The rest is silence. After Stephen Paddock, 64, fired on a country music festival Sunday night, killing 59 people and wounding 520, police found him dead in his hotel room, along with at least 23 guns. Paddock — a gambler described by family as “not an avid gun guy” — had no obvious ideological motive, despite an ISIS claim that he supported their cause, which the FBI dismissed. Meanwhile, Washington Democrats again called for background checks before gun purchases, but the White House said discussing such policy is “premature.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re out. The U.S. State Department announced today it would expel 15 Cuban diplomats after pledging to scale back its own mission in Havana last week. That move came after a series of suspected sonic attacks caused brain injuries or hearing loss in 22 employees at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Now, Tuesday’s decision is aimed at matching diplomatic operations between the countries. While U.S. officials haven’t blamed Cuba for the attacks, which began days after President Donald Trump’s election, they could nevertheless spark a rift between Washington and Havana.
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.”
“We want a new understanding with the Spanish state.” So said Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who engineered Sunday’s referendum that saw voters overwhelmingly choose independence from Spain — even as national police, attempting to stop the vote, injured hundreds. While the European Commission has condemned the violence, it hasn’t offered to broker secession talks. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who declared the referendum invalid, has defended the use of force by police — causing Catalan leaders to demand that national police withdraw, and sparking a general strike across Catalonia today.
The red flags were there. Yesterday Facebook provided 3,000 ads bought by shady Russian entities to a congressional investigation into 2016 election meddling, and said millions of people likely viewed them — though 56 percent did so after the election. The ads advocated for both sides of the political spectrum, but were focused on divisive issues like immigration. Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, noted that these are simply the ads funded by one specific Russian group and that “there could very well be a lot more.”
Know This: President Trump heads to Puerto Rico today after days of criticism over the government’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation. Country guitarist Caleb Keeter went public with his support for gun control after being caught in the Las Vegas attack, saying the experience changed his mind. And Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been jailed for the third time this year in advance of March’s presidential election.
Remember This Number: $2.8 billion. That’s how much America’s 100,000 annual shootings are costing in hospital charges, according to a new study — and if lost wages are factored in, the cost could be as high as $45 billion.
They’re inching closer. But after three years and a methodical analysis of 46,000 square miles of ocean, the final location of Malaysia Airlines 370, which disappeared with 239 aboard in March 2014, remains a mystery. The report from the official Australian-led search, released today, says that while it’s “almost inconceivable” that a commercial airliner could vanish without a trace, it’s still unclear what happened to the plane. Authorities did pinpoint its most likely location — north of the searched area — and said the Malaysian government will continue to investigate.
Don’t leave them for dead. Researchers applying artificial intelligence technology have created a smartphone-powered tool that detects diseased cassava plants, the world’s most widely grown root crop. The program — developed with TensorFlow, Google’s open source machine learning library — finds leaf spots and mites with nearly perfect accuracy. Researchers say it could even identify newly arrived pests and blights or be expanded to other crops. With hardware getting cheaper and algorithms getting better, this tool could one day become an offline app bringing “personalized agriculture” to the developing world.
It’s a step in the right direction. In an effort to mitigate America’s ongoing obesity crisis, the CDC has turned to architecture, with its Fitwel building certification program encouraging designers to create spaces that promote movement and exercise. Such buildings place stairs in well-lit, central locations, while elevators are deemphasized, and feature on-site fitness equipment and nearby produce sales. With 70 percent of American adults overweight — and low-income communities disproportionately impacted — public health officials hope behavioral design can “make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Don’t believe everything you read. Though fake news became a household phrase during the 2016 election, the sports world is now seeing its share of hoaxes in the aftermath of President Trump’s denouncement of the NFL. Sports news might seem to be impervious to such machinations: After all, the facts of wins, losses and touchdowns are easily checked. But fake stories — like Seahawks player Michael Bennett burning an American flag in a locker room or Fox vowing to stop showing football games — have been surprisingly quick to spread.