The Asiana Airlines crash claimed another life on Friday. A Chinese girl died at a hospital after spending almost a week in critical condition after the flight crash-landed at the San Francisco International Airport last Saturday. Two Chinese teenagers on the Boeing 777 also died during the incident, which injured more than 180 other passengers. An investigation has shown that the plane was going too slowly for the final approach and there are no signs of flight equipment failure.
BYE BYE Brendan Hoffman
Department of Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano resigned as the agency’s director today. The former Arizona governor is leaving Washington to preside over the University of California system—a post usually held by academics. President Obama wished her luck in her new endeavor and praised her performance as chief in a statement. “The American people are safer and more secure thanks to Janet’s leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks,” it said. Napolitano has served as the DHS chief since 2009—the only woman in the position. While calling her work there “the highlight of my professional career,” she has to be more than a little psyched to finally be in charge at UC. Republicans have long criticized her for failing to secure the border, and the immigration-reform proposal she supported—which included a pathway to citizenship—was recently thwarted by a Republican-led House.
For One and All William Thomas Cain/Getty
Let the benefits roll. On Friday, the Social Security Administration announced that it is now accepting claims for benefits from same-sex married couples who believe they are eligible. However, a spokesman said they would not be processed until instructions for the handling of these claims are finalized, which is being hammered out in collaboration with the Department of Justice. The change comes after the Supreme Court overfuled the Defense of Marriage Act, under which the federal government didn’t recognize same-sex marriages.
DECISION TIME Joe Burbank/Pool/Getty
George Zimmerman’s defense presented closing arguments in the second-degree-murder trial for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara took jurors through the timeline of events that night and asked the jury for a strange, four-minute moment of silence—the amount of time Trayvon was supposedly running—time the defense argued that the Florida teen was actually hiding, waiting to confront and attack Zimmerman with “dangerous items, from his fists to the concrete." Assistant State Attorney John Guy then offered a rebuttal saying that only two people really know what happened that night and “one of them can’t testify and the other one lied.” The six-woman jury could go into deliberation later today.
On the Run Human Rights Watch, via Reuters
Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden looks to be covering his bases. At a meeting with several human-rights groups today, Snowden discussed how he plans to get out of Russia and into one of the Latin American countries that have offered him asylum. According to Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina, Venezuela, Russia, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have all invited the infamous leaker to come on over, and while he “accepts all offers,” he has to get out of the airport first. To do so safely, Lokshina told The New York Times that Snowden will be asking Russia for temporary asylum; he previously withdrew a request after refusing to agree to Putin’s condition that he stop publishing information that “brought harm” to the United States. Snowden now says the terms aren’t a problem because “No actions I take or plan are meant to harm the U.S. ... I want the U.S. to succeed.”
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Seth Ferranti, federal inmate 18205-083 and a writer for The Daily Beast, The Fix, and elsewhere has been held in the Special Housing Unit, or solitary confinement, at FCC Forrest City in Arkansas since Thursday June 4—evidently as punishment for his journalism. After beginning a 304-month sentence as an “LSD Kingpin” under mandatory minimum sentencing laws in 1993, the first-time, nonviolent offender began reporting from “inside the belly of the beast.”
“They have not notified me what I am in here for yet, and it's been a week of lockdown in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell,” Ferranti says in a letter written with a dull pencil—the only writing implement he’s allowed—and sent to The Fix, which shared it with The Daily Beast. In it, he asks that his work remain published and suggests that The Fix publish a piece, “using excerpts from this letter,” called “Drug Treatment Writer Snatched Out of Treatment for Writing About It.”
“I have violated no rules, only written for publication,” Ferranti writes, adding that he’s spending “the long hours of nothingness writing or doing something productive.” In the letter, he asks that anyone wishing to inquire about or object to the “violation of my first amendment rights” contact:
South Central Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Complex
344 Marine Forces Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75051
The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not answer numerous calls for comment about Ferranti.
It was the intern! On Friday, California Bay Area news channel KTVU wrongly reported the names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 as “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow,” all on live television. The network shortly issued a correction and apologized. But these names had been confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board, which apologized in a statement, saying a summer intern "acted outside the scope of his authority." Sounds like someone isn't getting a recommendation letter. The NTSB press release notes that, "Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated."
