So much for a truce. Just a day after a ceasefire in Syria was extended, an air strike on the al-Camouna camp in the country’s north has left 30 dead and dozens more wounded, according to a local activist network. The Local Co-ordination Committees posted images of burning tents on social media. There is as yet no indication of who was behind the strike — but the U.N. has warned that if Syria’s cessation of hostilities collapses altogether it could spur 400,000 more people to flee the country.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a one-horse race. Ohio’s governor had long ago been mathematically eliminated from clinching the Republican nomination, but was hoping the Great Divide over Trump would help him break through at a contested convention in Cleveland. Kasich vowed to keep fighting, even as late as Tuesday, but with Ted Cruz gone there was no feasible way to block Trump’s triumphant march. Though the moderate, contrarian ex-congressman has said there’s “zero chance” he’ll join the reality TV star’s ticket, the Donald says he’s “interested” in vetting Kasich as his veep.
Time to go. The province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency, and all 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray have fled a blaze that has destroyed 1,600 buildings and may wipe out the entire town. The wildfire is spreading quickly due to warm temperatures, high winds and dry conditions. Local oilsands companies cut production and opened shelters for Alberta’s biggest-ever evacuation. No one’s been injured, but the destructive glow is now spreading to the south, forcing more communities, including an evacuation center, to pick up and move.
That’s in the toilet. Legislation requiring that people in the Tar Heel State only use restrooms corresponding with their birth gender discriminates against the transgender community, federal authorities warn. The Obama administration contends that the law known as HB2 violates Civil Rights Act protections barring workplace discrimination based on sex. State Gov. Pat McCrory has shot back, labeling the decree “Washington overreach.” But billions in federal funds are on the line, and North Carolina could face a government lawsuit if it doesn’t back down by Monday.
Are markets getting slicked up? European stocks were up a bit this morning, thanks to a boost in oil prices that saw Brent crude rise 1.95 percent to $43.45. Energy shares rose in kind, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.6 percent in early trading. Shares also headed north in Shanghai and Australia, but ended down a bit in Hong Kong based on Chinese service activity numbers growing at a slower-than-expected rate. Many markets are closed today for holidays, thinning trading volumes, and experts anticipate caution ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. jobs report.
Turkish prime minister ‘to stand down’ over rift with Erdogan. (BBC)
U.S. embassy in Kabul urges Americans to be vigilant after attempted kidnapping. (USA Today)
North Korea prepares for biggest ruling-party congress in nearly 40 years. (CNN)
Sudden turbulence injures 32 aboard Etihad Airways flight to Jakarta. (AP)
Obama drinks water in Flint, but skepticism remains. (Detroit News)
This will be a drag for the industry. E-cigarettes, hookah and premium cigars were in legal limbo, but that ends today: The FDA has finalized the rules that will allow it to regulate such products. That means the agency will have to approve any e-cigarette that wants to go on the market — or that hit the market after early 2007 — and sales of vaping devices to minors are now banned. Lobbyists for the tobacco industry are bitterly disappointed, saying this will disadvantage small market players in the long run.
RoboCop just got real. Chinese researchers are developing robots to patrol public places, sniff out drugs and bombs, and even give suspects electric shocks. Security officials are showing interest after AnBot debuted at a recent tech expo, and experts predict a market worth up to $1.5 billion. AnBot has a top speed of 11 mph and can patrol for eight hours in places deemed too dangerous for real police. But human rights advocates are unsurprisingly worried that the machines could be misused as “an Orwellian surveillance tool” by an authoritarian state.
It cuts both ways. Those batting for both sides struggle against societal and internalized biphobia — stereotypes of promiscuous STD-carrying hypersexuals — as well as worse health. Compared to homosexual Americans, bisexuals are more likely to smoke, less likely to visit a doctor and more likely to be impoverished. Nearly a fifth say they’re in poor or fair health, compared to roughly 10 percent of their gay counterparts. Meanwhile, money and resources tend to go to projects aimed at gays and lesbians, leaving bisexuals marginalized and facing “double discrimination.”
And they say crime doesn’t pay. A 10-year-old boy named Jani got a hefty payout from the social network after discovering an Instagram hack that enabled him to delete other people’s comments. It’s the latest so-called “bug bounty” — prizes totaling $4.3 million since 2011 that Facebook has awarded to whizzes who find unorthodox ways into their code. And the kid may have more up his sleeve: His dad says Jani and his twin brother are both good at hacking into supposedly secure sites.
There was a doctor in the house. Prince’s staff asked a leading opioid addiction specialist for help with a “grave medical emergency” just a day before the legendary singer died. Dr. Howard Kornfeld couldn’t make the trip to Minnesota, according to his lawyer, and sent his son and colleague, Dr. Andrew Kornfeld, instead. But when the younger physician arrived at Paisley Park, Prince was missing. Kornfeld reportedly called 911 when the body was found. Investigators are still awaiting autopsy results to learn whether the singer died from an overdose.
Will he remain a free agent? The troubled QB faces misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly hitting ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley and dragging her into a car in January. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner’s criminal case is the most serious in a long list of off-field woes, including his release by the Cleveland Browns, who were fed up with his partying. The former Texas A&M star flashed a grin for his mug shot, posted bond and is due to appear in a Highland Park, Texas, courtroom this morning.