A National Day to protest. Tens of thousands of steadfast demonstrators are expecting reinforcements today on the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Pro-democracy activists called on Leung Chun-ying, the city’s chief executive, to resign or face growing masses on the streets. China’s response? To send military aircraft into the skies above Hong Kong in celebration of the birthday. And while markets are closed in China for the holiday, Asian stocks flew south for a fourth straight day.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“There’s no reason for alarm at the moment,” says OZY’s health expert Melissa Pandika, about the first Ebola diagnosis on U.S. soil. The man showed symptoms four days after arriving from Liberia — where nearly 2,000 patients have died — and is fighting for his life in a Texas hospital. “He represents one isolated case, not an outbreak,” Pandika cautions. The Centers for Disease Control is tracking those the man might have exposed, and director Dr. Tom Frieden is confident “we’ll stop this in its tracks.”
They’re on guard now. Congressional testimony revealed yesterday that a gun-carrying contractor with a criminal record — who hadn’t been vetted — was allowed on an elevator with Obama during a CDC visit. That Secret Service lapse came just three days before the stunning breach that enabled a knife-carrying veteran to burst into the White House. Director Julia Pierson defended her agency while admitting that “mistakes were made.” But members of Congress said they’d lost confidence and have called for an independent review.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is risking a Teutonic telling-off with his push to buy junk-rated loans from Greece and Cyprus. Draghi reportedly wants to relax existing asset-quality rules in a bid to boost European growth and inflation, which is currently at a five-year low. If the ECB agrees, it could buy shaky investments from all 18 eurozone members, but Germany is expected to argue that such a move would involve too much risk.
British jets fire on Islamic State targets in Iraq. (BBC)
Ex-Serb leader Karadzic closes genocide trial defense. (AP)
Iraqi kurds ‘make gains’ against militants at Syrian border. (DW)
Suicide bombers hit buses in Kabul, killing seven. (AFP)
Millions more well-paid U.S. jobs coming. (USA Today)
Hold the fingers, please. A British chef has cooked up a hamburger that ostensibly tastes like human flesh to promote the upcoming fifth season of hit zombie TV series The Walking Dead. When asked how he knew what human flesh tasted like, chef Jim Thomlinson got a glazed look in his eye and tried to bite a reporter’s arm. Just kidding. He actually researched accounts from cannibals, including one man-eater who noted that we taste like “fully developed veal.”
Encryption keeps data safe, but does the opposite for children, says outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The technology prevents police from grabbing smartphone data while investigating crimes against children, he told an online sexual abuse prevention conference yesterday. Authorities claim the enhanced encryption in Apple’s iOS 8 and an upcoming Android release puts criminals “beyond the law.” But some privacy advocates simply want their data beyond the NSA’s reach.
The popularity of mini-pigs — purported to be tiny enough to fit into teacups — has ballooned due to marketing ploys that often leave duped owners outweighed by their porcine pets. Bad breeders will inbreed, underfeed or pass piglets off as adults, giving owners a shock when Wilbur grows into a 500-pound farm animal. The poor beasts often end up in shelters or euthanized, and demand is growing for pig sanctuaries — along with the need for pig-lovers to first check the small print.
If you’re tired of granny not getting the punchline, take heart. Perceptions of what’s funny change with age. A recent study has found that adults 64 to 84 tend to dislike aggressive humor — laughing at the expense of others — and self-deprecating humor. So retirees don’t like The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm, both of which provoke howls of young laughter, but prefer “affiliative” comedy that unites people in funny situations. Next time try Modern Family when the grandparents visit.
When it’s a knee for Jesus, it’s OK. But when Kansas City safety Husain Abdullah took to both knees to praise Allah after a touchdown, his penance was a 15-yard “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty. End zone prayer is so common it has a nickname: “Tebowing,” after free-agent Christian quarterback Tim Tebow. But the league, already under fire for off-field violence, restored a bit of faith by admitting the penalty was a mistake.