The clinics will stay open. The nation’s high court continued its historic week of rulings by deciding to at least temporarily allow nine of the Lone Star State’s abortion clinics to remain open. The 5-4 vote overturned a requirement that clinics meet the standards of “ambulatory surgical centers” in order to freely operate. The 2013 law’s restrictions had already forced about half of the state’s clinics to close. The Court must still decide whether to consider an appeal that could still effectively force most of the state’s clinics to shutter.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Into the junk pile. S&P again downgraded Greece’s credit rating on Monday, further devaluating the country’s economic outlook which the agency had already placed into “junk” status. The S&P now gives Greece a 50 percent chance of exiting the European Union. The slip came after bailout talks collapsed over the weekend after Athens announced a public referendum on payings its debts. Greek banks remain closed until the vote on July 5th, with stocks dipping in Europe and Asia in anticipation of a looming Tuesday due date for Greece’s $1.8 billion IMF loan
Attorney Hisham Barakat has died from internal bleeding at the al-Nozha hospital in the Egyptian capital, hours after his motorcade was attacked earlier today. According to witnesses, the bomb shattered glass in stores and injured civilians and police officers. The chief of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, Maha Azzam, is saying the killing is “a serious blow to the security situation in Cairo,” which has recently been threatened with more violence by affiliates of the Islamic State. Barakat was an important figure in the acquittal of former president Hosni Mubarak and the arrest of members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The high court continued its decision-making today with important case resolutions. First, the court ruled against three Oklahoma inmates who argued the use of the midazolam sedative did not make people fully unconscious, thereby violating the ban on cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. In a redistricting claim, the court upheld the right of states to use independent commissions to create electoral boundaries, blocking off the potential political partisans drawing up those lines. And in a rebuke to Obama administration policy, the court dismissed the Environmental Protection Agency’s action seeking to remove mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.
June 30 had been the finish line. But as negotiations continue without agreement on crucial points concerning Iran’s nuclear program — research bans, inspections and sanctions among them — officials on both sides are admitting that the talks are likely to stretch past Tuesday. Some Western negotiators have even expressed private concerns that Iran may be backpedaling on previous concessions. But if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry can stick the landing, he’ll have cemented his place in history — assuming it isn’t followed by a rumbling beneath the Persian plains.
The central African country suffered a bomb attack this morning that killed 11 people, including 5 cops. The two explosions rocked the Dinguessou neighborhood of N’Djamena a day after the national government announced the apprehension of alleged militants in connection with another bombing two weeks ago. That attack killed 34 people and was connected to Islamic terrorists. Many suspect Boko Haram, though they haven’t taken responsibility, given its recent threats to Chad after the nation joined forces with Nigeria to chase the militant group out of its regional strongholds.
Never has the term “commonwealth” seemed more cruelly ironic. The U.S. territory in the Caribbean, long in recession, is now facing default, with $72 billion in debt that will likely never be paid off, according to a new economic analysis. The island has until Wednesday to repay creditors $416 million to avoid default — something they’ve amassed a team of global banking gurus to help prevent. Officials hope they can come up with a plan to restructure the commonwealth’s financial burdens, but it may be too late.
Cigarette suspected in flash fire at Taiwan water park party. (AP)
New York authorities catch breath after capturing escapee. (NYT)
Israel blocks ship, arrests crew trying to ‘break Gaza blockade.’ (CNN)
Taliban convoy ambush claims 11 Afghan soldiers. (Reuters)
Bubba Watson wins golf’s Travelers Championship. (USA Today)
He’s being deported. The media mogul and newly minted presidential candidate can stop weighing the complications of his TV or beauty pageant deals. NBC said they were severing ties with the former “Celebrity Apprentice” host and Miss USA and Miss Universe co-owner after disparaging comments made about Mexican immigrants during his campaign announcement. A number of Latino advocacy groups pressured NBC to terminate the deal and the network said Celebrity Apprentice is moving forward with a new host while the pageants will have to find a different home entirely.
The Supreme Court announced it will reconsider the case of a white woman who sued her home state because she alleges her application for admission to a public university was denied due to her race. The case went to the high court in 2013 but was sent down to a lower appeals court in a 7-1 vote. The admissions policy of the University of Texas states that 75 percent of admitted students must graduate in the top ten percent of their high school class while 25 percent are let in based on “personal achievement’ and may include race considerations.
The Solar Impulse left Japan on a five-day flight across the Pacific. Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg began the first leg of his multistage, solar powered global trek planning to rest in 20-minute intervals over the 120-hour, 5,100-mile journey. The plane’s 17,000 solar cells recharge each morning as the sun rises over the Pacific and reaches top speeds of around 87mph. The 62-year-old pilot will have to endure temperatures of around 100 degrees as he balances long stretches of gliding the plane between attempts to catch waves of powerful sunrays.
They weren’t tickled pink. Turkish police rained on the LGBT community’s parade yesterday, attacking the raucous march with tear gas and water cannons. Though homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the gay community doesn’t have many legal protections — and while it’s unclear why police decided to break up the event after allowing it in the past, some believe police heard participants calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “fascist.” As activists await an official explanation, many fear that more such crackdowns are coming.
It blew up in their face. The crew of the International Space Station has waited months to be resupplied, but Falcon 9’s explosion yesterday marked the third cargo rocket in a year that has failed — meaning no new tools or food for the two Russians and one American in orbit. They’re stocked through October, so NASA is banking on upcoming summer missions, such as Russia’s Friday cargo flight. But SpaceX is scrambling to determine what went wrong in a bid to salvage its reputation … and see it take off.
There’s time for second thoughts. Every four years, February gets a 29th day — a leap to synchronize the solar and calendar years. But clocks will also be set back a second tomorrow, at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Earth’s rotation is slowing down slightly, and days, calibrated at 86,400 seconds long, are actually closer to 86,400.002, so periodic “leap seconds” align the atomic clock with reality. In 2012, the 61-second minute confused computers enough to crash websites, so Google and hyper-sensitive stock markets are taking no chances.
It could’ve opened up a host of opportunities. But the New York native, who would have been the first female host of Comedy Central’s flagship Daily Show and a powerful symbol for women in comedy, says she didn’t want to lock herself into a five-year commitment. The network also reportedly approached Amy Poehler for the job, but ultimately settled on relatively unknown comedian Trevor Noah. Fans of Schumer’s brash, feminist comedy will still be seeing plenty of her, though, as her film Trainwreck debuts July 17.
He’s courting intrigue. King James wants to be free, forgoing his $21.6 million player option for next season. But Cleveland fans needn’t cry. It’s the superstar’s signature move — his third free agent stint in six seasons — and he’s expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers at the NBA limit of $22 million. That way, he can take the same option next year, when the salary cap increases. But his allegiance may depend on the Cavs retaining other free agents like Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love.