The State Department says a “large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists.” Up to a million foreign fans are expected to turn out for the Euro 2016 soccer championship in France between June 10 and July 10 at various stadiums. The country’s still under a state of emergency after last November’s Paris attacks, which included an assault on the Stade de France, and U.S. citizens are now being warned that militant attacks are possible there and throughout Europe in the coming months.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Fingers are pointing toward Russia, but the Kremlin denies any involvement in today’s attacks that reportedly claimed at least 23 lives — though some fear the death toll is as high as 60. Idlib, considered a stronghold for Syrian rebels and Nusra Front, isn’t covered by the recent truce. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Turkish officials suspect Russian aircraft targeted the positions — a point Moscow vehemently denies. But Turkey’s foreign ministry is convinced enough that it’s calling for international support to respond to Putin and Assad’s “indefensible” crimes.
They’re fighting back. Militants have tried repelling Iraqi government troops who pushed their way into the central Iraqi city, an ISIS stronghold since January 2014. Yesterday, government forces made progress in the southern suburb of Nuaimiya, only to be attacked today by roughly 100 ISIS fighters. But Iraqi troops reportedly quashed the effort, killing 75 of the extremists. Activists, meanwhile, are increasingly concerned for the safety of civilians trapped inside the city, where people are feared to be starving to death and being killed for refusing to fight alongside ISIS.
He talks a good game. But some say President Obama’s soaring rhetoric emphasizing acceptance of refugees fleeing persecution has hit a snag: bureaucracy. His push to bring 10,000 Syrian migrants into the U.S. has resettled only 2,500 so far — a slowdown some blame on anti-refugee legislative backlash dragging down the vetting process. Meanwhile, America’s deportation policies toward Central American immigrants, called draconian by critics, have some nations raising an eyebrow, especially while the U.S. asks the rest of the world to take a share of refugee communities.
Here come the dark horses. Sensing an opportunity while expected nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remain historically unpopular, the Libertarian Party convention narrowly tapped ex-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and ex-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, both experienced former centrist Republicans, to lead their ticket. The party hasn’t completely got its act together yet: Johnson was booed for saying he would have signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and another candidate performed a striptease on the convention stage. Still, they’re hoping to poll at 15 percent, the threshold for debate participation.
They’re taking the law into their own hands. This week, the European Commission will set new guidelines for startups such as Airbnb and Uber, and the news isn’t all bad for business. In fact, regulators are driving to end drastic action — like massive fines for renting Airbnbs in Berlin or threatened jail time for Uber executives in France — by creating EU-wide regulations that would likely be friendlier to sharing-economy stalwarts. However, startups may hit the brakes on attempts to define their workers as “employees,” an ongoing fight stateside.
Bernie Sanders rally sees onstage scuffle. (CNN)
Slow resettling pace means U.S. struggles to admit 10,000 Syrians. (NYT)
U.S.-backed university in Vietnam draws backlash over chairmanship. (FT) sub
Transportation strikes throw France into chaos. (France24)
Another Brazilian minister quits over leaked tape. (WSJ) sub
They’d like to direct him back to the U.S. The famed French-Polish movie director is facing a new effort to get him before an American court over a 1977 child sex conviction. The Polish government said today it will appeal a court decision not to extradite Polanski, who was, according to Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro “wanted for…a rape of a child.” Poland’s right-wing government had warned it would seek the extradition, but Polanski’s lawyer says the earlier court ruling is valid and that his client has nothing to fear.
They’re going ape. After Cincinnati zookeepers killed an endangered 420-pound gorilla to protect the 4-year-old boy he was dragging around, there was relief — and outrage. Harambe, 17, born in Texas and sent to Ohio in hopes of breeding lowland gorillas, was killed unnecessarily, some posted. Others hurled neglect charges at the boy’s mother, who protested that she keeps “a tight watch” on her offspring. Zoo officials say they stand by their decision, but the gorilla exhibit is now under review, and the USDA is investigating.
The fourth law of robotics: Be adorable! Maybe that’s why Zenbo, the new personal robot butler from Asus, has a face like a Pixar character. The Taiwanese computer-maker touted its voice-controlled creation, which will retail for under $600, as a helpmate for seniors — one that can sing, shop online, adjust lighting and even send for help if its human companion falls and can’t get up. The company is now opening a developer program to allow new apps to add functionality and personality to its rolling robot.
Could this power new debate? After catastrophic accidents like Fukushima and Chernobyl, nuclear energy’s become unpopular. But in the face of climate change, some are betting on technology that dissolves nuclear fuel in molten salt, producing higher temperatures with lower pressure and reduced fallout risk. Originally conceived in the 1950s, it was shelved for not producing weapons-grade material. Now Bill Gates has money in it, while China and the U.S. are even collaborating on development — but it’s unlikely to take off until it becomes as cheap as coal.
History can be hard to watch. The four-night remake of the miniseries about slavery in America debuted Monday on The History Channel, A&E and Lifetime. Bloodier and more foreboding than the 1977 original, the eight-hour event befits the tensions of the Black Lives Matter era. Rapper Snoop Dogg is boycotting, explaining, “They just want to keep showing the abuse that we took.” But LeVar Burton, who starred in the original and co-produced the remake, says he hopes the discussion will ”deal honestly with what continues to hold us back.”
It’s a rematch. Golden State trailed early on its home court, but dominated the third quarter and held on in the fourth to take down feisty Oklahoma City 96-88, winning the West in an intense Game 7. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, who scored 36 points, continued their near-unguardable exploits from deep, with Curry fittingly providing the final dagger. The first NBA team in 35 years to overcome a 3-1 conference finals deficit, Golden State will again face LeBron James’ Cavaliers for the title starting on Thursday.