Flying over the July 4 weekend is about to get even more unpleasant for some air travelers. Terrorists in Yemen and Syria reportedly are getting better at developing new bombs to smuggle onto planes, giving authorities grounds to amp up security. Officials are boosting screenings at airports in the Middle East and Europe with direct links to the U.S. in hopes of spotting new, non-metallic devices they suspect might elude existing security checks. Longer lines and delays may result.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The last thing the Middle East needs is more violence, but the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict is boiling over again. Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian protesters after the suspected revenge killing of a Muslim teen in response to the murder of three Israeli boys. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the “heinous” killing and urged restraint, but the Palestinian teen’s funeral today is expected to spark further clashes.
Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen says she doesn’t believe that raising interest rates is the best way to let the steam out of financial bubbles. The Fed has held short-term rates near zero since 2008, and is winding down a bond-buying program linked to lowering long-term rates. The goal? To maintain a robust financial system that can survive the bursting bubbles, says Yellen, and not to use higher interest rates to pop them.
If physicians thought medical school was pricey, they had no idea how much it would cost to actually save lives. The price of childhood immunizations in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent decades, taxing providers, governments and parents alike. Thanks to the growing cost of vaccine development, as well as healthy manufacturer profits, today it costs private insurers $2,192 to vaccinate kids to age 18, compared to $100 in 1986. Some doctors are losing money on every shot and starting to re-think how many they administer.
Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul in bid to boost trade ties. (SCMP)
U.S. privacy panel supports NSA’s foreign intelligence gathering efforts. (DW)
France’s Sarkozy denies wrongdoing, criticizes probe. (Al Jazeera)
Japan eases North Korean sanctions. (USA Today)
Mich. soccer referee dies following punch to the head. (CNN)
The huntress, it seems, has become the hunted. When Kendall Jones, 19, posted photos of herself on Facebook astride a lion she shot, she knew it would divide opinion. But she didn’t expect death threats or a petition — which has garnered 30,000 signatures — to ban her from visiting Africa. The gunslinger claims her “green hunts” benefit conservation, noting that African villagers benefit from the meat. Brushing aside the critics, Kendall has set her sights on a new target: her own TV show.
Fed up with a child’s refusal to help around the house or to put down that iPad? Not to worry, you could soon hand over the power to limit online access to the Kudoso router, currently under development. Its makers claim that it will limit surfing time more effectively than other software, awarding points — Internet time — in exchange for chores, homework and even exercise. Some say it’s an extreme measure, but others will happily let the machine ask: Have you cleaned your room?
If climbing to great heights leaves you breathless, you’re likely missing some ancient genetic material. Scientists say a variant of the EPAS1 gene, which affects blood oxygen levels and is common among Tibetans, helps them fare better at high altitudes than the rest of us. The gene stems from an extinct species of humans known as the Denisovans, who interbred with Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago and whose DNA is still helping some in our species navigate the harsh Tibetan plateau.
California-based pimps take heed: Your face could end up on a poster. Oakland is a western “hub for child prostitution,” and sex trafficking is at an all-time high, so police are taking aim and trying something new: pimp shaming. Each day they post mugshots — akin to wanted posters — online of suspected pimps, and the Wild West tactic is getting noticed. “They’re really drawing from the hip,” said an FBI spokesman.
British sports fans just can’t cut a break — first there was England’s early World Cup exit, and now reigning Wimbledon champion and resident Scotsman Andy Murray has been sent packing. Murray looked set to capitalize on Rafael Nadal’s upset dismissal but instead followed him in defeat, falling in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov, 23, who advances to the semi-finals. Murray had a slow start, and Dimitrov forced the Scot into uncomfortable corners with impressive power and speed.