The Taliban’s at it again. The Islamic fundamentalists are claiming responsibility for a coordinated attack today in the Afghan capital that killed at least 28 and injured more than 300. A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle during Kabul’s morning rush hour near the country’s Ministry of Defense, and gunmen and more suicide bombers then stormed the area. The presidential palace condemned the attack — which follows the Taliban’s launch of a so-called “spring offensive” — and security forces have reportedly subdued the terrorists and cleared the area.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Will they give him amnesty? America’s highest court will be deciding the limits of presidential powers with their verdict on President Obama’s 2014 plan to prevent millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported. Twenty-six states have filed suit against the administration, saying the president’s executive action was an unlawful bypass of Congress. The court is currently split down the middle ideologically — and with only eight seated justices since Antonin Scalia’s sudden death, a 4-4 tie is possible, which would leave intact a lower court ruling that threw out the plan.
The workers are anything but united. After three days of debate, President Dilma Rousseff saw the lower house of Brazil’s Parliament vote 367-137 to put her on trial on charges of money manipulation. Her Workers Party has been embattled by scandals during the country’s worst recession in a century, and polls suggest 60 percent of Brazilians support impeachment. She’s vowing to fight on, but a simple majority vote in the Senate next month could send her to trial and task VP Michel Temer with pulling Brazil out of recession.
The devastation is earth-shattering. Ecuadorian authorities now say at least 350 are dead and 2,500 injured following Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 temblor. Aid money is starting to flow into demolished coastal towns and fishing villages, and thousands of police and soldiers are on hand to keep the peace amid reports of rioting. The quake, which struck about 100 miles from Quito, was six times stronger than the one that hit Japan on Friday. Rescue crews are desperately digging through the rubble, and the death toll is still expected to rise.
Will there be blood? The Republican front-runner told reporters he hopes his party’s July convention “doesn’t involve violence” if he’s denied the nomination on a contested ballot. But after repeated calls against unrest, the billionaire also described the current system as “rigged” and “100 percent corrupt.” He might be in good company: A new poll of GOP voters found 62 percent think the nomination should go to the candidate with the most delegates, even if he hasn’t reached the magic number of 1,237 when the final primary votes are cast.
The banking giant’s Q1 report beat analysts’ expectations, posting earnings of 55 cents — well above the anticipated 46 cents — a share. Revenue, meanwhile, dropped from $9.9 billion a year ago to $7.8 billion. The news follows reports last week from JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup of falling profits, and Morgan Stanley’s stock has dropped 31 percent over the past year owing to global market volatility, especially in commodities. But the plunge wasn’t as bad as many feared, and eyes now turn to tomorrow’s expected earnings report from rival Goldman Sachs.
It’s a power struggle. While major oil producers got together this weekend to discuss capping output in the hopes of halting still-plunging prices, Saudi Arabia eventually refused to sign any agreement without the participation of Iran. But Iran didn’t send an envoy to the meeting and said it won’t curb production while it struggles to catch up after the lifting of Western sanctions. Oil had rallied back to $41.50 a barrel on Friday, but with no deal in sight Monday morning, prices took a dive and may keep falling.
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ star Doris Roberts dead at 80. (Slate)
Explosion on Jerusalem bus injures 21. (BBC)
Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa wins women’s race at Boston Marathon. (AP)
U.S. Supreme Court rules for Google in battle of the books. (NYT)
Iraqi refugee seeks apology after being removed from flight for speaking Arabic. (SF Gate)
Oscar Pistorius to be sentenced for murder in June. (AP)
Drone strikes inbound plane near Heathrow. (BBC)
Netanyahu says Israel won’t ever relinquish the Golan Heights. (LA Times)
Their 15 minutes are up. China’s censors have banned child stars from reality TV shows over concerns that “instant fame” — and the wealth it creates — were damaging society. China had previously warned broadcasters against airing reality shows that forgot the country’s “socialist core values.” The decision has forced Hunan TV to cancel one of its most popular shows, Dad! Where Are We Going?, which featured celebrities and their children on vacation in remote locations and was expected to net $230 million in its now canceled fourth season.
This blows … or it very well could. When Mount Paektu erupted in A.D. 946, it was a regional catastrophe — so even the Hermit Kingdom decided not to mess around when it started rumbling again in 2002. North Korea invited Chinese and British scientists to check it out, but sanctions slowed the process of properly investigating the mountain along the China-North Korea border. Scientists say there’s proof of a partial melt in the crust beneath Paektu, and they’re now working to predict when it might erupt next.
Move over, steel and textiles. While moneyed bloodlines like the Birlas and Ambanis often began with manufacturing, the sons and daughters of those families aren’t feeling the factories. They’re focusing less on making things and more on making money, turning increasingly to finance and “family offices.” These private wealth management groups tend the fortunes of individual dynasties, bolstering their plans for continued dominance. And as the younger generation eyes startups and mobile fads, the smart money is on more cash being funneled into India’s tech boom.
It knows where you’ve been “sleeping.” The Durmet Smarttress comes equipped with sensors that monitor activity and send alerts to owners’ smartphones whenever it’s “in use.” The marketing message is clear, with the company promising to notify users of potential infidelity crises and inform them just how hard and for how long their mattress is being pounded when they’re not around. The company says the $1,750 mattress is coming soon. But it’s still in the manufacturing process, so paranoid partners will likely lose a bit more sleep.
Let there be rock! Just a few shows into his own Guns N’ Roses reunion, the singer is teaming up with the Australian rock icons to finish out the last 10 shows of their Rock or Bust tour. Rose, 54, is stepping in for frontman Brian Johnson, who’s been sidelined with hearing issues. Meanwhile, Rose has been recovering from a broken foot, performing from a throne he borrowed from Dave Grohl. But AC/DC’s European shows fit in a scheduled break for GnR, whose stadium tour resumes its run in June.
They call it moto-doping. Using thermal cameras, Italian and French media uncovered evidence that top professional cyclists may be illegally propelling themselves with tiny engines. Though the investigation didn’t find definitive proof, heat signatures strongly suggest that seven unnamed riders had extra horsepower at their feet. The reporters also interviewed an engineer who supposedly supplies undetectable mini-motors — for more than $55,000 a pop. The tactic is relatively new and may prompt authorities — who regularly check for motorized cheating — to grease the wheels for more advanced tests.