Was the bomber an innocent? President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed ISIS for allegedly sending a 12-to-14-year-old child to target a wedding late Saturday, killing 50 and injuring 90 in Gaziantep, near the Syrian border. There have been no claims of responsibility, but ISIS was likely angered by Turkey’s pledge to step up Syrian intervention. The country’s still recovering from last month’s attempted coup, and its prime minister said Syria’s future can’t include its president, Bashar Assad, ISIS, or Kurds who are also fighting for Turkish territory.
The Presidential Daily Brief
As the bloody, dusty visage of Aleppo’s 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh captivates the media, President Obama faces a two-front war. While gaining ground against ISIS, he’s barely avoiding conflict with Bashar Assad’s government. A U.N. report expected next week may say the regime, as observers contend, “continues to use chlorine gas with impunity.” Assad officially relinquished chemical weapons in 2013, but reported attacks persist. With fresh horrors exposed, Obama may seek U.N. Security Council sanctions — predictably vetoed by Russia, which began launching cruise missiles into the fray from warships on Friday.
Where are the lifeboats? Some GOP operatives compare Donald Trump’s reshuffling of his campaign staff to “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” but the band plays on. With poll numbers tanking, campaign chair Paul Manafort, whose moderated message was supposed to right the ship, resigned on Friday. Some skeptics even say the mogul doesn’t care if he wins and is planning a conservative news network to rival Fox. With no rescue in sight, Trump’s softening his persona, expressing “regret” for hurtful words and touring Louisiana — to see the effects of rising waters.
These boots are on the ground. Despite President Obama’s careful syntax, American special forces are heavily involved in fighting ISIS in Iraq. The tale of soldiers like Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler — the first of three Americans killed in action — shows battle-hardened Americans leading the charge. As it continues to lose ground, ISIS has reverted to guerrilla tactics like car bombs, while Americans are working closely with Kurds preparing to retake Mosul — where the Islamic State first captured U.S. weapons and attention — in the biggest counteroffensive to date.
Put away the pitchforks. Despite public rage, no Wall Street figure has been imprisoned for the chicanery that led to the 2008 financial crash — but maybe that’s OK, says Sam Buell, federal prosecutor on the historic Enron fraud case. While the crisis involved large-scale malfeasance, it’s hard to prove one banker intentionally duped another, and the American public was only indirectly victimized by reckless investment schemes. Tougher regulation, he argues, is a more vital and reasoned response, as a few high-profile sentencings are not going to fix the system.
Know This: U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who claimed he was robbed by someone who cocked a gun to his head, admitted “that didn’t happen.” A New York Times investigation shows that Donald Trump’s empire owes a more-than-disclosed $650 million. And British runner Mo Farah won the 5,000 meters Saturday, making him the second man to retain both that and the 10,000-meters title.
Hear This: FiveThirtyEight’s inaugural science podcast, Sparks, tackles transgender research, starting with the work of controversial science historian and bioethicist Alice Dreger, author of Galileo’s Middle Finger.
Read This: After a generation-long fishing moratorium, cod are flourishing in the Newfoundland’s waters: “Fishermen and scientists here haven’t just been finding more cod, they’ve been seeing a glimmer of … hope.”
They’re unstoppable. Allyson Felix helped her U.S. teammates win a second relay, the 4x100, scoring a record sixth career track gold and easing the pain of Monday’s loss to a finish-line-diving Jamaican. Americans also won the men’s 4x400 relay, while Matt Centrowitz squeaked by with 1,500-meter gold and Gwen Jorgensen scored another U.S. first, crushing the triathlon field after being stymied by a flat tire in 2012. But Saturday’s moment was Brazil’s soccer gold against Germany, avenging a 7-1 humiliation in the 2014 World Cup.
Three races, nine golds. The Jamaican considered the greatest sprinter ever anchored the 4x100-meter relay Friday, charging ahead of Japan to score gold for his third straight Games. That mirrored his triple crowns in the individual 100-meter and 200-meter sprints earlier in the Rio Olympics. On the same track, the U.S. relay team finished third, but a baton pass disqualification — now being challenged — handed the bronze medal to Canada. U.S. women won gold in their 4x100 relay, however, beating Jamaica and Britain to defend their title.
Think. Eat. Rock. Ok, so you’ll have to provide your own munchies this time, but you can still groove to the music of Wyclef Jean, have your thoughts provoked by the New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell and get your culinary acumen elevated by star chef Alex Guarnaschelli, among many others who’ll strike your fancy and fire those dormant neurons. Tune in to Fusion Network today (Sunday) at 8 p.m. or 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. If you don’t have a cable package with Fusion, you can watch the show on Apple TV, Hulu or Roku.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. A growing number of churches and religious leaders are using the social media giant’s live video streaming service to share the spirit with remote worshipers. More than 70 percent of churches are now on Facebook, as organized religion tries to reverse an attendance slide. But don’t confuse the broadcasts — which are community based and narrowly targeted — for televangelism. And while there’s concern about the missing human contact needed for a religious community, being a “friend of Jesus” is taking on a whole new meaning.
All aboard the historical revisionist train. The secret network that helped escaped slaves make it north to freedom in a pre-Civil War United States is still taught in schools today, but even its remembrance poses problems. First, white abolitionists working the railroad are more likely to be celebrated than Black ones who faced far greater danger. And second, the railroad, with its simple focus on liberation and Northern enlightenment, helps modern Americans forget the horrors of slavery, and the systemic discrimination against Black people to this day.
She makes it look easy. Geeta Tandon is defying gender stereotypes in Bollywood — but it’s been a tough road. Forced to wed at age 15, Tandon fled a violent husband with her two kids; she eventually became so desperate for work she agreed — without training — to jump off a building. Today, she’s a self-taught pro and one of the few women in her field willing to do high-speed car chases. In the process, Tandon’s smashing gender norms and providing inspiration to wives still trapped in abusive marriages.
They all want a piece. In a few decades, Iceland’s tourism has exploded, transforming the country from industrial fishing capital to a sub-arctic vacation hot spot, with foreign visitors increasing by some 264 percent in five years. But not long after the 2008 financial crisis wrecked Iceland’s economy, the influx is impacting the country in myriad ways, from rampant Airbnb growth causing fiscal and social unrest to clueless hikers harming its unique ecosystem. And there are troubling international ramifications: If an affluent nation can’t cope with “overtourism,” how well can developing countries fare?
Simone Biles wasn’t the first — just the best. Black gymnasts were breaking in the mats decades before Biles roared to success, but none was accorded much recognition. In 1983, Dianne Durham became the first African-American to win a national gymnastics title, but an injury and politics kept her from competing the following year, when Mary Lou Retton, her white training partner, vaulted to Olympic stardom. Other Black athletes have helped diversify the sport since then, but Biles still has to remind people that race is hardly what makes her unique.