Two-star Maj. Gen. Harold Greene is the highest-ranking U.S. soldier to die in combat since the Vietnam War. Stationed in Afghanistan to help train soldiers, 55-year-old Greene, who was born in Albany, NY, was shot during an ambush at a military academy in Kabul. It’s unclear how the killer foiled security, but the shooting — which left 15 others injured — is a poignant reminder that insider attacks continue to plague Afghan efforts to rebuild.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Today Crimea, tomorrow the Internet? Russian hackers have stolen a massive 1.2 billion user names and passwords by attacking 420,000 websites. So far, the information appears to have been used primarily to hijack social network access and spread spam, but it could be sold to other criminal networks to wreak greater havoc. Most of the hacked sites remain vulnerable, say experts, who believe the thefts highlight the need for greater corporate vigilance in online security.
Rupert Murdoch is throwing a fit. He’s withdrawing Century Fox’s $71 billion offer, devalued from $80 billion in June, amid grumbles that Time Warner is unwilling “to engage with us.” The bid had sparked investor speculation, causing Time Warner’s stock to rise almost 25 percent while Fox’s dipped 11 percent. Is it really over? Some believe it’s part of the game: Time Warner shareholders might now be upset the deal is off, and climbing Fox shares could strengthen its position for another round.
Are they making nice or simply too bloodied to continue fighting? Following years of overseas patent wars, the smartphone giants have agreed to settle their disputes abroad, putting to bed costly legal battles. The international court cases have failed to deliver a win, such as an injunction blocking the other’s latest smartphone from sale. But arch rivals don’t become pals overnight; both intend to continue duking it out over existing cases in U.S. courts.
Gaza ceasefire holds as talks get under way. (Al Jazeera)
UN warns of humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. (DW)
Sen. Roberts beats Kansas Tea Party foe. (Politico)
New ‘Snowden’ is leaking secrets. (CNN)
Obama’s approval rating hits all-time low. (NBC)
The Canadian pop star is too much to bear for some. Lucky for Russian fisherman Igor Vorozhbitsyn, the brown bear that mauled him wasn’t a fan. During the attack, Igor’s phone began to ring to the tune of Bieber’s ‘Baby’ — downloaded by his granddaughter as a joke. Startled by the song, the bear turned and fled into the woods. Igor is recovering from his injuries and is now a Belieber.
What’s the shortest route to Pleasantville? Planning apps may get you there fast, but they don’t account for what you see or feel along the way. Yahoo Labs wants to change that and is developing a walking planner for happiness that recommends scenic — rather than quick — routes. The app will probably rely on impressions crowdsourced from Flickr, surveys and other online tools to build an “alternate cartography of a city weighted for human emotions.”
In-depth interviews with Richard Nixon are being released 40 years after his resignation. In 1983, the disgraced California native discussed his tumultuous final days in office with a former aide — footage that only aired once before being mothballed. Unlike his famous, often adversarial conversations with David Frost, these segments show a more emotional, less defensive Nixon. He hoped an honest approach would redeem him somewhat in the eyes of the American people.
Overweight? The weather is probably partly to blame. A new study out of Texas posits that hot climes keep people indoors, and thus less active. Maintaining a jogging regime in 95-degree temps, after all, is unthinkable for most. Yes, food and suburban sprawl take their toll on waistlines too, but so does the mercury. To beat the heat, city planners may need to consider throwing their weight behind air-conditioned recreation centers and public pools.
Becky Hammon’s got game and a new job. The 16-year WNBA vet is already a legend, but now she’s making history as the NBA’s first female assistant coach. The San Antonio Spurs hired the South Dakota native and naturalized Russian citizen in a trademark forward-thinking move by head coach Gregg Popovich. If she proves as successful as some of Popovich’s former recruits, we could be calling Hammon “NBA Head Coach” before too long.