They can’t stay on the fence. EU leaders need to stem the migrant crisis that’s cascading out of control. Hungarian authorities are now erecting a fence along the Croatian border, complementing one already cutting off Serbia. Croatia, meanwhile, has blocked all but one border crossing with Serbia after 13,000 refugees poured in when Hungary closed its doors. The EU’s freedom of movement is increasingly being tested, and refugees continue to flee the Middle East in droves — raising animosity across countries and continents with little hope for a solution in sight.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The White House is rethinking the failed attempts at training Syrian rebels to fight Assad’s regime and ISIS militants. Congress learned this week that fewer than 100 troops had been trained, and only a handful of them are fighting today. The finger-pointing has begun, with Obama’s staff saying he never really liked the idea anyway. Now Russia’s moving into the region, arming and training the Syrian regime’s troops, which has the administration scheduling talks with Putin — and experts wondering how the two sides can bridge the giant divide called … Assad.
That sharp tongue would’ve come in handy. But the day after being applauded for a fine debate performance, the GOP front-runner let a supporter’s comment — calling President Obama a Muslim who’s “not even an American” — slide at a New Hampshire rally. The man declared, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims,” to which Trump said … almost nothing. He simply responded vaguely to a question the man posed about militant training camps, which is bound to draw fire, not least from the left.
They’ve got the world on their shoulders. Despite speculation that they might raise interest rates for the first time since 2006, Janet Yellen’s team decided to play it safe. The chair said rates remain unchanged, reflecting concern for jittery world markets that have overshadowed America’s economic uptick. Yellen warned that slowdowns elsewhere could “restrain U.S. economic activity,” and the news saw drops for the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields. Most analysts still expect a rate hike later this year — as today’s more than 200 point Dow drop reflects — but one predicts it’ll now hold until 2017.
Taliban gunmen storm Pakistan military base, killing 29. (AP)
Japan delays vote on sending troops to fight overseas. (BBC)
Dad says Texas clock-making teen will switch schools. (CNN)
U.S. lifts travel and business restrictions in relation to Cuba. (NYT)
FIFA suspects Secretary General Jerome Valcke. (The Guardian)
House Republicans prepare for vote to cut Planned Parenthood funds. (USA Today)
Keeping green spaces tidy is a woolly problem. So city councils around the globe are increasingly letting shepherds graze their flocks on municipal parks and lawns. The four-legged landscapers eat for free, reducing farmers’ food costs, while governments save on the fuel and manpower that traditionally go into mowing. While American, British, French and Belgian cities have already jumped onto this baa-ndwagon, a potentially huge market remains untapped: The 635 million acres of federal land across the U.S. that could offer many a tasty lunch.
What makes you stronger might also kill you. A survey shows that antibiotic use is rampant worldwide, giving rise to drug-resistant bacteria, especially in developing countries. In India, for example, E. coli is nearly untreatable, and globally the use of last-resort drugs has risen 40 percent in a decade. All of this points to a deadly road ahead. Experts suggest that better education about when to use antibiotics, higher rates of vaccination and even simple handwashing can decrease our usage and stop mutating bacteria in their tracks.
Do they drive a hard bargain? Analysts for the ride-sharing giant say that removing price surging would leave customers waiting for a lift. A glitch on New Year’s Eve in New York City caused a surge outage for 26 minutes, revealing that fewer drivers were willing to work for less, and resulting in delays and a 25 percent drop in rides. Another study suggests that surging doesn’t boost driver numbers and simply relocates them, but Uber’s applauding the success of supply and demand … and vowing to continue driving up fares.
Fanboys, rejoice. The copper slave girl outfit that’s been an object of both fantasy and scorn since making its debut in 1983’s Return of the Jedi will soon go to a lucky bidder. It’s just one of many cinematic lots — including other artifacts from Star Wars, items from The Sound of Music and souvenirs of the Indiana Jones series — that are up for grabs. But the shiny swimsuit alone is expected to fetch as much as $120,000 when it hits the California auction block on October 1.
We haven’t seen the last of him yet. The perennial All-Star and Lakers hero has been cleared by doctors to hit the court running nine months after a torn right rotator cuff ended his 19th season. It was the third year in a row that serious injuries forced the 37-year-old to bow out. The Philadelphia native and living legend is entering the final year of his contract — he says he’ll consider retiring afterward — and is expected at his 20th Lakers training camp on September 29.