It wasn’t impulse. Micah Xavier Johnson, the killer of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday, was an Army reservist and Afghanistan veteran. But after being sent home following a sexual harassment complaint, he trained himself in “shoot and move” tactics in both his mother’s suburban Dallas backyard and a gym — popular among police — that offered weapons training, say those who’ve seen Johnson’s journal. That led to the 25-year-old marksman “calmly shooting” officers and being killed by a military robot after bringing his war to America’s streets.
The Presidential Daily Brief
As Dallas police responded to a new threat in the wake of Thursday’s killings of five of their officers, demonstrations against police shootings of Black men resumed from Florida to the Midwest. Many were peaceful, but in Minnesota near Philando Castile’s fatal shooting, police were pelted with rocks and fireworks and arrested 50. In Baton Rouge, where Alton Sterling’s fatal video-recorded shooting sparked unrest last week, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist and a journalist were arrested. Earlier, Dallas police searched a parking structure after receiving an anonymous threat, but found nothing while tensions mount.
Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh may have tweeted “this is now war” following Thursday’s killings of five police officers at a Dallas Black Lives Matter protest, but President Obama took time out of a NATO summit in Warsaw to differ. The country isn’t “as divided as some have suggested” — like the racially charged 1960s. Recent police killings of Black men in Louisiana and Minnesota angered millions, while millions more blame anti-police rhetoric for inciting a Black Afghanistan veteran’s Texas rampage. Early this week, Obama’s planning to visit Dallas to “find common ground.”
Have they got the Trump card? The Republican National Convention Rules Committee just might. The 112-member panel meets Wednesday, less than a week before the Cleveland confab. Members are considering freeing delegates on the first ballot, possibly giving “Stop Trump” forces a shot at picking an alternate nominee. In the wake of his campaign retweeting a seemingly anti-Semitic image and Trump reiterating his praise for Saddam Hussein, Republicans may be looking for any life raft they can grab — but it may be too little, too late to stop the Teflon Don.
It was a mistake. That’s the sum of 2.6 million words released Wednesday by the U.K. government committee led by Sir John Chilcot. “Wholly inadequate” planning by Americans and their British allies precipitated a disastrous 2003 Iraq War that was not the “last resort” as claimed by former prime minister Tony Blair, who expressed regret but stood by his decision. That seemed cold comfort for the families of more than 280 victims of last Sunday’s Baghdad bombing — the worst since the war’s 2007 climax. But it’s a new war, and this one’s far from over.
Is it a cold war’s warm embrace? Donald Trump has lavished praise on Russian president Vladimir Putin, much of his inner circle has been involved in Kremlin-linked affairs, and Russia appears to be subtly boosting Trump’s business ventures. The real estate mogul has a history of trying to curry favor in the interest of securing Russian development projects. And should the Donald become the president, Putin could leverage America’s diminished international leadership as European populists — boosted by Kremlin-supported websites and cash — sow discord that threatens NATO and the EU.
Scores Killed as New Fighting Erupts in South Sudan, British Government Rejects Brexit Re-Vote Petition
South Sudan fighting erupts on third independence day, killing scores. (Reuters)
UK government rejects new Brexit vote, despite 4.1 million signatures. (Forbes)
Parliamentary election appears to be boosting Shinzo Abe’s majority. (BBC)
Sanders gets party to back $15 minimum wage before likely Clinton nod. (CNN)
A week after election, Australian opposition leader concedes defeat. (NYT)
Reports: Two Russians killed when ISIS downed Syrian helicopter. (BBC)
They didn’t need his star power. Cristiano Ronaldo exited the game with an injured knee in the 25th minute, leaving Portugal without their superstar captain and competing on France’s home turf. No matter: Goalkeeper Rui Patricio kept the underdogs in it with valiant saves while Nani, Renato Sanches and Ricardo Quaresma filled the void in attack, forcing extra time. Finally, in the 109th minute Eder buried a long chance from 25 yards to give the Seleção the 1-0 victory and an improbable Euro 2016 title — the team’s first European championship.
