This year’s big prize didn’t go to Pope Francis for his anti-nuclear campaign, or to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her fight on behalf of refugees. Instead, the Nobel prize committee honored the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive role in the North African nation’s democratic transition following the 2011 revolution. Formed in 2013, when the fledgling democracy looked set to collapse, the group forged a peaceful political path, culminating in a constitutional system of governance that ensures basic rights for all Tunisians, whatever their gender or religion.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s now a waiting game, but will Obama’s patient approach to global crises pay off if Putin’s breaking the rules? Russia is striking rebel targets in Syria, pushing back in tandem with Assad’s ground forces, in a bid to bolster the regime. The White House has announced it’s ending a $500 million Pentagon program to train rebels, acknowledging that it hasn’t helped fight ISIS as hoped. NATO, meanwhile, is stepping up cautiously and “implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
Washington is stunned. The House majority leader no longer likes the prospect of replacing outgoing House Speaker John Boehner. McCarthy dropped his bomb yesterday as Republicans gathered to select a candidate, telling folks they need a “fresh face” to build party unity. Pressure’s now mounting on Rep. Paul Ryan as the GOP’s most likely prospect for winning conservative House Freedom Caucus support. But there’s no guarantee they’d back Ryan — reportedly Boehner and McCarthy’s top pick — and so far the House Ways and Means chair says he’s not interested.
They’re choking on more than smog. A new study warns that Chinese men need to stub out the cancer sticks for good, or a third of those currently under 20 years old will die prematurely. Two-thirds of the male population now starts smoking in their teenage years, and roughly half of them will die as a result. One million people succumbed to tobacco-related illnesses in 2010 in China — and scientists fear that figure will double by 2030 unless the country kicks its bad habit.
First EU migrant resettlement flights depart for Sweden. (BBC)
S.C. town settles with family of Walter Scott for $6.5 million. (CNN)
Shooting at Northern Arizona University leaves one dead. (Washington Post)
U.N. proposes unity government for Libya. (Al Jazeera)
Washington state dam explosion injures six. (USA Today)
U.S. airman, hero from French train attack, stabbed on night out. (ABC)
Water is taking up space! Just days after a historic announcement about H2O on Mars, the U.S. space agency has revealed views of an almost Earth-like dwarf planet, with blue skies and frozen water. The “blue” images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft are really gray or red soot-like particles in the atmosphere called tholins, which reflect light in a distorting way, while the water is red. NASA now hopes to determine why exposed pockets of ice survive on certain patches of Pluto’s surface but not on others.
Be still our beating hearts. Mark Zuckerberg has announced six new “reactions” for users of his popular social network. The animated emojis — a beating “love” heart, a laughing “haha” face, a proud “yay,” a surprised “wow,” a weeping “sad” and even a red-faced “angry” — come in response to years of requests for more varied emotional reactions to friends’ posts. This new range will first be tested in Ireland and Spain, but don’t cry: Facebook is collecting feedback with an eye toward rolling out the feature to everyone soon.
They didn’t like being out of Africa. Scientists have sequenced DNA from a 4,500-year-old skull found in an Ethiopian cave, revealing new clues in the mystery of humans’ global migration. The Mota Cave man boasts pure African DNA, meaning his ancestors never left the continent. More modern African genomes show a mix of Eurasian ancestry, suggesting a huge backflow migration roughly 4,000 years ago. But scientists still have one bone to pick: deciphering exactly why 25 percent of the Eurasian population packed up and moved back to Africa.
There’s no step too far. Camille A. Brown’s work as a dancer and choreographer isn’t just about rhythm, music and the limits of the human body. She also infuses social messages about racism and discrimination. Pulling inspiration from the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, art history, reality TV and current events, Brown manages to inject a wry humor, no matter the gravity of her subject. As a black woman running a dance company, it’s hard for Brown to keep from being political — but she aims, above all, for accessibility.
This time the Texans were on the receiving end. The 34-year-old wide receiver hauled in two touchdown catches to propel Indianapolis over Houston 27-20 last night — the first time Johnson had been back to NRG Stadium since leaving his team of 12 years in March. Meanwhile, seasoned Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck, 40, threw 213 yards and two TDs. The performance left Indy fans cheering for the veterans — and finally put Johnson on their radar — as they prepare to face the Patriots October 18.