While Orlando gunman Omar Mateen seems to have pledged allegiance to the extremists before launching the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, there is “no evidence so far that he was in fact directed” to do so, the president said today. He will visit Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects, as the LGBT community is reeling after Sunday’s attack at the Pulse nightclub left 50 dead and 53 wounded. Authorities say American-born Mateen, 29, opened fire in the gay club with a legally purchased assault rifle before dying in a shootout — making him an example of “the kind of home-grown extremism” officials have long feared, Obama added.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a political powder keg. Sunday’s homophobic massacre in Orlando shook up the presidential campaign, as the presumptive Republican nominee lashed out on Twitter and the Democratic contender stressed solidarity with the LGBT community. Donald Trump congratulated himself for predicting more attacks and renewed calls to ban Muslims from entering the country — despite the alleged shooter being American-born. Hillary Clinton said she’d escalate the fight against “threats” at home and overseas, but also toughen gun laws. The candidates plan dueling national security speeches today.
They’re close to being thrown off the field. International superfans who traveled to France for the Euro 2016 soccer championships have worn out their welcome. England supporters have been involved in skirmishes for several days in Marseille, leading to a partial alcohol ban that includes an optional prohibition for bars and clubs on any drink container that could be used as a missile. Russian fans allegedly charged at England’s devotees over the weekend — and UEFA is threatening to disqualify both teams if their supporters can’t stay under control.
Strike up the bond. Nervous investors are heading for the safety of government-backed loans and gold as the U.K. teeters on the brink of potential recession in the case of a vote to leave the European Union next week. Traders may also have been spooked when Chinese economic data for May was wobbly, and by uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s option to raise interest rates again on Wednesday. Europe’s Stoxx 600 fell close to 2 percent and the U.S. markets are expected to start 4 points down this morning.
Canadian hostage reportedly beheaded in Philippines. (Al Jazeera)
Oscar Pistorius to be sentenced for Reeva Steenkamp’s murder. (CBS)
Man in weapons-laden car was headed for L.A. Pride parade, officials say. (LA Times)
Four killed in bear attacks in Japan. (The Guardian)
Dutch woman in Qatar says she was raped, will be fined $824 and deported. (BBC)
He’s fighting to be first. Bob Poe, a Democrat running for an open U.S. House seat, revealed that he’s been living with HIV for 18 years, but is “perfectly healthy” because of early diagnosis and aggressive treatment. The former state party chairman would be the first known HIV-positive person elected to Congress. Poe, 61, decided to reveal his status after he was approached by an HIV-positive woman at a campaign stop. Now he’ll have to battle three opponents in the left-leaning district’s Aug. 30 primary.
Has this good deed gone bad? The practice of mercy release, which Buddhists believe gives them good karma, is a thriving business in Hong Kong, with hawkers selling all sorts of aquatic life and other animals for believers to toss into the sea or the wild. But conservationists say introducing imported species wreaks havoc on the ecosystem, and they cite the cruelty of capturing — and mistreating — animals to be sold. Singapore has banned the practice and Taiwan has cracked down, while mercy release continues to thrive elsewhere in Asia.
This isn’t just a castle in the sky. Architects are envisioning a future with less division between inside — safe, closed off, hermetically sealed — and outside, with buildings that can be part of the environment rather than a haven from it. Some researchers are trying to turn windows into solar panels, while others are experimenting with buildings that can self-regulate their insulation depending on the season. But these experiments will need to become more mainstream — and attract more funding — before they can become reality.
The show must go on. But last night’s broadcast didn’t go on unchanged: The Tony Awards dedicated their ceremony to the victims of yesterday’s gay nightclub shooting in Orlando. Host James Corden reassured the audience, “Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender … is embraced and is loved.” The cast of Hamilton left out the muskets normally incorporated into their performance, and they took home 11 awards, including Leslie Odom Jr.’s Best Actor win. All four musical acting trophies went to Black actors, itself a first.
The Kid did it again. Sunday’s 3-1 victory secured Pittsburgh’s fourth Stanley Cup and the second for superstar Sidney Crosby, who was named playoff MVP and cemented his reputation as the finest player in the world. While San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made incredible stops to keep the home team in it, Penguins rookie netminder Matt Murray was near-perfect after a shaky Game 5. The win on the opposite end of the country set off joyous celebrations in Pittsburgh, which will stage a championship parade in the coming days.