Syria Feels Chill of US and Russian Involvement
The Presidential Daily Brief
The teenager arrested after yesterday’s stabbing of 21 students and a security guard at a Pennsylvania high school has been charged as an adult. Suspect Alex Hribal, 16, was subdued by an assistant principal and the guard as he reportedly slashed at students with two kitchen knives up to 10 inches long. Four victims remain in critical condition. Hribal has been arraigned on four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon on school property. Police haven’t yet determined a motive.
Search crews aboard 13 ships and 14 aircraft have narrowed their field in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 after hearing suspected black box signals earlier in the week. The search is now limited to 22,364 square miles in the Indian Ocean, the smallest area to date, with optimism growing over their ability to find the aircraft. The crews are racing against the clock, trying to find any trace of the plane before the black box batteries expire.
Moscow didn’t provide important details about the man later implicated in the Boston Marathon bombings, according to U.S. officials. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev likely would have come under increased scrutiny as early as two years before the bombings had the FBI been given the information, according to an inspector general’s report. Russia did reveal Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam but refused U.S. requests for more information. And it was not until after the attack that Russia revealed information from a phone call between Tsarnaev and his mom discussing Islamic jihad.
Italian authorities are appealing for help from the EU as they struggle to deal with a wave of refugees fleeing from Africa. Ships have rescued 4,000 refugees from the sea this week. The influx of immigrants has spiked with the warmer spring weather, and is expected to grow even larger in coming months. Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano blasted “death merchants” who profit from the people-trafficking, then send out alarms for help 40 miles off the Libyan coast.
Indians cast ballots in first big day of general elections. (BBC).
Ukraine issues threat of force. (Al Jazeera).
Peaches Geldof’s postmortem proves inconclusive. (CNN).
Car bomb explodes outside bank in Athens. (The Telegraph).
U.K. culture minister’s resignation embarrasses Cameron. (Reuters).
If you’re tired of traffic jams, things may be looking up. The Personal Air and Land Vehicle, or PAL-V flying car, is going on sale in Europe. Part-tricycle and part-gyrocopter, the PAL-V can reach top speeds of 112 mph. The PAL-V has been made to legal standards that allow it to be sold across Europe from the company’s base in the Netherlands. So far, most interest has come from law enforcement agencies, but if you have driver’s and pilot’s licenses, then there’s nothing but a $415,000 price tag between you and the open skies.
Have you heard the one about a surprising percentage of Americans believing in conspiracy theories? In fact, half of the public “consistently endorse” at least one conspiracy theory, University of Chicago researchers report. The study found that 17 percent of those surveyed insisted they had heard about a theory made up by the researchers, with 10 percent believing it. Nineteen percent believe, for example, that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, and 24 percent agree that President Obama was born outside the U.S.
Few playthings manage to delight kids, parents and shareholders alike, but crafts kits are proving the exception. Arts and crafts toys are the second fastest-growing product in the industry, with $1.2 billion worth of sales in 2013. They are easier to use, which pleases kids, and easier to tidy, which thrills parents. On the business end, craft kits are valued as “consumables,” which are quickly used and replaced — and they’re cheap to produce, with companies estimating 50 percent profit margins. Old-school toys may be coming back in style, but the fastest-growing toys are still electronics.
Source: WSJ (sub)
A massive trove of art that investigators suspected had been stolen by the Nazis is being returned to a German recluse. Some 1,280 works of art, including masterpieces by Chagall, Picasso and Matisse, were confiscated two years ago from the Munich home of Cornelius Gurlitt, 81, the son of an art collector who worked with the Nazis during World War II. A court has ruled that the art will continue to be owned by Gurlitt unless authorities can prove the works were looted.
When the University of Massachusetts Minutemen take to the court in the fall, starting guard Derrick Gordon will be the first openly gay player in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball. He chose the off-season to declare his sexuality, noting on Instagram that it made him the “happiest I have ever been in my 22 years of living … no more hiding!” Gordon, who averaged 9.4 points a game this season for his 24-9 UMass team this year, said: “It’s like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”