March 19, 2014

For $2 million, hopefully this dog comes with a complimentary mansion. A Chinese property developer reportedly paid that hefty sum to get his hands on a one-year-old golden haired Tibetan mastiff in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever. The breed, which can look like a baby lion if you squint really hard, has become a status symbol among China's ritzy upper class.

Weighing in at 200 pounds and nearly three feet tall, Tibetan mastiffs are just as nationally treasured as pandas. The puppy purchased was one of a pair who "have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs," said the dog's breeder. Both pups, whose names weren't released, are said to be loyal and protective of their owners. The record-breaking pup is on the left below. --Jordan Valinsky

7:53 a.m. ET

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will announce on Friday that she will not override a decision made by prosecutors and the FBI director about whether or not to bring charges over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, sources told The New York Times. Prior to the announcement, Lynch, a political appointee, could have overruled the investigators' decision.

Investigators so far have determined that Clinton indeed used to server to send classified information; the Justice Department must now decide "whether the conduct met the legal standard for the crime of mishandling classified information," The New York Times writes.

Lynch and the Justice Department had reportedly considered relinquishing Lynch's her ability to override, but were backed into the decision after she drew heavy criticism for a private meeting with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. "In light of the apparent conflicts of interest, I have called repeatedly on Attorney General Lynch to appoint a special counsel to ensure the investigation is as far from politics as possible," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) had demanded on Thursday.

While Clinton has yet to be interviewed, the FBI is expected to make their recommendation in the coming weeks. Jeva Lange

7:18 a.m. ET
Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

The three suicide bombers who detonated in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, killing 44, had aimed to take dozens hostage, according to Turkey's Sabah paper.

"The coats they were wearing to disguise their suicide vests, despite the hot weather, drew the attention of citizens and a police officer," Sabah wrote. As a result of attracting unwanted attention, the bombers abandoned their plan to take hostages and began the devastating attack.

A one-armed militant, Akhmet Chatayev, has been named as the mastermind behind the attacks; several Turkish papers identified him as being the leader of the Islamic State's cell in Istanbul. The three airport bombers were identified as a Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz national, although it is unclear if Chatayev was involved in the bombing or is currently on the run. Jeva Lange

6:57 a.m. ET
Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, Austria's Constitutional Court annulled the results of May's presidential runoff election, in which independent Green Party–backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right nationalist Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer by less than 1 percentage point. The ruling, which cited allegedly improper handling of the mail-in ballots that tipped the election to Van der Bellen, ordered a new election, giving Hofer another shot to become the European Union's first far-right head of state. Hofer and his Freedom Party campaigned against immigration and economic hardship of the working classes.

Until the next election, probably in September or October, BBC News reports, President Heinz Fischer will be replaced by a triumvirate made up of Hofer and two other parliamentary officials. Peter Weber

6:26 a.m. ET

"Every day I check the news, but every day our two presidential candidates are still Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Not everyone is excited about those choices, Colbert said, highlighting a poll from Public Policy Polling that found Clinton leading with 43 percent, Trump coming in second with 38 percent, and polling at 13 percent, "Giant Meteor hitting the earth." Colbert did the math: "38 percent for Trump, 13 percent for meteor — that adds up to 51 percent of the people okay with the world coming to an end. Yes, two giant destructive orange balls." You can watch his shrugging acceptance of global annihilation, and his bullish response to Chris Christie's possible selection as Trump's running mate, below. Peter Weber

5:32 a.m. ET

Leave it to Boris Johnson to do the unthinkable and make British politics even crazier and more dramatic than America's 2016 presidential race. Johnson, a Conservative former London mayor, was the frontrunner to replace Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation after losing the Brexit vote — thanks in no small part to Johnson, a former ally turned leading Brexit proponent. On Thursday morning, a few hours before Johnson was to announce his candidacy, close pro-Brexit ally Michael Gove jumped into the race, saying "Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead." Johnson dropped out of the race, quoting Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's masterwork on betrayal.

Johnson's father, Stanley Johnson, was reading from the same script. "'Et tu, Brute' is my comment on that," he told BBC News when asked about Gove, who, like Johnson, has been close with Cameron since their days at Oxford. Gove had been tipped to be Johnson's campaign manager. The Washington Post compared the Tory leadership grudge match to "a binge-watching session of House of Cards," and Tory MP Nigel Evans told the BBC "it makes the House of Cards look like Teletubbies." At The New York Times, the Tory turmoil "seems derived from Game of Thrones, itself drawn from centuries of English history." The newspaper Metro agreed about the Westeros connection:

Other British newspaper front pages, as rounded up by the BBC, say that Johnson was "Brexecuted" in the "Tory bloodbath" (The Sun), called his derailing "the most spectacular political assassination in a generation (The Daily Telegraph) and the "Westminster revolution" (The Times), and declared, "Et Tu, Gove?" (i). On the other hand, the Daily Mirror declared of Johnson's downfall: "Justice! The shaming of Boris, the man who betrayed Britain." Gove, the 48-year-old justice secretary who had frequently said he was unsuited and unqualified to be prime minister, is expected to lose out to Home Secretary Theresa May, 59, though who knows what bloody betrayals lie ahead. (George R.R. Martin, perhaps?) Peter Weber

4:15 a.m. ET
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Late Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked a Mississippi law set to take effect Friday that would have carved out religious exemptions for people and businesses opposed to same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and transgender people. "The state has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others," Reeves wrote, calling the bill "the state's attempt to put LGBT citizens back in their place" after the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have the right to get married. On Monday, Reeves had struck down the part of HB 1523 that would have let the state's circuit clerks refuse to issue same-sex marriage certificates due to religious objections. The law also sought to offer protection to businesses that refuse to serve LGBT people and would have affected adoption and foster care as well as bathroom policies at schools and businesses.

After he signed the law in April, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) told the Family Research Council that the "secular, progressive world had decided they were going to pour their anger and their frustration" at him because of the legislation. Reeves said that Mississippi was the entity acting out of frustration, stomping on religious freedoms in the process. "HB 1523 favors Southern Baptist over Unitarian doctrine, Catholic over Episcopalian doctrine, and Orthodox Judaism over Reform Judaism doctrine, to list just a few examples," he wrote. "In physics, every action has its equal and opposite reaction. In politics, every action has its predictable overreaction." Peter Weber

3:17 a.m. ET
David McNew/Getty Images

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign added Nebraska to the list of states where it is running ads, including the traditional swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, and Colorado, plus North Carolina. The ad buy is aimed not at the entire heavily Republican state but at the one congressional district President Obama won in 2008 — Nebraska awards two of its five electoral votes to the statewide winner and one each to the winner of its three congressional districts. Donald Trump, says The Washington Post's John Wagner, "has not started a concerted TV ad campaign in any battleground states."

In another sign that Clinton, buoyed by Trump missteps and sliding poll numbers, is working to expand the electoral map, she moved the site of her first joint campaign appearance with Obama from Wisconsin to Charlotte, North Carolina. Pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action is also advertising in North Carolina, which Obama lost in 2012 but won four years earlier. Currently, Politico notes, North Carolina is the only swing state where Trump leads in a RealClearPolitics polling average, and he's up by only 1 percentage point. Peter Weber

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