Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 29, 2014

Harold Maass
The late Maya Angelou celebrates her 82nd birthday in 2010. (Steve Exum/Getty Images)
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VA watchdog report sparks outrage

An internal investigation found that 1,700 veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs' medical center in Phoenix were placed on an unofficial waiting list for care. The VA inspector general also found that falsified records were created to hide long wait times for care. President Obama called the findings "extremely troubling." Republicans and vulnerable Democrats called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. [The Washington Post]


Award-winning author Maya Angelou dies

Author and poet Maya Angelou died Wednesday at her home in North Carolina. She was 86. The African-American literary icon wrote more than 30 books, although she was also a dancer and civil rights activist. She was best known for her groundbreaking 1969 autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. "She was a warrior for equality, tolerance, and peace," her family said in a statement. Singer Dionne Warwick said Angelou's "legacy of wisdom" would live on. [Reuters]


Apple buys Beats for $3 billion

Apple confirmed Wednesday that it was buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion. The move will help the iPhone and iPad maker compete in the subscription music business thanks to Beats' streaming music service. It will also give Apple an injection of cool thanks to Beats' popular high-end headphones. Beats' co-founders — music mogul Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre — will join Apple under the deal. [The Wall Street Journal]


California lawmakers try to block gun sales to potentially dangerous people

California lawmakers plan to introduce legislation this week that would let police officers and others ask courts to bar people deemed potentially violent from buying or owning guns. Lawmakers drafted the bill in response to a murderous rampage that left six victims and the apparent killer, Elliot Rodger, 22, dead. Rodger legally bought three guns despite warnings from his parents and mental health professionals that he could be dangerous. [The New York Times]


Obama expounds on the Obama doctrine

President Obama used his commencement address to West Point cadets on Wednesday to outline a foreign policy vision aiming to put the nation's "long season of war" in the past while remaining committed to doing "what is right and just" overseas. Critics say Obama has abandoned America's leadership role by being too passive in Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Obama said he was trying to strike a balance between isolationism and unilateralism that violates international law. [The New York Times]


Sisi wins big in Egypt's presidential vote

Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overwhelmingly won the country's presidential election, according to provisional results released Thursday. Sisi had 93 percent of the votes in the first 15 percent of polling stations counted, but turnout was low due to a boycott by supporters of the freely elected Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by Sisi last year. Sisi's supporters see him as a strong leader who can restore calm. [Al Jazeera]


Army sergeant accused of sexually assaulting 12 women

An Army staff sergeant, Angel M. Sanchez, has been accused of sexually assaulting a dozen women since 2011, including several female soldiers who said he used his position as a drill sergeant to threaten them. At least one of the women was allegedly attacked in Afghanistan. Sanchez appeared at a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. The Pentagon said this month it received thousands of sexual assault reports in 2013. [The Washington Post]


Investigators say missing Malaysian plane didn't crash in search area

The 330-square-mile area where acoustic pings were heard in April is not the "final resting place" of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8, the search coordinator said Thursday. A U.S. Navy unmanned submersible has finished scanning the area without finding a trace. A top Navy civilian official said the pings did not come from the jet's black boxes, although a Navy spokesman called his statement "speculative and premature." [Associated Press]


Kerry tells NSA leaker Edward Snowden to "man up"

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden should "man up" and return to the U.S. to face spying charges. Snowden has temporary asylum in Russia, and said in his first network TV interview, which aired Tuesday and Wednesday on NBC, that he wants to come home, if offered clemency. Kerry said he should make his case against U.S. surveillance in court. "A patriot would not run away," Kerry said. [Associated Press]


Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer dies at 85

Billionaire Malcolm Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Britain's Manchester United soccer team, died Wednesday at age 85, eight years after a stroke that left his speech impaired and limited the mobility of his right side. Glazer bought the Bucs for $192 million in 1995 — then an NFL record — and revived the team by replacing everything from its jerseys to its coaches. Eight years later Tampa won its first Super Bowl. [NBC Sports]