ISIS is knocking on Europe’s door — and the Continent is answering. NATO members convened today to discuss the “territorial integrity” of Turkey in the wake of recent terror attacks. Turkish leaders discussed their targeting of ISIS in Syria and Kurds in Iraq — with whom President Tayyip Recep Erdogan says Turkey cannot continue its peace process — amid speculation that they and the U.S. have agreed to set up an ISIS-free zone along the Syrian border. While NATO offered solidarity for Turkey, it’s urging Ankara to ease up on military action against the Kurds.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Today rounds out the president’s African trip, which he closed with a historic address before the continental union — the first by a U.S. leader. Yesterday, Obama pushed Ethiopia to ease restrictions on free speech and criticized its human rights record, but praised the East African nation for being an “outstanding partner” in the fight against Islamists. Today’s speech urged African leaders to embrace democracy, even if that also means embracing their own term limits. ”I think if I ran [for a third term], I could win,” Obama joked, ”But I can’t.”
The woman who helped two inmates escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. is opening up about her motives and the details of the plan. Joyce E. Mitchell, a 51-year old married mother of three, told the New York Times she became caught up in the attention and the ”thought of a different life” with Richard W. Matt and David Sweat, the two convicted murderers. She also revealed that she provided all of the tools the duo used to escape and defend themselves once outside, including chisels, a punch and hacksaws hidden in frozen hamburgers. Mitchell pled guilty to helping them escape earlier in the day.
They’ve scouted out a positive way forward, or so they hope. Openly gay adult leaders are now officially welcome, the youth organization says, while acknowledging that church-sponsored units can continue to recruit unit leaders who share their beliefs. The measure, passed 45-12 by BSA’s board, was a compromise to avoid alienating religious groups. But the Mormon Church is responding frostily, threatening to set up its own rival organization, which has many wondering how other religions will respond … and worrying that the issue is far from settled.
It’s an olive branch to Israel, and a lifeline for Jonathan Pollard, an American who was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 for passing U.S. military information to Israel. He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995, and his imprisonment has continued to rankle Israel despite the country’s amicable relations with the U.S. Pollard’s parole in November is being interpreted as a peace offering to calm Israel’s fury after the recent nuclear deal with Iran. He’ll be released Nov. 21 and unable to leave the U.S. for five years after that.
The question is: When did it sink? Sweden says it’s investigating a wrecked sub in shallow waters just off the country’s Eastern coast – and that Cyrillic lettering on the craft marks it as a Russian vessel. Inititial suspicions related to reported sightings of foreign vessels in Swedish waters last fall, which spurred a naval search for hostile ships, but one investigator says the sub is probably from WW1. Sweden says it will continue to investigate over the weekend, hoping better filming gear will offer more detail about the sub’s final submersion.
Not as bad as yesterday, but still not great. The Shanghai Composite had a wild ride again today, dropping more than 5 percent before ending 1.7 percent down. It was nothing compared to yesterday’s 8.5 percent plummet, its biggest since 2007, which could be a sign that China’s effort to calm investors with promises of injecting $8.05 billion into money markets is working. In Europe, shares steadied in early trading, despite yesterday’s downturn, but all eyes now turn toward Wednesday’s Federal Reserve interest rate decision to see where markets will go next.
Seif al-Islam, Gadhafi’s son, sentenced to death for 2011 war crimes. (Al Jazeera)
Trump lawyer apologizes over ‘rape’ outburst. (Time)
GM to inject $5 billion into emerging market cars. (FT) sub
Joyce Mitchell pleads guilty to helping N.Y. prisoners escape. (NBC)
Malaysian PM fires deputy, others over corruption allegations. (SCMP)
He says he had “no idea.” The celebrated big game hunter and Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer is blaming his hired guides for the fact that he likely shot celebrated African lion Cecil with a bow and arrow a short distance from the animal’s protected zone. Palmer then skinned and beheaded the 13-year-old feline, causing a worldwide manhunt for the culprit and widespread grief and outrage over the fate of his furry kill. While authorities investigate the killing’s legality, they say Cecil’s cubs are likely be killed by the new alpha male of the lion pride.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld his earlier 4-game suspension of Tom Brady today, citing evidence the quarterback destroyed his phone to hide texts that could have been used against him. Last Winter, the league found Brady’s New England Patriots’ played a playoff game with under-inflated balls, which some say make the slick balls easier to grip and help increase scoring opportunities. Allegedly, Brady forced team assistants to under-inflate balls. Brady has already lawyered up and has given his blessing to the player’s union to take his appeal before a Federal Court.
Priceless, assuming there’s no check in the mail. Putin has reportedly said that folks like Sepp Blatter deserve the Nobel Prize. The suggestion of rewarding the outgoing FIFA chief, currently mired in a corruption scandal, comes just a few days after the two men were together at the preliminary draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in St. Petersburg. Putin doesn’t believe Blatter is guilty of corruption, but Swiss officials are looking into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 games just the same, and FIFA is gearing up to elect a new leader.
They’re not Terminator fans. Tech billionaire Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and physicist Stephen Hawking are petitioning for a ban on autonomous weapons systems. They and more than 1,000 other scientists and engineers have signed a letter predicting an AI arms race in which smart machines destroy humans without any moral compunctions, warning that these systems would eventually find their way to the black market. While such weaponry may be years in the making, the experts suggest urgent action to prevent them from becoming “the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.”
Male or female? Han or hon? Those were the only Swedish-language Facebook gender choices … until yesterday, when the social media giant adopted the country’s new official gender-neutral pronoun, “hen.” And the choices for non-conforming Swedes don’t stop there: The improved gender-identity list now offers 70 possible choices, including “non-binary.” Facebook reached out to an LGBT rights organization to help compile the list, and activists hope that seeing greater diversity and acceptance on social media will have a “ripple effect” in everyday life.
You can lose a lot more than your wallet. A study has found that a stock market drop of 1,000 points correlates with a 4.71 percent increase in mental-health-related hospitalizations. In California alone those hospital stays cost a whopping $100 million between 1983 and 2011. Middle-aged men were the hardest hit, but it wasn’t just the lost money that concerned them: They also worried about job security and the well-being of their families. So if you’re thinking of investing, be sure to keep your shrink on speed dial.
San Diego man Robert Kaseberg alleges in a new lawsuit — seeking hundreds of thousands in damages — that the late-night funnyman swiped his jokes about airlines, Caitlyn Jenner and the Washington Monument’s “shrinkage.” Joke theft via Twitter has been in the news lately, but O’Brien’s sidekick Andy Richter was unfazed, sarcastically tweeting: “OH NO WE’VE BEEN FOUND OUT!!” and noting the possibility that two people might just have had the same “species-elevating insights” at the same time. But who laughs last will be determined by the judge.
Thanks, but no thanks. With painfully low public support and on-the-fence proclamations from city leaders, Beantown has been yanked off the list of 2024 hosting hopefuls by the U.S. Olympic Committee. It’s been almost 20 years since the Summer Games have been held on American soil, and U.S. officials are getting itchy. The gaze now turns toward Los Angeles, which hosted in ’84 and still has a lot of the needed infrastructure, but San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are also in the running.