Operation Decisive Storm is over. The Saudis say their month-long bombing assault against Iran-backed Houthi rebels has achieved its goals, while the White House credits its own pressure to stem the campaign’s resulting humanitarian crisis, which has seen nearly 1,000 killed. It remains unclear how much the effort did to boost Yemen’s government. Some hope the calm will lead to peaceful political negotiations, but others — noting the arrival of new U.S. warships in Yemeni waters — fear it may lead to a new kind of storm.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He was going that way anyway. The first South American pontiff will be taking a victory lap on his visit to the embargoed nation, as analysts widely credit his behind-the-scenes maneuvering with setting Cuba and the U.S. on the road to reconciliation. He’ll be stopping on the island, which is considered one of the least-Catholic Latin American countries, on his way to his first papal visit to the U.S. this September, where he’ll meet with Obama and give a speech at the U.N.
Hillary won’t be the only woman running. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is launching her bid online to become the country’s chief executive, which would be her first foray into elected office. She’ll kick off campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire a few days later, in what she’s argued to supporters is a move that could undercut Clinton’s appeal by putting women on both major party tickets. Fiorina’s announcement may step on the toes of fellow Republican Mike Huckabee, who is also making a big announcement that week.
Police reacted immediately. The tiny unmanned machine, which carried a camera and a small bottle containing an unidentified substance, landed atop Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office. The drone was decorated with a radiation symbol and contained traces of radiation — though Abe was visiting Indonesia at the time and was never in any danger. This incident may propel Japan, which has few regulations regarding drones, to keep quadcopters from flying so freely.
He called them himself. Authorities lucked out when they discovered that a 24-year-old Algerian man who had called an ambulance after shooting himself in the leg was probably plotting a Charlie Hebdo-style terrorist attack. Police searching Sid Ahmed Ghlam’s apartment and car found bulletproof vests and multiple automatic firearms. Now Ghlam is being questioned over the weapons and in the death of a woman found murdered on Sunday, while French lawmakers debate new legislation that would beef up domestic spying to thwart attacks like this.
The proposal would see five million voters choose a leader for the first time in 2017 from a list of candidates selected by a panel of 1,200 Beijing allies. Last year, news of China’s plans to pick the candidates sparked the Umbrella Revolution street protests, bringing the metropolis of seven million to a standstill. Today’s “reform” blueprint prompted opposition leaders to walk out of the legislative chamber, and demonstrators — some holding Chinese flags, others umbrellas — gathered outside in a likely prelude to more protests.
He may be quick on the draw, but that didn’t help him escape arrest. U.K. futures trader Navinder Singh Sarao has been arrested on suspicion of contributing to the “flash crash” that saw the Dow Jones plummet more than 600 points in 2010. Sarao faces charges of wire and commodities fraud, commodities manipulation, and spoofing, which involves entering and quickly withdrawing thousands of stock orders to push down prices. He is currently in British custody, awaiting an extradition request, and is likely to face trial in Illinois.
They’re running out of time. Next month, Greeks must cough up roughly $1.05 billion to the International Monetary Fund and repay $1.5 billion in Treasury bills, but they have no concrete bailout hopes, and shares in their major banks have dropped. Signs of a possible Grexit from the eurozone are sparking fears of domino effects in Spain and Italy. But Athens is refusing to institute the reforms that creditors demand in exchange for loans, and is instead trying to buy more time … which no one is selling.
Greek official: Europe must save migrants in Mediterranean. (BBC)
U.S. attorney general vote looms after months of delays. (Washington Post)
Southwest Sydney residents flee rising floods. (SMH)
French authorities foil anti-church terror plot. (DW)
New Zealand leader sorry for pulling waitress’s hair. (The Guardian)
They won’t cast aspersions on their founding fathers. Turkey still refuses, 100 years later, to use the g-word to refer to the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Activists had hoped President Obama would use the term during centennial commemorations this Friday, giving a powerful nudge toward global acknowledgment of the historical carnage. But the president — who called it “genocide” while campaigning in 2008 — will temper his language again this year to appease an important ally in an unstable region.
They’re in the line of fire. D.C.’s attorney general referred U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Trey Gowdy to Capitol Police over a Twitter photo showing the pair holding an AR-15 assault rifle in a congressional office. Buck says he received police permission to display the rifle, which is inoperable. But carrying the AR-15 through D.C. is a crime, so law enforcement will have to decide whether to press charges or agree with the lawmaker’s assertion that the weapon is nothing more than a patriotic paperweight.
What happened to the good ol’ maple leaf? A new study of international emoji use has unveiled some surprising results, particularly for Canada. Globally, 45 percent of the symbols used were faces, but Canadians far outpaced others in tossing happy poop around — oh, and guns. The French prevailed with hearts, Americans with money bags and eggplants (a sexting staple that means exactly what you think) and Russians dropped the most snowflakes. But the land of hockey and maple syrup gets the thumbs up … for filth.
Brits were gobsmacked today by the grocery giant’s worst-ever earnings report — a whopping full-year loss of $9.5 billion. The news confirms fears of a “horror show” downturn for the 97-year-old firm. British grocery chains have suffered under the strain of customers fleeing to budget shops like Aldi and Lidl, and they’ve begun turning their backs on hypermarkets in favor of convenience stores. Tesco axed plans for 49 new locations earlier this year, and says it’s facing the new reality with plans to restore competitiveness.
And they say nothing gets done in Washington anymore. The underdogs took a commanding lead over the heavily favored Toronto squad Tuesday. The Wiz are the only lower-seeded team so far to come up with a road victory in this year’s NBA playoffs, and now they’ve got two. The series returns to Washington on Thursday, where the home team is suddenly favored to complete a clean sweep of its rival.
Don’t worry, he’ll be right back. The critically acclaimed new series starring Charlie Cox as a lawyer who doesn’t let blindness get in the way of ass-kicking is just two weeks old, and it’s already been re-upped with a new showrunner. Though many are turned off by the show’s graphic violence, others applaud it for tackling gentrification and disability issues — and are stoked for another three superhero series from Netflix, all in the works for 2015 and 2016.
It was no contest. After falling 3-1 in the opening match against FC Porto in Portugal, Bayern Munich dominated in their second match with a 6-1 rout yesterday, launching the German powerhouse into its fourth consecutive tournament semifinal. Barca, on the other hand, never let its two-goal advantage slip, beating Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 to solidify its own spot in the final four. They’ll face the winners of Atlético vs. Real Madrid and Monaco vs. Juventus in the next round.