“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.
The Presidential Daily Brief
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.
Mass deportations could be off the table. Donald Trump’s struggling to refine his immigration policy, but experts say he’s still offering conflicting information. Last night, Trump said he wouldn’t support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but added that some might be allowed to stay if they pay back taxes. Supporters say they remain confident Trump will build his promised Mexican border wall — despite insurmountable policy obstacles to the project. Meanwhile, British right-wing nationalist Nigel Farage appeared at a Mississippi Trump rally, pointing to Brexit as proof that Trump can “beat the pollsters.”
Hear that? It’s the sound of the gig economy crumbling. U.S. startup nuTonomy has won the self-driving taxi fleet race, launching a program in Singapore that allows app users to hail autonomous cars on a 3.7 mile street network. Each electric car has a engineer inside until users get comfortable. Though Uber’s lagging behind — it’ll begin testing its own driverless fleet in Pittsburgh within weeks — it’s way ahead of nuTonomy when it comes to cash and name recognition. Meanwhile, some are asking: What happens to Uber’s drivers when the cars drive themselves?
Know This: Hospitals in Orlando are waiving medical bills for people wounded in the Pulse nightclub shooting. As social media rises up against France’s burkini bans, Canada okays hijabs for Mounties. And there’s a nearly Earth-sized planet that could have evolved life only 4.33 light years away.
Watch This: Scandinavian slow TV — minute-by-minute coverage of bird houses, firewood stacking and knitting — has made its way to Netflix.
Remember This Number: 32 days. That’s how long it took after the release of Pokémon Go in Japan for it to be implicated in a death. Niantic says it’s looking into the details of a driver whose car struck and killed a woman while he was distracted trying to “catch ’em all.”
Still not under the bridge. The gold medalist has been charged with concocting a robbery tale to cover up a drunken encounter with gas station guards. Lochte, 32, must decide whether to mount a defense in Brazil, where the maximum sentence for false crime reporting is 18 months in prison. Authorities could try Lochte in absentia — raising questions of whether the U.S. would allow his extradition. Meanwhile the athlete, who lost four sponsorships over the scandal, has a new product to hawk: Pine Bros. soft lozenges, purportedly “forgiving on your throat.”
Many happy returns. Despite the obvious drawbacks of physical and cognitive deterioration, researchers say that those of advanced age tend to enjoy better mental health and improved ability to handle stress. A recent San Diego-based survey — questioning more than 1,500 residents aged 21 to 99 — shows that twentysomethings are most likely to be stressed and depressed while those in their 90s are the most content. This so-called “paradox of aging” adds to growing evidence that there are substantial pluses for those in their golden years.
Their day has arrived. Fido’s relatively simple DNA makeup can offer us more than just interesting dinner conversation. Scientists from Arizona to Massachusetts are researching a slew of medical conditions — rare bone cancers, OCD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and even obesity — by looking into the genetic makeup of various breeds. With an estimated 77.8 million pet pups in the U.S., scientists see a giant untapped pool of potential research subjects — with owners happily monitoring their every move, reporting behavior on questionnaires and otherwise facilitating this helpful new trick.
Is your flounder’s provenance fishy? Chinese fishing ships are operating illegally, not just in the rich waters east of Japan, but also off developing countries’ coasts. The boats have reportedly flouted regional laws with a variety of tactics, including cloaking devices — sometimes appearing to be an ocean away — and massive drift nets that destroy ecosystems. But recently, NGOs have teamed up with governments in places like West Africa to track and expose Chinese fishing duplicity, working toward a system in which major buyers require that fish are sustainably and certifiably sourced.
Not even a password protects you. Most of us spend our lives inside areas with Wi-Fi signals. But what we didn’t know until recently is that wireless routers can literally “see” us. When people move through the signal, even if they’re not in the same room as a router, their bodies disrupt waves in patterns that allow observers with special software to identify individuals and even read lips. As this “vision” comes into wide use, private lives — even without wayward webcams — could become a quaint concept.
Will he have all the right moves … without his Speedo? The U.S. swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist — recently dropped from a sponsorship deal by the swimwear giant and other sponsors after admitting that he fabricated a robbery in Rio — says he feels “bad that I have let people down.” Producers are staying mum, but the Rochester, New York, native is rumored to be among the front-runners to don his dance shoes for the 23rd season of DWTS, premiering Sept. 12 on ABC.