The nuclear clock is ticking. Congress was given 60 days to consider the deal struck by Secretary of State John Kerry seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. But Kerry was treated to an earful on Thursday when Republican senators said the Obama administration had been “bamboozled.” On Tuesday, he returns to Congress with Energy and Commerce Department heads to make the case to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. With Israel’s adamant opposition, even Democratic Senate leaders have called it a “conscience vote,” and won’t pressure members to support the president.
The Presidential Daily Brief
In some ways it’s a homecoming. But Obama’s visit to Kenya today, a first by a sitting U.S. president, is about more than his local roots. In a country where streets and buildings are named after him, he used the bully pulpit to decry “insidious threats to Kenya’s prosperity,” namely corruption and terrorism. He also made his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta, bristle when he called for an end to government-sanctioned discrimination against gays. Tomorrow, Obama will address the African Union in Ethiopia, where he’s expected to call for action to stop neighboring South Sudan’s civil war.
She was laid to rest today, but doubts linger. When Sandra Bland was pulled over by Texas state trooper Brian Encinia and refused his order to get out of her car, that triggered a chain of events that ended three days later with her death in a Waller County jail cell. On Thursday, local authorities said autopsy results suggest suicide, but after multiple police killings of black men, suspicions persist. Hashtags such as #IfIDieInPoliceCustody reveal a growing fear that a segment of the American public no longer trusts the men sworn to protect them.
They aren’t messing around. With Putin’s saber rattling to the east and Islamic extremism to the south, Europe is boosting defense spending in arguably the biggest arms buildup since the Cold War. For countries in Russia’s shadow, like Estonia, that means reintroducing conscription and launching war games. Even gun-shy countries, like Germany, have approved ballooning budgets. France has passed sweeping surveillance legislation — despite recent indignation over NSA spying — in response to domestic terrorist attacks. Sanctions may have impoverished Russia, but its very existence will cost Europeans dearly.
Clinton to testify before House panel on Benghazi in October. (Bloomberg)
Military asks armed civilians to stop guarding recruiters. (NBC)
Turkish airstrikes hit Kurds as well as ISIS in Syria. (Al Jazeera)
Theater killer posted praise of Hitler, jihadis, KKK. (CNN)
Jeep hacking exploit leads to recall of 1.4 million vehicles. (BBC)
Can they say that? We’ve all seen bellicose political tweets, and agents from the Secret Service Internet Threat Desk see them too. It’s their job to evaluate online rants threatening to kill the president or other top officials. They visited a Minnesotan after he tweeted — on POTUS’ account — “ROPE FOR CHANGE” on a meme with a noose around Obama’s neck. An agent deemed him to be a harmless troll, but those who are judged serious with the means to make good on comments like “let’s kill the president” have landed in prison.
Yes and no. The traditional brick-and-mortar industry of tiny markets that primarily serve immigrant communities is taking a beating in the land of assimilation. But some shopkeepers are going digital and global, catering to increasingly affluent residents of the old country who are willing to pay a premium for hard-to-find nostalgia items, such as Indian music CDs and tapes, some manufactured in the very city they live in. While shops may go under, the tradition of the corner store will continue, only it may end up cornering online markets instead.
Ben Schlappig doesn’t just accumulate them while working. Miles are his work, his life, his obsession. At 25, he’s leading a subculture of nerds who pursue “the Hobby,” gaming airline rewards to jet around the world. He started when he was 15 and got his parents on board by flying them first class to Europe for less than economy seats. Now Schlappig sells his gold-level tips and blogs for a living. Airlines hate it, and some are trying to end the fun by linking rewards to dollars spent, rather than miles flown.
Call the Justice League. In 2012, All Star #3 sold for far more than it was worth, and things just didn’t add up. The rare 1940 collaboration of the Flash, Green Lantern and other comic superheroes was one of many purchases engineered to cover up millions in embezzled funds. But the story doesn’t end there, since a pair of DA investigators allegedly stashed the evidence to sell. Little did they expect that savvy buyers would spot unique imperfections, exposing the crooked sale and bringing the errant officials to justice.
He always dreamed of the house on the hill. Barry Hearn, 66, developed a thirst for entrepreneurship at a young age, washing windows and cars in his scruffy neighborhood just outside London. Now he’s ”Snooker’s Mr. Big,” having turned niche British pastimes like snooker, fishing and darts into major television events. Next he’s setting his sights on table tennis and hopes one day to get the world’s best putters playing miniature golf. Watching Tiger swing at windmills would be “fantastic,” says Hearn, who now owns many hills, as well as homes.