She’s home free. Nadiya Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in jail last March after she was captured while fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. While in jail, she was elected to Ukraine’s parliament, and her release has been a national cause — one that ended in victory today when she was flown back to Kiev in exchange for two Russian prisoners. It’s seen as a big win for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — and, some hope, as a sign that Russia-Ukraine relations are improving as a European vote on Russian sanctions looms.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They don’t need a server to send a message. The former secretary of state poorly managed her email security, a U.S. State Department inquiry says, after failing to comply with rules for preserving documents. She also didn’t seek proper approval for her use of a private email server — which would’ve been denied owing to security risks. The report points out that the department has struggled with “longstanding, systemic weaknesses” of this sort. Clinton says she didn’t handle any classified information via her private account, but the FBI is investigating whether there was any such breach.
Is Obama’s plan in the toilet? A lawsuit by 11 American states accuses the president of “running roughshod over commonsense policies” protecting children. It asks a judge to declare Obama’s directive to allow transgender students to use bathrooms in public schools that align with their gender identity unlawful. Opponents say they fear children will be attacked unless bans are in place. But the administration has threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that don’t comply, and this battle over what critics call a “massive social experiment” will now be heading to court.
This is an act of faith. The Taliban’s former leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, recently killed by a U.S. drone strike, was known for encouraging the group into military action — and he was thought to be an obstacle to recent attempts at peace with the Afghan government. But the Taliban have changed direction with Mansour’s successor, choosing religious leader Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, a somewhat obscure deputy of the group. While little is known about his proclivities toward peace, the announcement came as the Taliban staged a suicide attack outside Kabul, killing 10.
They were hoping to read him the riot act. Last night, Albuquerque police fired pepper spray and smoke grenades at hundreds of unruly demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles, while Donald Trump’s 4,000-strong crowd of supporters chanted “build that wall,” referring to their candidate’s plan to barricade the border. New Mexico’s population is nearly half Hispanic or Latino, and the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, who Trump accused of “not doing her job,” hasn’t voiced support for her party’s presumptive nominee — even as the state’s June 7 primary approaches.
This mercy is a little strained. European finance ministers have been butting heads with the IMF over unlocking new loans for Greece — which needs the money by July — but finally reached a deal to lend the strapped nation $11.5 billion. The IMF, hoping to give the Greeks some breathing room with a 40-year loan extension, won the fight to have debt relief and restructuring included in the deal, albeit without solid numbers attached. The new bailout should see Greece through October, but relief won’t kick in until 2018.
It might be time to change the game. Republican leaders are likely to dump troubled Nevada from the privileged first four states to hold presidential primaries, and they might pair early contests in a rotating calendar. That could see South Dakota conservatives voting the same day as the 2020 Iowa caucuses. In another controversial proposal, the RNC is weighing whether to limit all primaries to registered Republicans, since many outside the party helped power Donald Trump to the nomination this year. The changes will be debated at July’s convention.
Arno riverbank in Florence, Italy, collapses. (BBC)
Netflix, Amazon may see quotas on material made in the EU. (BBC)
Prosecutors to seek death penalty for Charleston shooter Dylann Roof. (Reuters)
Chinese official mocks Taiwan’s president for being single. (ABC)
World Trade Organization warns Britain that a Brexit would cost billions. (FT) (sub)
U.S. passes sweeping new chemical safety legislation. (WSJ) sub
They’re not pussyfooting around. When Ramzan Kadyrov’s cat disappeared, the former Chechen rebel put out a concerned call on Instagram — which was catnip to the HBO host: Oliver mocked Kadyrov for his alleged brutality and penchant for T-shirts bearing the face of his patron, Vladimir Putin. Kadyrov, who was deluged by Oliver fans on social media, shot back by photoshopping a Putin T-shirt onto the comedian, captioning it: “I want to care for cats in Chechnya.” He does not yet appear to have found his cat.
He’s helping them hit the gas. French ride-sharing company Blablacar, which lets users hitch long-distance rides with each other in a sort of Airbnb/Uber mashup, is branching out into the Indian market. But a new continent brings new challenges: Nasty logistics of getting between cities may mean that not only is carpooling the cheap option, it could be the only option. Enter Raghav Gupta, Blablacar’s Indian liaison, who’ll have to navigate cultural issues — like reluctance to get in strangers’ cars — as he steers forward.
It’s hard to win with a full house. For the first time since 1880, U.S. adults aged 18-34 are more likely to live with mom and dad than anywhere else. Overall, 32.1 percent of millennials are living with their parents: Sons stay put at a rate of 35 percent, while daughters are slightly more likely to cohabit with a partner. It could be worse: More than 70 percent of millennial Macedonians live at home, a fact that America’s homebound adult children might want to bring up at dinner tonight.
He’s giving himself a thumbs up. The Transformers star and two performance art collaborators are periodically tweeting their GPS coordinates so people can find them and take them anywhere they want. This week some fans drove the gang to a brewery for lunch. Part of a Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art festival, #TAKEMEANYWHERE — which will be made into a film — is the latest in a series of performance projects LaBeouf has done with Nastja Rönkkö and Luke Turner. The group will be roaming until June 23.
Old rivalries are going virtual. The West Coast athletic conference that includes both Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley will be the first college sports entity to sanction interscholastic eSports competitions, though the Big Ten Network hosted an exhibition last month. Pac-12 schools are already stocked with gaming talent: An Arizona State team went undefeated at this year’s Heroes of the Dorm competition, the March Madness of eSports, which aired on ESPN2. The Pac-12 has not yet picked a game, but plans to stage and broadcast competitions.