Whether you call it genocide or mass murder, 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turks 100 years ago following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Today, the newly anointed saints — the Armenian church just canonized them en masse — are being remembered around the globe, with world leaders converging in Yerevan, Armenia, for the commemoration. Debate continues over the use of the word “genocide,” with Turks refusing, Obama avoiding and Germans debating, but pressure is mounting for Turkey to come to terms with its founding fathers’ misdeeds.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Not even the Pope is safe. Italian officials kicked off a major anti-terror investigation, they announced Friday, after wiretaps discovered members of a terror cell plotting potential attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Italy — and the Vatican. This cell had direct contact with Osama bin Laden before his 2011 death, authorities say, and they’re suspected of moving serious cash around the world. Like a Hydra, even with the head cut off, the terror cells keep coming.
It was supposed to be their grand finale. The cast at Westfield High in Indiana moved to stage front for their last song of the evening when the stage collapsed, throwing them into the orchestra pit. More than a dozen kids were hurt, some seriously, at least one critically. For many, it’s a reminder of a state fair stage collapse that claimed lives in 2011. High school classes resumed this morning.
What does this mean for his campaign? Mary Pat Christie has resigned, setting off speculation that she had to prepare to campaign for her husband, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, in a potential campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Christie’s approval ratings are at an all-time low is his home state, but governors and widely accepted as more popular presidential candidates than politicians who originate in the Senate. If the governor runs, he’ll be up against senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, as well as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
They’re not doing their brothers any favors. The University of Florida suspended Zeta Beta Tau after a group of its members allegedly spat on and insulted some disabled veterans on Panama City Beach. The university will be launching a full investigation into the incident, which involved frat boys spitting on veterans who were at the beach for a retreat, tearing flags off their cars, throwing beer bottles and urinating off balconies. Three members have been expelled and the fraternity says it’ll launch its own internal investigation as well.
President Obama has expressed “profound regret” for the January strike on an al-Qaida compound that accidentally killed American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. Intelligence had suggested that no civilians were present at the time. The president reportedly favors using drones to kill terrorists without risking American casualties, and unmanned aerials have taken out hundreds of militants. But the hostages’ deaths are likely to spark debate over whether drone strikes, obscured by distance and the fog of war, simply miss the target.
Let the good times roll. The dotcom boom may be long gone, but the second-largest stock exchange in the U.S. has reached that era’s levels once again, closing at a whopping 5,056.06 yesterday and topping its March 2000 peak of 5,048.62. The exchange has risen 20 percent since October, fueled by investment in tech giants like Apple, Netflix and Google. And thanks to positive — and profitable — forecasts, the surge is likely to continue in the months ahead.
The judge wants him to pay for his lapse. Prosecutors sought a $40,000 fine, but the judge imposed the maximum penalty to impress upon the disgraced former CIA chief that leaking classified documents to lover/biographer Paula Broadwell was a bad idea. The retired general escapes jail time with two years’ probation, wrapping up what’s proven an embarrassing cap to an otherwise illustrious career. Petraeus, who now works in the private sector, will likely continue consulting for the White House on matters of national security.
Yemen violence has claimed more than 500 lives, including at least 115 children, UN report says. (AP)
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ actor Sawyer Sweeten, 19, commits suicide. (NBC)
Human rights advocates say EU not doing enough for migrants. (BBC)
Indonesia prepares for Bali Nine executions. (The Guardian)
U.S. Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as attorney general. (Reuters)
Is HSBC looking to leave the U.K.? (FT) sub
It fits in your pocket, but that’s not how it got the name. The 5.5-inch specimen, which was found in a freezer at the NOAA after being pulled from the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has a distinctive pouch next to its pectoral fin. This is only the second pocket shark ever found — the other was discovered 36 years ago near Peru. Biologists will have to do more research to discover how the sharks can have such a large geographical range and remain so unknown to humans.
Roles for women of a certain age remain slim — and that certain age keeps dropping. One way to fix that is to create more roles for women who aren’t 22, and one way to do that is to hire more middle aged female writers. That’s the logic behind Streep helping fund a three-day workshop for a select group of female screenwriters to help combat “decades of ageism,” at the New York Women in Film note. Maybe this is also Streep’s way of ensuring she’ll keep getting those plum roles.
They’re giving mourners grief. The People’s Republic is dead serious about killing burlesque shows and stripteases at rural funerals. Public nudity is a no-no in China, but the belief that respect for the dead is measured by crowd size has fed a decades-long tradition of raunchy send-offs. The Ministry of Culture says it’s teaming up with police to terminate the practice, but some families — seeing it as fun equivalent to karaoke — will probably keep sending grandpa to that final lap dance in the sky.
They’re walking away. America’s biggest cable provider has reportedly withdrawn its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, after failing to convince regulators that it’d be good for media and Internet consumers. Comcast is expected to confirm the U-turn today, a move that stemmed from antitrust officials recommending a procedural hearing that almost certainly would’ve barred the merger. TWC, meanwhile, fought to resuscitate the deal until yesterday. While both sides lick their wounds, competitors like 21st Century Fox are breathing a sigh of relief.
It didn’t strike them as funny. A dozen actors, mostly Navajo, have exited The Ridiculous Six, citing a script they say misrepresents Apache culture and is offensive to Native American women. Netflix, maker of the Magnificent Seven spoof starring Adam Sandler, defended the flick, noting the word “ridiculous” in its title. While the protesters understand it’s a comedy, they still find some jokes — like naming one woman “Beaver’s Breath” — upsetting. Filming continues, and audiences can decide who gets the last laugh.
Money may buy happiness after all. Prosperity was a major indicator in this year’s World Happiness Report, which awarded Western European countries all but three of the top 10 slots — the others going to New Zealand, Australia and Canada — and the U.S. notably ranked 15th out of the 158 countries. Researchers, who tallied rankings for freedom, life expectancy, income and social connections to determine the happiest places in the world, hope governments will work to maximize well-being by promoting prosperity and social support.
They each had a little something extra. Top-seeded Golden State pulled off a spectacular 20-point fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime and rip victory from the Pelicans’ beaks, taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, needed two overtimes of their own — and Derrick Rose’s 34 points — to take charge of their series against the Milwaukee Bucks. If they can pull off road victories again on Saturday, both the Bulls and Warriors will charge through to the second round.