Italy has assumed the EU presidency, taking the reins from Greece, whose presidency ended June 30.
The revolving presidency will belong to Italy for the next sixth months. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has promised to use his term to push for a "United States of Europe," which will be particularly challenging with the recent rise of Euro-skeptic parties in European elections.
Renzi recently launched an appeal to convince European leaders that a unified continent is in all European countries' best interest.
"A stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to solve the problems of our time," Renzi said during a speech in Florence. "For my children's future, I dream, think, and work for the United States of Europe." Meghan DeMaria
Tom Hayden, a political and social activist who with his former wife Jane Fonda formed an organization backing liberal causes, died Sunday in Santa Monica following a long illness. He was 76.
As a student at the University of Michigan, he became a radical, and helped develop the Students for a Democratic Society organization. He traveled to the south for civil rights work, and was beaten and arrested at a march in Mississippi. He became an anti-Vietnam War activist, twice visiting Hanoi with an antiwar delegation. In 1968, Hayden played a role in the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and was prosecuted; he was convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot and sentenced to five years in prison, but his conviction was overturned after it was decided the judge openly sided with prosecutors. By the 1970s, he had a 22,000-page FBI file, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hayden met Fonda when they were both speaking at an antiwar event in Michigan, and they were reunited a year later at another antiwar event in Los Angeles. They married in 1973 and formed the political organization Campaign for Economic Democracy, later called Campaign California. The group supported liberal candidates and measures, helping pass Prop 65, which requires gas stations, grocery stores, and bars to warn of the presence of chemicals that can cause cancer. In 1982, Hayden was elected to the California Assembly, ultimately serving 18 years in the Assembly and state Senate. Hayden, who divorced from Fonda in 1990, was also an author, publishing books on Cuba, the Iraq War, street gangs, and the environment. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Williams; sons Troy Garity and Liam Hayden; sister Mary Hayden Frey; and stepdaughter Vanessa Vadim and her two children. Catherine Garcia
Brett Baier's Special Report panel on Sunday examined Donald Trump's shot at winning the 2016 election, with Baier taking special care to explain why Fox News does't use the three national polls that show Donald Trump winning or tied. But mostly the panel discussed Trump's big speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, in which he laid out plans to reduce regulation and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C., if elected — and also promised to sue the 11 women accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior.
The four panelists — Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt, RealClearPolitics associate editor A.B. Stoddard, Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace, and TownHall's Guy Benson — all agreed that Trump's policies outlined on Saturday were potentially potent and popular, but that he blew it with the lawsuit threat. Trump's inability to "put his grievances aside," Pace marveled, "that's his mistake, and I don't understand why at this point in the campaign he hasn't come to grips with that."
"It's the trap he walks into knowingly," agreed Benson. Trump's Gettysburg proposals are "getting short shrift, and I just try to close my eyes and envision an alternate campaign where he gives this speech, without the other nonsense, in early September, after Labor Day, and then relentlessly focuses on it when the women come out, when the tape comes out." Donald Trump "doesn't step on his message, he pulverizes it," Stoddard said, "and the only time he ever did well, and built the momentum, and really had Clinton on her heels" was from his mid-August campaign shakeup until the first debate in late September, a period where he was "Teleprompter Trump, always on message, always with his notes, really restrained from Twitter, and not talking about his anger grievances."
If Trump "really cared about this issue, it would have been part of his message a year ago," Stodard added, and campaign manager "Kellyanne Conway can go on all the shows she wants and talk about what they're going to try and do, and keep it focused on the issues and its all the media's fault, but Donald Trump is destroying his campaign." That doesn't mean it's over for Trump, Hurt said. "This has been the wildest election of my lifetime, and if he were to come back, it wouldn't be the strangest thing that happened in this campaign." Peter Weber
Bill Murray accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday at the Kennedy Center, joining fellow Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, and Eddie Murphy, who have already received the award.
Several friends and former co-stars spoke, including Steve Martin, Jimmy Kimmel, Sigourney Weaver, and David Letterman, whose late night show Murray appeared on 44 times. Murray shot to stardom on SNL and was nominated for an Oscar for Lost in Translation, but is also known for his habit of showing up out of nowhere at wedding receptions, parties, intramural games, even the White House press room.
In a sentimental moment, Murray shared that he was able to get into improv theater because of his older brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, who went to work at a young age after their father died. "My brother had more guts than anyone I ever knew, and the only reason I'm here tonight is because of the guts of my brother Brian," Murray said. "He's been waiting a long time to hear that." The ceremony will air Friday on PBS. Catherine Garcia
The "Bermuda Triangle" is the stuff of legend — in both senses of the word. The area of the Atlantic Ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda has seen its share, or maybe more than its share, of mysterious disappearances of ships and aircraft, leading to a popular theory that some paranormal force is at work in the triangular body of water. Two meteorologists tell the Science Channel that hexagonal cloud patterns, 20 to 55 miles across, are likely to blame for the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.
