In another mass shooting at Fort Hood, three people were killed and 16 injured when a soldier opened fire at the Texas army base. The suspected gunman, identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed himself following the attack. Lopez was described as an experienced soldier who was being treated for anxiety and depression. Officials don’t believe he had any ties to extremist groups. The base was the scene of a 2009 shooting in which 13 people were killed.
The Presidential Daily Brief
ZunZuneo, a text-based social network that circumvented the government’s Internet control, has been popular amongst Cuban cell phones users. But the more than 40,000 users never knew the Twitter-like ZunZuneo served as a secret American attempt to gather information on Cubans, and possibly use the network to inspire an uprising akin to those that spread across the Arab world. ZunZuneo fell apart in 2012, after the Americans failed to establish adequate cover operations. But an investigation, coming to light now, shows that the U.S. secret tech wars spread farther than imagined.
The court has ruled that limiting how much money individuals can contribute to political campaigns impinges on free speech. The justices decided that limiting individuals to $2,600 donations per federal candidate is OK, but limiting them to $48,600 in total contributions to national races over two years is unacceptable, as is capping donations to party committees. The impact? A likely increase in the role money plays in American political campaigns, and a possible decrease in the money funneled to private political action committees.
A powerful 7.6-magnitude quake rattled the northern coast of Chile, tripping off a tsunami warning and forcing new evacuations all the way into Peru. The tremor was the mightiest of several aftershocks following the previous night’s 8.2 quake that killed six people, shut down power, and triggered fires and landslides. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was evacuated from the area before she could complete her tour of damage from the first quake. Some scientists fear the tremors may be “foreshocks” of an even mightier quake from a long-dormant fault overdue for a major event.
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has declared that the global economy is at risk of falling into a “low growth trap.” Despite predicting a growth of more than three percent for this year and next, Lagarde said the international community should take “brave action” and enhance the cooperation among policymakers in order to tackle the low eurozone inflation and the emerging market volatility. She also warned that, if mismanaged, the Ukraine crisis could pose a serious threat and have broad spillover implications.
Late night funnyman Letterman tells studio audience he’s done in 2015. (CNN).
Investigators look at possible Citibank fraud. (NYT).
Yanukovych regrets mistakes on Crimea. (Al Jazeera).
UN: Million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon. (BBC).
U.S. hopes to find way forward for Mideast talks. (NYT).
Scientists can now answer that age-old question: New evidence suggests the stripes deter parasitic flies. A study of species and subspecies of zebras, horses and donkeys found that striping emerged in regions with heavier concentrations of annoying, biting flies. Blood-sucking insects are deadly disease vectors and are apparently capable of draining several hundred milliliters of blood from horses in a day. The idea that flies don’t like stripes has been around since the 1930s, but the zebra discovery has prompted further study.
Want to lose weight? Then get up early and go outside. People who load up on morning light are the most likely to have a lower body mass index, regardless of calories consumed, according to a Northwestern University study. Light is a powerful biological signal that impacts metabolism and the hormones regulating appetite, and morning light contains more blue-spectrum wavelengths, which have the strongest impact on the circadian system. The advice is to soak up 500 lux or luminous emittance, about the brightness of an office, and the earlier the better.
Fire TV is now available for $99 from Amazon, signaling the online commerce giant’s entry into the streaming video set-top race. The powerful tiny box — about the size of a coaster — connects to TVs via HDMI and streams 1080p high-definition broadcasts. Fire TV, which aims to compete with Netflix, Apple and Google, offers access to more than 200,000 films and TV series. It will be available in shops later this month and, for those who can’t wait, can be ordered through Amazon now.
A retired Italian autoworker was so fond of fruit that he hung a multi-million dollar Paul Gauguin still life in his kitchen. That’s where it was found, along with a work by Pierre Bonnard, some 40 years after both were stolen from a London art collector’s home. They were abandoned on a train and ended up in the lost and found. The worker scooped them up at auction for $30 — not bad considering the Gauguin is worth at least $14 million. The man contacted police after a relative noticed similarities with another Gauguin.
FC Barcelona has been banned from signing any player during the next two transfer windows, following the club’s repeated infringement of FIFA rules governing the registration of players under 18. The ban is a severe blow to the European powerhouse but will benefit other top teams that regularly lose players to the Catalan side. This is the latest of a series of scandals to hit Barcelona, including Lionel Messi’s appearance in court over suspected tax evasion. Barcelona is expected to appeal against the decision.