and encouraging numbers in Friday’s May employment report could see investors even more bullish ahead of potential rate hikes at the Fed’s June or July meetings.
Photo of drowned migrant baby touches European hearts. (Reuters)
Verizon, unions reach deal to end six-week strike. (NYT)
London’s Labour mayor joins Tory PM to oppose Brexit. (AP)
Iran won’t take part in Hajj pilgrimage this year. (WSJ) sub
Uganda cuts military ties with North Korea. (Reuters)
Sharks attack, injure swimmers on both U.S. coasts. (ABC)
It was a historic bid. During World War II, German forces used Lorenz cipher machines to send coded messages, and England’s National Museum of Computing wanted one for its collection. Turns out, you can buy history on eBay: For a cool $14, museum volunteers rescued one from a seller’s dirty shed. Its swastika detailing and special Waffen-SS insignias proved the teleprinter was for military use, not commercial. Now the museum is restoring the full machine — but they’re still hunting for a motor, in case you’re selling one online.
This stain may never come out. Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics has apologized, sort of, after its Qiaobi detergent ad sparked viral outrage over allegations of racism. The commercial shows a woman jamming a paint-splattered Black man into a washing machine, then looking delighted when she retrieves a clean, lighter-skinned Asian man. Leishang apologized “for the harm caused to the African people” because of “over-amplification” by the media. Not surprisingly, that fanned new outrage, despite the company’s hope that “the public and the media will not over-read it.”
Are they too well grounded? When it comes to thinking about the cosmos, presidential front-runners don’t have much of a launch platform. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump once razzed President Obama for making U.S. astronauts “dependent on the Russians,” but as a candidate, he’s said terrestrial potholes need filling before Martian craters get terraformed. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton once dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but she hardly mentions space on the stump. It’s troubling for rocket boosters, who say that a society that sidelines space isn’t looking toward the future.
Rough seas are ahead for Captain Sparrow. The entertainment world was stunned Friday by Amber Heard’s restraining order against Johnny Depp, after she showed up to court with a black eye and accused her husband of repeated assaults. Now that his latest film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, has tanked its opening weekend, some industry experts wonder if Depp’s megawatt star power is dimming under the allegations — especially in family-friendly franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, which will see a fifth chapter Memorial Day weekend 2017.
Talk about a hot ticket. One fan plunked down $29,000 each for floor seats to tonight’s Game 7 of the Western Conference finals between Golden State and Oklahoma City. The average seat is going for $960 — the second most for any game in the past five years. Different stars have traded lead billing throughout the roller coaster series, which on Saturday saw Klay Thompson’s record-setting 11 3-pointers in the Warriors’ narrow win. Tonight’s victor in Oakland will face LeBron James’ Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.