Wave goodbye to Dixie. After arguing for 13 hours — tensions running high through the debate on a bill already approved by the state senate — South Carolina’s house of representatives voted 94-20 to pull down the Confederate flag. Republican Jenny Horne, a direct descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, argued that to keep the flag would be insulting to those massacred in Charleston last month. Governor Nikki Haley is now expected to sign the bill into law, which would see the flag replaced with a different one used by southern troops during the U.S. Civil War.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The market went down, literally. All trading was temporarily suspended on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for more than three hours starting at 11:32 a.m. ET, leaving traders staring at blank screens. Many have noted that the stoppage — an incredibly rare occurrence at the NYSE — was oddly timed given that United Airlines and the Wall Street Journal also suffered from technical glitches today, but traders, who are now back on the floor and trading, say they’ve been told it was a faulty system upgrade, not a cyberattack.
He wants a third bailout, and he’s depending on democratic values to get it. That was the message today from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as he addressed the European Parliament. The young leader submitted a formal request for funding, telling the assembly that Greece demands a “viable” way forward with its neighbors. EU Council President Donald Tusk warned of the geopolitical ramifications of letting a member state sink, but that decision ultimately lies with the 28 state leaders, who will convene on Sunday for a crisis summit.
They reportedly intend to give tens of thousands of soldiers their marching papers by the end of 2017, impacting military bases both at home and abroad. This will reduce the Army’s size to a pre-World War II contingent of 450,000. Another 17,000 civilian employees would also be cut — all in keeping with the new budget’s need to slash $1 trillion in spending. Annual cuts known as sequestration could eliminate another 30,000 soldiers this autumn, putting the military at a disadvantage for tackling the crises of tomorrow.
They’re standing behind Serbia. Russia’s vote was the only veto on the U.N.’s resolution condemning the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims as genocide. Leaders of Serbia and of the Bosnian Serbs had lobbied hard against the resolution, maintaining that there is no “collective guilt” for Serbs over the mass executions of unarmed men and boys who had tried to shelter in a site the U.N. had declared a safe zone, and leaning on Vladimir Putin to support them. Some worry that politicization like this could dilute the importance of genocide resolutions.
It’s a big step down the road to democracy. Myanmar, which has already ditched its military junta for a civilian government backed up by military might has set the date for its citizens to go to the polls: November 8. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party won elections held in 1990, but the results were ignored — but now she’ll get another chance, running head-to-head against the ruling USDP. The NLD must formally announce its intentions within three days in order to participate.
They’re having technical difficulties. United announced Wednesday morning that all its flights were grounded due an “automation error” in its computer system that meant flights couldn’t verify passenger lists, an FAA no-no. That means delays — and more delays, as flights scheduled for later times will have to make room for those delayed earlier, in a ripple effect that’s expected to affect about 3,500 flights. The total operations halt began lifting around 10 a.m. Eastern time, but airports are likely to be catching up for some time.
Was the life raft full of lead? Despite efforts to halt a weeks-long sell-off, the Shanghai Composite index sank in early trading, falling as much as 8 percent. According to Bloomberg, share suspensions overnight resulted in the freeze of $2.6 trillion in equity, leading to panic. Unorthodox central bank interventions — helping banks get cash to buy shares — buoyed trading back to just a 5.9 percent decline by early afternoon. But investors will now be watching American and European markets closely for further signs of instability.
They’re buddying up against an increasingly aggressive China. Obama hosted historic talks in the Oval Office yesterday with Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong, the first such meeting since the countries normalized relations in 1995. The glad-handing didn’t extend outside, where protesters gathered to decry Hanoi’s restrictions on free speech and detainment of political prisoners. But the politicians carried on, discussing human rights, trade and the South China Sea in a bid to bolster cooperation. And, accepting Trong’s invitation, Obama said he would reciprocate and visit Vietnam.
Italian police seize $1.8 billion in assets from suspected mafia family. (The Local)
FBI on the hunt for ‘sextortion’ victims. (NBC)
U.S. seeks open-ended talks with Iran as deadline passes. (WSJ) sub
Britain pays tribute to 7/7 bombing victims 10 years on. (NYT)
Pope says the rich should not rule the world. (CNN)
They read him the riot act. Anthony Batts was fired following a critical report from the city’s police union over his department’s response to major rioting in April following the death of Freddie Gray. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings said his removal was not solely because of the union report but rather was tied to rising homicide rates in the. Deputy Commissioner Kevin Daivs will serve as interim commissioner. He has served in the state for more than 20 years while Batts was more of a relative newcomer have transferred from Oakland in 2012.
It’s drawing fire. Police are warning folks not to buy the “Gun Grip Case,” an iPhone holder resembling a 9 mm pistol, as it could lead to lethal confrontations. Sen. Chuck Schumer says the cases might even be illegal because they aren’t orange at the end of the barrel, like toy guns. Pressure is mounting against retailers who stock the items, both domestically and abroad. But the cases are still available on Amazon’s British site — where one reviewer summed them up as “utterly crass.”
It’s the flavor of the week. After Chipotle began testing a delivery service via startup Postmates, it was only a matter of time before Taco Bell caught up, partnering with California’s DoorDash to offer tacos-to-your-door in 90 cities in California and Texas. Starbucks and McDonalds, two other businesses built on quick and easy walk up and drive-through traffic, are starting similar programs, taking advantage of the subset of Americans who’d rather stay inside. If the current initiative gains followers, you can expect Taco Bell’s delivery to expand across the country.
They’re banking on change. When Jenkins took over in 2012, he promised profits and a shift from the corrupt culture of old. But he failed on both counts and clashed with the board over cost-cutting measures and bank structure, culminating in today’s announcement that he’s stepping down. Jenkins oversaw not only lackluster earnings, but also a massive rate manipulation scandal that got the bank fined $2.3 billion in May. Now chairman John McFarlane will take over while Barclays searches for a new permanent chief.
They’re over the moon … and planning to invade. The space agency has just approved funding for a research project that could soon make the moon more hospitable — first for robots, and perhaps eventually for people. It’s still testing feasibility, but the idea is to use machines to terraform the 130-square-mile Shackleton Crater at the lunar South Pole. Rovers would beam sunlight into the crater with mobile reflectors, transforming it into a solar-powered oasis where robots could juice up while busily modifying the moon to suit human needs.
The Corellian smuggler really does shoot first. Disney has confirmed longstanding rumors that one of the three planned Star Wars spinoffs will explore the early days of Harrison Ford’s iconic character, set for release in May 2018. And they’ve snagged Hollywood’s hottest duo, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, to direct. The Lego Movie veterans joked that this is the first good idea a studio has offered them. Following this Solo effort and Rogue One, fans await word of the third spinoff to see whether it focuses on bounty hunter Boba Fett.
USMNT started its campaign to repeat as CONCACAF Gold Cup champions, beating Honduras 2-1 with Clint Dempsey scoring twice in front of an enthusiastic Texas crowd. The 12-team tournament includes longtime American rival Mexico and rising regional power Costa Rica as they fight for a ticket to 2017’s Confederations Cup in Russia. Coach Jürgen Klinsmann is also looking to develop young players who appeared in last year’s World Cup, like Timothy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin, to prepare them for the next round in 2018.