That’s one more political battle off the table for now. After an expected veto from President Obama, TransCanada Corp. asked the State Department to suspend its review of the hotly contested Keystone XL oil pipeline. The withdrawal isn’t permanent and could resume in early 2017. Along with Republicans passing a two-year budget extension, this is yet another seemingly endless political fight that has been delayed until Obama leaves office. However, the issue could reignite in the 2016 general election as all Republican candidates have promised to approve Keystone while all Democrats are on record opposing it.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Are they pointing fingers? Russians are in mourning following Saturday’s Sinai Peninsula crash of an Airbus 321 en route from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg. The bodies of the 224 passengers began being repatriated today, and an investigation is underway amid reports that the plane broke apart at high altitude, with Russian airline Metrojet, which reportedly has a spotty record on safety, blaming an “external influence” for the tragedy. More bodies are expected to arrive in Russia tonight, and the Kremlin plans to compensate grieving families and help with funerals.
What a comeback. Most thought the vote would end like the one in June, when the ruling AKP was denied a parliamentary majority for the first time in over a decade. But yesterday the Islamist party secured 49.3 percent of the vote in snap elections called after failed coalition talks, winning a majority of 316 seats. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the victory as proof of the electorate’s desire for “unity and integrity.” But following months of crackdowns on dissent, many fear that Erdogan will now strike a more nationalist tone.
There was no place for him on the stage. Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, who’s been running on a platform strictly devoted to campaign finance reform that included an explicit promise to leave office as soon as he’d achieved change on that front, has announced the end of his presidential bid. He raised a million dollars in a month earlier this year — but Lessig says he’s dropping out because of revised rules that will keep him off the national stage by shutting him out of any upcoming Democratic debates.
Could this lead to a new arms race? U.S. defense officials are weighing the threat of increased Russian naval activity worldwide and pondering how to respond. New U.S. Navy chief Admiral John Richardson says the Kremlin’s submarines and ships are more active than they’ve been in two decades, with their encroachment on critical telecommunications cables in the Atlantic being of particular concern. In response, he and his colleagues are considering whether to bolster America’s naval presence in both Europe and the Pacific to ensure unfettered access to international waters.
Bonds are burgeoning. American corporate bond sales will likely break annual records for the fourth year running, reflecting steady growth and pent-up investor demand following a summer slowdown. Folks looking to make the most of low interest rates before a possible December hike sent U.S. bond sales from firms with good credit ratings soaring to $103 billion in October. Last week Microsoft sold $13 billion in new bonds, and Halliburton is expected to kick off this week’s sales, continuing what analysts predict will be a high pace through the year’s end.
ISIS takes control of strategic central Syrian town. (Independent)
Ruling party wins decisive victory in boycotted Azerbaijan election. (DW)
EPA alleges that some Porsche SUVs also cheated on emissions testing. (USA Today)
U.S. Navy confirms sunken wreck is El Faro. (CNN)
Australia drops ‘out of date’ titles of dames and knights. (The Guardian)
Terrorist-identifying FBI program under scrutiny. (NYT)
Arizona hit by three small earthquakes. (ABC)
They’re showing they mean business. The activist group began vowing to expose a thousand members of the KKK last week, using information acquired from a Twitter account that had allegedly been compromised. The KKK is planning a Million Mask March on Thursday to commemorate the decision last fall not to prosecute police officer Darren Wilson for killing black teenager Michael Brown — and some reports say Anonymous is planning to release all their information on its members by then, as part of a social media campaign hashtagged #HoodsOff.
They’ve redeemed themselves. One year after losing a heartbreaking Game 7 showdown, the Royals reigned in five games, defeating New York 7-2. Matt Harvey and the Mets dominated through nine innings, and the series looked certain to return to Kansas City for Game 6. But down to their final out in the ninth, the Boys in Blue battled to tie it. They then clinched it with an explosive five-run rally in the 12th — their eighth come-from-behind victory this postseason — to take the crown for the first time since 1985.
He wore many hats. A two-term Republican senator and 2008 presidential candidate, Fred Dalton Thompson is probably best known for his on-screen roles in Law & Order and ’80s Cold War thriller The Hunt for Red October. Before that, he worked as counsel during the Watergate investigation, famously asking the question that revealed Richard Nixon had recorded his private conversations. The 6’6” long-time Tennessean — who was battling lymphoma — died yesterday in Nashville and is being remembered for his larger-than-life persona.
It’s enough to make you sick. A report of the world’s 145 most populous countries assessed data on life expectancy and national health risks to assign scores, ranking both the U.S. and U.K. outside the top 20 for health, at 33rd and 21st respectively. This puts them behind Cuba and Greece, but ahead of China, India and Swaziland, which came in dead last. Singapore ranked No. 1, followed by Italy, Australia, Switzerland and Japan, providing examples for policymakers in countries further down the list who are looking for healthy solutions back home.
Don’t pooh-pooh it. The new black gold really smells, but it’s warm and oozing with benefits. Human excrement is increasingly being peddled by poo-trepreneurs, giving rise to treatments like fecal transplants to help patients with intestines damaged by Clostridium difficile. Other ventures are seeing latrine sludge transformed into electricity and clean water — great news for poverty stricken communities worldwide. Apart from reducing waste, the commercialization of poop could help stem disease in the developing world while lining the pockets of those who aren’t afraid to cut the crap.
This is cord-cutting on a whole new level. Frustrated with spotty service, residents on Washington state’s remote Orcas Island just wanted a reliable Internet connection. Local Chris Sutton proposed a plan to place radio transmitters in trees to pick up connections from a larger unit atop a water tower, which itself piggybacks a signal from a microwave tower across the water in Mount Vernon. Fifty households benefit from the project — with unlimited data and speeds 20 times faster than before — which could make DIY networks the next big thing.