It’s a start. Some top Republicans, usually allergic to any gun control measures, signaled they could be open to banning the “bump stock” accessory used in the Las Vegas massacre. The add-on modifies a semi-automatic rifle to fire more quickly — hundreds of rounds per minute — like a fully automatic weapon. Members of both parties have either introduced, or plan to submit, bills banning the kits. Perhaps the biggest surprise, however is the National Rifle Association’s call today to further regulate bump stocks. Meanwhile, gun stores are seeing demand for the devices skyrocket.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The cracks are showing. Yesterday rumors exploded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had strongly considered resigning in July, and that he’d called President Donald Trump a “moron.” In a hastily called press conference, Tillerson denied the former charge (a State Department spokeswoman later denied the latter). But several administration officials have said Trump and Tillerson have a tense relationship, with Trump reportedly irked that Tillerson seems more concerned with the United States’ image on the world stage than with the president’s own. Many have predicted Tillerson’s departure within months.
Llibertat’s just another word for nothing left to lose. With Catalonia promising secession within days, Spain says it won’t accept EU mediation, instead demanding that Catalan leaders “return to the path of the law” if they want the national government to negotiate. The Catalan government argues that 90 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum chose independence, though critics note only 43 percent of the population voted. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said the region will unilaterally declare independence as soon as Monday, but Spain’s constitutional court called off a Catalan parliament session for that day to block such a move.
The trust is broken. Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s bonds traded at 56 cents on the dollar. Tuesday, that was 44 cents … and Wednesday, after President Trump said he’d “wipe out” the island’s $70 billion debt, that plummeted to 30 cents, a record low. The president can’t legally do that, and the White House later clarified it won’t be involved in any restructuring. Meanwhile, with Puerto Rico one of the world’s primary pharmaceutical manufacturing hubs, many worry about shortages as factories struggle to find workers and fuel.
Know This: Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize in literature. Turkey has sentenced 40 people to life in prison over a failed coup last year against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May saw a major speech marred by a prankster — and a coughing fit. And after a security guard in an Indonesian village managed to kill a 26-foot python, locals ate the snake.
Remember This Number: 159 hours. That’s how much overtime a 31-year-old woman in Japan logged in a single month before dying of what inspectors ruled was “overwork.”
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Talk about heartless bureaucracy. The FDA has sent a warning letter to Massachusetts-based Nashoba Brook Bakery, warning that it’s not acceptable to include “love” on their list of granola ingredients on the basis that it’s “intervening material.” The 20-year-old bakery, which sells its products in about 120 New England stores and earns around $5 million in annual sales, called the complaint “silly.” The FDA fired back that the ingredient kerfuffle wasn’t its top concern, as the bakery also racked up health code violations for unsanitary conditions.
Something’s fishy. While the U.S. has pushed hard for sanctions aimed at cutting Pyongyang’s cash flow in retaliation for its nuclear tests, North Koreans often get shipped to China to work — where, a new AP investigation reveals, they prepare seafood later sold in American, Canadian and European supermarkets. But Pyongyang seizes 70 percent of their pay, netting as much as $500 million per year and making the laborers essentially slaves. The news is prompting retailers like Wal-Mart and ALDI to investigate whether something’s rotten in their supply chains.
It was one small step. In 1957, Earth’s first artificial satellite was launched into space by the Soviet Union. That gave way to the space race, an enormous investment in science education and the modern world’s overwhelming reliance on satellite technology. If a natural disaster or human activity were to destroy that orbiting infrastructure, television, GPS and a huge chunk of communications would disappear. Still, scientists say the world could benefit from another “Sputnik moment” — if it can put scientific curiosity ahead of nationalist fervor.
How will they break it to Rudolph? Turkish archaeologists believe they’ve found the tomb of Saint Nicholas — better known to Americans as Santa Claus — far from the North Pole, buried under an ancient church in the coastal region of Antalya. Researchers hope to access the fourth-century bishop’s remains, previously thought to have been smuggled to Italy, but it could take a while to disassemble the tomb without damaging it. The high-profile find could be a boon for local tourism, as long as kids don’t connect the dots.
Get those hands up. After four weeks of play, running backs — not wideouts or tight ends — have been the primary pass catchers on seven NFL teams. What’s more, Cleveland’s Duke Johnson, Washington’s Chris Thompson and Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley lead their teams in not just receptions but in receiving yards too. That suggests a big change is afoot when it comes to the skills of recruited players. By season’s end, running backs could be the leading receivers on multiple teams for the first time in modern NFL history.