It’s a frightening toll, and it’s expected to get worse. More than 140 people have reportedly died since Saturday in two southern states in a five-week heat wave that has claimed some 430 lives across the nation. In the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh, temperatures hit 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Most victims were homeless, but in Kolkata, uncooled taxis were banned during the hottest hours after two drivers died of heat stroke. Hotter-than-average conditions are forecast for four more days, so authorities urge staying hydrated and indoors while scientists predict more frequent hot streaks as the climate warms.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s fighting mad. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is saying local troops in Iraq had “no will” to resist when they lost the key city of Ramadi, despite “vastly” outnumbering the ISIS militants. Now, as the extremists burn a key refinery, both Iraq and Iran have contradicted Carter and say they’re back on the offensive. While some are calling for U.S. ground troops to bolster the fight, Carter echoed President Obama’s opposition to sending them, saying it’s more important to equip and train Iraqis, hoping that they’ll muster the will to fight.
Many Americans are enduring a horribly wet Memorial Day weekend. After record rainfall and devastating floods in Texas and Oklahoma destroyed hundreds of homes, killing at least three, forecasters are warning folks to brace for more rain. In Austin, torrents washed away 400 homes and two bridges, forcing helicopters to pluck survivors from rooftops. Rescuers continue to seek those caught in the deluge, and shelters are filling quickly. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warns that rivers are struggling to contain the runoff, and the region remains on alert for flooding.
After a minor shutdown, the city is up and running again. Japan’s capital was braced for aftershocks or even a tsunami, but the underground quake appears to have passed without even causing major damage or injuries. Subways and trains were stopped for about ten minutes before zipping on their way, and a nearby nuclear plant continued running undisturbed. Authorities are warning people to be wary of aftershocks over the next few days, but they aren’t expected to shake up the Richter scale too much.
They said he didn’t have a chance. Yet right-winger Andrzej Duda, 43, staged a whirlwind campaign and stunning upset over centrist President Bronisław Komorowski. Though he’ll only have veto power over a parliament controlled by the old guard’s Civic Platform Party, Duda could rally support for his euroskeptic Law and Justice Party before legislative elections this autumn — which could shake up politics across the European Union. The incoming president is pledging to boost social spending, lower taxes, delay entry into the eurozone and seek NATO troops’ protection against Putin.
The jig may soon be up. Greece’s interior minister is again warning that Athens will be unable to meet its $1.75 billion IMF payment in June while also paying wages and pensions. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government has vowed not to default on its domestic obligations, and because it scrounged up the money last time, some regard the drama as a negotiating tactic. But other Greek officials are echoing the fear, saying that a bailout — not necessarily from eurozone creditors — is needed to stave off bankruptcy and a Grexit.
- Scores of suspected migrant graves found in Malaysia. (BBC)
- Troubled Tunisian soldier turns gun on comrades, killing seven. (AP)
- Mayor in Philippines admits to death squad links. (Al Jazeera)
- Anne Meara, comedic actress mom of Ben Stiller, dies at 85. (Daily News)
- China says recent U.S. naval moves are a threat to peace. (CNN)
He solved problems no one else could, including his own. John Nash, 86, the winner of the 1994 Nobel economics prize whose troubled life was captured in the Oscar-winning 2001 film, died alongside his wife on Saturday in a New Jersey taxi crash. The West Virginia-born mathematician’s breakthrough work on game theory came before he was 30, when debilitating schizophrenia began taking hold. His wife Alicia helped him through the “lost” decades until he began to “intellectually reject” his delusions, ultimately solving the most vexing puzzle of all.
Will he get boxed up? North Lakes, a fast-growing Brisbane suburb, apparently sees its share of wild animals. But a massive six-foot male kangaroo with a distinctive torn ear, nicknamed “Big Buck,” stands out from the crowd. The muscular marsupial has been stalking residents, popping up to surprise walkers, dogs and golfers. Flags have been raised about nearby construction hurting the creatures, with activists calling for dedicated wildlife sanctuaries. But some residents worry that it’s just a matter of time before Big Buck comes out swinging.
Move over, Octomom. Annegret Raunigk, 65, has given birth to four babies in the 26th week of pregnancy, making her the world’s oldest mom of quads. Doctors questioned the German schoolteacher’s decision, warning her of the risks. But Raunigk, already a mother of 13, said her nine-year-old’s desire for a sibling prompted her to get fertility treatments in Ukraine. Her three boys and a girl — all weighing under 2.3 lbs — are being cared for in a Berlin hospital, and are said to have a strong chance of survival.
Goliath has swiped David’s slingshot. The online shopping giant may soon stitch up its crafty rival’s supply. Etsy sellers are reportedly receiving emails asking them about interest in a potential “Handmade at Amazon” feature that would presumably let artisans sell their wares in an even bigger marketplace. Reeling from a first-quarter net loss of $36.6 million, which sent stocks south — and struggling to maintain its handcrafted vibe amid an influx of mass-produced flotsam — Etsy may see disenchanted sellers aim for a change.
Despite knee and foot injuries, he was still the king. After missing his first 10 shots, James took control of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in Cleveland, nailing 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, and leading his team to a 114-111 overtime win over top-seeded Atlanta. With co-stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving out, Cleveland’s secondary players also shined against the equally hobbled Hawks. One more victory and the Cavs will likely face the red-hot Golden State Warriors in the finals.