Is Putin trying to revive the Cold War? President Obama is accusing the Russian leader of violating an arms control treaty that helped end the decades-long military tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The claim? That Russia tested a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Between this suspected violation, Russian interference in Ukraine and Snowden’s asylum, relations between the White House and Kremlin are growing frostier by the day.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s finally out of the game. Donald Sterling’s last-ditch effort to block the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers has failed, with a judge ruling in favor of his wife Shelly tendering the club to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Shelly Sterling’s testimony was “far and away more credible,” said the judge, who also included a provision enabling the sale “as if no appeal were pending.” Ballmer should be handed the ball by August 15.
Foreign tech firms need to watch their backs in China. Government officials visited four Microsoft offices across China yesterday, sparking fears that the U.S.-based computer giant may soon face an anti-trust probe. Microsoft said it would be happy to address any of the government’s concerns, and international technology firms still see promise in China’s huge market. But increasing scrutiny of foreign tech firms in recent months has many wondering whether China will stop at nothing to protect homegrown businesses.
You think it would be hard to misplace an AK-47, but the U.S. and Afghan security forces have apparently lost tens of thousands of assault rifles and other weapons in Afghanistan. The U.S. has provided more than 700,000 weapons worth $626 million to the country, but a Special Inspector General probe shows that information is missing or duplicated with regards to nearly 200,000 of them. This raises an alarming question: Who now holds the weapons, allies or terrorists?
Netanyahu warns Israelis to prepare for long conflict. (Washington Post)
EU plans to widen sanctions against Russia. (BBC)
UBS says it’s responding to dark pool inquiries. (FT) sub
West Africa struggles to contain Ebola outbreak. (WSJ) sub
Sex offender suspect killed in shootout with NYC cops. (CNN)
Women who find jihadist fighters sexy can sign up to have one propose — or perhaps demand — matrimony. Islamic State militants, who have conquered parts of Iraq and Syria, have opened a matchmaking service in al-Bab, Syria. Women in jihadist-controlled areas must wear full veils — or face flogging. And now they’re being asked to provide names and addresses, so fighters can “come knocking at their door and officially ask for marriage” — every girl’s dream.
They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to leading experts. Researchers posit that the diversity of plant-eating dinosaurs declined shortly before a giant asteroid struck the Earth, leaving the entire food chain vulnerable to extinction. If the asteroid had hit just a few million years earlier or later, dinosaurs could still be around today. Tough break for T-Rex, but a lucky one for humans, who couldn’t have blossomed in a dinosaur-dominated world.
Chewing gum was once a trademark of youthful cool, but today the industry is in crisis. Over the past five years, gum sales have fallen by 11 percent and volume by 20 percent, while the mint market has dramatically expanded to pick up the slack. Experts suspect that consumer interest in more natural products is to blame: We like fresh breath, but not if it means consuming aspartame, acesulfame K, soy lecithin or other chewy chemicals.
Owning nothing could be the newest way to demonstrate wealth. As minimalism becomes increasingly popular among elites, some question whether traditional perceptions of poverty have been turned on their heads. The hit TV show Hoarders, for example, portrays excessive ownership as squalid and undesirable. While minimalism may offer a personal or financial alternative for those with means, critics argue that it’s not enough to lift people out of poverty, pointing to the millions of people who practice “involuntary minimalism.”
This dream job could become a nightmare: Byron Scott has been appointed head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The 6’3” Inglewood native won three championships in 11 seasons playing for the Lakers, but the team he inherits features a hobbled Kobe Bryant, a couple of former all-stars and a handful of misfit retreads. Many expect ugly losses. For $17 million over four years, Scott’s taking his shot, but a losing streak won’t help him score another gig.