The threat’s growing. North Korea fired two Musudan rockets Wednesday morning, South Korean officials report. One failed, but the second flew 250 miles, farther than previous attempts and halfway to Japan’s main island. Designed to reach 1,800 miles, the Musudan could theoretically target Japan, South Korea and the U.S. island of Guam. Defying a UN ban, the Hermit Kingdom aimed high, one analyst said, presumably to avoid Japanese airspace — suggesting that it “worked perfectly” and if fired at the proper angle it could go all the way.
The Presidential Daily Brief
As the Donald might tweet, it’s sad. The presumptive Republican nominee’s gone from being a threat to playing catch-up. A CNN/ORC poll just out shows voters favoring Hillary Clinton 47-42 percent. Another poll released today shows an even sadder margin in the key battleground state of Florida, with Clinton advancing to 47-39 percent, while the billionaire’s lead in Ohio has vanished. On the happy side for Trump, he’s still polling even in the Democratic stronghold of Pennsylvania, even as once solidly red states fade to purple.
They’re shooting blanks. Four proposals fell short of the required 60 votes yesterday, eight days after a gunman massacred 49 people in Orlando with a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle. Republicans blocked proposals to close background check loopholes and ban sales to suspected terrorists, saying they wouldn’t stop mass shootings. Democrats in turn blocked less-restrictive Republican measures. Now GOP Sen. Susan Collins is drafting a compromise barring sales to people on two airport security lists — disliked by both party leaders — that may appear in Congress later this week.
He’s not catching a break. In just one news cycle, the presumptive GOP nominee fired controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and released a financial report showing he’s got less cash on hand — $1.3 million to Hillary Clinton’s cool $42.5 million — than many U.S. House campaigns. The billionaire’s lean staff of 70, a tenth of the former secretary of state’s, has some Republicans concerned that he’s unprepared to battle for swing states in November. But Trump’s done much with little already, and the presidential campaign’s just warming up.
Is it the silver lining? After a day of surging markets driven by polls showing Britain may remain with the EU, buyers have been snapping up the British currency. The pound rose 2 percent against the dollar to $1.47, its biggest jump in years, and one analyst predicts it’ll hit $1.55 if the Remain camp wins Thursday’s vote. But polls released yesterday indicate a razor-thin margin. Some investors are betting that a pound drop would precipitate a crisis, limiting the Bank of England’s ability to weather Brexit’s economic storm.
The file is archived, but the wound hasn’t healed. Fifty-two years ago today, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner disappeared while working to register Black voters in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Yesterday, state and federal investigators closed the inquiry into their murders, saying all suspects have died. The case inspired the 1988 film Mississippi Burning and fueled outrage over the apparent local cover-up. A later probe led to the 2005 manslaughter conviction of Edgar Ray Killen and the 2006 Cold Case Initiative, reviving 125 Civil Rights era investigations.
DR Congo warlord jailed in landmark war crimes case. (BBC)
British man arrested for attempting to shoot Donald Trump at Las Vegas rally. (BBC)
FBI releases partial transcripts of Orlando killer’s 911 calls. (NPR)
New fires erupt in Los Angeles as Southwest sweats out heat wave. (AP)
Car bomb kills Jordanian border guards at refugee help point. (Bloomberg)
Things aren’t going swimmingly. In real life they’re not adorably slurping Coca-Cola: They’re being forced to swim marathons. A recent study tracking polar bears’ movement revealed that two-thirds of females made epic swims equaling 1,000 Olympic pool laps. Climate change has caused ice rafts to diminish, scattering their natural hunting grounds and requiring long sea journeys with increasingly treacherous waves to find prey. Cubs and elders are especially vulnerable, and while the research isn’t complete, it shows a clear danger to future polar bear populations.
Work is buzzing along. Inovio Pharmaceuticals and GeneOne Life Science announced yesterday that U.S. regulators have approved an early-stage trial on a vaccine for the mosquito-borne virus. Their DNA vaccine is the first to cross the line — other attempts are underway — after pre-clinical tests showed that it triggered robust antibody and T cell immune responses in animals. Next up, 40 healthy people will help determine how the body reacts to the vaccine. If it passes, larger human studies will test whether it keeps Zika at bay.
They’re wireless, mobile … and won’t fit in your pocket. In the first quarter of 2016, motor vehicles made up 32 percent of new mobile devices, surpassing phones, according to industry consultants Chetan Sharma. AT&T alone now has 8 million vehicles on its network, but one survey suggests 40 percent of owners don’t even know their cars are networked. With smartphones at 84 percent penetration in the U.S. and new customer revenue dwindling, cars are driving growth for cellular companies — if auto dealers can connect clueless customers with more facts.
They won’t Let it Be. The three biggest labels and 180 top artists are publishing an open letter to Congress asking it to rewrite the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The target is YouTube, which has also fielded complaints from other industry leaders negotiating new licenses. The recording industry claims the Google-owned video site doesn’t pay enough for songs, while YouTube argues that it has paid out $3 billion while removing unlicensed content. But if Ms. Swift isn’t satisfied, those searching for Blank Space may find just that.
Will golf get a mulligan? A day after getting roasted by pros and fans, the golf association issued an apology Monday for the “distraction” caused by its final-round penalty on the eventual U.S. Open champion. The first-time major winner — and spectators — were in the dark for two hours about whether he’d be penalized for moving his ball during his setup on the fifth green. Ultimately Johnson lost a stroke and still won the tournament, but many agree the half-apology was not up to par.