Derailed Kenso Tribouillard/Getty via AFP
A passenger train derailed violently as it entered a station in Brétigny, France, on Friday, killing six and injuring dozens. The French Interior Ministry said several dozen people were injured, nine of them, gravely. “The death toll is evolving constantly at this point, and unfortunately it will likely rise,” Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. Guillaume Pepy, the president of the SNCF, France’s national rail company, was in tears as he gave a statement calling the accident a “catastrophe.” The crashed train was en route from Paris to Limoges; Brétigny is just southeast of Paris, inside the Île-de-France region that encompasses the capital’s metropolitan area.
'I SPEAK FOR THOSE WITHOUT A VOICE' Andrew Burton/Getty
What a sweet 16th. In honor of her birthday on Friday, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai addressed the United Nations to highlight the importance of access to global education. "Here I stand, one girl among many," she began. "I speak not for myself but for those without voice ... those who have fought for their right ... to live in peace, to be treated with dignity, to be educated." Less than a year ago, Malala was the target of a brutal assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen in her native Swat tribal region of Pakistan. The extremists could not tolerate the teenager's simple wish: that she, and other girls in her country, could go to school and learn. "The extremists are afraid of books and pens," Malala continued. "The power of education frightens them." Amid a standing ovation, she called on the leaders of the world to join in her fight. "We want schools and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights. We believe in the power and strength of our words...our words can change the whole world."
Must-See TV Michael Buckner / Getty Images
Queen O proves once again that she still rules. Oprah Winfrey just landed the much-coveted exclusive sit-down with Lindsay Lohan, to take place once the sometimes-actress/always-tabloid-star exits rehab later this summer. The interview will air on OWN, as will an eight-episode documentary series chronicling Lohan’s attempt to rebuild her career and stay sober. According to Entertainment Weekly, the interview will be broadcast in August—just in time for the release of Lohan’s new film, The Canyons—while the series will air in 2014. Forget the Royal Baby. The countdown to #liloprah begins now.
DIMON IN THE ROUGH Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cash is king, and thus it looks like Jamie Dimon is still the man on top. With solid earnings of $6.5 billion in the second quarter, the behemoth bank seems to be rebounding after a year of negative press related to the $6.2 billion loss by the “London Whale.” However, despite the strong numbers, Wall Street responded with a collective shrug. A lot of the earnings came from releasing loan reserves, and the bank indicates its mortgage business would suffer as rates rise.
CIRCUS Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty
With the Duchess of Cambridge due possibly any day now, the world media are camped out in the streets of London near St. Mary’s Hospital, gathered behind barricades and sleeping in “refugee camps.” The BBC described the scene as looking like a “DIY superstore.” No one knows exactly when the baby is due—the palace said only that it’s coming “in July”—so reporters have been milling around for nearly two weeks for an indefinite event. Photographers are debating which entrance to stake out, while security guards say even they don’t know where Kate will emerge. The palace says the birth will be announced by royal proclamation.
UPDATES Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty
A flurry of abortion legislation passed last night in the U.S. and Ireland. Illinois voted to require some level of parental notification at least 48 hours before a girl has an abortion, bringing back a 1995 measure. According to the Associated Press, “the law goes into effect in 35 days unless it’s appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.” The North Carolina House voted for a bill requiring surgical-center standards for abortion clinics, and doctors to be present for an entire surgical abortion and for a first dose of a chemically induced abortion. Because it was inserted into a motorcycle safety bill, opponents took to Twitter with the hashtag #vaginamotorcycles. And after a round-the-clock debate in Ireland’s Parliament, lawmakers voted to legalize abortion “in exceptional cases where doctors deem the woman's life at risk from her pregnancy.” It’s the first step away from a ban for the predominately Catholic country.
'remain defiant' CNN
Ousted President Mohamed Morsi's son has a message for his recently deposed dad: stay strong. "What do I see in the coming days? That the revolution will succeed and that the legitimate leader will return," he said in an interview with CNN. "The Egyptian people will never again be scared or petrified of a tank or terrorized by detention." He encouraged his father to "remain defiant" and not retreat, noting that "the Mohamed Morsi that would back down or flee would be shameful to me, even if he stayed president."
