Israel has called up 1,500 reservists and is edging closer to war against Hamas in Gaza following the murders of three kidnapped Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth. An Israeli colonel noted that both sides may have been talking about restoring calm last week, but “we are now talking about preparing for an escalation.” Israel has not yet launched a ground invasion but says that it is “not off the table” as it expands its aerial assaults and operations in the region.
The Presidential Daily Brief
She was already upset about the U.S. allegedly tapping her cell phone, but learning that her intelligence community may harbor a double agent who sold classified documents to the U.S. has really made Chancellor Angela Merkel mad. If true, it’s a “clear contradiction of the notion of trustworthy cooperation,” Merkel said. American officials have vowed to resolve the issue, but Germany has other ideas: It plans to start spying on the U.S. again for the first time since 1945.
No fluids, no scissors, no dead cells. Charge up those iPads, laptops and phones if you want to fly to the U.S., because airport security want to see the devices in action. In an apparent response to fears that terrorists are developing explosives undetectable to standard security measures, airport personnel are now asking travelers to turn on their devices before boarding. Keep your chargers at hand because dead batteries won’t fly.
Welcome to the “Everything Boom,” says Neil Irwin in The New York Times. Asset prices in everything from stocks and bonds to Manhattan office space and Iowa farmland are booming thanks to years of low interest rates and increased savings levels. As such, bargains are hard to find, projected returns are dropping and restless investors are steering toward riskier waters. Will growth pick up to support the trend, or could the risky pursuit of higher returns transform the boom into an “Everything Bubble” that bursts?
Zack Brown just wanted to learn how to make a great potato salad. So he launched a humble $10 potato salad project on Kickstarter to solicit local donations in return for a bite of the resulting dish. But an overwhelming $35,000 in worldwide pledges left Brown scrambling to provide supporters enough spud for their buck. So in addition to offering signed jars of mayonnaise and a “personalized potato salad-themed haiku,” he is inviting the “whole internet” to a potato salad party in Columbus, Ohio. What could go wrong with that?
Opponents of same-sex marriage often claim that LGBTQ parents can’t do the job as well as heterosexual ones, but science is starting to suggest otherwise. Australian researchers surveyed children from 315 same-sex couples and found that the kids scored six percent higher on general health and family cohesion than other children even when controlling for other background factors. Why? Researchers say it’s primarily because they’re seeing more equally distributed domestic roles at home.
Its beliefs and tactics are medieval, but Islamic State, aka ISIS, has a very modern approach to public relations. The militant group has turned tweets and YouTube videos into effective weapons for both intimidation and recruitment. Supporters have developed an Arabic-language Twitter application for Android phones so that users don’t miss the latest in terrorist tweets, and there is even an Islamic State of Cat Twitter feed to ensure that cute kitten photos can play their part in the charm offensive.
If you didn’t see Cats the first time around — during its 21 years in London or 18 years on Broadway — then you’re in luck. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical is pouncing back on stage in December to retell the tale of TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Lloyd Webber, 66, now hails Eliot as the “inventor of rap,” and so Rum Tum Tugger is being reborn as a “street cat” in a bid to woo a whole new generation of fans.
When Andrew Rector took to the stands to watch his team battle the Red Sox, he had no idea a subsequent catnap would make him the butt of less-than-gentle jokes. Major League Baseball included video of the snooze on its online highlights package, which prompted a few unkind comments. Rector’s response? To blame the put-downs on TV commentators, ESPN and MLB and sue them for $10 million for defamation.