It’s been predicted, it’s been spoofed and now it’s happening. America’s former chief diplomat, senator and first lady announced her 2016 presidential candidacy today in an e-mail to supporters and a YouTube video. Saying “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” The Democrat says she wants to be the “champion” that “everyday Americans” need. She’s got backing from donors, voters and Obama, but carries a lot of baggage. Meanwhile, some Republicans will be winding up a “Stop Hillary” campaign as GOP hopefuls compete to be their party’s anti-Clinton.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The topics weren’t important. What mattered was that, after a half-century of Cold War and heated encounters, U.S. and Cuban leaders finally met. Obama called it an effort to “take away the excuse” of non-engagement used by so many nations to blame America. He and Raul Castro met Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, and pronounced their talks “candid and fruitful.” But Cuba’s widely predicted removal from the U.S. terror-backing nations list didn’t happen, as Obama said he’ll first need to review a State Department assessment.
As Boston prepares for the second anniversary of the fatal marathon bombing on Wednesday, the man responsible for the 2013 attack stares down his fate. After jurors took just 11.5 hours to convict the defendant on all counts, the trial now enters the sentencing phase. Prosecutors will argue for the death penalty, while the bomber’s lead attorney — an expert at keeping clients off death row — will fight it. But even if the defense loses, closure may take years as the case winds through appeals.
The nation is reeling in the wake of last weekend’s killer cop video. Captured by Feidin Santana, it shows a North Charleston officer, Michael Slager, repeatedly shooting a fleeing Walter Scott, who was buried Saturday with a police escort. Worried for his own safety, the bystander almost erased the footage that led to Slager’s murder charge. It may bolster #blacklivesmatter activists’ arguments, but Santana observed that his video is “not something that anyone can feel good about.” As fallout continues, expect more police departments to follow President Obama’s urging and mandate lapel cams.
In many ways, it already has. The China Ocean Shipping Company rents part of the Port of Piraeus, where it has created an efficient system that dwarfs the business of its Greek-run counterpart. But the freight company stands accused of undercutting union pay and concealing worker injuries. Greece has announced it will sell most of its port shares, and COSCO has the upper hand in bidding, which could put the port on par with Hamburg and Rotterdam while giving China a bigger entrée to the European market.
Has there ever been an unlikelier hegemon than Chad? Compared with Nigeria, its powerful southern neighbor, this Saharan edge nation looks harmless: With just 13 million inhabitants, it has a GDP that’s 37 times smaller. But Nigeria has failed to rout Boko Haram, while Chad’s military has made surprising progress. This latest terror-fighting venture has extended Chad’s influence and earned the support of France and the U.S., but its history of cross-border meddling gives neighbors pause, and empowering Chad could come back to haunt the West.
Turkey angered by Pope’s Armenian ‘genocide’ reference. (BBC)
Two bomb attacks kill 13 on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. (Reuters)
FBI agents sought graver charges in Blackwater killings. (NYT)
Zoo blames parents in toddler’s fall into cheetah enclosure. (ABC)
American Jordan Speith, 21, poised to win Masters. (Daily Mail)
Tourist sites extol Manitoba’s “untouched natural beauty,” but it has an ugly secret: Aboriginal females disappear and are killed at an alarming rate. These descendants of French settlers and native Canadians are four times more likely to be murdered than other Canadians. Sixty percent of the crimes are linked to domestic abuse, while the rest are tied to strangers, including clients of those driven by poverty into prostitution. While some attribute the trend to a legacy of racism, victims’ advocates say authorities must do more to shield Winnipeg’s aboriginal women.
Her creativity knows no bounds. While most kids her age were studying photosynthesis, 17-year-old Kalia Firester was developing genetic engineering alternatives to toxic pesticides. The cutting-edge research earned her a $75,000 second-place prize at the Intel Science Talent Search, the Super Bowl of science. Fiercely artistic, the New York City teen is also an accomplished playwright and artist who finds inspiration in unlikely places. Her idea for a natural pesticide, for example, stemmed from a passage in Jurassic Park and holds potential to feed the world.
A Bahrain bank’s multibillion-dollar default crippled the Middle East’s banking industry, and the well-regarded Gosaibi family got stuck with the bill. But they accuse a son-in-law of forging documents and creating a loan portfolio that put $25 million in the name of his driver. An American banker was also blamed but cleared, leaving him free to finance movies like Lesbian Vampire Killers. But 63 banks are left wondering where their billions went, and the Gosaibis have filed lawsuits as Bahrain’s financial sector tries to regain its luster.
Some 200 miles from the chaotic bustle of Rangoon, Naypyidaw has insanely wide avenues, a safari park, gleaming fake pagodas — and no pedestrians, except street cleaners and crews building an essentially empty city. Some say it’s the $4 billion product of a former dictator’s dementia, with a moat around parliamentary buildings and manicured golf courses in one of the world’s poorest nations. It’s also the unlikely address of dissident heroine Aung San Suu Kyi and emblematic of Myanmar’s seemingly abortive democratic transition.
Did they treat him with kid gloves? An investigation into the Pro Bowler’s controversial rape case involving nine women in four states raises serious questions about how police handled accusations against the former NFL star. At least two rape kits were reportedly destroyed by police, and in Louisiana, a former deputy sheriff stands accused of being Sharper’s accomplice. The report suggests that proper policing could’ve prevented the attacks. Despite the mishaps, Sharper is facing a 20-year sentence but will likely be free after just nine years, or one year for each victim.