An open-ended ceasefire held through the night in Gaza, lifting hopes that the seven-week conflict is finally over. Representatives of Israel and Hamas agreed to the deal in Cairo on Tuesday and so far, there has been no exchange of fire. Some celebrated the indefinite halt of hostilities, plus further mediation and easing of Israel’s restrictions on Gaza. Optimism is scarce however; more than 100 were killed after a previous truce collapsed earlier this month.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has promised a “road map” for peace in his fractured nation following his first one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin. The Russian president says he will support peace efforts, but emphasizes that Kiev is responsible for stopping the fighting. Poroshenko has repeatedly accused Russia of arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, which Putin continues to deny. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says its 10 soldiers captured by Ukraine on the wrong side of the border “most likely crossed by accident.”
Millions of dollars’ worth of property is at risk as aftershocks continue to rattle Napa County. Thousands of California’s old brick buildings remain unprotected, even if 70 percent of its 26,000 brick structures have been demolished or reinforced for earthquakes in the last 30 years. For cities like bankrupt San Bernardino, there are few options for stabilizing infrastructure. What’s more, just 10 percent of Californians have quake insurance, a figure that exacerbates worries over the crushing financial impact of future temblors.
Are Americans falling out of love with rifles? Gun maker Smith & Wesson announced that its first-quarter gun sales were down $39.2 million, a steep fall even in a traditionally slow season. Sturm Ruger also announced a gun sales decline on Tuesday. In the past few years, there was some frenetic buying amid fears that Obama would tighten gun control. But since that legislation has failed, the market has slowed down with predictions that the year will end with a whimper rather than a bang.
Kidnapped journalist Theo Curtis arrives in U.S. (TIME)
Arizona state treasurer wins Republican primary. (Reuters)
American dies fighting for Islamic State. (CNN)
Nine-year-old accidentally kills shooting instructor. (BBC)
Liberia president fires officials who fled Ebola. (NYT)
How has Norway — one of the world’s richest and happiest countries — managed to avoid the boom-and-bust turmoil that often accompanies oil and natural gas riches? Instead of going on a spree with energy gains, the Scandinavian country has generated an $800 billion sovereign wealth fund and owns 1 percent of the world’s stocks. This reserve is big enough to make every Norwegian a millionaire, knocking back $10 espressos til the wells run dry. But with generous paychecks, most are happy to keep that well untapped.
Facebook and Twitter stifle political discussion by reinforcing the “spiral of silence,” according to new data. Based on analysis of online behavior relating to the Edward Snowden leaks, the researchers found the social media users are unlikely to share opinions that go against the grain of their friends’ beliefs, for fear of social isolation. Despite social media’s apparent role in fomenting the Arab Spring, Occupy and other mass movements, people are actually more willing to discuss controversial issues at work or over the dinner table.
In 1966, Bob Dylan got into a motorcycle accident and disappeared for a year. It turned out he’d been spending his recovery time recording hundreds of songs, 138 of which will be released this November as The Basement Tapes Complete. This 11th installment in Dylan’s bootleg series will feature “every salvageabe recording,” including early-version Dylan classics as well as some rare covers like Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” all without the 1970s-style processing that many fans believe ruined these tracks’ original sounds.
The World Health Organization called for a ban on e-cigarettes indoors, saying that second-hand smoke is still a danger. Although it’s touted as less harmful, the vaporized nicotine in artificial smoke could still present a risk to young children and pregnant women, according to a report published yesterday. Despite enthusiastic marketing campaigns to the contrary, the report says there is little conclusive evidence regarding the relative risk of e-cigarettes, which anti-tobacco campaigners treat as just a cool new version of the same old drug.
She’s ranked 1,208th and is too young to get a California driver’s license, but CiCi Bellis, 15, has wowed the US Open with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over 13th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova. Born the year Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam, Bellis is the youngest player to win at Flushing Meadows since 1996. Even if she loses her second-round matchup with top-50 player Zarina Diyas, yesterday’s win will catapult Bellis to about 430th in the world rankings.