It was morning rush hour. What’s believed to have been a massive truck bomb went off in the Afghan capital’s busy diplomatic district, leaving at least 90 people dead and 400 injured. The majority of the casualties are thought to be civilians. It’s not clear what the target was or who’s behind the attack — neither the Taliban nor ISIS, both of which have launched previous attacks, have taken responsibility. Meanwhile, ambulances and relatives rushed to the blast site, and officials warn that the death toll is likely to rise.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“Get on board or get left behind.” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres implored nations to “stay the course” of the 2015 Paris climate accord, despite U.S. officials reporting to CNN that Trump plans to withdraw from the agreement – a significant departure from the policy of other major nations and a backpedal on Obama-era environmental efforts. Guterres noted that American states and companies can still fight climate change even if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to withdraw. With heavy hitters like China, India and the EU all reaffirming their commitment, Guterres is planning a 2019 summit to review the deal’s implementation.
“The reasons for my departure are personal.” So wrote White House communications director Mike Dubke, in an email to friends confirming his decision to resign after just three months in the job. Dubke, an experienced Republican strategist, had been brought in in February to revamp the White House’s media strategy, but it’s emerged he tendered his resignation 18 May. Analysts say Dubke’s resignation could be the beginning of a major overhaul in the White House, with reports that President Trump has been looking to reset his administration amid ever-expanding probes into his ties to Russia.
He called himself “El Man.” The colorful general, de facto dictator of Panama for six years, has died of complications from brain surgery. Noriega was a cagey American ally, passing secrets to all sides, until he was deposed in 1989 over ties to drug trafficking and a wave of anti-American sentiment that led to the shooting of a U.S. soldier. He served time in the states and in Panama, writing in his 1997 memoir, “I only ask to be judged on the same scale of treachery and infamy of my enemies.”
They’re weathering the storm. With the subcontinent already reeling from flooding in Sri Lanka that’s killed 177, Cyclone Mora made landfall on Bangladesh’s southeastern coast with wind speeds up to 73 mph. Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated as authorities scramble to get more than 1 million people out of the storm’s path and into shelters. With rice prices at record highs and government stores of rice dipping dangerously low, concerns over supplies are growing as waters are expected to surge four to five feet along the coastline.
Hateful words become hateful actions. More than 1,000 protesters gathered at the Texas State House to protest SB4, a new law banning “sanctuary cities,” until GOP Rep. Matt Rinaldi told his fellow lawmakers that he’d called immigration officials on the demonstrators. That led to a confrontation in which Rinaldi threatened to shoot Democratic Rep. Poncho Nevárez — but only, Rinaldi claimed later on Facebook, in self defense. It is legal for Texas legislators to carry concealed firearms. Democrats now say they’re worried that threats and racism are becoming normalized by “Trump rhetoric.”
Follow the money. Though opponents of President Nicolas Maduro have urged international institutions not to offer financial aid to Venezuela’s government, Goldman Sachs bought a $2.8 billion bond — and in doing so may have thrown Maduro the lifeline he needs to hold on to power. Now the head of the country’s opposition-controlled National Assembly is not only decrying what he describes as Goldman’s attempt to “make a quick buck off the suffering of the Venezuelan people,” but recommending that future Venezuelan governments refuse to honor the debt.
Know This: Kathy Griffin has apologized after causing outrage for posting a photo depicting a beheaded Donald Trump. Australia has proposed a plan to deny passports to convicted pedophiles. A car bomb in Baghdad struck an ice cream shop, killing 15. And the EU is planning to launch thousands of free Wi-Fi hotspots by 2020.
Read This: A passenger who witnessed last week’s attack on a Portland train gave her account of the last moments of two men murdered for trying to stop another passenger from spouting racist vitriol at two teenage girls. She said: “I just kept telling him, ‘You’re not alone. We’re here. What you did was total kindness. You’re such a beautiful man. I’m sorry the world is so cruel.’”
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Confess and repent. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Pope Francis to formally apologize to Canada’s First Nations people on behalf of the Catholic Church over its religious “residential schools.” From the late 19th century, around 150,000 children — 30 percent of indigenous kids — were placed in government-funded, often church-administered schools designed to make them abandon native culture, in what a 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report called “cultural genocide.” Many were also abused. Trudeau says Francis, who may visit Canada in 2018, seemed open to an apology.
It’s finally getting off the ground. Irkut, an aviation manufacturing subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation, has announced that the MS-21, a medium-range passenger plane, successfully carried out a 30-minute maiden flight Sunday. Reaching speeds of 186 mph and an altitude of 3,280 feet, the MS-21 marks Russia’s first real foray into the aviation market in the post-Soviet era. Coming just weeks after China launched its first passenger jet, Russia’s new plane could be another competitor for Boeing and Airbus.
Big Brother’s coming to work. Glasses that track where you’re looking and whether you’re concentrating may be the next way your boss will monitor your productivity. While similar technology’s been used for research in the past, developers in Sweden say it could benefit the workplace too, tracking fatigue and focus over the course of a shift. Though training times at test companies have in some cases been reduced by as much as two-thirds, critics say the potential for employer abuse could lead to serious invasions of privacy.
He was called the “Clark Gable of sports writing.” The award-winning novelist and sports journalist, who passed away Sunday in Key West, Florida, published 18 books during his career and spent 50 years writing for Sports Illustrated. The Baltimore native was also behind famed media flop The National, a sports tabloid that cost $150 million during its 18-month early-1990s run. In 2013, Deford became the first sportswriter to get the National Humanities Medal, before retiring earlier this month from 37 years at National Public Radio.
It all comes back to his back. The legendary golfer was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida, early Monday morning, but released a statement explaining that it wasn’t alcohol that left him driving erratically, but a cocktail of medications. Woods, 41, infamously drove his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree in 2009 while under the influence of Ambien. He underwent surgery last month, his fourth in three years, and has said he still hopes to play professional golf again despite chronic back problems.