They’re playing nice. The often disparate parties came together in principle on a budget agreement that lifts the debt ceiling through early 2017 and raises defense and domestic spending by $80 billion over the next two years, offset by Medicare premium increases and sales of strategic oil reserves. If both sides can seal the deal it would avoid a potential debt default on November 2nd and subsequent government shutdown on December 11. A vote is likely to come by Wednesday, the same day that Rep. Paul Ryan is expected to be ushered in as the next Republican nominee House Speaker.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Death tolls are mounting today after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake killed at least 214 in Pakistan and 52 in Afghanistan. Buildings in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad were evacuated, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered an urgent assessment of the damage. At least 12 of the casualties were pupils from a girl’s school in Afganistan’s Takhar province. Buildings have reportedly collapsed, and communications are down in some areas, raising fears about the extent of the temblor’s devastation and the number of its victims.
This gives a whole new meaning to the term “dead meat.” The World Health Organization is warning folks that eating just 50g of processed meat each day — bacon, ham or sausages — boosts chances of developing colon cancer by 18 percent. It also says there’s limited evidence that red meat may increase such risks but acknowledges that it can be a helpful source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12 when eaten in moderation. Experts aren’t looking to scare us away from meat, but rather to promote a healthier diet overall.
Is industry in recession? Big American companies warn they’re making cutbacks to adjust for sluggish profits and revenue for the first time since the economic crisis. Low energy prices are hurting the oil drilling and supply trade, China’s economy seems to be suffering and a strong U.S. dollar is impacting exports. While there are still glimmers of hope — aerospace and technology — major manufacturers warn that production and sales are grinding down, leading to potential lay-offs and increasing pressure on the Federal Reserve to hold interest rates steady.
And after all that work to throw off one-party rule. If exit polls are confirmed, the right-wing Law and Justice party won Poland’s parliamentary election yesterday by enough of a margin to rule without a coalition — a feat no group has managed since democracy was restored in 1989. Drawing support mainly from rural communities with promises of pushing migrants out and easing tax burdens for the poor, the euroskeptic party chaired by Jaroslaw Kaczynski has claimed victory, with his less-bombastic deputy, Beata Szydlo, set to become prime minister.
Adventurers met with disaster off the shores of Vancouver Island yesterday. A tour vessel from Tofino, British Columbia, sank, killing five Britons and leaving 18 other people hospitalized. Water taxis from nearby Ahousat First Nation were the first to see distress flares from the 66-foot Leviathan II and helped transport survivors to shore. Search teams reported seeing the boat’s bow sticking up nearly 15 feet out of the water. With one passenger still unaccounted for, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are set to resume the search today.
Don’t cry for either one yet. The election was expected to be an easy win for liberal candidate Daniel Scioli, thanks to his promises of tax cuts for the poor. But with the majority of the votes now counted, he’s ahead with just 36.7 percent, compared to conservative Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri’s 34.5 percent, and far shy of the 45 percent needed to claim victory. So the country returns for Round Two on Nov. 22 to see which man will succeed two-term leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
GM just makes deadline for tentative UAW agreement. (USA Today)
Questions, scorn follow Freedom Caucus support for Paul Ryan. (Washington Post)
Storm waters move on from Texas to Louisiana. (USA Today)
EU leaders agree to boost migrant host center numbers. (BBC)
Tanzania’s ruling party looks set for electoral win. (Reuters)
Will they try to pull the plug? Russian submarines have been spotted on patrol near remote underwater data cables in the North Sea, Northeast Asia and along the American coast that provide Internet connections to nations around the world. Cutting the cables would not only disrupt browsing, but would severely damage economies that have become increasingly reliant on Web commerce. Putin’s boats might have just been looking for submerged U.S. military cables, but analysts say the posturing shows how easily online security can become a diplomatic hot potato.
They need to raise the bar. Criminals in the U.S. may be spending less time in federal cells, but racial discrepancies have actually grown. A new study shows that white offenders have been getting shorter sentences than African-Americans ever since the Supreme Court gave judges more autonomy in 2005. The differences are largest for minor crimes involving weapons: Black offenders are being sentenced to about 1.5 years more than white ones. Reform advocates say officials need clearer guidelines to ensure that race doesn’t determine who does the most time.
He’s looking to take Asia for a ride. Tarun Mehta hopes to become the two-wheeler version of Elon Musk, and he’s peddling a clean-fuel, electric vehicle. Scooters are big business in India and China, and entrepreneurs like Mehta are hoping to capture elite consumers with varieties that outperform Vespas on design. While it’s an uphill climb, 25-year-old Mehta already has $13 million in startup funding, and he’s looking to help clean up air pollution in cities like Beijing and New Delhi by appealing to the Tesla market.
O Clooney, where art thou? Behind the camera, if rumors are true. The 54-year-old is reportedly in talks to direct a new Coen brothers film noir. Suburbicon, which has been floated as a Clooney project for the past decade, would also be the latest in a line of films that the famous fraternal team would merely write, but not direct. If Clooney’s shot at the dark cinematic style pays off, he could score his first directorial coup since 2005’s Good Night and Good Luck.
“Forever in my heart.” That was the touching tribute from center Kevin Garnett after the death of his mentor. The president and coach of the Timberwolves, who netted over 1,000 victories during a 35-year career, announced in August that he had Hodgkins lymphoma, receiving an “overwhelming” outpouring of support. While the NBA tips off a new season tomorrow, for many the mood is somber at the loss of a man who shepherded scores of players to greatness. Saunders will be remembered as one of the kindest coaches in the league.