It was “cold-blooded murder.” So says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the brutal death of a 68-year-old Canadian journalist taken hostage by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines last September. Ridsdel warned in a recent video that he’d be killed on April 25 if ransom demands weren’t met, and while his family tried to pay, a close friend says the amount was simply too high. Philippine authorities have vowed to use “the full force of the law” to bring the terrorists to justice.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Can they divide and conquer? The two campaigns separately announced that they’d split their efforts on the remaining primary states as part of an effort to deny Donald Trump a path to the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination. Cruz’s campaign said they’ll focus on Indiana and “clear the path” for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico. Trump blasted his rivals’ strategy as “desperation” on social media … on the same day that conservative billionaire political donor Charles Koch said he may sit out 2016 altogether.
“No amount of money” would be adequate compensation, according to lawyer’s for Rice’s estate. But the family of the 12-year-old who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014 will receive a huge settlement from the city, in a move that means there will be no federal civil trial in the case. Cleveland, which doesn’t have to admit any wrongdoing in Rice’s death, must still get approval for the settlement from a probate court. Meanwhile, Rice’s family says they hope their case can still spark change in America.
How enterprising. The American and German leaders met this weekend to talk about migration, security and especially international trade. While opposition mounts against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the U.S. president and German chancellor are pushing ahead with an eye on expanding growth. They hope to complete the pact by the end of the year, which Obama said would help Western economies and businesses compete with developing markets in Asia and Africa. Angela Merkel agreed, telling business leaders, “We should get a move on.”
He’s sending reinforcements. Today the president is expected to announce plans to dispatch up to 250 more American troops to Syria to help quash ISIS — a move signaling the Pentagon’s growing confidence that U.S.-backed forces are making progress. The new additions will try to increase Sunni Arab involvement with Kurdish units in hopes of regaining and holding communities around Raqqa. Obama, who will announce the buildup from Germany, where he’s wrapping up a week-long trip, plans to boost numbers from around 50 to 300.
It gives criminal justice a whole new meaning. Independent investigators have come out swinging over the 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican students in the city of Iguala. After a year-long investigation, experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights were unable to resolve the young men’s disappearance. They cited medical reports indicating the “mistreatment and torture” of suspects and claimed President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government obstructed their probe. Nieto thanked the panel via Twitter and said his attorney general’s office would use the report to “enrich its investigation.”
Candy contaminated with suspected pesticide kills 23 in Pakistan. (BBC)
U.N. condemns North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile test. (AFP)
Australian teen charged in alleged terror plot. (Mashable)
Editor for LGBT magazine in Bangladesh murdered. (BBC)
Egyptian leader warns of crackdowns on anti-government protests. (DW)
Slowdown in energy stocks hurts European markets. (FT) sub
PKK ready for long fight for freedom against Turkey. (BBC)
Erin Andrews settles lawsuit against “peephole” hotel. (Daily Beast)
This must be deflating. The New England Patriots quarterback saw the four-game suspension imposed on him over a scandal involving under-inflated footballs lifted last September — but now it’s back, per the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which says Brady will have to miss the first quarter of football season. That could be good news for the Pats’ only other quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo — or the team might draft a new starter with one of its 11 draft picks and hope they find a newbie who can keep Brady’s seat warm.
Keep calm and marathon. The London Marathon saw 38,000 people compete Sunday — but only one of them did it from the International Space Station. The British astronaut tethered himself to a treadmill and finished the 26.2 miles in just over three and a half hours, using an app to follow the course through London’s streets during his space odyssey. Peake didn’t win the race — that honor went to defending champion Eliud Kipchoge, 31, a Kenyan — but he now holds the record for fastest (and second ever) marathon run in space.
There’s an elephant in the room. While some voters switch parties every election cycle, the Keystone State, which is holding its primaries tomorrow, has seen folks stampede to register as Republicans in unprecedented numbers, with 60,000 people switching from blue to red and only 19,000 going the other way. It has pollsters on both sides puzzled: There’s speculation that some Democrats are registering as Republican to try and block Donald Trump from the GOP nomination — but perhaps the so-called Reagan Democrats will make a 2016 comeback.
It’s making all the right noises. The U.S. space agency has launched a 10-year New Aviation Horizons program to develop commercial planes that are half as loud, twice as fuel efficient and powered by green energy. Though best known for space flight, NASA has made many advances inside our atmosphere as well — their first generation of experimental “X-planes” broke the sound barrier back in 1947. Lockheed Martin will come up with the preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology, with the first test flights targeted for 2020.
When your husband gives you lemons … Many fans and critics suspect that’s what Queen Bey’s done with Lemonade, the album she surprise-released on Tidal and HBO Saturday night. Her sixth album has been expected for some time, but nobody knew the exact release date until it dropped. The move is sparking rampant speculation that the Houston native’s accusing husband Jay-Z of cheating with a mysterious “Becky.” Fans are pegging the other woman as fashion designer Rachel Roy, who tweeted in response about respecting marriage and decrying bullying.
They’re diving deep for the environment. The Alaska SeaLife Center says it’s rejecting traditional fossil fuels in favor of renewable heating that’s powered 98 percent by seawater. The innovative system uses the relatively warm water of Resurrection Bay to boil liquid carbon dioxide, which is then pressurized to dramatically increase its temperature, finally heating the water that flows through the facility’s heating coils. The system’s been working swimmingly since late January — and, if the savings on energy are taken into account, it’ll pay for itself by 2029.
In a surprise twist, Golden State’s megastar will have an MRI today after slipping and banging his knee on the floor in Sunday’s 121-94 Game 4 win against Houston. Having led the Warriors to the best regular season record in history, Curry has been hobbled in the playoffs, missing two games with an ankle sprain before returning on Sunday. If this means Curry — who was reportedly in tears in the locker room — is out for a while, the race for the Larry O’Brien Trophy just opened up.