He doesn’t want to take any chances. The American president announced yesterday that he’ll be leaving a 5,500-strong force in Afghanistan past 2016, departing from earlier plans to withdraw all but around 1,000 U.S. troops. He didn’t publicly acknowledge the link between this policy shift and Iraq, where chaos erupted shortly after the American withdrawal four years ago. But the Taliban’s recent resurgence has Obama looking to quash renewed sectarian violence while bolstering his “serious partner” in the Afghan government — though some fear it still won’t be enough.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Turkey just inched closer to Europe. In Brussels yesterday, European leaders made a draft of an action plan to help Turkish authorities stem the flow of refugees to the Continent. Financial details are still being negotiated in an arrangement meant to help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government manage 2 million refugees — but the EU offered far less than Turkey’s requested $3.4 billion, and Erdogan stressed that the deal wasn’t finalized. Still, the European Council president expressed “cautious optimism” over the deal, which may see the bloc “re-energize” talk about Turkey joining the EU.
Will Jerusalem boil over? Today the city saw a massive security deployment — even Israeli civilians readied homemade weapons — amid calls for a Palestinian day of protests that have thus far left three dead. This follows an arson attack last night at a Jewish holy site, and two weeks of clashes in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza that have killed seven Israelis and 30 Palestinians. Conflicting accusations are being lobbed from both sides, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to stem the violence.
It may be slowing down. That’s the message from William Dudley, president of the Fed’s New York bank, who says the U.S. economy is suffering from weaker gains in jobs and retail sales, and a drag on growth as companies trim inventories. Most traders no longer foresee an interest rate boost this year, and many money managers who favored a September hike now believe the Fed missed its window. Dudley defended the central bank against recent criticism, saying he still favors an increase … if the economy performs in line with his forecast.
Turks shoot down drone along Syrian border. (BBC)
Double suicide bombing at Nigerian mosque kills dozens. (The Guardian)
U.S. authorities arrest 151 in crackdown on Chinese synthetic drugs. (France24)
Study: Deaths on the rise as a result of antibiotic resistance. (BBC)
Upstart presidential candidates are proving financially viable. (NYT)
Nevada regulators classify daily fantasy sports sites as gambling. (CNBC)
An app a day could keep the doctor away. Why get prodded by strangers in sterile environments when you could do it yourself at home? App developers are working to outsource health care, letting consumers send children’s ear canal photos to pediatricians for remote diagnoses, swab themselves for cervical cancer or check their own hormone levels. Perky marketing phrases like “this is not a medical device” help skirt a lack of FDA approval, and the trend could remedy those who prefer to keep their private medical business to themselves.
It was an inside job. Graffiti artists employed to create authentic street slogans in Arabic for a recent episode say they were told to be apolitical but realized the show’s producers weren’t paying attention to their words. To protest what they see as “highly biased” depictions of the Middle East, they scrawled messages like “Homeland is racist” on the set. Showrunner Alex Gansa wishes he’d caught the gaffe earlier but says he admires the “act of artistic sabotage.” There’s no word yet on whether the messages will be digitally altered for future broadcasts.
Pardon me, boy, is that … 10 Gbps? Tennessee’s fourth-largest city has been a battleground in the broadband wars before, when Comcast and Time Warner Cable tried and failed to keep the city from expanding public broadband networks. Incredibly speedy municipal Internet is already available to every home and business, and now Chattanooga’s EPB Fiber Optics says it’s offering 10 Gbps speeds for $299 a month. This, the fastest residential service in the world, could force ISPs like Comcast to quicken their pace … or see them come out swinging.
Do bad feelings make good radars? People suffering from what psychologists label “guilt-proneness” — those who perpetually feel responsible for errors and mishaps — are markedly better at reading others’ emotions based on facial expressions, a study says. Those who fit the “guilty” profile detected broad emotions in photographs of strangers, as well as “low-intensity” feelings. Shame-prone respondents, meanwhile, exhibited less empathy. The findings bolster theories that the guilt-inclined employ healthier relationship skills and less anti-social behavior, something scientists hope will alleviate their heavy collective conscience.
These underdogs have some bite. New York’s younger club dismissed the erstwhile Brooklyn Dodgers in a razor-thin finale yesterday, defeating Los Angeles 3-2 in a winner-take-all Game 5 thriller. Pitcher Jacob deGrom held off the determined Dodgers, while Daniel Murphy contributed a double, sharp base-running and a sixth-inning homer to seal the victory. The Mets will now host the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, with both teams looking to shed their under-performing pasts as they vie for pennant glory in the Championship Series.