America isn’t negotiating with terrorists, but it did try to root them out. The U.S sent troops into Syria in search of hostages, including James Foley, just weeks before he was beheaded by an Islamic State militant. Sadly, none were found. The militants had demanded a ransom for Foley before killing him, but the U.S. refused. President Obama said Foley’s beheading “shocked the conscience of the world.” The attention now turns to the fate of other U.S. captives in militant hands.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Now the police are being told to calm down. The streets of Ferguson, Missouri, were relatively peaceful last night — for the first time since Michael Brown was killed by a cop on August 9. Tensions eased after the start of a grand jury investigation into the unarmed teenager’s death and the arrival of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. But one police officer was suspended indefinitely yesterday after pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a protester and threatening to kill him.
Putin apparently doesn’t like freedom fries. Moscow’s shutting down four McDonald’s restaurants — including the first American fast-food eatery in the nation — using authorities’ go-to claim that the chain was peddling contaminated products. U.S. fast food outlets have been increasingly targeted as relations between the two nations sour over Ukraine. McDonald’s aims to keep flipping burgers in Russia, where it serves more than a million daily customers in 400 outlets, but authorities there may be cooking up other plans.
Virginia may be for lovers, but gay marriages will have to wait. Same-sex couples cancelled their weddings as the U.S. Supreme Court blocked such nuptials. The court stepped in suddenly after a federal appeals court that tossed Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages refused to delay the impact of its ruling. Opponents of the unions cheered, but proponents hope this — and similar cases across the country — will finally prompt a high court ruling allowing gay marriage.
Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders. (BBC)
Bank of America to pay $17 billion to Justice Department. (WSJ) sub
Police fire on Liberians protesting Ebola quarantine. (Reuters)
Thailand elects military general who led bloodless coup as PM. (DW)
Why invade if you can’t enjoy the spoils? That’s what some 130,000 sweaty, angry Russians may have wondered after visiting Crimea, having answered Putin’s call for patriotic tourism. Those unable to score scarce discount plane tickets found that waiting for one of five ferries to and from Russia takes up to 60 hours, resulting in a hazardous — and for one man, fatal — social experiment. The overland route — zig-zagging through Ukrainian army lines — may be gaining some appeal.
The professional football league needs to fine-tune its pitch. It recently told Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay that they were the top candidates to perform in the next Super Bowl halftime show — and then invited them to sing for their supper. The league told the stars they wouldn’t be getting paid and asked them to fork over post-game tour revenue. Unsurprisingly, the performers are not singing the NFL’s praises.
If you’ve ever held a downward dog, you have Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar to thank. The man who popularized yoga throughout the West died yesterday in India. A sickly child, Iyengar discovered a talent for flexibility and a dedication to yoga as a teenager. In the 1950s, Iyengar visited Europe, beginning a series of global treks that led to the establishment of his Iyengar Yoga institutes in 70 countries. He codified sutras into moves, leading millions down the path to inner peace.
Silence your smartphone, but don’t put it away. Some Chinese cinemas are trying out new “bullet screens,” enabling members of the audience to project texted comments in migrating “bullets” superimposed on the big screen as the feature plays. In a nod to young moviegoers, promoters even invite snarky commentary — it’s half the fun, they say. The other half? The 10 cents the front office gets for each projected cheap shot.
It seems even God can’t help the Chicago Cubs. In Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead when rain stopped play. Their ground crew couldn’t properly roll a tarp over the field, leading umpires to call the game, adding to Chicago’s lonely win column. The Giants, fighting for a playoff spot, protested the ruling. For the first time since 1986, MLB officials agreed, forcing the Cubs to defend their lead this afternoon on mere faith.