Russian officials have reportedly recalled troops conducting exercises near the frontier in exchange for assurances from Ukraine that its army would not be used against civilians. At the same time, Moscow expressed concern over U.S.-NATO activities near Russian borders. Tensions remain high a day after the U.S. and EU imposed new sanctions on Russia and Putin’s inner circle, with Russia’s deputy foreign minister saying there would be a “painful” response. Ukraine, meanwhile, remains on tenterhooks amid continuing clashes with pro-Russian separatists and the shooting of the mayor of Kharkiv.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Twisters churned through the South yesterday, killing at least nine in Mississippi and Alabama just a day after 16 were killed in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa. Officials were warning of more tornadoes late into the night in Tennessee, and rescuers continued to toil in devastated areas in Mississippi. Hundreds of businesses and homes were damaged in Tupelo, Miss. “It was real bad. We’re trying to pull people out,” the local police chief said. The death toll is expected to climb as rescuers search for the missing.
The NBA has called time on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, banning him for life and fining him $2.5 million for racist remarks. He may also be forced to sell the team. The move follows the release of a recording last week in which Sterling allegedly told his girlfriend not to associate with black people. The resulting uproar prompted the league to act quickly, with Commissioner Adam Silver labeling Sterling’s views as “offensive and harmful.” Silver vowed to do “everything in my power” to ensure Sterling — who reportedly admitted the remarks were his — is forced to sell the team.
U.S. and Canadian customers of the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox have settled their threatened class action. The plaintiff creditors are supporting a bid by U.S. investors to revive the exchange and divvy up the bitcoins still held by Mt. Gox. The company filed for bankruptcy protection after revealing it had lost $400 million in bitcoins to hackers, though it subsequently recovered a quarter of that amount. Under the agreement, the plaintiffs will split up the recovered bitcoins and receive a 16.5 percent stake in the future company.
Six hurt in shooting at Georgia FedEx facility. (Reuters).
Attacks in two Syrian cities kill 50. (AP).
North Korea holds live-fire drill. (BBC).
South Korean president apologizes over ferry accident. (Reuters).
White House seeks college sex assault crackdown. (NYT).
President Obama’s falling approval ratings are casting a shadow on Democrats running in U.S. mid-term elections this November, a new poll indicates. Obama’s approval rating has dipped to 41 percent, the lowest of his presidency, and a majority of voters surveyed said they prefer a Republican Congress to counter the president’s agenda. Republicans are favored to keep control of the House, but they could also take control of the Senate if, as the poll suggests, white voters and older voters turn out in higher numbers than younger voters and minorities to vote this Fall.
Source: Washington Post
Malicious hackers are apparently getting bored with computers and personal data — and turning to traumatizing children instead. A couple in Ohio recently awoke to hear a man yelling at their 10-month-old daughter through her baby monitor. When dad ran into the room to investigate, the camera turned and shouted at him. While such unprovoked aggression is beyond baffling, it’s not the first time that Internet-enabled monitors have been hacked. To sleep like babies, experts advise regularly changing WiFi and software passwords in a bid to thwart hackers from commandeering household appliances.
Oh rats, a new study has found that stress levels among rodent test subjects spike when they are handled by male researchers. The presence of a man induces stress in rats and mice that, among other things, can reduce the test animal’s response to pain. The effect was present whether the nearby males were humans, guinea pigs, cats or dogs, and seemed to relate to the presence of male scents. The findings mean scientists are now wondering whether countless animal-based study results smell fishy.
The goal of creating a car that runs without human intervention is closer to becoming a reality. Google’s self-driving car project has announced that prototypes have logged more than 700,000 miles and can now respond to jaywalkers, weaving bicycles and other spontaneous real-world problems better than ever before. Problems that would have stumped Google’s engineers just last year have been solved. While industry experts hope to have the technology ready by 2017, they say we might have to wait until 2025 before self-driving cars are commercially available.
The Grammy Award-winning singer, 72, and his 48-year-old wife, musician Edie Brickell, were busted in their Connecticut home by police investigating a “family dispute,” and have been charged with disorderly conduct. There was “aggressiveness on both sides,” said the local police chief. Simon told the judge that the noisy altercation was due to a rare argument. The two, who have been married since 1992 and have three children, held hands at their arraignment on Monday. They were ordered to return to court in mid-May.
Barcelona’s star striker Dani Alves booted it out of the park. After a racist Villarreal fan threw a banana at him on Sunday, the Brazilian calmly picked it up, unpeeled it and took a bite before executing a corner kick. “Dani Alves owned him,” tweeted a proud teammate. The obnoxious spectator has now been banned from the El Madrigal stadium for life. Soccer stars and fans around the world have responded by posting selfies of themselves holding or eating a banana in Alves’ honor.