A blast at a cultural center in southern Turkey has killed at least 28. The garden of the Amara Culture Center in Suruc, near the Syrian town of Kobane, was housing 300 delegates from the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations at the time of the explosion. Several others were injured, and the cause of the destruction has yet to be established. But some have wondered whether a suicide bomber was responsible, which may suggest that the regional battlefield between ISIS and Kurdish fighters has expanded.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’ve officially made up. At midnight the nations restored diplomatic ties, with a flag hoisted at Cuba’s newly anointed U.S. embassy after decades of Cold War bitterness. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez oversaw the flag-raising ceremony today, and the American embassy in Havana will legally open ahead of an official ceremony in August with Secretary of State John Kerry. The recent thaw means easier travel between the nations, but the trade embargo — which President Obama has asked Congress to lift — is not expected to vanish anytime soon.
They’re getting this show on the road. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously endorsed the deal between Iran and several other world powers that lifts international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. This is a major step: After two years of talks, this sets the actual deal in motion, though the U.N. can reimpose sanctions if Iran breaks its word. Now the International Atomic Energy Agency has to submit a report on Iran’s progress on its end of the deal before any more action toward lifting sanctions needs to be taken.
They were planning to breach trust, but got more than they signed up for. The 37 million users of Ashley Madison, a website that caters specifically to married people looking to have affairs, have had their personal information compromised in a massive data hack of the company. As identifying details start to leak out online, the hackers are threatening a massive data dump if Ashley Madison and one of its sister sites aren’t immediately shut down. The company says it’s investigating the leak — but that may be small comfort to the erstwhile users.
The election isn’t until January. But with the nomination of Hung Hsiu-chu as the presidential candidate from Taiwan’s ruling party, a female victory is now a sure thing — her opponent from the Democratic Progressive Party, Tsai Ing-wen, is also a woman. Both women, notably, aren’t from powerful families, one of the standard routes to political power for women in Asia. Whoever wins the presidency six months from now, she’ll become the first woman to head a society in the modern Republic of China.
Where one leads, will others follow? Japan apologized five years ago for its treatment of U.S. soldiers during World War II, but now one of its most prominent corporations is doing the same. The automotive giant issued an apology to prisoners who were forced to labor in the company’s mines, and one of only two surviving POWs, 94-year-old James Murphy, was on hand to accept. While Mitsubishi won’t be offering compensation, there’s hope that other firms will follow suit ahead of the 70th anniversary of the war’s end next month.
The markets seem happier, as does Angela Merkel. European equities opened higher today as bank doors opened to Greeks for the first time in three weeks. Following a deal to secure a third eurozone bailout, the financial institutions resumed business in a confidence-boosting measure, albeit with continued restrictions, like weekly withdrawal limits of $450 and bans on international transfers. Consumers are bracing for more austerity — including a 23 percent sales tax — but the German chancellor, at least, believes a Grexit is off the table.
He’s not letting up. The outspoken presidential candidate doubled down on his criticisms of Sen. John McCain, refusing to apologize for disparaging remarks he made in Iowa about the POW’s “hero” status. Trump defended himself in an op-ed by accusing McCain of abandoning other vets. Appalled, some fellow Republicans asked Trump to throw in the towel — and McCain called for an apology to veterans. But a new poll puts Trump 11 points ahead of his Republican 2016 rivals, meaning that even if he’s dividing his own party’s leaders, the base seems to savor the confrontational tone.
Dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest to be made public. (ABC)
Eight Afghan soldiers reportedly killed in NATO friendly fire incident. (Reuters)
Gold slumps to lowest level in five years. (FT) sub
Four Italians kidnapped in Libya. (DW)
No really, this is it. He plans to transition out over the course of the next year, eventually handing the reins over to musician Chris Thile. However, the creator of the beloved fictional Minnesota told the Assoicated Press he plans to take a few things with him, including his “News from Lake Wobegon” dispatches. The 72-year-old has hosted the program since its inception nearly 40 years ago. Still, “Prairie Home Companion” remains a vital force on the airwaves, attracting around 4 million listeners each week. Keiller is planning a 30-city farewell tour, starting next week.
