The 298 passengers of flight MH17 have been victimized twice, first by the missile taking down their plane, and now by politics. International pressure is mounting against Ukrainian separatists, who have seized the crash site and are holding victims’ bodies in refrigerated train cars bound for an unknown destination. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the situation “grotesque” and demanded Russia acknowledge its role in arming the rebels. The UN votes today on a resolution demanding the site not be compromised.
The Presidential Daily Brief
At least 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers died in eastern Gaza yesterday in the bloodiest day of fighting yet, prompting the UN to call for an immediate ceasefire. Facing pressure to end the operation that has claimed the lives of nearly 500 Palestinians and 18 Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained undeterred and said Israel would continue its operations. John Kerry arrives in Cairo today for crisis talks.
The markets dipped briefly in reaction to news of the downed airliner and the Gaza invasion, but geopolitical conflicts are proving no match for flush investors. Why? Shareholders don’t seem to think the political crises will spread into wider conflicts. And the central banks’ loose monetary policies currently spell cheap credit, which lends itself to low market volatility. As one investment strategist said: “Investors are learning that it’s a loser’s game to sell on the news.”
Subprime home mortgages may have dried up, but Americans are driving deep into the next massive financial burden: subprime used car loans. Americans with poor credit are taking on unaffordable loans at high interest rates, sometimes costing twice a vehicle’s value. The loans are often based on bad information about borrowers’ incomes. Investors, in turn, are ignoring the risk and buying up bad loans. In an eerily familiar refrain, consumers and investors are both being put at greater risk.
Typhoon kills 18, destroys thousands of homes in China. (Al-Jazeera)
Iran eliminates its uranium stockpile. (BBC)
Snowden: Racy NSA surveillance photos shared among workers. (Time)
Indian police arrest man in school rape case of girl, aged 6. (Times of India)
Bloody weekend in Chicago sees 40 shot, four killed. (Reuters)
Who better to strike fear into the heart of women than a brigade of machine gun-toting, burka-clad women? The al-Khansaa’ Brigade have been cracking the whip over women in Raqqa, Syria, since Islamic militants took over earlier this year, detaining women who don’t fully cover themselves or venture out without a male chaperone. ISIS says it’s allowing the women to participate in jihad, but one local activist says the unit was created simply to “terrorize women.”
Putin seems to think that history depends on the writer. Russia reportedly tinkered with Wikipedia entries to make itself and separatist rebels look innocent in the tragic Malaysia Airlines crash that killed 298. The message? “The plane was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers.” Over the past 10 years, IP addresses belonging to Russian state agencies have been linked to 7,000 Wikipedia edits, so they’re well-practiced at rewriting the past.
The Flying Circus is packing up shop, again. Last night in London, the world’s silliest septuagenarians closed their sold out reunion show, ironically named Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go in reference to the late Graham Chapman. People traveled from all over the world for dead parrots, silly walks and shrill-voiced cross-dressing. It was their last live performance together, but with the remaining five still working and making regular TV appearances, it’s not quite time for something completely different.
He set hearts aflutter on TV and the Silver Screen for decades. A U.S. Army veteran and longtime actor best known as the wry detective lead in The Rockford Files, a resourceful American POW in The Great Escape and a swaggering cowboy in Maverick, Garner died yesterday. Friends remember the handsome star as charming, both on and off camera. Garner kept trucking, breaking hearts and drawing tears in hits like The Notebook, well into old age.
He started strong on Thursday, overcame his weakness for “freakish Fridays,” and won the British Open — the third youngest to do so behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Northern Ireland’s lad, 25, finished two shots in front of the field, at 17 under par. His reward? The Claret Jug, $1.6 million and a very happy father: Dad Gerry won more than $170,000 on a bet made in 2004 that his son would win within 10 years.