Chinese officials are seeing red, and thousands of pro-democracy protesters filling Hong Kong’s streets are steeling for a crackdown. Members of the “Umbrella Revolution” — outfitted in masks and goggles to withstand tear gas — are determined to shut down the city unless China backs off its demand to have a final say over candidates for the upcoming election. But the city’s chief executive, who is resisting demands that he resign, warns that China won’t tolerate “illegal threats.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Initial reports that the White House’s uninvited guest got stopped at the door were far from reality. Knife-wielding veteran Omar Gonzalez, who allegedly scaled a fence and got through an unlocked door, made it well into the East Room, according to new congressional testimony. He ran past the stairs leading to the First Family’s living quarters and nearly to the Green Room. Congress will grill the Secret Service today in a bid to find exactly where the truth lies.
A U.S. federal judge in New York has declared the entire country of Argentina in contempt of court. The nation has twice defaulted on a $1.3 billion debt to several American hedge funds, and it continues to defy the court’s orders by making interest payments in Buenos Aires instead of New York. The ruling could allow sanctions — the hedge funds suggest a fine of $50,000 per day — but Argentina could simply ignore them, challenging the court’s authority over a foreign government.
Oil independence isn’t a pipe dream after all. America is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest liquid petroleum producer for the first time since 1991. The booming race to the top was close in both June and August, at around 11.5 million barrels a day, but the Yanks will pull ahead next month. Although Saudis are quick to remind the world of their vast oil reserves, they acknowledge that U.S. production has helped stabilize markets, despite turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.
Rebels in Syria doubt effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes. (NYT)
Dallas hospital keeps possible Ebola patient isolated. (USA Today)
Japan rescue effort suspended over fears of fresh volcano eruption. (AFP)
Apple wins go-ahead to sell iPhone 6 in China. (FT) (sub)
Obama, Modi meet at state dinner ahead of talks. (BBC)
The U.N. may say water is a basic human right, but in Detroit “there is no such right or law.” According to a Motor City bankruptcy judge, poor residents have no legal claim on running water while the Water and Sewage Department shuts off service to thousands in a bid to collect $90 million in unpaid bills. Residents sued for a six-month moratorium on the shut-offs, arguing for more affordable water. But Judge Steven Rhodes rejected the idea that they have a right to “service based on an ability to pay.”
Earth has half as many wild animals as it did just 40 years ago, as humans destroy habitats and kill for food in unsustainable numbers. The worse-than-expected assessment comes from the new Living Planet Index, created by the World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London, which keeps track of some 3,000 species of mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds. But even the WWF says conservation efforts can work, as they did with Bengal tigers in Nepal, whose population grew by 63 percent in four years.
Pigs may never fly, but selfie drones are set for take-off as an answer to the short-arm problem. Nixie, a flying camera in development as part of Intel’s “make it wearable” competition, is worn like a bracelet and flies up when released. After snapping a picture, it returns to the owner like a boomerang. If it wins the top $500,000 prize, it could fly off the shelves as early as next year, retailing for less than $1,000.
If they can use it there, they can use it anywhere. The New Yorker is showing that even the most traditional of publications can do something flashy with its first digital cover page designed as a moving GIF. Created by Christoph Niemann, the image is a taxi in the rain with droplets meandering down. The print edition’s cover will be static as usual, but the magazine’s art director calls it a “big deal,” even if the magazine isn’t ready to make a brand new start of it.
When Phoenix acquired Marcus Morris in 2013 to play basketball with his twin brother, Markieff, it seemed life couldn’t get better. But it just did — $52 million better, and in an unprecedented move, the Suns let the brothers decide how to split up the two-for-one, four-year contract. Markieff, who plays better, gets $8 million a year; Marcus gets $5 million. But as long as mom loves them both — and the money goes to the same account — they’re happy just the same.