It’s a historic accord. A dozen nations including the U.S. have been working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership for going on five years, and have finally agreed on specifics. It’s a victory for President Obama, who’s made this deal a major part of his late-term agenda — and while China’s not involved, many see that as a positive considering its regional dominance. Now Congress will have to ratify the accord through an up-or-down vote — meaning they won’t get to amend it — and it’s expected to be a fight, with U.S. labor pushing for a rejection.
The Presidential Daily Brief
After “sustained bombing” of their hospital Saturday, Doctors Without Borders has pulled out of the battle-ravaged northern city. With 22 dead, including medical staff, patients and children, the incident has sparked a war of words: Afghan and U.S. officials maintain the Taliban were in or near the facility, while the charity says evidence indicates a “war crime.” Such incidents have punctuated the 14-year war, but unlike his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani hasn’t blamed the U.S., suggesting concern over Obama’s pending decision about withdrawing 9,800 troops next year.
They expect this much rain once every 1,000 years. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s “once-in-a-millennium” warning came with a plea for residents to stay inside their homes after a storm dropped 2 feet of precipitation in places over the weekend, killing eight. A low pressure system stalled over the state late last week, packing a dual punch with the tail end of Hurricane Joaquin. Amtrak canceled some East Coast trains, a 70-mile stretch of Interstate 95 has been closed — and meteorologists predict another 2 to 6 inches today.
Just as reports surfaced that ISIS has destroyed Palmyra’s 1,800-year-old Arch of Triumph, America and its allies are planning a major ground and air offensive in northern Syria. As many as 5,000 Arab militiamen, bolstered by U.S. ammunition, would join up to 25,000 Kurdish fighters to attack the group’s stronghold in Raqqa, while Syrian rebels seal off the jihadis’ supply routes on the Turkish border. The offensive, backed by coalition air power, would steer clear of western areas where Russian warplanes are targeting opponents of Assad’s government.
Its president, Jim Yong Kim, is asking members to help shore up the financial institution’s funds amid a slowdown of emerging markets and ambitious new U.N. development goals. Boosting the $253 billion capital base is a tough request, though, and opponents think the bank should better leverage existing resources to meet rising loan demands. But with increasing competition from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Kim hopes members at next week’s annual meeting will help the World Bank play a bigger role in financing the U.N. agenda to combat poverty, inequality and global warming.
Four injured in Vermont Amtrak derailment. (Burlington Free Pess)
Advances against parasites and malaria net Nobel Prize. (USA Today)
The Coast Guard confirms the sinking of cargo ship El Fare. (CNN)
Portugal’s center-right coalition wins, but loses absolute majority. (DW)
American Apparel files for bankruptcy protection from creditors. (Reuters)
North Korea releases South Korean student detained in April. (CNN)
World Bank: Extreme poverty to fall below 10 percent. (BBC)
They’re laying down their weapons. High Bridge Arms has long been a beacon for gun enthusiasts, but manager Steve Alcairo is running out of ammo in the battle against regulation. A proposed city ordinance would require the 60-year-old business to keep video recordings of all purchases and report ammunition sales to police every week. While gun control advocates say he shouldn’t fear regulations if everyone’s law-abiding, Alcairo’s “not doing that to our customers.” He plans to say farewell to arms at the end of this month.
They weren’t in the mood to party. Munich’s iconic 16-day suds fest saw attendance drop by 400,000 — its lowest mark in six years — meaning 5.9 million people consumed a mere 1.9 million gallons. While officials laid the blame in part on the cold weather, migrant-related border controls also complicated travel. On the bright side, crime was down, and officials successfully kept refugees and revelers apart. But if the ongoing crisis forces further travel restrictions, it may leave tourist-dependent businesses crying into their beer.
How about this: You fork over a huge sum of money and then slowly get it back over many years. Unless you die young, and then you’re out of luck. That’s how annuities work — that second scenario being profitable for insurers — and they’re becoming more popular. Though millennials haven’t been bitten by the bug yet — maybe the concept is too boring — annuities may gain even more in the face of an investment market where almost every proposition, from housing to hedge funds, can seem like a losing game.
She’s not gonna take it anymore. The outspoken model and activist donned a strappy black slip and stiletto boots for the in-your-face anti-assault movement’s latest march. Started in 2011, the walks promote the message that, as one placard put it, “My clothes are not my consent.” Rose spoke tearfully about her two high-profile exes, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, who slut-shamed her publicly. But she forgave them, choosing to “let the negativity go” and move forward with the fight against victim-blaming and sexual violence.
They’ve got his back. While critics have been busy slamming QB Peyton Manning, his teammates have stepped up to push Denver atop the NFL standings. The team’s 18 sacks of opposing quarterbacks will set a league record if they keep going at this pace. And all four wins, including Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings, have included late fourth-quarter turnovers to help assure victory. Denver’s top-ranked defense has analysts raising the team’s Super Bowl chances, even as the 39-year-old offensive icon works through his issues.