At around 9 p.m., a young white man in a gray sweatshirt allegedly opened fire at one of America’s oldest black churches. Police say nine people have been killed at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, as people prayed across the street after police kept people from the scene, citing a potential bomb threat. Now authorities are on a manhunt for the shooter — they’ve detained at least one person but have indicated that the suspect is still at large — while families gather for information about their loved ones.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Tragic aftershocks are being felt from the Bay Area to South Dublin. Six young students were killed and another seven injured, some seriously, when a balcony gave way early yesterday during a 21st birthday party in Berkeley, California. Most of the victims were Irish students, in the U.S. on work visas, who were crowded onto a fourth-floor apartment balcony when it collapsed. An Irish official said the accident — the latest to cast negative light on the work-visa program — had left his country “frozen in grief.”
The Continent is bracing for disaster while leaders engage in a war of words and catastrophic predictions. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is accusing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of misleading his country about eurozone creditors’ demands while Tsipras says Brussels is trying to “humiliate” Greece. Caught in the middle is Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, whose solidarity with the Greeks has also come under fire. In the meantime, Greece central bank governor Yannis Stournaras says that if tomorrow’s last-ditch efforts don’t resolve the crisis, the country faces a deep recession and severe unemployment.
Is it facing another famine? The Hermit Kingdom says it’s suffering its worst drought in 100 years, with more than 30 percent of its rice paddies “parching up.” The news is sparking fears of food shortages in a country where a third of children are already malnourished. Many hope recent agricultural reforms, including the advent of privately run farms, will help stem the crisis. But new restrictions on aid have slowed support and food distribution, and the U.N. is campaigning for $111 million to help meet the country’s humanitarian needs.
The Labor Commission of the State of California has ruled that drivers who work for Uber are considered employees under the law, and are not independent contractors, leading the way for possible challenges in tax compensations. In an appeal submitted today, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company argued its primary business is creating an avenue for ride transactions because it does not directly manage the hours of its thousands of affiliated cars. However, the commission found the company, run by young entrepreneur Travis Kalanick, does act like an employer at times, including deactivating inactive accounts. Other sharing-economy companies will watch this case very closely.
They’re pulling out the big guns. Russia’s plan to put 40 more intercontinental ballistic missiles into service this year has left NATO’s chief seething. Jens Stoltenberg is accusing Moscow of trying to destabilize and provoke, saying this “nuclear saber-rattling … is unjustified.” While Eastern European countries are unnerved by the confrontational move, which follows U.S. plans to place heavy weapons in Lithuania, others reckon the Cold War’s lessons — combined with Russia’s crippled economy — will slow any potential arms race.
Report says Wal-Mart has $76 Billion in overseas tax havens. (Bloomberg)
Will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? Stay tuned. (FT) sub
U.N. panel: Prosecute sexual offenders among peacekeepers. (DW)
Nine California cities are running low on H2O. (USA Today)
Pope’s climate change message adds political pressure. (NYT)
He needs to fine-tune his approach. Donald Trump’s unsanctioned use of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” to announce his presidential bid may match his maverick image, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — a Canadian who’s rooting for Bernie Sanders — has asked the property billionaire to cease and desist. Young’s manager emailed Trump’s team about the misstep, and while it’s unclear how they’ll respond, former bandmate David Crosby warns “Neil will have him dismembered” if Trump doesn’t quit.
Unlimited means unlimited. So says the FCC, which issued a massive fine against the telecom giant, for allegedly misleading customers over their “unlimited” usage data plans. AT&T is accused of drastically slowing speeds after users reached a certain data threshold each month, a practice going back to 2011. The FCC has received thousands of complaints over the past four years, with the average customer having their speeds throttled 12 days out of each monthly billing cycle. AT&T says it will challenge the fine though an eventual settlement is expected.
Swiss prosecutors investigating FIFA corruption schemes on bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups announced there are currently 53 possible cases of money laundering. The Attorney General in charge of the probe said the country’s banks dutifully reported suspicious activities related to the schemes. Soccer’s governing organization has been unraveling ever since the FBI announced indictments of several high-ranking officials a month ago, even leading to planned resignation of its firebrand president Sepp Blatter. As investigations continue, expect further calls for the reassignment of the Cups to other, less-controversial countries.
A letter written by an overworked and under-respected nurse in China is stirring debate about the lengths this group of practitioners goes to in order to provide care. On the WeChat page of a medical magazine, Yan Xiaobing described a lack of compassion from the medical establishment regarding family obligations and physical rest, noting that only a “perverse system” praises staffers who work while ill. The low wage she earns, along with the demeaning attitude of patients’ families, reflects the problems of modern nursing obligations. The post has gathered thousands of page views online.
It’s a new reason to go green. Avocatin B, a lipid compound found in America’s favorite fruit, has been revealed in experiments to fight the rare blood cancer acute myeloid leukemia, which is especially deadly for senior citizens. The fat molecule goes after cancer-causing stem cells while leaving nearby healthy ones in peace. Canadian researchers say further study is needed — an avocado-derived leukemia drug is still years away from being approved for use on patients — but they’re prepping for the first stage of trials.
They want to bridge the generational divide … now. The retail giant had already announced plans to close 25 percent of its full-priced North American stores to focus instead on where millennials shop: online and at outlets. Now Gap says it’ll immediately pay off $40 million of its current mall leases rather than letting them run out. While it’s willing to take a big initial hit to rehabilitate itself as a brand for young buyers, many fear the move will do little for the dwindling image of America’s malls.
No, not Captain America. This Evans is one of Britain’s most successful broadcast personalities — and a long-time Top Gear fan with a stunning personal car collection. He may wish he had Cap’s superpowers, though, as he tries steering the show beyond the Jeremy Clarkson years. The former host was dropped after punching a producer, leaving many to wonder what would become of the BBC’s hugely profitable show and its 350 million worldwide viewers. Many fear any host other than Clarkson will simply be spinning his wheels.
They won the battle and the war. Fending off a legendary one-man performance by LeBron James throughout the finals, Golden State proved too much to handle in a decisive Game 6, pulling away from the Cavs 105-97. The Warriors’ unsung heroes came up big last night: Draymond Green had a triple-double, while Andre Iguodala had 25 clutch points, earning him the playoff MVP award. The Warriors sealed the victory by unleashing a flurry of 3-pointers in the fourth, netting their first NBA title since 1975.