He’s reining them in. The federal transfer of military-style gear is being limited by the White House following a spate of controversial police shooting deaths. In a bid to help police departments rebuild trust with their communities, President Obama is clamping down on their access to tools like tracked armored vehicles, high-caliber ammunition and some camouflage uniforms. These initial changes take place immediately, with subsequent phases and bans on other gear to be phased in more gradually.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It was their biggest victory this year, but they’d better watch their backs. The militants — just a day after the U.S. killed ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf in Syria — have repelled soldiers from the central Iraqi city. They’ve ransacked military supplies, taking weapons and leaving the bodies of men, women and children in their wake. The city’s fall comes despite American airstrikes and Iraqi efforts to regain control of the western province, and has prompted Baghdad to send Iran-backed Shiite militias in to retake the city.
The mudslide struck at 3 a.m. local time. By the end of it at least 52 people were dead in Salgar, a Colombian mountain town, and rescuers were rushing to evacuate residents near the Libordiana ravine, which claimed houses and bridges as the flash flood, the result of recent heavy rain, took much of the surrounding land with it into the gorge. President Juan Manuel Santos is now vowing aid for the approximately 500 people who lost loved ones or property in the disaster, as families brace for the death toll to rise.
They’re trying to stop the immigration problem at its source. The EU’s new mission to stop Libya’s human trafficking business will be based in Rome and could launch next month. For the moment, it’ll be mostly to gather intelligence, but the EU says it should escalate into a full-scale mission to destroy the ships that bring illegal migrants to Europe’s shores — and often capsize, killing hundreds. If the Libyan government or U.N. Security Council sign on to the plan, it could turn the tide on the industry.
When hundreds of bikers from rival gangs gathered at a Waco sports bar yesterday, authorities “expected issues” — but nothing like the massive shoot-out that left nine dead and at least 18 injured. The fight, which reportedly began over a parking spot, escalated quickly from fists and chains to blazing guns, leaving bodies strewn across two parking lots in what one officer said was “the most violent and gruesome scene” of his career. Police made 170 arrests and expect to recover scores of weapons.
They’re calling in reinforcements. European leaders are meeting in Brussels today to finalize plans for a naval force aimed at curbing human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea — a crisis that has already claimed nearly 2,000 lives this year. Starting next month, EU surveillance aircraft and warships will patrol the coast of Libya in order to find and stop traffickers before they set off. But the initiative’s smooth sailing will depend on winning approval for a U.N. resolution supporting military action against smugglers.
It’s an economic powerhouse à la Modi. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says not only will his nation’s projected 8 percent growth outpace China’s — despite the People’s Republic having a vastly larger economy — but that New Delhi plans to boost public investment. This caps the ruling party’s first year in power, often fraught with tax arguments and parliamentary struggles. Now Jaitley is moving full speed ahead with economic reform, hoping that growth, infrastructure investment and a trend toward privatization will help India spend 2016 on top.
Saudi coalition resumes airstrikes in Yemen. (BBC)
Amtrak restores service between Philadelphia and NYC. (USA Today)
Kenya asks Burundi to delay next month’s election. (DW)
John Kerry gets tough with North Korea, reassures South. (AP)
Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in accident at Yosemite. (NBC)
They want them on the right track. Politicians Down Under are proposing the use of GPS-enabled ankle bracelets to keep tabs on repeat domestic abusers in a bid to protect families. On average, one Australian woman is killed by her partner every week, and funding cuts have hobbled services for the abused. But Prime Minister Tony Abbott — also pledging $3.2 million for a national helpline — is promising creative campaigns to curb the violence. Australia’s states and territories must now debate the proposal.
Are they moving into e-commerce? The search giant — currently embroiled in a European legal battle to prove it’s in competition with marketplaces like eBay and Amazon — will reportedly test a “Buy Now” button on sponsored mobile search results in the coming weeks. At first, it’ll only show up for a small percentage of users, but this could bolster Google’s position as an online merchant. It could also anger retailers, who like the sales but want to retain personal connections with consumers.
Hold the salt! Researchers have found that diets containing 15 grams of it a day — three times the recommended amount — could hold off bodily changes associated with adolescence. The study, conducted on rats, found that eliminating sodium completely also delayed puberty. More research is needed, though in the meantime, we could just ban salt shakers as they have in Uruguay. But with slowed puberty being linked to reduced fertility, the findings could have profound implications for the reproductive health of future generations.
They’re hitting the high notes to shatter glass ceilings. With an opening weekend gross of $70.3 million — more than Pitch Perfect made during its entire run — the sequel, following the adventures of a female a cappella group, just scored the biggest movie musical opening ever. It also drowned out weekend box office competition like Mad Max: Fury Road, which nabbed $44.4 million. Some fans credit Pitch’s all-female direction and writing, noting that Hollywood should keep playing this tune for an equitable (and profitable) future.
They didn’t exactly take the easy route. After falling down 3-1 in the series, Houston came back strong at home last night, beating Los Angeles 113-100 — which must’ve stung the Clippers even more after they squandered a 19-point third-quarter lead in Game 6. James Harden overcame a shaky playoff start to deliver 31 points when it mattered most, launching his Rockets to their first conference finals in 18 years. But bumpy beginnings won’t cut it against Houston’s next matchup: the red-hot Warriors.