Time to play the waiting game. Given the risks of birth defects in babies born to mothers infected with the Zika virus, the World Health Organization is now advising people to delay getting pregnant in the 46 Latin American and Caribbean countries in which Zika’s been spreading. Efforts to battle mosquitoes, which spread the virus, are ongoing, but haven’t offered much relief. So until a vaccine can be developed, the WHO’s saying to wait — and some wonder if the CDC, which thus far has stayed out of it, will follow suit.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re circling the wagons. “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” the president said of the presumptive Democratic nominee, eight years and two days after she first endorsed him. Vice President Joe Biden and influential Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined the chorus hours later, as Democrats try to delicately end the nomination fight. Obama and Biden met separately with Bernie Sanders, who says he’ll continue to battle for the nomination until the July convention. The president will begin campaigning with Clinton next week in Wisconsin.
Better to Bern out than to fade away? Pressure is mounting for Bernie Sanders to step aside. But he’s campaigning today in Washington, D.C., where he’ll also meet with Obama just days after Hillary Clinton clinched enough delegates for the Democratic nomination. Tremors will still be felt in November, when Sanders’ backers may stay home, support a third-party candidate or even back the Donald. Arun Chaudhary, Sanders’ creative director, says the senator’s lasting impact could come from creating a progressive grassroots movement from the ashes of his insurgent campaign.
It was “cold-blooded murder.” That’s the message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after two Palestinians opened fire yesterday in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market, killing four and wounding five. Islamist group Hamas didn’t claim responsibility, but called the massacre “heroic” and warned Israelis — who have seen 33 killed in attacks since last October — to expect more “surprises” during Ramadan. Two suspected gunmen have been arrested, Israeli authorities have suspended entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians, and Netanyahu is vowing “intensive action” to prevent further attacks.
Was it a hit-and-run? The extremists say they attacked the Somali Halgan base — where Ethiopian soldiers train as part of the African Union’s AMISOM force — striking the gates with a suicide car bomb before storming the base and killing scores. Locals reportedly heard an explosion before dawn today, followed by an hour of heavy gunfire, but an AMISOM spokesman referred to it as an “attempted attack.” Al-Shabab, known for exaggerating figures, says it has since withdrawn, and there’s no official word yet on casualties.
They hope it cuts the mustard. The Bank of Korea surprised markets today by trimming its main policy rate to a record low of 1.25 percent. While the country’s economic sluggishness has been prompting calls for stimulus, most analysts weren’t expecting any change to the benchmark rate until later this year. The move saw the won drop against the U.S. dollar, and three-year bond yields fell to a new low of 1.33 percent. Analysts, citing little hope for growth, expect another BOK interest rate cut within a year.
Friends say Eritrean man extradited to Italy on smuggling charges is wrong man. (BBC)
Papua New Guinea moves to block further student demonstrations. (Time)
Japan protests after Chinese vessel sails near disputed islands. (DW)
Silvio Berlusconi to have urgent heart surgery. (BBC)
Three hospitals attacked on rebel side of Aleppo, Syria. (NYT)
LeBron James throws down massive alley-oop dunk in Game 3 win. (USA Today)
It’s buried treasure. The fabled home of Kublai Khan, “the greatest palace that ever was,” according to Marco Polo, was abandoned in the 14th century. But workers upgrading the power system at Beijing’s Palace Museum have found a foundation wall 10 feet thick that could predate the Yuan dynasty — and might have supported what Polo described as a 6,000-person dining hall in the gold- and silver-plated palace. Further excavations of the Forbidden City could take generations, but this find will soon be opened to the public.
Don’t fire up your bong just yet. In a stance befitting the contrarian former GOP presidential hopeful, the Ohio governor, who notably expanded Medicaid, has signed a law allowing those with a prescription to use marijuana. Kasich said making his state the 26th in the U.S. to allow prescription marijuana would help children with rare medical conditions. Ohioans still can’t smoke it: The law only applies to patients with specific illnesses and covers only vaporizers, edibles and oils, which they’ll have to import until a home-grown system takes root.
The long arm of the law is going digital. The Sooner State’s cops are now armed with Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machines, which can seize money from a suspect’s bank account or prepaid cards on site — and on a hunch. Thanks to controversial civil asset forfeiture, officers can hold money they believe was used in crimes before a conviction, placing the burden on the suspect to prove the money is legit. Cops say the machines can combat identity theft, but legislators may move to restrict forfeitures.
They pack a punch. Prints created in 1979 by the legendary boxer go on the block next Wednesday in New York City. Ali, who had no artistic training, has been praised for his “joyful” and “tender” sensibilities as a visual artist, and for incorporating themes that resonated throughout his life: His Muslim faith, his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement and his love of victory. Starting prices range from $400 to $2,000, and while the auction was planned before his death, Ali’s passing will likely see them ring up a premium.
The ball might not be in her court for some time. The International Tennis Federation has lobbed a career-bruising penalty at the Russian player after she tested positive for meldonium, a heart disease drug. Sharapova admitted she continued taking the medicine, which she’s used since 2006, because she was unaware it had been banned. Calling it “unfairly harsh,” the 29-year-old former No. 1 says she will appeal. Meanwhile, Nike plans to continue sponsoring Sharapova — clearly expecting her to rush the net at the majors again.