The Group of 7 say they won't recognize the outcome of a referendum that would peel Crimea from Ukraine and allow it to join Russia. In a statement released Wednesday, the seven nations — Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, and the United States — called on Russia to "cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea," warning that a referendum would be "contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law."
"Any such referendum would have no legal effect," a statement from the G7 read. "Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force."
The referendum is due to take place Sunday. Jon Terbush
On Tuesday, CNN changed the criteria for its upcoming Republican presidential debate on September 16, making room for former HP CEO Carly Fiorina to squeeze onto the big stage. The original criteria would have used an average of poll numbers from between July 16 and September 10 to narrow the field of candidates at the prime-time debate, reducing the impact of Fiorina's widely praised performance at the "kid's table" on Fox News in August. CNN will now accept any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10, giving Fiorina a much healthier shot at the main show. According to RCP's polling average, Fiorina comes in seventh among GOP presidential hopefuls, with 5.8 percent of the vote.
Fiorina's presence will likely make for a better debate too, The Washington Post points out. In addition to being the only woman on stage, she is also a counterpoint to Donald Trump — another political outsider from the business world. Of course, Trump isn't one to tread lightly — a "you're fired" jab might be in the works, seeing as Fiorina was removed as CEO of HP in 2005. That being said, if Fiorina can out-debate her fellow business-minded competition on live TV, it will likely be her best shot at making a lasting mark in the race. Jeva Lange
More than 100 police, using dogs and helicopters, searched northern Illinois overnight for three suspects in the killing of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, a veteran police officer in Fox Lake, Illinois, who was shot on Tuesday and later died of his wounds. Gliniewicz had radioed Tuesday morning to say he was pursuing three "suspicious subjects" on foot, and then he stopped responding to police dispatch. Schools in the Fox Lake area were on lockdown Tuesday and closed Wednesday, and police ordered a no-fly zone in the area and asked people to stay locked indoors and report any suspicious activity. The FBI is helping state and local police in the hunt.
Fox Lake is a town of 10,500 about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. "I've lived here for 30 years and never had to lock my door until now," resident Dan Christensen, 64, told Reuters. For more information, watch the Associated Press article below. Peter Weber
Next week, the 2016 presidential campaign heads to late-night TV. Jeb Bush is Stephen Colbert's first guest on The Late Show, which makes its debut Sept. 8, and three days later, on Sept. 11, Jimmy Fallon is having Donald Trump on The Tonight Show. On Sept. 10, Politico reports, Vice President Joe Biden is the headliner on Colbert's new show.
Biden isn't officially running for the Democratic presidential nomination, but of course Politico suggests that appearing on Colbert could be another move to position Biden for a 2016 run, should he decide to enter the race. Trump's performance will probably be entertaining, solemn date notwithstanding — after all, Fallon ticked Chris Christie off enough with a fat joke that he almost walked off the set on Monday. Few people know how tough or interesting an interviewer Colbert will be, though hopes are high. You can watch Fallon's weight joke — and the actually pretty great Christie story he almost never finished — below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, after a 15-0 vote from the Los Angeles City Council, the U.S. Olympic Committee has its official nominee to host the 2024 Olympics. Boston dropped out of the running in July, amid lack of public support and cost concerns. On Tuesday, L.A. officials said that most of the needed venues are either already built or would be anyways, and that the City of Angels can host the games at no cost to taxpayers, as it has before, in 1932 and 1984. "We're the only city on Earth that has hosted two profitable Olympics," said City Council member Paul Kerkorian.
Then things got a little bit feisty. "There's a little sadness today," said City Council member Bob Blumenfield, "and I think that sadness is being felt in Paris and in Rome, because their prospects for getting these Olympics just went down substantially, because L.A. is now in the mix and they're looking in their rear-view mirrors and they're seeing us there, and we're going to be unstoppable." Along with Paris and Rome, other 2024 contenders include Budapest and Hamburg. Watch the L.A. spirit on display below. Peter Weber
A recent study from Texas A&M University found that traffic got worse in 95 of America's 100 biggest cities between 2013 and 2014, thanks to the improving economy, and that the average U.S. commuter spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. If that seems like a lot — and it does — remember, that's the average; things are much worse in the Top 5 worst cities. In this video, The Wall Street Journal walks you through those five metro areas, three of which are in California, leading up to the worst U.S. city for traffic, Washington, D.C. Commuters in the D.C. area spend 82 hours a year in traffic, at an average annual cost of $1,834 per driver.
"Gridlock in the capital," deadpans narrator Catey Hill. "You don't say." You can watch her report below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, continued to refuse to issue same-sex (or opposite-sex) marriage licenses, despite losing at the U.S. Supreme Court, citing "God's authority." On Tuesday night's Last Word, host Alex Wagner asked columnist and gay-rights advocate Dan Savage if he thinks Davis is trying to become a "martyr."
"I think Kim Davis is waiting to cash in," Savage replied. She will probably lose her job and maybe spend a small amount of time in jail, he said, "and then she will have written for her a ghostwritten book, she will go on the right-wing lecture circuit, and she'll never have to do an honest day's work ever again in her life. This is about somebody hypocritically cashing in." Why "hypocritically"? Savage notes that Davis is justifying her refusal to do her job by arguing it violates "a central teaching of scripture, and of Jesus himself, regarding marriage," when Davis herself has been married four times. You can watch Savage's argument, and some thoughts on the split this is causing in the Republican Party, below. Peter Weber
Trevor Noah signs on as host of The Daily Show on Sept. 28, and Comedy Central's newest ad campaign for its flagship topical comedy show seems aimed at reassuring viewers that Noah isn't going to crash Jon Stewart's car. And their main way of doing that is by mocking the Daily Show correspondents. In one new spot, Jessica Williams, Hasan Minhaj, and Jordan Klepper try to show off their affinity with Noah's native South Africa, only to be reassured that "nothing's going to change" (and that we've apparently all been pronouncing "zebra" wrong). In a second ad, Noah talks straight to the viewers to let them know he and his "Best F#@king News Team" will still cover the 2016 election (and try to sell them jewelry).
Perhaps the best new teaser features Williams and John Hodgman, who vie for Noah's attention with gifts and painful personal sacrifices. Here's hoping Hodgman plays a bigger role in the rebooted show. You can watch him mutilate his upper lip (not really) in the video below. Peter Weber