They were fleeing under unimaginable conditions. A boat filled with refugees hoping to reach Europe sank near Libya yesterday, and while that nation’s coast guard saved more than 200 people — most of whom are being detained — officials said about 200 died in the wreck, joining over 2,300 who have died trying to get to Europe this year. Meanwhile, a truck filled with the 71 decomposing bodies of refugees who suffocated was discovered on an Austrian highway, leading to four arrests and leaving German chancellor Angela Merkel urging European leaders to “tackle the problem quickly.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Will they force his hand? Donald Trump is rethinking his refusal to declare support for any eventual Republican presidential nominee. If kept, such a promise would prevent him from running as an independent if he doesn’t make it onto the GOP’s 2016 ticket. The motivation seems to emanate from South Carolina, which recently started requiring its primary candidates to sign a pledge to back the party’s final choice. Trump, who has until the September 30 filing deadline to decide, has a healthy lead in state polls, and predicts it’ll grow if he signs.
The battle’s heating up. After Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro deported more than a thousand Colombians and closed two border crossings — actions he says will rein in smuggling gangs he blames for recent frontier violence — the two countries mutually hauled their ambassadors home. Now Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos is calling for emergency sessions of the Organization of American States and the Union of South American Nations to try to solve the crisis peacefully … and call attention to Maduro’s behavior, which he claims is meant to distract Venezuelans as their economic situation deteriorates.
After a week of plummets and leaps, global markets seem to be stabilizing — but for today’s surges in China and Japan, where key indexes jumped 4.8 and 3 percent respectively. Some say the boost is overheated by Chinese government intervention, and analysts say it would have been healthier to allow the market to bottom out and recover naturally. Meanwhile, the world is looking to the U.S., which just released some encouraging economic data, to anchor global markets — while some international officials are pushing the Fed to stop delaying a potentially market-spooking interest rate increase.
Ashley Madison founder steps down. (BBC)
Police say fight led to fatal university shooting in Georgia. (CNN)
Syriza on track to win Greek election, according to polls. (Reuters)
U.S. labor board eases union negotiations on behalf of contract workers. (NYT)
Tropical Storm Erika could be heading for the U.S. — or not. (NBC)
French journalists arrested for allegedly trying to blackmail Moroccan king. (AP)
They’re judging a film by its cover. Scheduled in-school showings of crowdfunded documentary Gayby Baby, which follows four children of same-sex parents, have been canceled by Australia’s New South Wales education minister. He says it would disrupt the school day, but backers say he’s nixing the screenings’ anti-bullying message. “It is painful to be told our families mean less,” said filmmaker Maya Newell, who has two mothers. Parents and politicians have risen up in support of the film — a promising development for advocates of marriage equality in Australia.
Forget Ashley Madison. Lots of people seeking partners online are looking for love with just one person — and some sites are trying to woo them. Take Fidelity Dating, a seven-month-old site that asks users to pledge their commitment to monogamy before they dive in. Matchmakers — and apps like Lulu that emphasize ratings of men via mutual female friends — also trade casual Tinder-style hookups for lasting commitment. But one question looms: If rogues can conceal cheating, why would they shrink from lying to a dating site?
It’s good to be unique — unless you’re scientific research. In that case, reproducible results mean you might be on to something. A new study published in Science found that less than half of the 100 psychology studies recently re-tried could be adequately duplicated. The study is part of a crowdsourced project that aims to keep tabs on researchers who may be jumping ahead with surprising findings in order to capture headlines. Its authors hope their results can push scientists to put more effort into checking reproducibility from the get-go.
It’s all in the timing. They’re said to be miffed about lyrics he wrote in 2009, and he’s visited the country more than 20 times since. But Britain’s allegedly got no interest in hosting the 24-year-old rapper, and he’s had to cancel an upcoming tour of the U.K. and Ireland in response. The Home Office reportedly claims that his music encourages intolerance, violence and possibly even “terrorist acts,” while Tyler’s spokesperson wonders why officials waited six years to pass judgment — and what this will mean for creative expression in Britain.
Chocolate Thunder has gone silent. The 76ers center largely credited with defining modern basketball’s slam dunk passed away after a heart attack. The 58-year-old, who played 14 seasons in the league and finished with one of the game’s top shooting percentages, was the first player ever drafted straight out of high school. But it was his rim-jamming, backboard-shattering moves that made him a fan favorite — even with blind musician Stevie Wonder, who the dunking legend claimed came up with the nickname “Chocolate Thunder” after hearing Dawkins play.