They’re inviting ISIS to leave. Assad’s forces have entered the ancient town captured by the Islamic militants last summer, according to local media. A state-run channel said fighters had taken back a hotel district in the western part of the city, but a monitoring group disputes this and claims that fighting continues outside the city. Syrian troops have been fighting to retake the city — where jihadists destroyed 2,000-year-old temples last year — for a few weeks to regain the strategic point between Damascus and Deir al-Zour in the East.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He denies everything. But eight years after his capture, the former Bosnian-Serb leader was sentenced to 40 years in jail by the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which has been attempting to indict those responsible for war crimes in Bosnia over the last 23 years. The 70-year-old, who’s the most prominent leader yet sentenced by the tribunal, is being held responsible for the 1995 genocide of 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica. Serb ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj, also on trial at the ICTY, is scheduled for sentencing next Thursday.
Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam won’t fight extradition because he “wants to explain himself in France,” his lawyer says. Meanwhile, the focus from Tuesday’s attacks turns to European border security and to the scores who remain in critical condition. Belgian authorities reportedly knew that one airport attacker, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, had tried to join ISIS in Syria last summer. His brother Khalid was named as the subway bomber, and Najim Laachraoui may have been another Zaventem suicide bomber. A manhunt continues for the third airport suspect, despite reports yesterday of a breakthrough arrest.
They went right for the heart of capitalism. Federal prosecutors have accused seven Iranians of launching denial-of-service attacks on 46 different financial institutions, including Bank of America, the Bowman Avenue Dam and the NYSE, in an effort that took place over 176 days. According to the government, the banks had to spend tens of millions battling the attacks. None of the alleged perpetrators have yet been arrested, but U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said they’ll “continue to remain vigilant.”
Don’t lose faith. So says the House speaker, who doesn’t want Americans giving up on government because of partisan splits. Although the Wisconsin Republican said both parties can do better and didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says it’s clear the rhetoric and tone of the presidential race is a far cry from what it was when Ryan ran for VP four years ago. Still, the 46-year-old says he’s focused on a “brighter horizon” in which politics can be a “battle of ideas, not insults.”
She wants to scale things up. The Democratic front-runner says it’s time for America to engage more with Arab partners and stand beside Europe in the face of terror. “Our European allies stood with us on 9/11. It’s time to return the favor,” she said. Clinton rebuked Republican suggestions of reducing NATO commitments and called Cruz’s proposal for police patrols in Muslim neighborhoods “counterproductive.” Speaking from Silicon Valley yesterday, in the wake of the Belgian attacks, Clinton called for an “intelligence surge” to collect more data on ISIS terrorists.
Did he fall on his sword? The 71-year-old leader of the well-known investment product, which has underperformed 98 percent of its peers since January, is stepping down. Goldfarb’s 36-year tenure at the helm comes to a close after his mutual fund suffered huge losses — to the tune of 25 percent of the fund’s value since 2015 — following heavy investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Concern over the venerable fund’s reputation has prompted action, and Goldfarb will retire at the end of the month.
Mozambique debris ‘almost certainly’ from MH370. (NBC)
EU ministers meet to discuss Belgian attacks. (AFP)
Germanwings crash victims remembered on first anniversary. (DW)
British soccer star Adam Johnson sentenced to six years in jail on child sex charges. (CNN)
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley denies allegations of affair. (CBS)
He was always himself. The television and film veteran died at a Los Angeles hospital after reportedly suffering an unexpected emergency. No official cause of death has been revealed, but he was not known to be suffering from any illnesses. The Larry Sanders Show and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show helped redefine modern television, breaking the fourth wall and starring the comic as a satirical version of himself while skewering the Hollywood establishment. In recent years Shandling appeared in Marvel films like Iron Man 2 and hosted the 2004 Emmys.
Mad enough to kick a cat? Toxoplasmosis, spread by parasites in cat poo, is normally considered mild or asymptomatic — except in mice, who become careless and impulsive when infected. But a new study of 358 adults found that 22 percent of people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which causes disproportionate outbursts of rage, were infected with toxoplasmosis, compared to 9 percent in the healthy control group. Researchers plan to continue investigating connections between the Toxoplasma gondii parasite and psychiatric disorders … which is sure to make the fur fly.
The country is awash in billboards, commercials and front page ads — a market that’s predicted to grow 11 percent annually through 2018. A rising middle class clamoring for Western brand names and a sizable English-speaking population mean that global companies are eager to break into the Indian market, and they’re hiring slick, modern ad firms to do it. While only 10 percent of India speaks English and cultural differences dictate that national campaigns be done delicately, industry insiders are watching for India’s answer to Don Draper.
It tipped the balance. Massive volcanic heat beneath the moon’s surface altered its density and shifted it off its axis about three billion years back, according to new research. Scientists argue that a six-degree shift moved hydrogen deposits away from its original poles — a change they compare to Earth’s North Pole moving to Greenland. The “total pole wander” shows that lunar water dates to before the volcanic eruptions, possibly the early years of the solar system. Researchers hope this discovery will lead to further polar ice exploration on Earth’s natural satellite.
“I have my good days and I have my bad days,” Malik Taylor said late last year, just months before the rapper known as Phife Dawg succumbed to complications of diabetes on Tuesday. Considered wildly underrated by many hip-hop enthusiasts, Taylor featured on all five A Tribe Called Quest studio albums before the band’s breakup in 1998, but failing health limited his solo work in recent years. His family says they’ll never forget how “he impacted all our lives,” and fans are applauding his artistic style.
But he’s also hedging his bets. The 40-year-old Yankee announced plans to retire after the 2017 season, but then appeared to leave open the possibility of playing longer in a subsequent interview. While expressing a desire to “go home and be Dad,” the New York-born slugger could find himself painfully close to breaking Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record when his current contract expires. “We’ll see what happens,” A-Rod said, indicating that he might just take a few more swings at the history books.