Bank of American has tentatively agreed to the single largest corporate settlement ever with the U.S. government, The New York Times reports, citing "people briefed on the matter." The deal, to settle charges related to the sale of sketchy mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, will reportedly cost BoA about $16 billion, including $9 billion in cash.
The tentative civil agreement follows months of tough negotiating, and BoA finally proposed the $16 billion package after it lost a key case in U.S. District Court in New York City last month, eroding "what was left of the bank's negotiating leverage," say Ben Protess and Michael Corkery at The Times. An ultimatum from Attorney General Eric Holder — raise your offer or the Justice Department will sue — was the final ingredient. Most of the toxic mortgages were acquired when BoA bought Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Peter Weber
On Monday, President Obama said the fight against the Islamic State is going to be a "generational struggle" that ultimately won't be "won or lost by the United States alone," but rather the "countries and communities that terrorists like [ISIS] target."
Obama made his remarks at the Pentagon following a briefing on the U.S. campaign against ISIS. "This broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort," he said. "Ideologies are not defeated by guns. They're defeated with better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision." The United States was on high alert over the 4th of July weekend amid warnings of possible attacks by ISIS, and Obama touched on the danger of terrorists who are able to operate under the radar. "The threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex, it's harder to detect and harder to prevent," he said. "That means that we're going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks."
To combat ISIS online, Obama said the U.S. government plans to increase its efforts to counter propaganda it posts on social media sites, and will partner with Muslim communities who speak out again "the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people" into the ranks of ISIS. He also called out the Senate for not confirming his nominee for undersecretary of the Treasury Department, Adam Szubin. Szubin was nominated in April, but there hasn't been a hearing or vote set yet. If confirmed, one of Szubin's roles would be cracking down on illegal funding to groups like ISIS, The Guardian reports. Catherine Garcia
Jerry Weintraub, the producer behind the remake of Ocean's 11, The Karate Kid, and several other well-known films, died Monday in Palm Springs. He was 77.
Weintraub started off in the music business, serving as a tour promoter and manager for John Denver, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and Led Zeppelin. In the 1970s, he transitioned to the movies, working with Robert Altman on Nashville. After a brief stint as head of United Artists, Weintraub founded the Weintraub Entertainment Group, which went bankrupt after three years.
More recently, he produced HBO's biodrama Behind the Candelabra; the documentary 41 on his friend, President George H.W. Bush; and the HBO series The Brink, which premiered in June. A Tarzan feature, starring Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, is set for release in 2016. "I'm an entrepreneur, I've been an independent guy all my life," he told Variety in 2007. "I love doing what I do. I love the movies, I love actors, I love directors, I love writers, I love working with the studio, I love the marketing. I love the whole process." Weintraub is survived by his longtime girlfriend Susan Eakins, and children Michael, Julie, Jamie, and Jody. Catherine Garcia
Air strikes across Yemen have killed close to 100 people, including several women and children, the Houthi-run state news agency said Monday.
— RT America (@RT_America) July 6, 2015
In the Amran province, north of the capital, Sanaa, 54 people were killed, including 40 who were shopping at a market, Reuters reports. In southern Yemen, more than 40 people were killed during a strike on a livestock market in the town of al-Foyoush. Médecins Sans Frontières reports that hundreds of people have been entering medical facilities over the past several days, with Colette Gadenne, head of the mission, saying, "It is unacceptable that air strikes take place in highly concentrated civilian areas where people are gathering and going about their daily lives, especially at a time such as Ramadan."
The U.N. has called for a stop to the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, and special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed spoke with Houthi forces to try to broker a humanitarian ceasefire. Last week, the UN designated the war a Level 3 humanitarian crisis, the most severe category. Since March, 3,000 people have been killed in the fighting. Catherine Garcia
The admission came under oath, as part of a lawsuit filed by a former Temple University employee against Cosby. Cosby admitted to giving her three half-pills of Benadryl. The lawsuit was settled in 2006.
The Associated Press went to court in a successful petition for the release of the documents, which were publicly released on Monday afternoon. Cosby's lawyers unsuccessfully sought to keep the documents sealed, arguing that their release would "embarrass" Cosby. Scott Meslow
The South Carolina Senate on Monday voted 37-3 to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbus, The Associated Press reports. The Senate will still need to vote on the bill one more time Tuesday, though The New York Times reports it is "virtually assured of success" in the Senate. How the bill will fare in the House, however, still remains to be seen; it must also pass there before it can be signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley.
South Carolinians began pushing for their state to remove the flag, considered by many to be a racist symbol, after a white gunman last month killed nine African-Americans attending a Bible study group in a historically black Charleston church. Samantha Rollins
Less than two weeks after Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death for his role in the April 2013 bombing, he filed a preliminary motion for a new trial. Tsarnaev's lawyers are requesting a new trial for both his conviction and death sentence, saying a new trial is required "in the interests of justice." The motion is considered a placeholder for a more detailed one his lawyers will file next month, before Tsarnaev's post-trial action deadline of August 17.
Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 charges in May in relation to the bombing that killed three people and injured 264 others. Becca Stanek
In 50 to 60 years, your wildest Dune-inspired dreams might just come true. That's because OXO, a French architecture company, is literally constructing a vertical city in the middle of the Earth's biggest desert, the Sahara. The plans call for the building to stand 1,476 feet high and contain approximately 84,000 square feet of residential and commercial areas, amid other livable spaces.
"The idea is to make a city out of this tower... The idea is to obtain a building combining different programs including housing units adjacent to offices of course. There is a museum, a meteorological observatory on the Sahara, there are libraries, gyms, pools. The idea was really to offer a sufficient number of programs to be able to remain self-sufficient and not to have to rely on other buildings or have to create new ones," architect Manal Rachdi told Reuters.
The vertical city will also function as its own "livable, green ecosystem," with a towering central garden irrigated by rainwater. Work on the building begins in 2025 (you can see the plans in the Reuters video below), and is expected to be completed over the course of 50 years. Now, would the future mind hurrying up? Jeva Lange