It’s a historic gesture. Museums all over Italy have pledged today’s proceeds to help reconstruct the ancient town of Amatrice and surrounding areas devastated by Wednesday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake. The death toll neared 300 yesterday while Italy’s president and prime minister attended a funeral for 35 of the victims. Saturday marked the end of the 72 hours trapped victims are thought to be able to survive, dimming hopes of new rescues. Amatrice is near L’Aquila, where a 2009 temblor killed more than 300, prompting questions about officials’ commitment to seismic safety.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Swimwear, an emblem of terrorism? That’s how some local French officials viewed the full-body swimsuit known as the burkini, even going so far as to fine wearers in the wake of ISIS-linked terror attacks. Viral photos showed armed police compelling a woman in the Islam-inspired outfit to expose more skin, prompting outrage from human rights groups and the Twitterverse. But on Friday, a top French court negated one municipality’s prohibition, saying it insulted “fundamental freedoms,” and a rights group has warned the 25 other municipalities they must follow suit.
It’s the perfect storm … of concern. Last week, meteorologists were abuzz over Invest 99L, conditions swirling around the Caribbean that might coalesce into a mega-storm. That threat’s ebbed, now at a 50 percent chance of becoming a serious storm over five days. But now there’s competition from confirmed Hurricane Gaston, recently west of Bermuda, and other systems. Florida authorities are on edge, worried that up to 8 inches of new rainfall will breed Zika-spreading mosquitoes as coastal residents brace for a season predicted to be the worst since 2012.
They want their voices heard. Police violence last week jolted another community. Daniel Harris, a 29-year-old deaf man, couldn’t hear the siren when an officer chased him for speeding in Charlotte, N.C. When Harris finally got out of his car, the officer fatally shot him. His killing is just the tip of the iceberg, activists say. Deaf people face disproportionate harassment and abuse from police — often because cops fail to recognize their disability — and Sam Harris vowed that his brother’s death “is what is going to change the system.”
Know This: A bomb went off at the Brussels Institute of Criminology after a car broke through three fences, but nobody was hurt. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has thrown the first political football of the season, refusing to stand for the National Anthem in a police brutality protest. The big bang accompanying an engine failure terrified Southwest Airlines passengers, who nonetheless arrived safely in Orlando. And in another good news, a suicide bomber failed to detonate in a church in Indonesia today before being restrained by the congregation after lightly injured a priest with an axe.
Listen to This: Apartheid wasn’t funny, but after its dissolution, South Africa’s comedy scene has developed, producing comedians other than Trevor Noah, like Johannesburg-based Simmi Areff, who’s got a podcast appropriately titled Lesser Known Somebodies.
Read This: Freddie Gray’s death led to no police indictments in proceedings prosecutors say gave cops the upper hand. What more could Baltimore’s finest do to undermine public trust? How about an undisclosed military-style drone surveillance program?
They’ve got bones to pick. Eastern Europe is full of unmarked graves of Germans and Soviets who fought each other during World War II. They’ve mostly been under the jurisdiction of volunteer groups that exhume, identify and properly bury remains. But recently, an eBay-fueled boom in battlefield souvenirs has sparked more grave-robbing, too. As WWII veterans die out, artifacts — particularly Nazi memorabilia — are fetching high prices. But the bodies they’re discovered with have presented Europe with questions that are far more difficult to lay to rest.
They have a dream. While Bollywood and anime fans can turn to boutique programming services that cater to tastes not satisfied by Netflix, it’s been difficult to find movies capturing the experiences of the African diaspora. That’s the niche well-funded Nigeria-based iRoko is looking to exploit as it’s slipped under the radar of the global on-demand market that’s projected to grow to $51 billion by 2020. Also competing for the same market segment are U.S.-based Afrostream and kweliTV, hoping to prove a niche model can turn a big profit.
You might rethink your next vacation. Scientists warn that much of South Florida, from Miami to the Keys, could be underwater by the end of the century. Activists have been waging a frustrating battle against the Everglades’ toxic algae blooms and animal population declines. But sea levels have risen dramatically since the 1930s — meaning scientists are now refocusing their attention on preserving environments facing imminent flooding. One major tactic is restoring the flow of natural freshwater to the Everglades, but first it must ride a legal and financial tide.
Is it the right song? Hillary Clinton adopted last year’s addictive pop hit “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and produced a star-studded cover version that was unveiled at the Democratic National Convention. But the cheesy tune, played before and after the former Secretary of State takes the stage at every event, is driving reporters nuts. Some Clinton staffers insist they’ve grown to love the song — not that they’d publicly complain — while the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi tweeted that if she hears the ditty again, “I am joining ISIS.”
He took a stand. After crossing the finish line to win a silver medal in the marathon, Feyisa Lilesa raised his forearms in an X — a banned symbol of the plight of the Oromo people of Ethiopia — an act Lilesa said could get him killed. The government’s at times violent campaign to push the country’s largest ethnic group from ancestral lands to further Addis Ababa’s urban expansion had been ignored by global media, but Lilesa’s heroic protest could help build momentum for activists while adding another heralded gesture to Olympic history.