Gunfire erupted in a Lafayette movie theater leaving at least seven individuals injured and three dead, including the gunman, a 58-year-old white male who reportedly died of a self-inflicted handgun wound. Lafayette’s police chief confirmed the deaths and estimated injury totals. Louisiana State Police say the event is no longer active but haven’t released official information on casualties or the suspect. The attack occurred during a Grand 16 Theater screening of the new film, “Trainwreck.” Governor Bobby Jindal tweeted out a response to the shooting, saying he was coordinating with state police.
The Presidential Daily Brief
In a way, he’s heading home. The U.S. president departs today for the East African nation of his father. The first American commander in chief to visit Kenya, Obama will arrive tomorrow for two days in Nairobi, where he’ll meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta, attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and speak with civil leaders. The president, who hopes to bolster African democratization and measures to provide electricity, then sets off for Ethiopia on Sunday, rounding out a trip that’s bringing Africa to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy.
He’s making a powerful case. Congress has two months to review the international nuclear deal, and this is the first major step: The Secretary of State is undergoing some grilling by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on the content of the agreement he struck with Iran. He says the plan was the “only viable option” to move forward with the deal — and that it couldn’t and shouldn’t address every aspect of U.S.-Iran relations. If Congress isn’t satisfied, they can reject the agreement — though Obama can veto their decision.
Her death remains contested. Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam said an autopsy ruled her death a suicide. Bland’s family said she never would have killed herself even though officials say she referenced a prior attempt while in custody. In their report, police also claim she had a history of depression and recent marijuana use at the time of her death. Bland’s treatment has become a point of national debate and criticism. Despite the autopsy ruling, state officials have said the county did not follow standard jail procedures and are investigating Bland’s death as a murder.
If the GOP wants to fire him, he may just quit. Though Donald Trump is polling at the top of the Republican field of 2016 candidates, comments he made about prisoners of war have put the RNC on the offensive — and Trump says if the RNC isn’t supportive, it’ll drive up the chance that he’ll run as an independent to “do what’s right for the country.” That could cripple the GOP in the general election, as it would likely split the nation’s conservative vote and hand the election to the Democratic candidate.
He’s mending fences. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras secured a comfortable majority in a parliamentary vote early today, restructuring banks’ safety nets and speeding up court proceedings, both prerequisites to negotiations for a $93 billion EU bailout. Legislators voted 229-63 in favor, and with only 36 Syriza Party colleagues abstaining or opposing — even former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis got on board — Tsipras seems to have blunted last week’s rebellion. This bodes well for a tough vote next month on tax hikes and early retirement, as well as his prospects for staying in power.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he’ll crush the militants within 18 months, but there’s no sign of that yet. Two explosions last night at bus stations in the northern city of Gombe are believed to have killed at least 29. They came hours after two girls reportedly blew themselves up in a Cameroonian market and a week after another Gombe attack. The violence has prompted the creation of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, set to get underway by the end of July. And Buhari is hoping President Obama will provide weapons for his troops.
They have the right to remain silent. Beijing is firing back at those who fight for justice and dare to question the Party, labeling them swindlers. More than 200 legal professionals have been detained, with 20 still in custody, accused of trying to sabotage the government while fattening their wallets. Some have not even been allowed to see their own lawyers, who say this is the worst crackdown on legal practitioners in decades. But instead of cowering, many are vowing to fight for their right to defend China’s rule of law.
Officials: Sandra Bland told police she had attempted suicide. (USA Today)
White House in ‘final stages’ of Guantanamo Bay plan. (DW)
Financial Times being sold to Japanese newspaper (Guardian)
U.S. gives Shell permits for Arctic oil exploration. (AP)
Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case to go ahead. (BBC)
Are they on another planet … or about to make history? The space agency announced today that its search for Earth-like planets in the Milky Way has hit pay dirt — a world known as Kepler 452-B that’s extremely similar to Earth, if slightly larger and older, and orbiting a Sun-like star around 1,400 light years away. Since launching in 2009, Kepler has located thousands of exoplanet candidates, but this one, officials say, brings us “one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”
Camp and summer go hand in hand. Syfy’s Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! premiered last night and and ended with a cut to black as former American Pie actress Tara Reid’s character remained in mortal peril. Why should you care? The show’s placed what happens next in the hands of viewers – just Tweet #AprilLives or #AprilDies to cast a ballot. Will this trend toward audience input sink or swim? One thing’s confirmed: Sharknado 4 is on and Tara Reid has taken to Twitter to campaign for more screen-time.
A taxi app has succeeded where King Kong failed. The ride-sharing service appeared to have met its match in Mayor Bill de Blasio, who sought to cap the company’s growth while the Big Apple assessed the traffic impact of all those extra vehicles. But in the face of a massive campaign against the legislation, including in-app propaganda and celebrity endorsements, the mayor has dropped the cap idea in exchange for Uber’s promises of data sharing. After de Blasio’s defeat, other mayors may prefer not to annoy this beast.
Who says teenagers are irresponsible? A new CDC study shows that the number of 15- to 19-year-olds having sex in the U.S. has dropped significantly in 25 years — 14 percent for girls, 22 percent for boys. Not only are more waiting, for religious reasons and fear of pregnancy or disease, but most of the sexually active ones are using protection. Use of the morning-after pill has soared, probably thanks to increased availability, and today’s youths are likely to continue using contraception into adulthood.
Celebrities on the block may boost property values, but neighbors to J.K. Rowling and George Clooney are also seeing a downside. The Harry Potter author has caused traffic jams in Edinburgh for days with temporary lights set up to help workers trim 30-foot hedges surrounding her complex. The actor, meanwhile, wants to install 18 cameras around his British home, eight on tall poles, sparking privacy concerns from the local government. Rowling’s neighbors wonder how long the “chaos” will continue, while Clooney hopes the district council sees things his way.
The defense had too many holes. While choosing a largely veteran lineup, American coach Jürgen Klinsmann went with novice defenders, which proved the fatal flaw in a stunning 2-1 Gold Cup loss against Jamaica yesterday. Mexico, meanwhile, beat Panama by a hair. With regulation time winding down, a Panamanian defender was called for a handball near the box. Andres Guardado scored that one and then another in extra time to advance, setting his team up to face the Reggae Boyz — in their first-ever CONCACAF final — on Sunday.