While Orlando gunman Omar Mateen seems to have pledged allegiance to the extremists before launching the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, there is “no evidence so far that he was in fact directed” to do so, the president said today. He will visit Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects, as the LGBT community is reeling after Sunday’s attack at the Pulse nightclub left 50 dead and 53 wounded. Authorities say American-born Mateen, 29, opened fire in the gay club with a legally purchased assault rifle before dying in a shootout — making him an example of “the kind of home-grown extremism” officials have long feared, Obama added.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The NBA Finals have netted little drama thus far, but they’ll be drawing to a close next week, with Golden State leading the series 3-1 after last night’s 108-97 blowout. Meanwhile, American Jordan Spieth will be looking to defend his title next week as the U.S. Golf Championship gets underway on Thursday. And will Paralympian Oscar Pistorius be running back to jail? The gold medalist’s sentencing hearing — his manslaughter verdict was overturned for murder — begins next week for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
It’s the biggest question for Democrats, who are trying to gently nudge the insurgent from the race. Behind the scenes, the candidate is said to be interested in shaping the party platform and is not eager to leave the spotlight. As Democratic leaders from President Obama on down lined up behind Hillary Clinton, they also met with the Vermont senator. He has stopped openly attacking Clinton, but the 74-year-old has been reluctant to share his end game — beyond urging District of Columbia voters to back him in Tuesday’s final primary.
He’s no ’80s man. Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary general, is defending NATO’s lackluster moves in response to a muscle-flexing Russia. Despite criticism from former NATO officials, Stoltenberg and his colleagues say they’re trying to avoid another arms race and adhering to agreements with Moscow by limiting troop deployments to Eastern Europe. NATO also dispatches surveillance drones and consultants in attempts to monitor activity without necessarily putting boots on the ground — while firmly holding its trump card of “rapid deployability” from Western Europe.
They’re playing a waiting game. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says a U.K. departure from the EU could have “significant economic repercussions” and is one factor she and her colleagues will consider when they decide on interest rate changes next week. Many believe a U.S. rate hike will hit this summer — the first since a .25 percent boost last December. But May’s “disappointing” U.S. jobs report and the June 23 Brexit vote will likely prompt the Fed to delay any announcement until voters and investors have their say first.
Police: New Mexico Man Fled After Killing Wife, 4 Daughters (AP)
Dozens injured as English, Russian soccer fans brawl (CNN)
Christina Grimmie, 22, shot and killed at Florida concert. (USA Today)
CIA director: No evidence Saudi government helped 9/11 attackers (AP)
George Voinovich, former Ohio governor and U.S. senator, dead at 79 (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Garbage and pilot strikes disrupt the Euro in Paris. (France 24)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says no recall referendum in 2016. (BBC)
Why did an elderly man climb a mountain last December, braving the elements without the right gear, only to drink poison? Six months after a biker found his body lying oddly parallel to the Chew Track in the Peak District National Park, a police investigation has sprawled into a multinational quest. Train tickets trace the man back to London, where the trail runs cold, apart from a titanium plate attached to his femur … an implant used at a Pakistani hospital that offers the biggest clue to resolving the mystery.
Vouloir, c’est pouvoir. Carina Velasquez saw a Paris without a thriving bar scene and believed she could do something about it. So she and her team opened a secret watering hole behind a dingy taco joint, then an oyster bar — that initially upset Parisians by not serving bread — an American-style dive bar and, finally, a Korean fried chicken place. None is traditionally French, but Velasquez’s projects are proving popular with Parisians and expats alike, and, for her next move, she’s planning to “go big.”
Mary Poppins they are not. A French study has found that 58 percent of under-twos have used a tablet or mobile phone, and while some parents boast of limiting their baby’s screen time, the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for complete prohibition. It’s too soon for researchers to gauge screen impact, but they’ve proven to overstimulate baby mice, making them more prone to hyperactivity and cocaine addiction. Some say moderate interactive app use can aid development; others warn passive viewing can impair it. Best bet? Pocket your own device and pay more attention.
It’s a humbling transformation. High-rises, a $26.6 billion mosque upgrade and the world’s largest folding umbrellas now greet Muslims in the Saudi Arabian holy site, where all believers who can afford the trip are compelled to visit. The spread of air travel and rising incomes allowed 8 million pilgrims to make the trek last year. An Italian photographer captured the mix of commercialism and true faith on display at such sites in the modern age — selfies and all. Up next? New roads and rail to transport visitors even more efficiently.
Can they film the void? As the North American movie business crumbles — the industry’s expected to sell fewer tickets this year than it has in almost a century — executives are analyzing the data. The takeaway? Most people only go to the movies a few times a year, and films are having to pump more dollars into advertising to see any return at all. And the more 18-to-24-year-olds divert their eyes to Netflix and Snapchat, the more studios are banking on sequels, which may stifle cinematic ingenuity.