Germany wants a second Geneva conference after hundreds of pro-Russian militants stormed police headquarters in Odessa and freed 67 fellow separatists. Militants smashed windows and broke the front gate chanting “we shall not forgive” and “Odessa is a Russian city.” On Friday, about 40 separatists died in clashes in the city, most of them in a blaze in a building they had occupied. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the tragedy was a “wake-up call.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has promised official action to find the 200 high school girls abducted by Boko Haram rebels. It’s believed that the terrorist organization is selling the young women into forced marriages. Under increasing international and domestic pressure, President Jonathan has ordered his security leaders to take action. But he also upbraided parents for failing to work with police to clearly identify the missing girls. Demonstrators around the world took to the streets over the weekend to protest against government inaction.
A powerful earthquake hit Tokyo early today, shaking buildings and injuring 17 people, according to early reports. The quake struck just as the Japanese were preparing to celebrate national Children’s Day. It was the largest felt in the capital since the aftershocks of the massive 9.0 magnitutde earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant. There have been no reports of any damage to the facility. Trains were stopped temporarily, but no tsunami alert was issued. The epicenter was near Izu Oshima island, southwest of central Tokyo.
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford has called on local officials to eject Cliven Bundy’s armed supporters from the town of Bunkerville. Weeks after the automatic rifle-brandishing gang faced down federal lawmen attempting to collect an unpaid $1 million grazing fee from Bundy, they’re still stalking streets and packing heat. Angry Bunkerville residents have complained to Horsford, who is demanding the sheriff take action. The congressman wrote in a letter that such intimidation should not be tolerated and that residents could not be expected “to live under the persistent watch of an armed militia.”
Democrats criticize renewed investigation of Benghazi attack. (Washington Post).
Gerry Adams freed without charge after days of questioning. (Irish Times).
Fast-moving wildfire sweeps Logan County, Oklahoma. (CNN).
Nine hurt in Rhode Island circus accident. (ABC).
Pistorius trial resumes. (BBC).
In what fellow Republicans might consider a dubious distinction, George H.W. Bush has been honored for raising taxes. This year’s John F. Kennedy Library Profile in Courage Award went to the former president for his 1990 budget compromise. Going against his party line – and his own “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge – Bush broke a political stalemate by working with Democrats to increase taxes. His granddaughter, who accepted the award, admitted that Bush hadn’t wanted the tax hike but put his career on the line all the same because ”he felt he owed the American people action and results.”
Maybe vampires had it right. Scientists have discovered that the blood of young mice can rejuvenate the brains and muscles of older mice, effectively reversing the effects of aging. After they shared a blood supply with juniors, the elder rodents navigated mazes faster and ran longer on treadmills. Injections of a special protein found in young mouse blood also had the same effect as sharing a blood supply. Things didn’t go so well for the young mice though. They slowed considerably and demonstrated signs of premature aging.
Small plugs in Antarctica’s coastal ice shelves are the only things standing in the way of meters of sea level rise, scientists warn. The Wilkes Basin ice shelf in East Antarctica is held in place by a fragile rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level. If that rim melts, says one researcher, the rest of the basin is “like a bottle on a slant; once uncorked it empties out.” While it still would take centuries of warming oceans to trigger such a slide, the consequences of such a large sea level rise could be catastrophic.
South Africa has a new extreme sport – train surfing, or “staff riding.” The mostly young, male staff riders climb onto commuter trains in the townships of Johannesburg and swing between carriages as their ride speeds from town to town. The game probably emerged from overcrowding on local public transportation, but has now evolved into its own kind of thrill-seeking. For staff riders, the risky endeavor is more than a way to pass the commute or to blow off steam: It’s an extension of life in a community still confronting the legacy of apartheid.
The NHL playoffs started poorly for the defending champions from Chicago, who lost the first two games of their opening series to St. Louis. But since then, the Blackhawks have rolled off six straight wins, and seem to be getting stronger. Chicago is up 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinals after dominating the Minnesota Wild again 4-1 in Game 2 on Sunday. The Blackhawks have owned Minnesota’s Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Ryan Suter since last year’s playoffs: The Wild’s stars have scored only a single goal in seven postseason games against Chicago. That’s downright tame.