The net is widening. Authorities have charged two more men and detained three others in connection with the March 22 airport and subway suicide bombings that killed 32 in Brussels. Belgians have now charged 21 people in those attacks and the Nov. 13 Paris terror that claimed 130. Though it’s unclear what prompted the newest charges, the two men reportedly have been linked to an apartment in the Etterbeek neighborhood said to have housed two of the subway bombers. One expert says the growing suspect list indicates a terror “supercell” that may remain capable of further violence.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They brought back our girls. Two years after the militant group abducted 270 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria, captive girls are tragically returning to society: Three-quarters of 44 child-bombers last year were female, according to a UN Children’s Fund report released today. The report puts “suicide bombing” in quotes because the kids were likely drugged and didn’t know they were carrying bombs. Beyond the obvious horror, there’s another tragic effect: After the captivity and the sexual violence, the bombing tactic creates “an atmosphere of terror and suspicion” for girls who otherwise regain their freedom.
She’s not out … yet. But a big hurdle has been cleared for those who want to see Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff impeached. A special congressional meeting last night voted 38-27 to recommend her removal from office. Rousseff has been implicated in a massive energy scandal and is facing charges of subverting budget regulations during her re-election campaign. A full lower-house vote on impeachment is expected this weekend, and if it goes through it’ll be sent on to the Brazilian Senate.
It’s gone viral. Top American health officials took Zika warnings to a new level, saying they’ve learned of more birth defects related to the virus, and they’ve tracked mosquitoes carrying it as far north as New York. After initially downplaying the risks, the Obama administration has sounded the alarm, shifting $510 million in Ebola money to fight the disease, while asking Congress for $1.9 billion. So far 346 Zika cases have been confirmed in the continental U.S., but officials fear hundreds of thousands could be infected in Puerto Rico.
Tough crowd. Hillary Clinton appeared on stage with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a black-tie dinner for local press and politicians. After Clinton quipped about de Blasio’s delayed endorsement, the (white) mayor deadpanned about running on “CP time” — aka “colored people time” — though Clinton delivered the punchline: “Cautious politician time.” The joke fell flat and ignited calls of racial insensitivity. Given Bill Clinton’s exchange with Black Lives Matter activists last week, this won’t help the Clinton camp slow the momentum of rival Bernie Sanders.
Time to pay the piper. The Panama Papers brought tax avoidance into the spotlight, and the European Union hopes to clamp down with new rules meant to keep large corporations from hiding money in tax havens. Multinational companies that do business in Europe will have to report where they make profits, and how much tax they pay in each country, including subsidiaries in tax shelters. Business groups are expected to kick back — as is the U.S., which has accused the EU of “disproportionately” targeting American firms.
Paul Ryan rules out being drafted as GOP nominee. (Washington Post)
Head in dumpster believed that of missing Seattle mom. (ABC)
E.U. delays bid to require U.S. and Canadian citizens to get visas. (NYT)
Bill Clinton was briefed on possible 2000 Trump bid. (Politico)
North Korea accuses South of ‘abducting’ its citizens. (Reuters)
They’re looking for a sea change. A new study in Indonesia, the worst offender in an industry that slaughters 3 million sharks each year, found that a teeth-to-tail approach may be the only way to stop the rising tide of shark finning. Authorities have established no-fishing zones — but researchers found these only really worked when hunters fully understood the reasoning behind them and were helped to find other careers. Now study authors are hopeful that this can be a blueprint for holistic shark conservation.
All they want is a woof over their heads. Annoyed by the lack of options for boarding a dog, CEO Aaron Hirschhorn started a business that he admits many people think is a joke: DogVacay, which connects local dog sitters who have spare dog beds with pet owners who desperately need a reliable place to stash their pets. What’s no joke is the money — $47 million in seed funding has been thrown at DogVacay, which joins Pack (Facebook for dog owners), TinDog (dog matchmaking) and FitBark (canine wearables) on the forefront of the dog app trend.
They’ve made contact. NASA’s seven-year-old exoplanet-finding spacecraft mysteriously went into “emergency mode” over the weekend, raising fears the telescope was done for. But the space agency reports that it has returned to a stable state and is again communicating with Earth. The $600 million craft will be closely monitored as mission scientists investigate what caused the glitch, but they expect Kepler will soon get back to studying the galaxy on the next phase of its mission: seeking out orphan planets that have been separated from their parent stars.
There are always cultural strings attached. Many international versions of Sesame Street have added their own puppet characters, and now the Afghan edition, Baghch-e-Simsim, will get its own local Muppet. Zari, which means “shimmering” in Pashto and Dari, is a purple six-year-old girl with multicolored hair who will occasionally wear a headscarf — but who’s intended to be of unclear ethnicity to make her relatable to all. Producers say she’ll be a role model of women’s participation for both girls and boys in the show’s upcoming season.
There was no punting on this issue. The New Orleans Saints coach took aim at American gun laws after the shooting death of former player Will Smith. Payton admits he’s conservative on some issues but that he “hates guns,” and he criticized the violence of his “broken” adopted hometown. His sentiments were echoed by the city’s NBA coach, Alvin Gentry, who said he’s “totally against” firearms. Payton insists he’s not afraid to be judged by Louisiana’s gun-friendly culture, arguing that history will look back on current laws as “madness.”