He’s sure the truth is out there. Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner has promised to devote a chunk of his fortune to finding alien life, aided by a team of scientists that includes Stephen Hawking. Milner’s baby is Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year project that’ll search 101 galaxies for radio signals — and the intelligent life that might have created them. He says even if we don’t find other civilizations, the knowledge that we could be alone in the universe might encourage mankind to treat the Earth with more care.
Maybe he should give boxing a try. Defending champ Mick Fanning was surfing in the final of the J-Bay Open competition on the eastern Cape yesterday when two sharks approached. Caught live on television, one of the predators knocked Manning off his board, leaving him “waiting for the teeth.” The 34-year-old Australian kicked and punched the shark, escaping uninjured. But neither he nor fellow finalist Julian Wilson wanted to continue competing, so the event was canceled, with both men agreeing to split the title.
He’s finally ready for primetime. Garrett Morris, best known as one of the original Saturday Night Live players, has another distinction that Marvel’s creative team couldn’t overlook: being the first person to wear the Ant-Man costume in a live production. Sure, it was part of a sketch parodying super heroes after the first Superman film was released in 1979. But that was enough to earn the 78-year-old comedian a small role in the production as a cab driver that gets an unwelcome surprise when the tiny superhero manages to create a man-sized dent in his vehicle.
Could she handle freedom? Lolita, a killer whale held in Miami’s Seaquarium for 45 years, might soon go free. PETA filed a lawsuit yesterday that says keeping her in such a confined space violates the Endangered Species Act, which was updated last year to include orcas. But critics warn that releasing her into the wild might kill her, so some want to see Lolita transferred to a netted enclosure first to determine whether she can adapt before releasing her into the waters off Washington state, where she was captured in 1970.
They’re hoping to kick-start the market. Chinese demand for luxury vehicles is losing speed, forcing the German automotive giant to lower its 2015 sales targets. And now it’s showing a little love by distributing $193 million in financial aid to dealers around the country. Audi isn’t the first car company to do this — Volkswagen paid out $161 million to Chinese dealers earlier this month — but it is investing heavily in a “financially healthy dealer network” in hopes of riding out the slump.
Don’t let anyone call you a classic middle child. A new study of 377,000 high school students suggests that birth order doesn’t significantly impact personality or intelligence. Researchers found that though first-borns are indeed slightly more extroverted and a bit smarter on average, the difference is negligible, equating to just one IQ point. Theories of standardized sibling personality differences date back to Sigmund Freud’s time. But this research suggests that birth order — and sibling rivalry — should not influence parenting style.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Best known for playing Moe Greene in the mobster classic, Rocco succumbed to cancer on Saturday at his California home. The longtime supporting actor — who learned his craft with Leonard Nimoy — had recurring roles in TV favorites like Starsky and Hutch, and put his gravelly voice to use in The Simpsons. Fellow actors are paying tribute, with one noting that with Rocco gone there’s “less magic in the world today.”
He really drew out that victory. It was the longest British Open ever, dragging on into today after inclement weather delayed scheduled games. Jordan Spieth had been hoping for a Grand Slam victory — i.e. winning all four major golf titles in a year — but he fell behind by a stroke. Johnson won out over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman to take the title, only his second Major win. Now all eyes turn to the last big tournament of the year: The PGA Championship, which will be played in Wisconsin in mid-August.
The ref will be getting some nastygrams. After 123 minutes of impressive but goalless play between Mexico and Costa Rica, Oribe Peralta appeared to be pushed by a Costa Rican defender a few yards from the goal as he reached for a cross. The replay showed a bit of acting by Peralta. But that didn’t stop Andres Guardado from calmly putting his penalty shot in the back of the net. Mexico now takes on Panama, and the U.S. faces Jamaica in Wednesday’s Gold Cup semifinals.