The Democrats have the floor, again. With a major gun control bill put to the Senate, Georgia Democrat John Lewis has led a sit-in on the House floor to demand a vote. Introduced a day after legislators rejected four Orlando-inspired gun bills, the current proposal suggests a compromise: Banning anyone on the “no-fly” list, including 2,700 Americans, from buying guns. The GOP refused a vote and called the sit-in a ”publicity stunt” as it went on into the wee hours.
The Presidential Daily Brief
We haven’t heard the last from Marco Rubio. Despite many promises to the contrary, the former GOP presidential hopeful says he plans to run for reelection to the Senate. Why the change of heart? Citing the Orlando massacre as a wake-up call, Rubio stressed concerns for the future amidst a tumultuous presidential race. With the GOP looking to clinch a majority in Congress this November, many Republicans have welcomed the continued guarantee of Rubio’s heavy-hitting national profile. The Florida senator’s name on the ballot could tip the scales in a critical race.
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 clock is ticking. Tomorrow’s Brexit vote rests on a knife’s edge, with polls showing Britons nearly equally divided on keeping their EU membership or standing alone. With 6,000 attending last night’s Wembley Arena debate, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the Leave campaign “Project Hate” for stoking anti-immigrant sentiments. His predecessor, Boris Johnson, dismissed the possibility that Europe would impose tariffs on ex-EU British goods. Meanwhile, currency traders are betting on unity, boosting the pound to a five-month high as European markets rose again today.
It all rests on faith. Sensing weakness in the flailing, cash-poor Republican’s campaign, Hillary Clinton has launched a multipronged effort to define Donald Trump for the general election. In Ohio, she argued that the reality TV star is “dangerous” to the economy, while her campaign and super PAC blanket swing states with ads. Meanwhile, in a meeting with evangelical leaders, Trump cast doubt on whether Clinton is a real Methodist, saying she’s “going to be worse” than President Obama, because with him “you had your guard up.”
Hockey team is a major pro sports first for Las Vegas (NYT)
Star Pakistani singer shot dead in Karachi. (BBC)
Armed group arrested entering New York say they were on rescue mission. (CBS)
Lightning strikes kill at least 90 people in 48 hours in eastern India. (CNN)
Soldier shoots escaped jaguar used in Rio Olympics ceremony. (The Independent)
Monitor: 25 civilians perished in airstrike on ISIS ‘capital’ Raqqa. (Euronews)
Just unplug already. An Intel Security survey of nearly 14,000 respondents showed that 55 percent of people who plan to completely ditch work while on vacation continue to check emails. Counterintuitively, 49 percent of tech-steeped millennials said they successfully unplugged while on vacation, compared to only 37 percent of 40- and 50-somethings. And Americans are the world’s worst offenders, with less than half achieving a disconnected break — despite evidence that some off-the-grid downtime improves productivity when workaholics return to the office.
In a combustible region, he’s got the match. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing a possible unconstitutional third term of president-turned-dictator Joseph Kabila. With some of the world’s worst poverty and violence-wracked rural areas, there seems no end to the DRC’s internal problems. This should worry the country’s neighbors, especially if Kabila refuses to step down. Radical Islamist rebels, civil unrest, and an unpredictable military make for a dangerous mix, one that might cause smoldering Sub-Saharan Africa to go up in flames.
This is not the day they die. HBO will pay Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) and actors playing incestuous Lannisters Cersei and Jaime $500,000 per episode for Season 7 and a presumed Season 8, placing them among television’s best-paid stars. But Game of Thrones is notorious for killing off key characters, and the paychecks are no guarantee they’ll survive the final seasons. Other stars’ contracts are pending — so brace yourself for more carnage in Sunday’s Season 6 finale.
They’re cleared for takeoff. The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday announced new regulations allowing drone pilots to launch businesses without waiting months for approval, as long as they pass a test every two years and keep drones under 55 pounds and below 400 feet. Drones must also remain in the pilot’s line of sight, precluding package delivery without a federal sign-off. Some advocates called the rules “far better than expected,” but others said the loftier goal of integrating pilotless jets into the air traffic control system remains pie-in-the-sky.
Don’t mess with the maestro. The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team defied expectations by reaching the Copa America Centenario semifinals, but yesterday against world No. 1 Argentina it was missing three starters and tried a conservative approach. It didn’t work: Los Albicelestes controlled throughout a 4-0 victory that included an astonishing free kick goal from Lionel Messi, who became his country’s all-time leading scorer. The U.S. could still salvage third place against the loser of Wednesday’s Chile-Colombia matchup, while the winner must face Argentina for the trophy.