They’ve got Iraqi forces on the run. The militants have taken the main government building in the capital of the Anbar Province, as well as the main police building. The charge began last night with deadly car bombs and suicide attacks, officials say. The apparent fall of Ramadi, only 70 miles from Baghdad, is a major victory for ISIS, which has tried to take it for months, and a huge step backward for government forces.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s going to pay the ultimate price. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted of 30 counts linked to the April 15, 2013, attacks, was sentenced to death yesterday in a Massachusetts courtroom. Guilty of killing four and injuring hundreds, 17 seriously, Tsarnaev showed no emotion as he learned his fate. The judge thanked the jury of seven women and five men for their service, and a number of victims heralded the decision via social media. But real closure may be some time in coming, thanks to appeals that are likely to take years.
Desperation was written across their faces. A boat of 300 asylum-seekers — mostly persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar — has been sent from Thai waters after being stranded for a week. Armed men reportedly boarded overnight to repair the engine and deliver food before moving the boat south. The actions signal a decision by Bangkok not to accommodate increasing numbers of migrants fleeing persecution or poverty in Myanmar and Bangladesh, thousands of whom are being abandoned by traffickers in the mounting humanitarian crisis at sea.
They’ve apparently admitted defeat, and three of the men suspected of trying to oust President Nkurunziza have been arrested. Forces loyal to the president claim to have quashed the violence, and Nkurunziza has returned to Burundi from Tanzania, vowing to restore order and seek justice. But he and his supporters face a fractured military and increasingly disgruntled public — many of whom applauded the coup attempt. The leader of the rebellion, General Godefroid Niyombare, is still on the run and has reportedly said, “I hope they won’t kill us.”
Shots for every kid. That’s the idea behind a bill that just passed the state Senate that would require parents who don’t vaccinate their kids to homeschool them — or get them vaccinated. The move comes after scores sickened from measles tied to an unvaccinated person at Disneyland, but it’s also highly controversial. Thousands have protested the bill, and won a big concession that grandfathers in kids who have skipped their shots already. It’s not a done deal yet, as the bill still needs to pass the assembly and clear the governor’s desk.
It could’ve been avoided. The derailed Amtrak train, which killed eight and injured 200 on Tuesday in Philadelphia, was equipped with a speed-control system that could have automatically slowed the engine, had it been operational. But budget constraints and technical problems delayed its launch. The railroad service had been forced to negotiate with private wireless companies for access to necessary airwaves, but struggled to secure the rights. In response to the tragedy, President Obama is pushing for a new infrastructure-boosting transportation bill.
Tread carefully. That’s the message from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, who’s warning bankers that their breakneck bond-buying could ramp up income inequality and further destabilize the global economy if left unchecked. Draghi has been behind the Continent’s monetary easing program — and says the stimulus will continue — but he’s growing concerned that quantitative easing in a post-crash world could eventually mean households start saving, rather than spending more, thereby having exactly the opposite of the intended effect.
Wreckage of U.S. helicopter spotted in Nepal. (NBC)
China, India vow to resolve border dispute. (SCMP)
Stephanopoulos donations to Clinton Foundation spark GOP rebuke. (CNN Money)
U.S., Cuba plan to discuss embassies next week. (BBC)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hear Tom Brady’s appeal. (CBS)
The King of the Blues has gone quiet. Born Riley B. King, the Mississippi native who appeared in hundreds of concerts annually — well into his golden years — died last night in Las Vegas. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer had been in hospice care with diabetes and high blood pressure. Known for spreading love of the blues globally, he’ll forever be remembered for one-note solos on “Lucille,” his Gibson ES-355, and for topping his genre-blending tunes with a voice full of soul.
They’ll still have a driver behind the wheel, just in case. Google has announced it’s putting the pedal to the metal with its self-driving tech, letting the bubble-shaped cars roam free on public roads in preparation for an era when autonomous cars will be available to the public. Since 94 percent of accidents are caused by driver error, Googe’s hoping its car pods, whose speed is capped at 25 miles per hour for the moment, will steer us toward the future.
It’s a small country, but this could have a big impact. Xavier Bettel, a liberal politician in a fairly conservative duchy, is taking advantage of a law passed just months ago to become the first EU leader to have a same-sex marriage, and only the second in the world — the first was Iceland’s prime minister in 2010. Bettel is being touted a symbol of social change in Luxembourg — and may herald a liberal reawakening in Europe, which has been skewing to the right.
Girl power takes center stage as Hollywood revisits the post-apocalyptic outback, with Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa character using her smarts as well as power to outwit the bad guys. It’s a rare chance for a woman to stake her claim in an action film, one critic says. But there’s an outcry among men who expected a testosterone flick, and instead face a script so flipped they feel duped. We dare them to say that to Theron’s face when she’s in full Furiosa.
This may give you shivers. Some fans of Blue Bell’s frozen treats are refusing to be deterred by a national product recall following a deadly listeria outbreak. With store shelves empty, devotees are turning to Craigslist and eBay and bidding thousands for half-eaten pints, despite warnings from the company that they should be thrown away. Though eBay is doing its part by busily taking down listings, superfans may not be put off until the ice cream repopulates shelves … or leaves someone else permanently cold.
Did they take someone else’s idea for a spin? Kevin Halpern, founder of Celluride, is suing Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and others at the San Francisco startup, claiming they stole his idea for a ride-sharing service. Halpern claims Kalanick gained his trust while consulting on Celluride before stabbing him in the back, and is suing for misappropriation of trade secrets. He’s also seeking damages, claiming injury of more than $1 billion. But Uber is fighting back, vowing not to let the accusation ride.
They swim against the tide in one big way. Scientists, who previously knew little about the biology of the opah, aka moonfish, have just discovered that the deep-sea predator — which resembles a manhole cover — is the only known warm-blooded fish. Other species, like tuna and shark, can generate heat temporarily yet must resurface to warm up. But the deceptively speedy opah, once considered a passive slow-mover, can keep its whole body warmer than the surrounding water and stay submerged indefinitely.
No Love? No problem. Cleveland, without Kevin Love and having lost point guard Kyrie Irving midgame to injury, put away the hobbled Bulls with ease yesterday, 94-73, to claim their spot in the Eastern Conference finals. Matthew Dellavedova picked up the slack with 19 points, giving an unusually lackluster LeBron James a helping hand. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles the Rockets powered back from 19 points down in the second half against the Clippers, keeping their playoff hopes alive for another day.