”Very, very disturbing.” That’s what police said after investigating the digital profile of a suspect — 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz — in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At least 17 were left dead and 14 injured. Images from the school depict a chaotic scene filled with police and emergency vehicles, as well as students streaming out of buildings as police locked down the perimeter. Both the FBI and ATF have reportedly responded, and officials are urging the public to avoid the area.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s out. South African President Jacob Zuma says he’s stepping down “with immediate effect,” not long after claiming his own party’s orders to resign were “unfair.” Earlier, police had amped up the pressure with a raid on a compound owned by the Gupta family, wealthy allies of Zuma whose influence has been cause for concern as corruption charges mounted against the president. Police say they arrested three people during the raid and two more are expected to turn themselves in, though the Guptas and Zuma deny any criminal activity.
“Frankly, the United States is under attack.” So said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who told Congress yesterday that he’s seen evidence that Russian agents are already attempting to interfere in midterm elections. Coats said they’ll again use social media to spread false information, noting that Moscow believes it successfully influenced 2016 results. CIA Director Mike Pompeo and FBI chief Chris Wray confirmed “significant” Russian efforts to disrupt both American and European ballots. Federal intelligence authorities say they’ll share information on specific threats with state and local election agencies.
He won’t go quietly. After Israeli police recommended he be indicted in two separate corruption cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly proclaimed his innocence in a televised address Tuesday night. Still, the embattled leader is likely to face growing calls to step down after the conclusion of lengthy probes into allegations that he traded political favors for positive coverage in a leading Israeli newspaper, and accepted pricey gifts from a Hollywood tycoon. The country’s attorney general, appointed by Netanyahu, has final say over whether the prime minister will face charges.
The story’s not straight. Administration officials had said top aide Rob Porter’s security clearance background check wasn’t completed when he resigned over allegations that he’d abused his ex-wives. But FBI officials claim the probe was completed in July, and the White House now says it was delayed in the personnel office. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s lawyer said a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels over an alleged affair with the president came from his own pocket rather than the Trump Organization, noting, “I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
Who watches the watchmen? Raphael Sanchez was chief counsel for Seattle’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — until he resigned Monday amid allegations that he’d used the identities of seven people undergoing “immigration proceedings” to open fraudulent credit cards with Bank of America, Capital One and other institutions. The scheme, which reportedly ran for four years, was discovered in late 2017. The Pacific Northwest saw a 25 percent jump in immigrant detentions last year. Sanchez is expected in court Thursday on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
They bit the bullet. Remington Outdoor is filing for bankruptcy to ditch $700 million in debt after a dip in U.S. gun sales, which analysts blame on the White House’s pro-gun stance: Sales of firearms boomed during President Obama’s tenure, as citizens stockpiled in case of gun law changes. The drop could turn around if Democrats triumph in midterm elections. But the bankruptcy could still jeopardize a class action lawsuit, set to be heard today in circuit court, over Remington’s allegedly defective bolt-action rifles.
They’re brothers in legs. Warlike Matabele ants, native to sub-Saharan Africa, are ruthless when attacking termites. But new research shows the insects, named after Bantu warriors, are surprisingly caring toward wounded comrades. Injured soldiers, who give off a chemical distress signal, are carried home to heal and are even given medical care — something only humans were previously believed to do. “Nurse” ants lick their wounds, saving 90 percent of those rescued, though more research is needed to understand if they’re simply cleaning the injuries or preventing infection with their saliva.
Speak softly and carry a big book. Thousands gathered over the weekend at the annual Karachi Literature Festival to talk books, music and free expression in a country where writers and activists are regularly seized by the state. It’s a chance to debate sensitive topics — through art and coded language — like Pakistan’s security situation, government corruption and even the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment. While the 9-year-old festival pushes boundaries, some think it doesn’t go far enough, hoping for more outright politicization despite the dangers.
They’re going for the gold. Women have long been shut out of big air snowboarding: They were only allowed into the World Championships in 2015 and into the X Games in 2017. Now the sport, which involves complex midair tricks, is making its Winter Olympics debut, allowing female athletes to make up some of the ground lost in the years that men had more incentives to hone their big air moves. Female athletes like Julia Marino are now expanding their repertoire of tricks on the biggest stage possible.