It’s a new dawn for Colombia. The fight between the government and rebel group FARC has raged since 1964 and claimed 220,000 lives. After four years of talks, lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle declared, “The war has ended.” The deal will move FARC fighters out of rural strongholds and into U.N. camps, offer amnesty for minor offenses and turn FARC into a political party. Now Colombia will vote Oct. 2 on whether to accept the deal, which faces stiff conservative opposition, but whose popularity is expected to increase.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They were trapped inside. One person has been reported killed and several wounded after gunfire rocked American University in Kabul, Afghanistan. Police are now searching for what’s believed to be a lone assailant. Opened in 2004, the American University is a legacy of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: It’s the country’s first private university, and all classes are taught in English. Though no one has yet claimed responsibility, many who packed in for evening classes were trapped inside during the attack. Award-winning journalist Massoud Hossaini, who later escaped the university, posted he was afraid he was making his “last tweets.”
“Today is a day for tears, tomorrow we can talk of reconstruction.” That was Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s message after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early yesterday. The death toll has climbed to 241, 368 are hospitalized and thousands of rescuers are still combing through the debris for survivors. The quake has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks, including at least two exceeding 5.0-magnitude, and Italians are lining up outside blood donation centers — but many worry that, as with past natural disasters, the government’s reconstruction efforts will be ponderous and inefficient.
They’re getting closer. The U.S. and South Korea say the Hermit Kingdom fired a KN-11 from a submarine off the nation’s eastern coast. The missile, seen as a protest against U.S. and South Korean military drills, flew about 300 miles before dropping into the sea — inside Japan’s air defense identification zone for the first time. Japan’s formally protested, saying it’s a “grave threat,” and condemnation is expected from the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea when they meet in Tokyo later today.
She’s stocking up. Running to high-dollar fundraisers from Nantucket to Justin Timberlake’s Hollywood Hills crib, Hillary Clinton has bagged at least $32 million in three weeks. Attendees at the closed-to-media events say Clinton keeps to her usual message, but at one bash attendees got a fiery, profane warm-up from Cher. Republican Donald Trump has raised less money and is more reliant on small donors. The Democrat’s team is reaching out to former financial backers of Mitt Romney who fear a Trump presidency — and is starting to make inroads.
No, it’s not called “Schmitcoin.” Deutsche Bank, Santander, BNY Mellon and UBS have teamed up to pitch central banks on a new digital currency known as the “utility settlement coin.” They want financial trades online, currently time-consuming and expensive, to use a blockchain technology-based currency as an industry standard. Banks initially rejected blockchain, the database that supports cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, as a fraud magnet. But now they’re hoping central banks and regulators will accept the new currency’s advantages in time for a 2018 launch
Know This: Myanmar felt a 6.8-magnitude earthquake, but so far hasn’t reported any deaths. After making a protest gesture at the Olympics, Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa doesn’t feel safe going home. Does the argument for skyrocketing American drug prices hold water? And Turkey’s sending tanks into Syria.
Read This: As France bans the burkini — and the world reacts to photos of armed police ordering a Muslim woman to disrobe on a Nice beach — the inventor of the garment weighs in on the intent behind it.
Cartagena’s a city built on slavery — literally. Blacks in bondage constructed the city’s iconic fortified walls, and while some estimate that thousands died in the process, their history isn’t so much written as told. Since the abolition of slavery in 1851, Colombia’s made great strides toward integration, but that can include faux colorblindness that only remembers white historical leaders. Meanwhile, historically Black neighborhoods like Getsemaní are seeing an influx of wealthy hipsters, who threaten to drive out locals and their oral histories in favor of new developments and pricey bars.
It’s not all in your head. Last year, a research team developed an AI algorithm to analyze young people’s speech – and it predicted which of them would develop psychoses in later life. Vocal tics can indicate disorders like schizophrenia, but often they’re too subtle for a human diagnosis. Medical firm NeuroLex is using this technology to create schizophrenia screenings and monitor patients with other mental health issues, to help speed up diagnoses and referral processes – but some worry that voice recognition errors and cultural peculiarities could precipitate misleading data and misdiagnoses.
They’re going under the radar. Antarctica’s apex predator, the elephant seal, can dive to depths of nearly a mile and a half — and is more mobile than ship-deployed monitors tracking the rate at which Antarctica’s ice shelves are melting. A team of scientists from the University of Tasmania is taking advantage of their flippered research assistants, attaching monitoring devices to 20-30 seals. After two years of observation, they say, they’ve determined that Antarctic melt is diluting the continent’s heavy, cold layer of ”bottom water,” which could disrupt ocean circulation worldwide.
Is there a filter called Shill? Social media posts are required to acknowledge paid endorsements. But a watchdog group found that law wasn’t being obeyed on more than 100 Instagram posts from Kim Kardashian West and other members of her social media-savvy reality TV family, with online musings and photos flacking brands such as Calvin Klein and Estée Lauder. Truth in Advertising says it will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission today if the posts aren’t altered, though the agency’s policy dictates “education” rather than fines for a first offense.
Time to face the music. Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers will meet with the National Football League today about an Al Jazeera America documentary accusing them of performance-enhancing drug use. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and free agent linebacker Mike Neal will follow, after the NFL threatened suspensions if they didn’t cooperate with the internal investigation. The league already cleared the biggest accused name, now-retired quarterback Peyton Manning. All the players have denied using PEDs, and it’s unclear when the NFL’s probe will conclude.