An event estimated to be six times stronger — but unrelated — to Japan’s quakes shook the opposite side of the Pacific Rim. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake jolted coastal Ecuador yesterday evening, claiming at least 246 lives. Centered 105 miles northwest of Quito, it was bigger than any there since 1979. President Rafael Correa tweeted “infinite love to the families of the dead,” and declared a state of emergency as 13,500 troops and police attempted to reach hard-hit areas while landslides and at least 135 aftershocks hampered rescue efforts.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Some 440 aftershocks have impeded efforts to rescue those trapped in more than 90 buildings destroyed by two strong earthquakes that hit the island of Kyushu in less than 24 hours. Thursday’s hit 6.4 on the Richter Scale, while the second, at 1:25 a.m. local time yesterday, registered 7.3 in the same area. More than 2,000 have been injured, and 90,000 have been evacuated, and Sony and Toyota facilities in the region have paused production. The nation has mobilized 25,000 Japanese troops, joined by U.S. counterparts, to aid rescuers in picking through rubble to free survivors.
He led them to the promised land. After visiting refugees in a Greek detention center, he took some with him yesterday rather than risk their possible deportation. The dozen Syrian migrants — half of them children — were from three families whose homes had been bombed out in Damascus and the eastern city of Dier al Zour. During his visit, the Pontiff urged the world to respond to the refugee crisis “in a way worthy of our common humanity,” and to show the way, the Vatican will care for new arrivals.
He’s a native son, she’s put down roots, and they both feel right at home. After Thursday’s bruising debate with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders needs a major upset in next week’s New York primary if he is to preserve any chance of capturing the Democratic presidential nomination. National polls show the Vermont senator closing the gap with the former secretary of state, but she maintains a double-digit lead in the Empire State in recent surveys. Still, the Sanders camp knows anything can happen, and neither campaign is taking Tuesday’s vote for granted.
Summer is coming. The CDC confirmed this week that Zika does indeed cause microcephaly in the fetuses of infected women — and now American health officials are debating whether to recommend that women in areas with increased infection rates delay pregnancy. Colombia has taken such precautions, and as the virus circulates in Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory’s health secretary is providing the same cautionary advice. Meanwhile, doctors recently discovered that the virus can spread through anal sex as well as oral, while no vaccine is expected to be available for at least two years.
Change is in the wind. After multiple controversies over questionable shootings of young Black men — like this week’s killing of Pierre Loury, 16 — Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged racism is a problem among city police. Reconciliation efforts include the city council’s unanimous installation of Police Chief Eddie Johnson, an African American who grew up in the city’s projects. Saying “people have to have confidence” in law enforcement, the mayor said he’s open to whatever actions might be required to rebuild it, while reversing the “fetal” position cops now find themselves in.
They picked the wrong guy. Some 600,000 documents smuggled out of Syria detail Bashar Assad’s policy that sanctioned the torture and killing of tens of thousands of his people. Condensed into a 400-page report by the 4-year-old Commission for International Justice and Accountability, the revelations were enabled by the regime’s hasty hiring of an opposition member to organize records of its brutality. While it appears unlikely that the Putin-backed paranoid dictator will soon be unseated, some of his officials have landed in Europe, and the commission aims to bring them to justice.
Brazil’s parliament decides fate of President Dilma Rousseff. (BBC)
Iran shows off new Russian missile defense system. (TIME)
South Sudanese gunmen ‘kill 140 civilians’ in Ethiopia. (NPR)
Pentagon says Russian jet flew ‘dangerously’ close to its plane. (Daily Mail)
Wyoming GOP convention awards all 14 delegates to Ted Cruz. (CNN)
OPEC member nations fail to agree on oil production cuts. (NYT)
We’re still vulnerable. A year after America’s first multistate, highly communicable avian influenza outbreak in 30 years, the federal government still can’t explain how it spread or say whether the nation’s farms are prepared for another potential disaster. After losing 15,700 jobs and $2.6 billion in revenue during the worst animal-disease epidemic in U.S. history, farmers fear the return of another avian flu or a similar outbreak. If that happens, they say, it could devastate critical livestock, endanger humans and deal a crippling blow to the economy.
She might just be the future. Human memory has two strains: semantic — your times tables, the capital of Norway — and episodic, like how it felt to dance with your dad at your wedding. For Susie McKinnon, there’s only the first kind: She has zero memory of any of her experiences. While many consider memories an essential part of one’s personality, McKinnon might be a whole new paradigm — happy, healthy and living entirely in the moment — and she’s giving neurological researchers a whole new reality to explore.
But first, the news: In a world where blockbuster podcasts wax poetic about mold, critics wonder if a network catering to baby boomers can survive. Slowed by bureaucracy and a need to satisfy fee-paying member stations, National Public Radio remains committed to its bread-and-butter shows, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, delivering worldwide news in mellow tones with soporific ambient sound. But as the median age of its listeners hits 54, the challenge is captivating younger ears — with new hit shows like Embedded and its playlist-personalizing app, NPR One.
Two’s company, but what if you’d rather have a crowd? Apps like Double, Entourage and Grouper have been springing up from Chicago to Hong Kong, encouraging — nay, requiring — would-be daters to bring a friend along. While this can complicate your chances of making a match, it can provide a handy wingman (or wingma’am) and takes the pressure off potential twosomes. And the trend is flourishing in countries where being alone with the opposite sex is socially taboo and group dates are the new rules of engagement.
The going got tough. When this “demented sufferfest” began in 2004, few could have imagined that challenging people to fight their way out of a buried coffin or dive for money in a freezing pond would catch fire. But Joseph DeSena’s Death Race became the mother of all obstacle races, helping his event company host 170 similar races this year. Then the original buckled under its own success. Court documents detail vicious infighting between DeSena and partner Andrew Weinberg, and while the lawsuits have settled, the Death Race is officially DOA.