They were steps from the British Museum. Police confirmed a woman in her 60s died and five people were injured in a mass stabbing in London’s Russell Square Wednesday night. The 19-year-old suspect was subdued with a Taser, treated at a local hospital and taken into police custody. Authorities are probing his mental health — which they called a “significant factor” — and potential links to terrorism. To ease the public’s fears of further violence, officials announced an increased police presence on London’s streets today.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Limelight? She’ll let him have it. In a normal week, the Democratic nominee would be scarred by “mischaracterizing” the FBI investigation into her emails, Democratic National Committee bloodletting, new examination of Obama administration “ransom” payments to Iran and news that Donald Trump nearly matched her in fundraising last month. Instead, she’s avoiding scrutiny and needling Trump from afar as the billionaire’s headline-grabbing outbursts cause daily Republican defections and campaign turmoil — leading to increased talk of GOP leaders giving up on him by Labor Day and diverting resources to shaky Congressional races.
He can’t visit the boy’s can. In the first transgender bathroom rights question considered by the Supreme Court, justices voted 5-3 to temporarily block an order allowing 17-year-old Virginia high school student Gavin Grimm to use the bathroom he feels comfortable using. The school board claims allowing him to continue using the boy’s bathroom is a violation of other students’ privacy. They’ll petition the court in late August, but until justices can consider the issue more fully, Grimm and other transgender students will have to use private bathrooms.
They’re making it clear they can modernize. India’s tax system is notoriously Byzantine, with a patchwork of state and federal levies imposed as goods and services crisscross the country. Now, in a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country’s upper house of parliament has approved the biggest reforms to the tax system since India gained independence, which will create a single market within India and phase in a simple goods and services tax, or GST, administered electronically. But before that happens half of India’s 29 states have to approve the plan.
Six injured in attack on tourist convoy in Afghanistan. (BBC)
Dubai airport reopens one of two runways after fiery crash kills one. (WSJ) sub
Hurricane Earl touches down in Belize. (CNN)
Bank of England cut rates to record low of .25 percent. (FT) sub
Militants reportedly declare new Boko Haram leader. (Boston Globe)
D.C. Metro subway officer accused of being in league with ISIS. (Washington Post)
Australian far-right party gains four senate seats. (DW)
Show me the money. That’s the message from Missouri State Public Defender’s office head Michael Barrett, who’s protesting massive budget cuts over the last two years by calling in the big guns. Using a statute that allows his office to impress private lawyers into service when there’s a shortage, Barrett’s appointed Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, a licensed attorney, to defend an accused criminal entitled to state-funded legal counsel. Nixon hasn’t responded yet, but many hope it’ll force him to address the Show Me State’s judicial funding crisis and ballooning prison population.
They’re offshoring despair. An undercover investigation by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found that Australia ignored and allowed abuse of refugees who were sent to the tiny island of Nauru, where asylum-seekers said they were denied adequate medical care, victimized by violent criminals and subjected to poor living conditions. The Australian government-hired contractor for refugee services said it has “zero tolerance for abuse,” but the reported plight of 1,000 refugees — mostly from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and East Africa — is already sparking calls for policy changes.
Fly me to the moon … for a fee. Moon Express is the first private company to get approval to land on Earth’s favorite satellite. It’ll be the first U.S. moon mission since 1972 and deliver scientific equipment as well as DNA samples and ashes — for a $12,500 fee — of those who want everyone looking up at their final resting place. Though Moon Express hasn’t been approved to do anything but land, some see this as the beginning of a new gold rush in private lunar tourism or mining lunar minerals.
They’re working out the kinks. Rainbow-sparking whips are taking the festival world by storm — and becoming family-friendly in spite of their BDSM origins. Dazzling from the handle, users push a button to make the tail light up like a psychedelic jellyfish. The first fiber-optic whip maker has sold 10,000 and predicts a 20 percent summer boost, partly thanks to the mainstreaming of S&M culture. While other light-up dance accessories have been associated with injuries, these have yet to hurt anyone, giving manufacturers a chance to whip up profits.
So you’re saying there’s a chance. When the most decorated Olympian in history came out of retirement, he insisted Rio would be his last Games. But at a Wednesday news conference, the U.S. team captain and flag bearer for Friday’s opening ceremonies qualified his appearance as a “potential” last Olympics, just in case he decides to return. Though the 31-year-old added “No, I’m not,” the pot was duly stirred. Tokyo 2020 is a ways off, but aging fellow swimming medalist Ryan Lochte said he thinks Phelps will suit up again.