"These types of hexagonal shapes over the ocean are in essence, 'air bombs,'" said Dr. Randy Cerveny at Arizona State University. "They're formed by what are called microbursts. They're blasts of air that come down out of the bottom of the clouds and hit the ocean, and they create waves that can sometimes be massive in size once they start to interact with each other." These "air bombs," with winds up to 170 miles per hour or 100 mph near sea level, are strong enough to sink ships by creating huge waves or pounding down airplanes from the sky, Cerveny tells the Science Channel. Other meteorologists disagree with this theory, noting that it is based on weather patterns in the North Sea off Britain, which has a very different climate. You can learn more in the CNN report below. Peter Weber
The message was loud and clear: Namaste away from our yoga pants.
After Rhode Island's Barrington Times published a letter last week from a man named Alan Sorrentino, in which he railed against the audacity of women over the age of 20 wearing yoga pants, a group of women decided to hold a march protesting men telling women what to wear. Organizers said it wasn't about Sorrentino (who "very impolitely declined" their invitation to attend), but rather the bigger issue of misogyny. They also turned it into a drive for personal hygiene items, which were donated to a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence.
In his letter, Sorrentino said the "absolute worst thing" to ever happen to women's fashion "is the recent development of yoga pants as daily wear outside the yoga studio." Sorrentino went on to say that "like the mini-skirt, yoga pants can be adorable on children and young women who have the benefit of nature's blessing of youth. However, on mature, adult women there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public. Maybe it's the unforgiving perspective they provide, inappropriate for general consumption... or the spector [sic] of someone coping poorly with their weight or advancing age that makes yoga pants so weird in public." Sorrentino, who didn't reveal if he wears slimming and age-appropriate three-piece suits everywhere he goes, suggested that any woman over the age of 20 instead wear "a nice pair of tailored slacks, jeans, or anything else."
Before the protest, Sorrentino told WPRO-AM that he wrote the letter as a way to make people laugh during the election, but has instead received "vicious and intimidating" death threats, which he found "disgusting." Catherine Garcia
Julian Assange isn't a Russia spy, but he is taking revenge on Hillary Clinton, and "if an anonymous or pseudonymous group came offering anti-Clinton leaks, they'd have found a host happy not to ask too many awkward questions," James Ball, who worked with WikiLeaks when it made its biggest splash, in 2010, writes at BuzzFeed News.
Anti-Clinton animus isn't the only thing driving Assange in 2016, after four years of self-imposed exile in a tiny apartment in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Ball writes: Assange thinks himself "the equal of a world leader," and the leak of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails "is his shot at reclaiming the world stage, and settling a score with Hillary Clinton as he does so." Yes, Donald Trump, the main beneficiary of this hack, is now praising WikiLeaks, as are many of his supporters, while Assange has lost many fans on the liberal left, Ball says, but "neither Assange nor WikiLeaks (and the two are virtually one and the same thing) have changed — the world they operate in has."
Still, Trump and Assange have quite a bit in common, Ball says: Like Trump, "Assange is a gifted public speaker with a talent for playing the media, struggling with an inability to scale up and professionalize his operation, to take advice, a man whose mission was often left on a backburner in his efforts to demonize his opponents." Neither seems bothered by Russia's authoritarianism. And then there's Trump and Assange's insistence on getting everyone to sign nondisclosure agreements — the thing Ball says led to his estrangement with Assange:
Those working at WikiLeaks — a radical transparency organization based on the idea that all power must be accountable — were asked to sign a sweeping nondisclosure agreement covering all conversations, conduct, and material, with Assange having sole power over disclosure. The penalty for noncompliance was £12 million. I refused to sign the document, which was sprung on me on what was supposed to be a short trip to a country house used by WikiLeaks.... Given how remote the house was, there was no prospect of leaving. I stayed the night, only to be woken very early by Assange, sitting on my bed, prodding me in the face with a stuffed giraffe, immediately once again pressuring me to sign. It was two hours later before I could get Assange off the bed. [Ball, BuzzFeed News]
Read more of Ball's sometimes sympathetic, sometimes scathing look at Assange at BuzzFeed News. Peter Weber
On Monday, the French government will begin demolishing a makeshift migrant camp near Calais called the "Jungle," and aid workers say there's no plan for the more than 1,300 unaccompanied children living there.
The minors have come from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and other countries, and many want to emigrate to Britain; while Britain is prioritizing children who have family already in the UK, it is still negotiating with France where to send the kids that don't have ties to either country. "All this should have been done a long time ago," Francois Guennoc from the charity Auberge des Migrants told Reuters.
The camp is filthy with poor sanitation and makeshift living quarters, and the French government said it is being destroyed on humanitarian grounds. France wants to resettle the migrants in centers across the country while their asylum requests are being reviewed, and aid workers believe hundreds could refuse to go along with this plan; the government has said it will arrest those who won't leave the Jungle. Ali Ahmed, 24, from Sudan, told Reuters he eventually wants to end up in Britain, and he'll stay in the camp for the time being. "I have seen worse than this," he said. "And prison wouldn't be so very different from the Jungle." Catherine Garcia