Are his days in office numbered? Tension is rife today across the East African nation, where President Pierre Nkurunziza is seeking a third consecutive term, despite a constitutional two-term limit. He said his first one didn’t count — and the high court agreed — because he was appointed by parliament and not elected. But violence and failed coup attempts reflect disagreement. Two were killed in overnight clashes, with officials blaming “terrorists” for trying to scare voters away from the polls, where Nkurunziza is expected to prevail.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s hoping to do more than moderately well. The two-term Ohio governor, considered an establishment candidate à la Jeb Bush, is also a bit of an ideological maverick, with relatively progressive positions on Obama’s health care and immigration plans — but a staunchly conservative stance on abortion and union rights. That moderate appeal could hurt him in the primaries, as could his late start and reputation as a bit of a grump. Some even question whether he’ll get the support needed for a spot in the first candidate debate on August 6.
They wanted to help rebuild Kobane, devastated by battles between ISIS and Kurdish fighters. But many are now lying dead after a suspected suicide bomber targeted a gathering of young activists in southern Turkey yesterday, killing 32. The blast, which also injured scores, led to violent street protests. Turkish authorities, who have been criticized for turning a blind eye to ISIS militants, have recently begun cracking down — perhaps prompting the attack. Officials have identified a suspect and are vowing to beef up security along the Syrian border — they’ll meet tomorrow to discuss security measures.
He’s got 18 months left in office — and some think he’ll be spending a chunk of that improving our nation’s criminal justice system. Specifically the rules on solitary confinement, which leaves approximately 75,000 prisoners at the federal and state level alone in their cells for months or even years. Mental health professionals say it can cause permanent damage, and several states have moved to restrict the practice. Now Obama’s ordered a Justice Department review that can tell him just what executive action he’s legally allowed to take on the issue.
Being too big to fail is no excuse. The Federal Reserve has told America’s top banks to shore up an extra $200 billion to prevent another financial disaster. New rules were laid down yesterday for the eight largest lenders — deemed “globally systemically important” — and most are already in compliance, with only JPMorgan short $12.5 billion. Institutions that fail to comply with the rules, which introduce risk-based capital surcharges up to 4.5 percent, face limits on their dividend payments and bonuses.
They’re throwing doubt on the official version of events. The district attorney of Waller County, Texas, where African-American woman Sandra Bland died in jail in what was originally called a suicide after an arrest for a traffic violation says the 28-year-old’s death will be investigated as deeply as if it were a murder investigation. Bland’s family — and a horde of activists seeking justice for what they suspect is yet another police killing — have cast doubt on the official record. Authorities say the case is headed to a grand jury.
Inflating the numbers can blow up in your face. The tech giant’s CEO and president Hisao Tanaka resigned today following news that the company overstated its profits for six years — to the tune of $1.2 billion. Tanaka’s successor will be chairman Masashi Muromachi, with vice chairman Norio Sasaki also stepping down. This will likely lead to a revised earnings statement, board changes and fines. But politicians fear the mess will further undermine confidence in Japanese corporate governance, already hurt by a similar scandal in 2011.
Trump gives out Lindsey Graham’s phone number. (Politico)
North Korea doesn’t want its own Iran-style nuclear deal. (Reuters)
Briton charged in ‘terror plot’ against U.S. military personnel. (BBC)
ISIS chief delegates power in case he is killed. (NYT)
Depressed Tenn. shooter reportedly wanted to be a martyr. (USA Today)
Former Chinese presidential aide arrested in corruption scandal. (CNN)
Underage African soccer players are ‘trafficked’ to Asia. (BBC)
These aren’t the self-driving cars you’re looking for. Hackers have demonstrated how they can seize control of vehicles thanks to a new vulnerability in Chrysler’s Uconnect system that lets them access brakes, transmission and even steering. The test driver, a journalist, said it left him fearing for his life, and hacking demonstrators Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek fear this type of bug could prove deadly. The pair will present their findings at the Defcon hacker conference next month in hopes of inspiring the automotive industry to adopt new cyber-security standards.
This will give you chills. After colder-than-expected summer months in 2013, the fast-melting Arctic ice shelf reportedly grew by a third and appears to have continued growing throughout last year, offsetting recent decades’ losses. The temperature change only resulted in five percent fewer melting days, but it was the coolest period experienced in the region since the early 1990s. Experts say global warming continues to threaten ice levels, but this unexpected buildup raises hope that efforts to reduce climate change could be profoundly cool.
It’s more than a pretty picture. The space agency shared a rare complete photo of Mother Earth capturing our home planet in stunning detail. Most planetary images are composites of thousands of photos but the collaboration between NASA’s DSCOVR satellite, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Air Force encompassed the entire globe in one image from one million miles above the planet’s surface. Scientists say the imagery could help predict natural disasters such as solar storms and other weather events. NASA says they plan to release several updated images throughout the year.
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.
Failure doesn’t suit them. The National Air and Space Museum has debuted a crowdfunding campaign to build a new display for Neil Armstrong’s historic Apollo 11 spacesuit in time to commemorate the moon landing’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Despite having an $819.5 million annual budget, the Smithsonian Institution seeks private support for 36 percent of its projects. Kickstarter says the Reboot the Suit effort — through which the Washington, D.C.-based facility is trying to raise $500,000 — is the first project from its new funding partnership with the museum.
The computing giant hired automotive manufacturing guru Doug Betts, formerly of Fiat Chrysler, presumably to help develop industrial systems needed for a self-driving vehicle. This follows the recruitment of a European autonomous-vehicle expert, and is yet another sign that Apple is building a team to jump-start its much-rumored electric car initiative, code-named “Titan.” The new project could help diversify Apple’s portfolio after iPhone sales surged last quarter and accounted for 70 percent of the company’s total sales, but stocks dipped on uncertain iWatch numbers. But the car of the future is not expected to arrive until 2020.
Move over, Katniss Everdeen, there’s an old heroine in town. NBC is in the early stages of rebooting the beloved 1990s show about an armored princess with a taste for fighting. Though they’ve indicated that the program would have a new tone — gone would be the gentle self-mocking of the original — they have yet to pin down a showrunner or star. There’s chatter about the original Xena, Lucy Lawless, playing a role, but details are still being hammered out for what producers hope will be a 2016 premiere.
Jordan Spieth, the youngster chasing golf’s greatest feat — winning all four majors for a Grand Slam year — fell one shot shy of the three-man playoff at St. Andrews. Iowan Zach Johnson triumphed over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman with a pair of timely birdies for his second major victory, making him one of only six to win both the Masters and the British Open. Now all eyes turn to the last big tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, which will be played in Wisconsin in August.