Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
AP: " Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced at a ceremony on Tuesday that his country's armed forces are taking over the lead for security nationwide from the U.S.-led NATO coalition. The handover of responsibility is a significant milestone in the nearly 12-year war and marks a turning point for American and NATO military forces, which will now move entirely into a supporting role. It also opens the way for their full withdrawal in 18 months." ...
... Reuters: "Afghanistan will send a team to Qatar for peace talks with the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday, as the U.S.-led NATO coalition launched the final phase of the 12-year war with the last round of security transfers to Afghan forces."
... Related New York Times story here.
AP: "In some of the biggest protests since the end of Brazil's 1964-85 dictatorship, demonstrations have spread across this continent-sized country and united people from all walks of life behind frustrations over poor transportation, health services, education and security despite a heavy tax burden. More than 100,000 people were in the streets Monday for largely peaceful protests in at least eight big cities."
Washington Post: "Several U.S. Naval Academy football players will soon face charges in connection with the alleged rape of a female midshipman at an off-campus party more than a year ago, officials at the elite service academy in Annapolis said Monday. The rape allegations, along with accusations that Navy investigators and academy brass had dragged their feet, exploded into public view just as Congress was debating changes to the way the military handles sexual assault cases."
Desperately Seeking Jimmy. AP: "The FBI saw enough merit in a reputed Mafia captain's tip to once again break out the digging equipment to search for the remains of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa, last seen alive before a lunch meeting with two mobsters nearly 40 years ago. Tony Zerilli told his lawyer that Hoffa was buried beneath a concrete slab in a barn in a field in suburban Detroit in 1975. The barn no longer exists, and a full day of digging Monday turned up no sign of Hoffa. Federal agents were to resume the search Tuesday."
Monday, June 17, 2013.
New York Times: "Pharmaceutical companies that pay rivals to keep less-expensive generic versions of best-selling drugs off the market can expect greater federal scrutiny after a Supreme Court ruling on Monday. In a 5-to-3 vote, the justices effectively said that the Federal Trade Commission can sue pharmaceutical companies for potential antitrust violations, a decision that is likely to increase the number of generic drugs in the marketplace and benefit consumers.... Justice [Stephen] Breyer’s decision, which was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, reversed a decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had thrown out the F.T.C.’s case.... Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. recused himself from the case."
AP: "The United States and Cuba will resume talks this week on restarting direct mail service despite a deadlock between Washington and Havana over detainees that has largely stalled most rapprochement efforts, a U.S. official said Monday. U.S. and Cuban diplomats and postal representatives will meet in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday for technical talks aimed at ending a 50-year suspension in direct mail between the United States and the communist island."
New York Times: " Turkish authorities widened their crackdown on the antigovernment protest movement on Sunday, taking aim not just at the demonstrators themselves, but also at the medics who treat their injuries, the business owners who shelter them and the foreign news media flocking here to cover a growing political crisis threatening to paralyze the government of Prıme Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan." ...
... AP: "Turkish trade unions urged their members to walk out of work Monday and join demonstrations in response to a widespread police crackdown against activists following weeks of street protests." ...
... Reuters Update: "Turkish riot police backed by water cannon faced off with around 1,000 trade union workers in the capital Ankara on Monday, after a weekend of some of the worst clashes since anti-government protests erupted late last month." ...
... Reuters: " German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she was shocked at Turkey's tough response to anti-government protests but she stopped short of demanding that the European Union call off accession talks with the candidate country. 'I'm appalled, like many others,' Merkel said of Turkey's handling of two weeks of unrest that began over a redevelopment project in an Istanbul park but has grown into broader protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government."
AP: "Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who was allowed to travel to the U.S. after escaping from house arrest, said Monday that New York University is forcing him and his family to leave at the end of this month because of pressure from the Chinese government. The university denied Chen's allegations."
Public Service Announcement
New York Times: "Now, about 70 percent of all throat cancers are caused by HPV, up from roughly 15 percent three decades ago. Patients are now more frequently middle-aged husbands and fathers who are economically well off, nonsmokers and not particularly heavy drinkers. Men are three times more likely to be diagnosed than women with HPV-related throat cancer."
1:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks on gun safety
If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Splitsville x 2. Reuters: " News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch on Thursday filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years, Wendi, seeking to end a marriage that had been irretrievably broken for more than six months, according to his spokesman. Murdoch, 82, married the former Wendi Deng, 44, in 1999 in his third and her second marriage. They have two young daughters. The divorce filing, which was sealed, comes just days before News Corp is to split into two companies, one containing its entertainment assets and the other holding its publishing business. Murdoch, who Forbes says is worth $9.4 billion, is to be chairman of both publicly traded companies."
Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times: John Oliver takes over hosting "The Daily Show" while Jon Stewart is on a three-month hiatus.
Swedish Princess Madeleine marries New York financier Christopher O'Neill:
What an Annoyance. Washington Post: "The Washington Post will phase in a paid online subscription model for Web content starting June 12, charging some readers $9.99 a month for access to more than 20 articles a month on desktop and mobile devices."
New York Times: "A nearly complete skeleton of a tiny, ancient primate — one that weighed no more than an ounce, had a tail longer than its body and would fit in the palm of your hand — is the earliest well-preserved fossil primate ever found, dating back some 55 million years and dialing back the fossil record for primates by an impressive eight million years, a research team declared on Wednesday. The finding adds weight to the evidence that primates originated in Asia — not Africa — and that they emerged relatively soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs, which happened about 66 million years ago in an event known as the Cretaceous mass extinction." CW: 55 million years ago? Must be a hoax!
New York City, 1939, in rare color video. Supersize it!
AP: "When high school student Zach Sobiech learned he didn't have much longer to live, his mother suggested he write letters to tell his loved ones goodbye. Instead, the Minnesota teenager turned to writing music — and his farewell song, 'Clouds,' became a YouTube sensation that has attracted more than 4 million views. Other musicians have covered the tune, and it inspired a celebrity video on YouTube. 'Clouds' was even listed No. 1 on the iTunes Top 10 list on Wednesday — two days after Sobiech died after battling bone cancer.... 'You don't have to find out you're dying to start living,' Sobiech said in a short video about him titled, 'My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech,' which also has been viewed more than 4 million times since it was posted to YouTube two weeks ago.
Politico's Late Nite Jokes:
New York Times: "On the program she invented, on the network where she worked for the past 37 years, on the medium where she broke barriers and rules for more than 50 years, Barbara Walters will announce on Monday morning, definitively and with no regrets, that she is calling it a career." ...
... ** UPDATE. Alex Pareene of Salon: Walters "is a national icon and a pioneer, and probably as responsible as any other living person for the ridiculous and sorry state of American television journalism. She has announced her retirement a year in advance, so that a series of aggrandizing specials can be produced celebrating her long and storied career. So let’s get things started off right, by reminding everyone how her entire public life has been an extended exercise in sycophancy and unalloyed power worship."
Margalit Fox if the New York Times on "Alice Kober, an overworked, underpaid classics professor at Brooklyn College," who "working quietly and methodically at her dining table in Flatbush, helped solve one of the most tantalizing mysteries of the modern age."