It might be too late. The U.S. president warned yesterday that the drought, fires and flooding brought on by global warming will lead to more conflict as resources become scarce and more refugees flee. At a conference of Arctic nations in Alaska, Obama said that “we will condemn our children” to an irreparable planet unless we act now, sending a clear and urgent message to global leaders ahead of December’s U.N. Climate Change Conference. Today, the president will talk to Alaskan Natives about how the environment is impacting their way of life.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Last night journalists pored over the court-ordered release of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s electronic messages — sent via her personal server. Many presumably sensitive notes were redacted, with some revealing details like IT staff apparently not knowing who sent them. Others were simply mundane, with correspondence reflecting TV show preferences and demands to know things like where the U.S. stood on Israel blocking a shipment of American gefilte fish. While questions persist about whether state secrets were compromised, polls show Clinton’s prospects improving for February’s Iowa caucuses.
They’re trying to duck Union rules. While refugees have been spilling over Europe’s edges, many have been attempting to get around the Dublin rules — regulations that mean asylum-seekers must be registered in the first EU country they make it into. Hoping for better opportunities in more central European nations, they’ve been hopping on trains to Germany rather than register in Hungary or Austria. As refugees overrun stations in Budapest and Vienna — Hungary’s police have closed the Keleti station temporarily — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for fairer distribution of refugees among all EU countries.
It just hit another speed bump. Chinese manufacturing activity slipped faster than it had in three years, with the Purchasing Managers’ Index falling to 49.7 in August. Anything below 50 is a contraction, and both Chinese and Japanese stock indexes dropped sharply on the news. Beijing has watched in vain as its efforts to bolster domestic stocks — down nearly 40 percent since June — with cash injections have failed to get things back on track. And this red light is likely to add volatility to an already bumpy ride.
It’s out of the picture. Satellite imagery reportedly confirms that ISIS has blown the ancient Syrian site to smithereens. Reports of an explosion were briefly allayed when Syria’s antiquities chief said the basic structure — dedicated to the god Bel in 32 AD — was still intact. But U.N. satellite imagery shows that the “main building of the temple has been destroyed.” The move follows the mid-August beheading of the town’s former antiquities chief and signals the militants’ intention to continue waging war against Syria’s cultural heritage.
Pope Francis OKs forgiveness for women who have had abortions. (Washington Post)
Murder rates rising sharply in American cities. (NYT)
Dow drops nearly 2 percent shortly after open. (LA Times)
Two policemen killed after Ukrainian vote for eastern autonomy. (The Telegraph)
Supreme Court: Ky. clerk cannot deny gay marriage licenses. (USA Today)
Hurricane Fred hits Cape Verde Islands near Africa. (BBC)
Not very smooth. Anthony Horowitz, author of the new James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, dismissed the idea of the Luther star donning 007’s tuxedo … because he’s “too street.” The backlash and labels of racism “mortified” the writer, who says he’s not opposed to Elba playing Bond because of his race; he just doesn’t see the actor as suave. Elba has remained silent — like a true gent — but the speculation may be pointless: Insiders reportedly want to see Daniel Craig continue in the role even past Spectre, opening November 6.
They’re going back to basics. Kenya’s broadband firm Mawingu Networks uses TV whitespace frequencies between channels and solar-powered relay stations to deliver Wi-Fi to the remote savanna for about a 40th of the cost of cellular systems. The company’s innovation has attracted a $4 million loan from Microsoft and the U.S. government, and it’s providing better and cheaper service than city dwellers enjoy. While Mawingu can’t bring all of Kenya online, its simple solution could make a massive dent in the continent’s great unwired.
Watch what you eat. That’s the message for seabirds, who have to contend with 8 million tons of plastic a year that’s believed to end up in their ocean feeding grounds. According to scientists, 99 percent of ocean species will be eating plastic by 2050. But that damaging statistic might be mitigated by organizations like the Trash Free Seas Alliance, a coalition bringing industry, conservationists and scientists together to find ways to manage plastic waste in a way that doesn’t end up choking an albatross.
They’re looking for the sweet spot. The search engine giant’s Life Sciences division has its first venture as a standalone company: innovating diabetes treatments. It has partnered with French firm Sanofi, which specializes in devising treatments for the sugar-processing ailment suffered by 29 million Americans. GLS has already developed a contact lens that measures glucose levels without needles, and is collaborating with a medical device maker to develop another monitor. It’s thinking long-term — jumping into projects tackling major medical conditions — even though such advances can take years to reach the public.
He’s survived seven years in the White House, so what’s a few hours in the wilderness? The commander in chief is set to meet up with survivalist Bear Grylls during his three-day Alaskan visit, appearing on Grylls’ Running Wild. This will make Obama the first U.S. chief executive to get survival training on reality TV, but PETA’s protesting this affirmation of “speciesist” Grylls, who once hosted a show on which a pig was killed. The lesson plan is unclear, but fans will learn more when the show airs later this year.
They’ll be captained by Kirk. After another injury coming on top of a mediocre preseason, Robert Griffin III officially lost his starting quarterback position to Kirk Cousins. And it won’t be a temporary transition. Washington Coach Jay Gruden said the change is permanent, but he’d like to hang on to the former Heisman winner, who is still recovering from a concussion, despite management pressure to trade or release him. In just two years, Griffin has gone from superstar to a player who might end up begging for a new team.