Great Scot, he’s done it again. The second-seeded Scottish lad topped Canada’s sixth-seeded Milos Raonic to nab his second trophy at the famed grass-court tennis tournament. Having first ended Britain’s 77-year Wimbledon drought in 2013, Murray’s the first to win more than one singles title for the U.K. since Fred Perry back in 1935. “I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again,” Murray said, thanking the fans and Prime Minister David Cameron for cheering him on while noting that this win “feels extra special.”
She’s back. After a disappointing year, the megastar sibling defeated upstart No. 2-ranked Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 6-3, to claim her seventh Venus Rosewater Dish and tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. Kerber, a German who’s trained with retired countrywoman Graf, surprised the tennis world by denying Williams the tying Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January. But Williams slammed 13 aces to silence doubters, saying afterwards, “It makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it.”
He saw mankind at its worst. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Sydney Schanberg, whose reportage inspired the 1984 film The Killing Fields about surviving Cambodia’s radical communist Khmer Rouge, died yesterday in Poughkeepsie, NY, at age 82 after a Tuesday heart attack. He refused pleas to leave Phnom Penh when the regime took over in 1975, and his assistant, Dith Pran, was sent to rural work camps where many of the regime’s 2 million victims died. He survived, and Schanberg, his friend until his 2008 death, chronicled the ordeal.
A grim future is here. Experts say the remote-control device that bombed Dallas cop-killer Michah Xavier Johnson was likely the first robot U.S. police have used to kill someone. While hardly a self-aware “terminator” of cinematic fame, it nonetheless raised ethical questions about this deadly innovation. The Dallas PD reportedly obtained the device as military surplus, but it’s the sort developed for defusing bombs and not killing on the battlefield. Many support the decision to kill a heavily-armed attacker, but some wonder how such devices could be used next.
La vita’s not so dolce anymore. Facing tough times, 150 Italian nobles have banded together to market their lush estates as boutique hotels, while others are working the land and, in some drastic cases, selling off their holdings. It may run counter to the dream of palace life, but it’s necessary given expensive upkeep, high taxes and economic woes. The idea is to form a pan-European “aristocracy route” to attract tourists to their castles and mansions and offer what Machiavelli called a “tinge” of greatness before they lose their flavor.
They’re tiny and they’re taking over. But the rising tide of so-called cabin porn, feted on blogs, DIY networks and a show called Love Yurts, is buoyed by privilege. The fantasy of a simpler, pared-down lifestyle is, in many ways, limited to privileged white people who find it liberating and have the means to choose to live with less. Though there are people of color in the tiny house movement, they fear hostility in rural areas, which are otherwise tolerant — from a regulatory standpoint — of homes that happen to be mobile.
It’s a frightening reversal. At the extreme end of the autism spectrum, childhood disintegrative disorder, or CDD, turns back the clock on cognitive development with ghastly speed — dismantling everything from language skills to bowel control in a matter of months. Effects can be divergent: While doctors deemed one 24-year-old woman to have a toddler’s brain age, she could still ride a bike, ace word games and read fifth-grade books. Two doctors are proposing a deep investigation of the rare disease, using biological clues unknown when the disorder was first identified in 1908.
Can you hear the pitter-patter of tidy feet? That’s the army of acolytes being trained by simplification guru Marie Kondo, and they’re coming to slim down your life. Kondo’s best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, asks that you hold each possession in your hands, and if it doesn’t spark joy, release it. Her KonMari method has elicited eye rolls from some professional organizers, who see her approach as too foreign for Americans with harried, complicated lives — but Kondo’s “Konverts” are determined to stamp out disconsolate consumerism.
She was ahead of them all. In 1984 — two years before Greg LeMond became the “first” American to win the world’s top bike race — Coloradan Marianne Martin won the inuagural women’s version of the competition. It was one-fourth the distance and died for lack of support six years later — only to be revived in 2014 as a one-day race. But Martin, who went into debt to finance her title ride, remembers it as a “fairy tale,” especially when her unsupportive dad surprised her at the finish line.