NEW WORLD NASA
Everything about this is amazing: thanks to the Hubble telescope, astronomers have spotted a blue planet orbiting a star 63 light-years away, the first time they’ve been able to determine the color of a distant planet. Named HD 189733b, the planet is a gas giant with a daytime temperature of 2,000 degrees, with liquid glass particles possibly blowing around its surface in 4,500 miles-per-hour winds. The planet was discovered in 2005, but astronomers have just now been able to use Hubble to determine its color.
ANGRY NERDS Brad Barket/Getty
After being at Microsoft for 20 years, Julie Larson-Green is the newly appointed head of Xbox. While she gets a promotion, some gamers are upset she's in charge—just because she's a woman, The Atlantic Wire reported. One user said, “Now their (sic) will be apps dedicated to baking and knitting.” The stereotypical views don’t say a lot for the growth of society, but Twitterers have been a bit more positive. Green has years of experience and sexist comments on Reddit were downvoted.
he's in Kris Connor / Getty Images
Well, looks like Eliot Spitzer managed to get the 3,750 signatures needed to get on the ballot—and then some. The disgraced former governor, who only announced his candidacy for comptroller on Sunday, had until midnight tonight to file the signatures. Before his place on the ballot is assured, the names will be validated by the city's board of elections. His opponent, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who had been frontrunner before Spitzer's entry into the race, submitted 100,000 signatures. Spitzer reportedly paid $800 a day to campaign workers who collected signatures on his behalf this week.
MAKING PAPA PROUD Matthew Holst/AP
The #StandWithRand crowd could be translating Twitter support to the ballot in 2016. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Breitbart News that his team has “been thinking about” a presidential bid in the upcoming election. He plans to make an announcement after the midterm congressional elections in 2014, but already leads his potential rivals by a few percentage points in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey. “I haven’t made a decision. It’s a big decision, you know, with regard to family and the extensive travel that’s involved with it,” he says. “And then also just seeing where the country is going in the next year or two.”
BROKEN SENATE Carolyn Kaster/AP
Let’s hope he didn’t think it would be easy: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed forward on Thursday with a series of votes on Obama administration nominees that will lead to a fight with Republicans over new limits on the filibuster. Abuse of the filibuster has introduced enormous dysfunction into U.S. politics, leaving many key federal positions empty for months and even years. Reid said he had exhausted all his options. “The place doesn’t work,” he said, “The American people can see the dysfunction here.” Reid’s move led to a testy exchange with Republicans, who have been the primary recent abusers of the filibuster. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Reid would go down as the “worst leader of the Senate ever” if he went through with the new rules.
CYLONS Shizuo Kambayashi/AP
Reality is finally catching up to Hollywood: a Pentagon-financed humanoid robot named Atlas made its debut Thursday in Boston, where it was displayed publicly for the first time. Atlas is hydraulically powered, has stereo and laser vision systems, and dextrous hands. Made of aluminum and titanium and weighing 330 pounds, the robot will be able to learn until it has the approximate human functioning of a 2-year-old child. The robotics firm working on it says it could replace human rescuers in various hazardous disaster zones like the wildfire in Arizona that killed 19 firefighters. “A new species, Robo sapiens, are emerging,” one robots industry leader said.
BUCK-RAKING Matt Rourke/AP
Hillary Clinton is making so much money from speeches that both The New York Times and The Washington Post ran major stories on it the same day. Now that she’s done with the State Department, Clinton commands $200,000 per appearance on the “buckraking” circuit, and she’s taking advantage of it with nationwide speeches to various industry groups. Clinton has addressed HR professionals, real-estate developers, private-equity managers, and business executives; on the schedule this year are car dealers, travel agents, and real-estate brokers. Interest groups are eager to get the ear of someone who could become president, and the speeches are a major income source: Bill Clinton earned $17 million from similar ones last year. But it could lead to trouble for Hillary if she decides to run in 2016 against other candidates who are barred from speech-circuit buck-raking by ethics rules and could turn it into a weapon against her.
Going Clear Frederick M. Brown
“I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and from fans around the world. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support,” actress Leah Remini told People after announcing she’d quit Scientology after three decades. The King of Queens star was one of the religion’s most strident supporters, but was reportedly questioning the leadership of its leader, David Miscavige, and the general human-rights abuses allegedly practiced by the church. Reports claim Remini has recently been forced to undergo interrogation and “thought modification” after questioning the excommunication of some members. Her break leaves her three rungs shy of top spiritual status. So close!