They’ll soon be free to go. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned two Al Jazeera journalists convicted of broadcasting false news. Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and his Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed were among the scores of pardons published today and have been released from custody. The move comes just one month after both were sentenced, alongside deported Australian Peter Greste — notably not listed today — to three years in prison, and one day before Sisi arrives in New York for the U.N. general assembly’s 70th session debut.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Are secrets safe with him? China’s president launched his first state tour of the U.S. yesterday in Seattle, telling business leaders that his government was prepared to set up a “high-level joint dialogue” to fight cybercrime. He said Beijing doesn’t condone online attacks — a point of contention between the countries, with the Obama administration accusing China of hacking American firms and government networks. China denies it, but the White House says it “won’t paper over those differences” when Xi arrives in Washington, D.C., later this week.
Play nice or else. That was the message for European nations opposed to accepting their share of the migrants who are flooding the Continent at a rate of 6,000 a day. Yesterday ministers voted — notably by majority, not unanimity — in favor of quotas for dealing with the influx, and today leaders will hold an emergency summit to focus on stronger borders and relief efforts. Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic voted against the plan, but are expected to do as they’re told in order to avoid financial penalties.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” But sadly it is over for the New York Yankees catcher who famously uttered those words. In 19 major league seasons, the St. Louis native blasted 358 homers and drove in 1,430 runs, securing his place in fans’ hearts and the Hall of Fame. As a player, manager and coach, the man once labeled a “strange fellow of very remarkable abilities” made it to 21 World Series. Often lampooned for his goofy way with words, he will forever be known as a winner.
He’s stepping out of the driver’s seat. Martin Winterkorn is handing over his top job at Volkswagen, saying it needs “a fresh start” in the wake of a worldwide scandal involving 11 million diesel cars carrying technology that helped them cheat emissions tests. The company announced yesterday that it’s setting aside $7.2 billion for repair costs, and investors are jittery. Shares plummeted Monday, and while they rallied yesterday, today stocks have already dropped 8 percent — and the fact that the U.S. Justice Department is weighing a possible criminal case is bound to ensure a few more coughs.
Pope Francis arrives in Washington amid fanfare. (USA Today)
Burkina Faso coup ends, leaders sign truce. (Al Jazeera)
Four universities chosen to host 2016 election debates. (ABC)
Marine Le Pen to stand trial, accused of inciting racial hatred. (DW)
Malaria drug firm agrees to drop price following outcry. (BBC)
Chinese manufacturing hits six-year low. (FT) sub
Sing your heart out. A federal judge has overturned a decades-old copyright, ruling that no one owns the lyrics to the near-universal birthday salute. Warner/Chappell Music had been enforcing licensing fees since 1988 after paying $15 million to acquire the rights, collecting an estimated $2 million a year. But Judge George H. King sang a different tune and ruled that only certain piano arrangements are protected, not the words, giving the producers of a documentary about the song — plaintiffs in the case — the right to belt it out.
He was caught red-handed. Briton Mark Colborne, 37, plotted to kill Prince Charles and Prince William to pave a royal ascent for redheaded Prince Harry, noting in his diary how he’d kill the heirs with a sniper rifle. The court was told that the Southampton native also gathered ingredients to make chemical weapons to attack “blacks and Caucasian idiots” who mocked red-haired people. The so-called ginger terrorist, who was looking to avenge the “pain” he and his “brothers” suffered around the world, faces sentencing in early November.
He won’t leave them out in the cold. Medical engineer Ratul Narain moved to India in search of a good cause. He founded Bempu, a firm that has built a tiny bracelet thermometer to warn caregivers when infant temperatures drop, reducing the risk of hypothermia, which maims and kills hundreds of thousands in the developing world annually. The project — hoping to launch later this year — has netted funding from the Gates Foundation, and health experts believe it has the potential to save 1.4 million babies a year.
He’s a blast from the past. Black Panther, the first black superhero in mainstream comics, was introduced in 1966, joining The Avengers two years later, but he’ll soon make his silver screen debut in Captain America: Civil War. That was exciting enough for Marvel fans before Coates — renowned essayist on race and author of Between the World and Me — was tapped to write a new comic series for the character. Both the comics and movie go live next spring, ahead of a solo Black Panther flick in 2018.
He’s a goal-getter. Robert Lewandowski came off the bench yesterday in the second half, his Bayern Munich team trailing rival Wolfsburg 0-1. The Polish striker, 27, proceeded to stun the crowd, scoring a hat trick in four minutes — a Bundesliga record. He added two more in the coming minutes to put the game dramatically out of reach, finishing 5-1. Bayern Manager Pep Guardiola said he’d never seen anything like it, hailing it as a great sign for both Lewandowski’s ”self-esteem and our future.”