Spies don’t rely on crystal balls after all, but their future is still unclear. An internal probe has found that the CIA snooped on a Senate investigation of the agency’s techniques for detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to senators this week for employees who secretly searched Senate Intelligence Committee files and some staffer emails. But lawmakers are furious about the revelations, and no fortune-telling is needed to predict punitive consequences.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The UN and U.S. brokered an unexpected 72-hour truce in Gaza, suspending a three-week clash that has claimed nearly 1,500 lives. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned against jubilance, and reports of fighting on Friday threw the ceasefire into question, but many hope both sides will take this “opportunity to find the solution.” Israeli and Palestinian representatives were expected to meet in Cairo for talks, possibly as early as today.
Many countries fear the virus hitting their borders. So it’s no surprise that Twitter is alight with questions over why the U.S. is bringing in its first-ever Ebola patients. A team has been sent to Liberia to collect Ebola victims American doctor Kent Brantly and his assistant Nancy Writebol, at least one of whom will be treated in Atlanta. Health officials are confident of no significant outbreak in the U.S., but many are tweeting about why they’d increase the risk.
Wall Street succumbed to mounting pressures Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping 300 points and wiping off gains for the year. Several triggers could be blamed, ranging from Gaza and Ukraine to Argentina’s default. But the biggest culprit seems to be a strong quarterly report on the U.S. economy’s upbeat labor market, which prompted fears that the Fed may soon hike interest rates. All eyes will be on Europe to see how it responds to New York’s after-hours trading.
Gas explosion kills 25 in Taiwan. (Reuters)
Emergency border bills die in House, Senate. (Politico)
Rebels ambush Army convoy near MH17 crash site. (BBC)
Sudan ‘apostasy’ woman arrives in U.S. (BBC)
Congress approves infrastructure spending bill. (FT) sub
Poland is ripe for revenge. A Russian ban on importing Polish produce — levied in retaliation over new Western sanctions — upset the apple-cart, prompting a social media campaign encouraging Poles to eat the would-be exports. It’s a hard hit for Poland, which exported $450 million worth of fruit and vegetables to Russia last year. But Poles are responding to fruity hashtag #jedzjablka (#eatapples) and eating an apple a day to keep Putin away.
Bigger isn’t better after all. The dinosaurs that shrank the fastest were the ones that survived and evolved, a new study suggests. The lineage that led to today’s birds harks back 50 million years to enormous meat-eating dinosaurs that shrank continuously in order to compete for limited resources. Theropods, a dinosaur group including Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, shrank 12 times before taking flight as birds. When the meteor hit, say experts, most dinosaurs died while the adaptable ones soared.
The “Facebook for Patriots” has been crippled by Internet trolls. New conservative social network “Reaganbook,” a right-wing alternative to what its founders see as liberally biased Facebook, launched this week only to be overrun by fake accounts. It was flooded by the likes of Manuel Noriega, Ayn Randy, Al Zheimers and Zombie Reagan, forcing administrators to take it off-line. A message now says security will be beefed up before the site goes another round in seeking a social media win for the Gipper.
Can we buy them in a store? Yes, they’ll be available once more! Random House is publishing “lost stories” by famed children’s author Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991. The publisher is reprinting four largely forgotten titles — originally published in a magazine but never as story books — that faded from view 60 years ago. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories hits shelves on September 9. So there can be no doubt, order early to avoid going without.
Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline resulted in one of the busiest trades in recent history. The contending Oakland Athletics sent star slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for pitching great Jon Lester. And Tampa Bay traded former Cy Young award winner David Price to the Detroit Tigers, where he joins two other award-winning pitchers. It cost Detroit a couple key players, but with three star pitchers to keep batters at bay, it may prove just the right price.