This sounds familiar: The U.S. is sending more military advisers to Iraq, including 130 Marines and special operations forces, to help rescue thousands of Yazidis trapped by militants in the mountains. The advisers are not “combat boots on the ground,” but they bump the number of U.S. military personnel over 1,000. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered troops to stand down after losing his bid to stay in power. Reports now say he’s bargaining for a smooth exit.
The Presidential Daily Brief
A tense peace was disrupted last night in a St. Louis suburb after President Obama lamented the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Reports of another police shooting filtered in hours after Obama appealed for calm and vowed a thorough investigation. Police refused to say how many gunshots struck Brown or to release the name of the officer who killed him. Ferguson is now in a no-fly zone at the request of police, and many fear the latest shooting will further ignite tensions.
No fair! Income inequality in metropolitan areas is fueling an uneven housing market that threatens to destabilize a wider economic recovery. The gap between rich and poor is now at its widest since records began 45 years ago. U.S. employment is at pre-recession levels, but wages have remained stagnant, constraining demand for houses nationwide. Per-capita income in wealthy Boston is 1.61 times that of much humbler Cincinnati, meaning the “haves” are getting richer while the “have-nots” are getting left behind.
Is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s monetary policy of “quantitative easing” taking on water? The world’s third-largest economy saw its GDP shrink by an annualized 6.8 percent in the second quarter, fueled by an 18.7-percent drop in domestic consumption after an April sales tax increase. Housing investments, exports and foreign investment also plummeted. Japanese officials say their ship is still afloat, but this is bound to fuel debate over “Abenomics.”
Showdown looms as Kiev vows to halt Russian convoy. (Irish Times)
Canada offers experimental Ebola vaccine to Africa. (CBC)
Activists hope Williams’ death will prompt suicide discussion. (USA Today)
Catastrophic flooding plagues Detroit. (Detroit News)
Iran’s Maryam Mirzakhan first woman to claim math’s top prize. (Al Jazeera)
The Bronx-born film goddess with the come-hither look and purring voice has died. The sexually confident, ash-blond Bacall launched her reign in 1944, at age 19, in To Have and Have Not. “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” she cooed to co-star Humphrey Bogart — shortly before she married him. She starred again with Bogie in The Big Sleep and with Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper and Gregory Peck, decades before reviving her career on Broadway.
New York has its claws out to protect the selfie-obsessed from themselves. It seems taking lion and tiger selfies is all the rage on social networking and online dating sites, so the state has passed a new law banning any contact between the public and lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and cougars at traveling animal shows and fairs. Violators face fines between $500 and $1,000, as well as potentially deadly cuddles and swipes.
They’re not sharing nicely. The car-on-demand companies are trading accusations of foul play as they battle it out for market domination. Lyft, the San Francisco-based start-up, says Uber employees requested and cancelled more than 5,000 Lyft rides, wasting time, gas and profits. Uber denies the charge and claims Lyft has been up to the same antics. It seems neither is enjoying a free ride to success.
They ran it up the flagpole, but few saluted. Two German artists have confessed to the Brooklyn Bridge caper that replaced American flags with all-white, hand-stitched versions of the Stars and Stripes. Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke — known for high-wire stunts in off-limits public spaces — claim they swapped the Old Glories to celebrate “the beauty of public space.” But authorities’ aesthetic is now focused on gaping security holes and getting their flags back.
The reign of racist-ranting Donald Sterling is over. Steve Ballmer has purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion over Sterling’s litigious objections, vowing to be “hard core in giving the team … the support they need.” But Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly keeps her courtside seats and gains the titles “Clippers Number One Fan” and “owner emeritus” under the deal. Center DeAndre Jordan echoed his teammates in hailing the end of the Donald era, calling it ”a great day for the Clippers.”