With hostility emanating from Russia, China and Congress, he needs all the help he can get. Today in Bavaria, the U.S. president is meeting leaders of the world’s richest democracies to tackle everything from climate change to Greek debt. Quaffing an early beer, he and host Angela Merkel spent half of their one-on-one talking about harsher sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, which they’ll doubtless urge other members to impose. The world’s most powerful woman called her male counterpart “Dear Barack,” indicating she might have forgiven America for tapping her mobile.
The Presidential Daily Brief
With the new USA Freedom Act, the surveillance agency is barred from collecting the phone records of U.S. citizens wholesale. It will have to request data piece by piece, though the fate of records it has already collected is unclear. “Significant” secret court decisions will be declassified, and companies will be allowed to speak up about their collaboration with the NSA — all progress toward a less Orwellian state. Meanwhile, some think Edward Snowden, still stuck in Russia two years after exposing the classified program, should be allowed to come home. He now writes that the government reversal vindicates his actions.
As if Spain didn’t have enough to worry about with its slow financial recovery, terrorists now knock at the door of this tourist mecca. Last year, authorities took more than 50 alleged jihadis into custody, some of whom police believed were planning attacks on Barcelona. Spain’s proximity to Morocco makes the country an appealing destination for wannabe martyrs, but Spanish politicians focus on fighting poverty rather than blaming immigration or religion — as northern neighbors have done. It’s a refreshing tactic, but experts warn it’s a dangerous bet.
Things were looking good. The country had opened up since President Thein Sein came to power in 2011, and the West lifted sanctions as military rule eased. But for a Muslim minority population that’s been in the country for centuries, the Buddhist majority became the new oppressor. The Rohingya aren’t allowed equal citizenship, and the legislature is considering laws limiting marriages, births and religious conversions. It helps explain why 4,000 members of this persecuted group are believed to be at sea, risking extortion, torture and death at the hands of smugglers.
Turkish voters may have ended AKP’s ruling majority. (BBC)
Russia, Qatar cold lose World Cups, Swiss paper reports. (Reuters)
Syria, Iraqi governments claim advances against ISIS. (Al Jazeera)
Stan Wawrinka wins French Open, stopping Novak Djokovic. (ESPN)
Dogged by scandal, Deutsche Bank co-chiefs resign. (DW)
It took nearly 40 years, but a thoroughbred from Kentucky has finally won racing’s Triple Crown. Owned by Egyptian-born Ahmed Zayat, the bay colt won the Belmont Stakes by 5½ lengths in 2 minutes and 26.65 seconds — the fourth largest margin ever for a Triple Crown winner. Between Affirm’s 1978 win and Saturday’s victory, 13 other horses had won the first two legs of the feat, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but did not finish the job. American Pharoah is only the 12th Crown winner in history and the first ever to feature a Hispanic jockey, Victor Espinoza.
Move over, Sicily: Here come Armenia, West Africa and Russia. Despite reality TV shows like Growing Up Gotti and Mob Wives, which have continued to immortalize the old-school Italian mob scene, organized crime as America once knew it has gone out with revolvers and Caddys. And with the decimation of traditional Mafias, a whole new type of organized crime, both racially and tactically, has infiltrated the illicit landscape. So who are the future Gottis? The experts name names, and there isn’t a Genovese or Gambino among them.
Paris, with taxis so scarce it inspired Uber’s naissance, has declared war on the ride-procuring app. The City of Light has hired special police to stop drivers and enforce a 2014 law that prevents services from tracking their cars via GPS. Cops cruise the streets looking for the telltale glow of a smartphone on the dashboard to nail UberPOP (the European UberX) drivers. But Uber — worth an estimated $50 billion — won’t back down as it pays drivers’ fines and challenges the law’s constitutionality. C’est la guerre!
Six houses. That’s what the American Red Cross provided after pledging to build “brand-new communities” to replace the slums ravaged by the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, according to a new investigation. Insiders reportedly saw the disaster as a “spectacular fundraising opportunity” and pulled in $488 million in donations with promises of development work well beyond the group’s emergency assistance acumen. So where did all the money go?
As a German SS judge during World War II, Konrad Morgen risked his life prosecuting death camp officials for corruption and individual homicides in a system that legalized mass murder. A self-described “fanatic for justice,” Morgen investigated his fellow soldiers, which brought him into Auschwitz’s gas chambers and made him a Holocaust witness at Nuremberg. But because he focused on lesser crimes perpetrated by a few Nazi commanders and not on what he called the “monstrous crimes” suffered by millions, his moral legacy is tainted.
It wasn’t a slam dunk. It was constant pain, bloody blisters and 20 hours a week away from his family that he’ll never get back. But writer Michael McKnight schooled himself on dunking a basketball in spite of his 42 years and 6-foot-1 stature. During his 363-day odyssey, he got to know the stars and the Zen of throwing down that began with a tournament to show the 1936 Olympics what America is made of.