It’s unclear who’s in charge. An army general tried to grab control of the central African nation yesterday, forcefully opposing President Nkurunziza’s court-sanctioned bid for a third term in office. Former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare claims his men have seized control of government buildings and an airport, but the military insists the president — whose location is unknown — remains in control. The chaos, in a country still recovering from a brutal civil war between its minority Tutsis and majority Hutus, is fueling fears of more bloodshed.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Somebody has to take them in. Officials are warning of “boats full of corpses” as thousands of Muslim migrants fleeing persecution in Myanmar attempt to escape to neighboring countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, but find themselves refused at every port. In the Andaman Sea, a wooden boat filled with about 350 people who have been abandoned by their crew say that 10 of their fellow passengers have died — and more may follow, if the refugees aren’t supplied with food and water.
It was going way too fast. The Amtrak train that derailed on Tuesday in Philadelphia, killing seven, was going 106 mph, more than twice the legal speed. Investigators must determine whether other factors — faulty alarms or track conditions — also played a role. As of last night, some passengers had still not been accounted for, but that didn’t stop politicians in Washington, D.C., the train’s departure point, from rejecting greater funding for Amtrak, prompting fresh debates over the nation’s beleaguered railway service.
Philippine authorities say charges will be brought to avenge the deaths of at least 72 employees killed by a fire yesterday in a Manila footwear factory. The blaze was reportedly sparked by welding work being done near its front entrance, igniting flammable chemicals and triggering a massive explosion. It’s believed the victims fled upstairs, where they found themselves trapped by iron-grilled windows before the concrete floor collapsed. Crews plan to continue searching for 63 more missing workers, as well as incriminating clues, throughout today.
They like feeling needed. The kingdom has been using oil as a weapon to dominate the global energy market, driving up production in spite of low prices in a bid to squeeze out rival crude and U.S. shale producers. And a Saudi official has now declared the strategy a success, with the price glut quieting competitors and giving Saudi Arabia the upper hand, at least for now. Even more costly? Adoption of non-fossil fuels could be delayed by the kingdom’s efforts to “extend the age of oil.”
An 8th Victim of the Amtrak Crash Has Been Found (Reuters)
House passes USA Freedom Act aimed at curbing NSA data collection. (The Hill)
U.S. Navy patrols draw Chinese ire, warnings. (CNN)
Jeb Bush takes GOP flak for response on Iraq. (Washington Post)
Saudis vow to match Iranian nuclear capability. (NYT)
It was a steel — or rather, 35 tons of it. When Bernard Maas bought a factory in New South Wales, he discovered a windfall in an abandoned shed: the hefty Olympic symbols that adorned Sydney Harbour Bridge for the 2000 Summer Games. Maas posted the rings on eBay, where they sold for $17,000 to a Sydney man who hopes to move them to Queensland — just as soon as he figures out how to transport 10 semi-trucks worth of metal.
They’re going to try softer methods. Though Greece had been threatening litigation over the British Museum’s refusal to hand over the famous Elgin Marbles — especially when one was lent to Russia’s Hermitage Museum last year — they say they’ll be pursuing diplomatic avenues instead. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney had been urging them to take the case to the International Court of Justice, but Greece may be unwilling to risk a final judgment that could forever negate their historic claim to the sculptures, which were acquired by Britain 200 years ago.
Call it Plan B, if Plan A is wearing sunscreen. A new study reveals that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, can drastically reduce non-melanoma skin cancer risk in people who have had the disease before. The study of 386 patients showed that those who took supplements enjoyed a 23 percent risk reduction. Such a positive result gives skin cancer survivors reason to stock up — and scientists cause to investigate whether B3 could even help prevent the disease.
Time to pack it up? By summer, the U.S. and Canada will run out of the distinct numerical codes assigned under the traditional IPv4 format. To crack the problem, we’ll need to either free up unused IP addresses or adopt the newer hexadecimal IPv6 format, allowing for 340 undecillion addresses — which should last, since that’s enough for one per atom on Earth. While other countries ran out of the shorter codes long ago, North American companies now face expensive hardware upgrades in order to move on.
Someone tell him he’s not really a pirate. Johnny Depp used a private plane to smuggle his two terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the land Down Under, where he’s filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. But bypassing the required 10-day quarantine left authorities far from impressed. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said, “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off,” adding that the star has two days to get his hounds out of the country, or they’ll walk the plank.
So much for a classic finale. After a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty put Real Madrid level with Juventus 2-2 in the two-game series, it looked like the reigning champs might have a shot at lifelong rival Barcelona in the Champions League final. But a second-half goal by Alvaro Morata — who once played for Madrid — sealed the deal, pushing the Italian squad through as Real failed to capitalize on late chances. Juventus now faces red-hot Messi’s team on June 6, in its first championship since 2003.