Strike up the band. The birthplace of jazz is rolling out the red carpet for President Obama today as it marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The commander in chief will hail the resurgence of the Louisiana city, with its thriving economy, new hospital and $14.5 billion levee system to fend off future storm surges. He will meet with the mayor and residents before speaking about the city’s recovery — while acknowledging the work still to be done — and applauding local leaders and citizens who helped the Big Easy to regain its rhythm.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re not missing a chance. The White House urged Congress to enact “common-sense things” to curb gun violence after yesterday’s live-broadcast slaying of television journalists Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, in Virginia. Police say the shooter was dismissed colleague Vester Lee Flanagan, who fatally shot himself after posting video of the event on social media. Hillary Clinton tweeted “we cannot wait” for stronger gun control and even some GOP politicians are softening their stance after multiple mass shootings, urging more thorough psychiatric history checks for gun buyers — though some gun control activists say that won’t go far enough.
Thousands of soldiers are patrolling Gujarat Province today after days of clashes that escalated last night, leaving at least seven dead. Three died in Ahmedabad, where 500,000 protesters from the influential Patel community decried government quotas aimed at providing members of lower castes with jobs and education. Indian leader Narendra Modi appealed for calm, saying, “violence has never done good for anyone.” It was a reminder of 2002 riots in which 1,000 were killed while Modi led the province, now run by a Patel member who’s vowed to continue the campaign “on the roads and the streets.”
Phew! That’s the mood among investors in Europe and Asia this morning, after U.S. markets soared nearly 4 percent yesterday and Chinese markets jumped today. Fed member William Dudley helped, declaring that arguments for a September interest rate increase were “less compelling” after recent market turmoil, which saw a week of record negative spikes and one-day drops. Chinese authorities, who recently lowered interest rates, reportedly bought up blue-chip shares today and juiced a 5.3 percent surge in the Shanghai Composite Index. New U.S. economic data is also looking up, encouraging traders — not to mention a 200-point Dow jump when New York markets opened.
Police in Austria find parked truck with dozens of dead migrants. (The Guardian)
Chinese detain 11 officials in deadly Tianjin blast. (LA Times)
Colorado cinema gunman gets 3,318 years, plus life. (Reuters)
Louisiana lawman killed with own gun during domestic call. (AP)
Ukraine’s creditors agree to restructuring as fighting flares. (Bloomberg)
They’re saying alla famiglia. With more than 100,000 refugees crossing the ocean, landing in Italy and seeking a new life in Europe, Rome is puzzling over where to put its new residents. Four cities are testing a solution: Migrants in the Family, which puts refugees in local households for nine months in order to learn Italian and integrate into society. The family gets $330 a month to cover associated costs, and while some protest that the refugees shouldn’t be welcomed, participants are hoping to foster a more diverse Italy.
Unbelievable, but it’s no fish tale. California researchers are testing an innovative medical tool — tiny “fish” that can swim through your body delivering medicine and vacuuming up toxins, like Star Trek doctors’ sci-fi “nanoprobes.” The 3-D printing is a key innovation: It allows the scientists to design complex robots — no thicker than a human hair — that use chemical reactions to propel them along magnetically-navigated itineraries. If that seems fishy, consider this: Researchers say the next step is engineering the little buggers to do microsurgery.
Siri’s not sure about this. The ever-expanding Messenger app will soon add “M,” which, brags Facebook’s VP of Messaging Products David Marcus, “can perform tasks that none of the others can.” The text-based “friend” won’t just find stuff; it’ll buy stuff, like plane tickets or flowers for your favorite aunt’s birthday. M’s programming is expected to grow slowly over time, its AI augmented by humans whose intervention — aside from providing tantalizing Turing Test opportunities— will help the software learn to provide more accurate results for users as its database grows.
What could top Sisters? Maybe when one of the sisters is Jennifer Lawrence, who leaked that she and skyrocketing feminist comedian Amy Schumer are planning to write and star in a comedy where they play siblings. Though she’s better known for dramatic work in Silver Linings Playbook and The Hunger Games saga, J-Law’s newest project emerged from the fast friendship between the two. “Amy and I were creatively made for each other,” she said, explaining that they’ve written about 100 pages of their screenplay — and are meeting up soon to write more.
Bad timing, perhaps? The Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Michael Vick Tuesday … the day before National Dog Day. The 35-year-old pleaded guilty in 2007 for his role in a dog fighting ring, and protesters predictably turned out in the Iron City yesterday. Vick served nearly two years in prison, then played six NFL seasons while trying to atone by volunteering at animal shelters. But a “Say No to Michael Vick” petition has garnered more than 18,000 signatures, so his pledge to continue helping dogs in Pennsylvania may fall flat.