The EU’s suffering from a lack of unity. That’s the message from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who today urged a bold and unified response by the bloc to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers. The plan will reportedly see 60 percent of the migrants relocated to Germany, France and Spain, with Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden also hosting refugees. Under EU treaties, Britain, Denmark and Ireland are not obliged to help, but other countries that refuse could face stiff fines.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re banking on interest rates staying put. Japanese shares soared nearly 8 percent today following a brief rally on Wall Street and early trading in Europe. U.S. stocks tumbled 239 points for the day but not until overseas markets had closed. To explain the sudden risk-taking, analysts point to the S&P’s 2.5 percent bounce, China’s “stronger proactive fiscal policy” promise, and hopes that the Federal Reserve will heed the World Bank’s warning that they must hold steady on interest rates or risk “panic” in emerging markets. We’ll find out next Thursday whether those bets pay off.
She’s out and proud. The Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt of court after refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses has been released. But U.S. District Judge David Bunning stipulated that Davis — who cited religious beliefs in her opposition to gay marriage — not interfere with her deputies’ work in issuing the licenses. The clerk, who tearfully encouraged supporters to “keep pressing” after she was freed, plans to return to work this week or next. But it remains unclear whether she’ll abide the court … and stay out of jail.
Will folks accept her apology? The Democratic presidential hopeful says she takes responsibility for the mistake, acknowledging that mixing professional and personal electronic correspondence during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state was wrong. Clinton says she’s “trying to be as transparent as I possibly can,” following opponents’ accusations that she sent classified information — which she denies — and that she used private email in order to escape oversight. With questions about trustworthiness hurting her in recent polls, Clinton’s hoping her apology will help voters forgive and forget.
Nusra Front rebels seize control of Syrian airbase in Idlib. (Al Jazeera)
Thai police: Suspect admits giving device to bomber. (BBC)
Australia to take in 12,000 Syrian refugees. (SMH)
U.S. tries to block Russian military buildup in Syria. (NYT)
United Airlines chief steps down amid corruption probe. (The Guardian)
Move over, Victoria. As of today, Queen Elizabeth II has surpassed the previously held record for ruling the U.K. — 63 years and seven months — and the 89-year-old thanked her subjects for their support. The Queen is currently on vacation in Scotland but appeared in public to inaugurate a new train route and released a new official photo, taken by Paul McCartney’s daughter Mary. To celebrate, the U.K. has announced a new nationwide cleanup initiative, Clean for the Queen, that hopes to clear the country of litter by the Queen’s 90th birthday in June.
They should head right to the casinos. Lucky passengers aboard a Boeing 777 that burst into flames yesterday while taxiing down a runway at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport have escaped with their lives. An engine failure resulted in plumes of fire and smoke pouring out of the aircraft. All 159 passengers and 13 crew members made it off, rushing down inflatable slides. Several were taken to nearby hospitals to be treated for minor injuries, and the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA have launched an investigation.
Ahead of today’s Apple event in California, its South Korean competitor announced a 10 percent workforce cut and a 50 percent reduction in expenses for 2016. The move follows seven straight quarters of falling profits for Samsung and an overall slump in the smartphone market. Meanwhile, Apple is rumored to be unveiling new iPhones, a bigger iPad and a rejuvenated TV set-top device. And while sales of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus aren’t likely to rival those of their predecessors, they’re still expected to pack plenty of holiday punch.
Does this idea have wings? Researchers hope to end the spread of bird flu, potentially disastrous to the poultry industry and humans, by breeding genetically modified chickens. The birds are bred with two designers genes: one that keeps the virus from replicating, and another that makes the modified chickens’ beaks and feet glow under ultraviolet light. Though chicken breeding companies are skeptical that the public will accept GMO poultry for consumption, they’re hoping the research will help find ways to stop the dreaded disease.
She may be Larry Ellison’s daughter, but she’s earned her own seat at the table. Nobody’s pretending the cash that comes with being the child of Oracle’s founder didn’t help open Hollywood doors. But the producer’s chair isn’t easy for any woman, and Ellison the Younger — fond of quoting Kurt Vonnegut — is using it to push exciting non-superhero fare in front of mainstream audiences. She’s played a hand in American Hustle and Zero Dark Thirty, and could herald a new era of independent women behind the camera.
Sibling rivalry was no match. The 33-year-old defeated her older sister in three tough sets — 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 — yesterday, staying on pace for a potential calendar Grand Slam. The tennis great needs two more victories to join Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf’s exclusive club of women who have taken all four major singles titles in one year. But first she must defeat her next challenger, Roberta Vinci, who’s netted her first shot at a Grand Slam singles semifinal on Thursday.