“Pure evil.” That’s how President Donald Trump described the mass shooting on Sunday night that left at least 58 dead and more than 500 injured at a Las Vegas country music festival — the deadliest such attack in modern U.S. history. The shooter, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, reportedly opened fire on concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, sending thousands fleeing in panic. Police believe Paddock, who’d stockpiled at least 23 weapons in his room, later killed himself. Trump will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s gone into the great wide open. The Heartbreakers frontman died after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu yesterday. The group, which had ended its 40th anniversary tour just a week ago, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty’s scrappy Florida roots mixed with California rock on iconic hits like “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’” and “I Won’t Back Down.” Condolences have been pouring out from fans and fellow musicians, including former Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan, who lamented the “shocking, crushing news.”
Don’t get buried in the landslide. Spanish riot police attempting to stop yesterday’s Catalan independence referendum reportedly confiscated ballot boxes and injured at least 760 people — but 2.3 million still made it to the polls. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says 90 percent of votes were in favor of secession. The next step is likely the declaration of an independent republic, but there’s little international support for secession — and Spain may even attempt to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy via article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which has never before been invoked.
”Bring it on. I’m here.” So said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who’s been vocal about the help storm-stricken Puerto Rico needs — and the fact that current efforts aren’t enough. President Donald Trump derided her pleas for help as politically motivated, saying Puerto Rico’s residents “want everything to be done for them.” Trump, who spent the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, dedicated a tournament trophy to hurricane victims. He’s set to visit Puerto Rico, where 3.4 million Americans are facing shortages of food, gasoline and medicine, tomorrow.
Were they unsuspecting assassins? Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah are on trial in Malaysia for wiping a deadly nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam — older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — at an airport in February. They say they’re not guilty because they were told their actions were a reality TV prank. Meanwhile, President Trump’s war of words with the living Kim continued when he tweeted yesterday that diplomacy is “wasting … time” and threatened to ”do what has to be done.”
Know This: Three American scientists have won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Soldiers shot at least eight people in Cameroon after a portion of the nation declared independence yesterday and protests ensued. And hundreds marched Sunday in Los Angeles for Amber Rose’s third annual SlutWalk, which seeks to empower women against rape culture.
Listen to This: The Little Rock Nine, Black teenagers who integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957, have inspired an opera about their struggle — excerpts of which were performed last week to mark the 60th anniversary of their first day of school.
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Send in the drones. As the island reels in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, cut off from key supplies, experts believe unmanned aerial vehicles — like one startup’s massive amphibious cargo drone or the Marine Corps’ inexpensive one-way glider boasting a 700-pound capacity and 80-mile range — could provide crucial relief. Reconnaissance drones were permitted over post-Harvey Houston, while so far federal support, in both funding and regulation, has lagged for Puerto Rico. But as one drone advocate says, “This is not sci-fi technology. It exists now.”
Bots can also be used for good. Artificial intelligence may have made its mark on the 2016 campaign in the form of Twitter bots aiming to disrupt the election — but there are bots on the other side too. They’ve been used to identify fake accounts, aka Twitter “sock puppets,” and to engage with and register voters. Artificial intelligence is already shaping opposition research and media monitoring, and advocates say it has vast potential to improve campaigns, lobbying and lawmaking, but the cost is still prohibitive — for now.
They do. Europe’s political and economic powerhouse made history on Sunday, becoming the 15th European nation to allow gay marriage as two Berlin-based civil servants tied the knot in the first of many expected ceremonies under Germany’s new law. The milestone is a step up from the civil partnerships gay couples had been afforded since 2001. Among other benefits, Germany’s estimated 94,000 same-sex couples can now adopt children. Although it’s a major achievement, LGBT activists say there’s still more to fight for, such as official protection against discrimination.
Dear universe: We made you a mix tape. That’s what the Golden Record, launched into deep space inside the 1977 Voyager spacecrafts, essentially is. The 90-minute recording features several human languages and music from all over the world — so anyone out there who might find it could hear the breadth and depth of Earth’s sonic creativity. While labels at the time declined to release the album, four decades later the most successful music crowdfunding campaign of all time has raised $1.3 million to make it available to Earthlings.
The Juice is loose. Authorities had said the former football star, serving time for a 2007 armed robbery, wouldn’t be released on parole before Monday — but shortly after midnight Sunday morning, Simpson was set free. Nevada’s Department of Corrections said the tricky timing was necessary to ensure “public safety.” While Simpson, 70, previously said he’d prefer to move back to Florida, where two of his four children live, Florida’s attorney general nixed that idea. Officials say Simpson will be living in the Las Vegas area for the moment.