Bowing to U.S. and domestic pressure, Iraq’s Shiite-strong leadership is preparing to form a new, Sunni-inclusive unity government by the month’s end, Secretary of State John Kerry said. The move is a bid to shore up control in the face of the insurgent ISIS rebels marching almost unchecked toward Baghdad, home to seven million. Kerry said American military action required an Iraqi governance rethink, noting that the U.S. already has possible ISIS airstrike targets.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Egypt has jailed three Al Jazeera reporters on terrorism-related charges, fomenting anger among world leaders. The detainees include Australian correspondent Peter Greste, a recent Peabody Award winner, and Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, both of whom face seven years. Egyptian-Canadian TV producer Baher Mohamed got an additional three years for carrying “ammunition,” a spent bullet he saved as a souvenir. The White House has condemned the verdicts, demanding the defendants’ release.
France is turning to Germany and the UK for help as it seeks leniency from the U.S. for BNP Paribas, a Paris-based financial giant accused of breaking American sanctions against countries like Iran and Sudan. The French fear a tough hit against BNP, which netted $6.5 billion in profits last year and is expected to pay some $9 billion in U.S. penalties, could harm the industry. If diplomacy fails to lessen BNP’s punishment, the French may take the matter up with international financial authorities.
If emissions go unchecked, rising temperatures and sea levels will flood U.S. homes and businesses to the tune of $370 billion in property damage by 2100, and that’s just in Florida and Louisiana. The nation, which already averages 658 heat-related deaths a year, could see temperatures so fierce that residents are forced to stay indoors, spiking electricity costs and further taxing the environment. According to the new Risky Business report, the hurricane-stricken American South will bear the greatest brunt.
Court finds former ‘News of the World’ editor guilty in phone hacking trial. (BBC)
Disapproval of Obama’s foreign policy rises. (NYT)
’Stolen’ Schumacher medical files offered for sale. (DW)
China overturns death sentence in domestic abuse case. (SCMP)
Apple to launch production of big iPhones next month. (Bloomberg)
Atlanta’s Sean O’Connor was blown clean out of his shoes after being struck by lightning as he raked leaves on a cloudy morning last weekend. He heard a loud crack and found himself thrown across the driveway, his smoldering boots lay evidence to his ordeal. Doctors have warned O’Connor it could happen again, so he fears his next run to the mailbox but considers himself lucky to be alive. After being treated for an irregular heartbeat, he’s home and ready to invest in a lottery ticket.
An all-male church panel has expelled feminist Mormon Kate Kelly, an advocate for women priests and co-founder of the group Ordain Women, for apostasy — advocating policies contrary to Mormon teachings. The Brigham Young University alum, who was baptized into the covenant at age eight by her father who converted to Mormonism before she was born, called the decision “exceptionally painful.”
The East African country, where more than a third live on less than $1.25 a day, has seen its currency weaken significantly since adopting a law mandating life imprisonment for “homosexual acts” in February. The biggest hit came after last week’s announcement that the U.S. is canceling aid programs to Uganda. It is not clear how much the oil-rich country’s growing economy will suffer from the aid cuts, which will likely have the biggest impact upon ordinary Ugandans.
Soviet hipsters, stilyagi, were obsessed with Western music but had little chance to hear jazz or rock behind the Iron Curtain. So they took the few vinyls that made it over the border and copied them onto discarded X-Ray film found in hospital dumpsters. The quality was poor, but X-Ray film was cheap and plentiful, allowing the so-called X-Ray Press to produce millions of records for music-loving Russians — until authorities made “bone music” illegal in 1958.
The Tampa Bay Rays are off to their worst start in almost a decade, and yesterday they even had trouble hitting off a girl. But Chelsea Baker, 17, is no ordinary girl, or pitcher. Thanks to her knuckleball pitch, taught to her by the late MLB all-star Joe Niekro, the bespectacled high school junior from Plant City, Fla., had major leaguers like Evan Longoria and Jose Molina whiffing in batting practice. Baker, who had a 0.74 ERA this year, will try out for the USA Baseball women’s national team this summer.