As the U.S. planned a surgical strike to help Nigeria recover teen girls abducted by Boko Haram, news emerged that militants had seized as many as eight others. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan welcomed the U.S. offer for help, and President Obama announced that he had sent a team in response, including a combination of ”military, law enforcement and other agencies.” The United Nations also responded, warning that the militant kidnappers could be prosecuted and jailed for violating international laws against slavery.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The Chinese e-commerce juggernaut has filed plans for a $1 billion initial public offering. But Alibaba is expected to raise as much as $20 billion, which would make it even bigger than Facebook’s $16 billion offering. When it makes its stock market debut it’s expected to have a share price that could value Alibaba at around $200 billion — more than Facebook, Amazon or eBay. Apart from e-commerce, Alibaba has invested in mobile messaging app Tango and Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. If successful, analysts believe the IPO could help spur renewed interest in technology among investors.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination Tuesday, beating a Tea Party foe and an evangelical rival in a battleground state represented by vulnerable Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan. In Ohio, House Speaker John Boehner breezed past a challenge from two Tea Party-backed foes, including a teacher who only had $48,000 to spend to Boehner’s $12 million. Also in Ohio, first-term GOP incumbent David Joyce held off Tea Party-backed state Rep. Matt Lynch. North Carolina GOP Rep. Walter Jones squeaked past Taylor Griffin, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
Climate change is already hitting the U.S. hard — and some damage may be irreversible, a new study says. This year’s National Climate Assessment shows that an average national warming of less than two degrees has already left its mark on the American environment. Summers are hotter, wildfires more severe, and rainfall and flooding are more prevalent as a result. If greenhouse gases are not curbed, warming could top 10 degrees by the end of the century. President Obama responded, noting the need for immediate action before it is too late.
Thai court dismisses prime minister from office. (CNN).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry labels eastern Ukraine referendum efforts ‘bogus.’ (DW).
Syrian opposition evacuation begins in Homs. (Telegraph).
Vatican has defrocked 848 priests for abuse since 2004. (AP).
Bill Clinton’s one-time intern has decided to share her side of the story. Monica Lewinsky, now 40, told Vanity Fair that the aftermath of her affair with the former president made her feel suicidal. “My boss took advantage of me,” Lewinsky said, but noted that it was a “consensual relationship.” Any “abuse” came after the relationship ended when she was made a “scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.” Lewinsky said she deeply regretted the whole thing.
Source: Vanity Fair
Legions of rodent lovers in Alsace have risen to the occasion to protect les petits from annihilation. The Great Hamster of Alsace is threatened by changing farm crops, and the French intend to rescue it. The rodent loves the more traditional alfalfa, but it’s being replaced by the more lucrative corn. As part of a $4.2 million project, farmers are saying “Maize non!,” or at least a bit less, and pledging to grow the kinds of plants the hamsters like, on at least some of their land. Rampant urbanization is also threatening the squeaker.
Source: The Guardian
Liberal or conservative, many top global research groups share a similar trait: They don’t like to reveal the source of the money backing them, according to a survey by the non-profit group Transparify. Even as the study was ongoing, some organizations began to reveal funders in a bid to avoid a poor ranking. The study found that four top organizations in the U.S. earned just one out of five possible stars for funding transparency. Knowing the source of funding can be critical in judging the impartiality of research conclusions often used to push legislation.
With Batman fans buzzing over the anticipated Gotham prequel TV series, one psychologist is trying to pin down why so many people like the Dark Knight. His theory? A superhero who suffers as a child is easier for some people to relate to than do-gooders like Superman. Richard Warshak believes that Bruce Wayne, who becomes Batman after witnessing his parents’ murder, may stem from a real childhood trauma. As a boy, Batman creator Bob Kane was beaten up by local thugs. Maybe his dark creation was a way of coping with his experience.
Source: The Atlantic
In Mark Jackson’s three seasons, he took the Golden State Warriors to heights not seen since the Reagan Administration. But the first back-to-back playoff appearances in two decades couldn’t stop the coach’s canning. Jackson leaves with a 121-109 record. For all his successes, Jackson’s clashes with Warriors management, power paranoia and media encounters doomed him. The decision could backfire: Jackson was immensely popular among players, and fans may grumble if the team backslides. Lesson? Don’t pick fights with the person signing the checks.