Authorities seem to have turned a corner in violence-plagued Ferguson, Missouri, last night. After a week of unrest, demonstrators marched peacefully alongside authorities over the death of teenager Michael Brown, shot dead by a cop last weekend. Gov. Jay Nixon ordered Capt. Ronald S. Johnson and his state troopers to take control from local police, and Johnson quickly extended his hand to the community, signaling a new “partnership” for peace, without gas masks and surplus military gear.
The Presidential Daily Brief
There’s been a break in the clouds. Unpopular Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has withdrawn his re-election bid and endorsed his U.S.- and Iran-backed rival, Haider al-Abadi, just days after he mobilized tanks to protect his position. Both men are Shiites, and Maliki has been blamed for alienating minority Sunnis, thus enabling the success of Islamic State’s brutal insurgency. Abadi’s plate is full, starting with forming an inclusive government and stopping IS in their tracks.
The world’s largest drink maker is craving a bit of energy. It has snapped up a 16.7 percent, $2.15 billion stake in rival Monster Beverage, giving some credence to long-running takeover speculation. For now, it means Monster will swallow Coke’s worldwide energy trade while Monster passes its non-energy business to Coca-Cola. Investors like the taste: Coke’s shares rose in after-hours trading, and the deal is sure to quench its thirst for success in the fast-growing energy-drink market.
Putin may want to rethink his sandbox strategy. Russian oil firm Rosneft has asked Moscow for $42 billion as international sanctions begin to sink in. The U.S. has banned long-term loans to Russian firms, leaving them scrambling to replace foreign finance. The state-run oil producer probably won’t get the money and is due for a $12 billion debt repayment later this year. But unless Putin learns to play nice, it’ll be the first of many such pleas to reach his desk.
Ukrainian border officials inspect Russian convoy. (Reuters)
Boko Haram kidnaps 100 men. (Bloomberg)
Pope warns South Koreans of affluence ‘cancer.’ (Al Jazeera)
Shots fired at Imran Khan spark clashes in Pakistan. (BBC)
Tea Partier McDaniel sues over Mississippi Senate primary. (AP)
He was facing another demon. The comedy genius and man of a thousand voices was grappling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he committed suicide, his widow revealed yesterday. Williams’ sobriety was “intact,” said wife Susan Schneider in a statement, but he was “not yet ready” to reveal his illness publicly. Schneider said she hoped that the tragedy would encourage others to “seek the care and support they need” to fight their personal battles and “feel less afraid.”
The German auto giant is taking aim at email traffic jams. Employees at Daimler are being given the option — and many are saying “Jawohl” — of having their emails deleted while on vacation. The Stuttgart-based carmaker is offering staff the “emotional relief” of not having to face hundreds of emails in their inboxes upon their return, following psychological research about employees’ well-being. Of course, folks are going to still send correspondence — no doubt begging for jobs.
Can we beat the clock? Jet lag sufferers may soon breeze through time zone changes with the help of a pill. Scientists have identified a gene called Lhx1, a master clock of sorts that controls circadian rhythms and brain receptors that respond to light. Researchers have discovered that reducing Lhx1 levels helps lab mice adjust to a simulated jet-setting environment. If drug makers can concoct a drug to suppress the Lhx1 effect, it could soon mean having time on our side.
When the dust settled, scientists got to work. Seven microscopic particles of dust — brought to Earth by NASA’s Stardust probe — could be the first material from outside our solar system to make a landing. Scientists believe the “precious particles” were created in interstellar space — material originating in stars before the birth of the sun and condensed into solid particles. If confirmed, the clean-up act could shed light on the makeup of the cosmos.
He’s on deck. Rob Manfred has been elected Major League Baseball’s new commissioner and is set to take over from 22-year vet Bud Selig in January. Some complained that Manfred’s initial pronouncement, which noted that he has “very big shoes to fill,” failed to outline his vision. But most pundits and baseball lovers hailed his selection as a potential home run. They think Manfred can keep players satisfied, on the field and out of the strike zone.