Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 16 2016

Harold Maass
President Obama makes a statement about the Orlando mass shooting
Alex Wong/Getty Images
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Obama to visit Orlando to show support after mass shooting

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Orlando on Thursday to offer comfort and support to a community grieving after Sunday's mass shooting at a gay nightclub, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded, the White House said Wednesday. Obama and Biden will meet with the families of victims, "and stand in solidarity with the Orlando community," the White House said. Obama plans to speak publicly to make clear that the country stands with the city and its LGBT community as they grieve, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. [Orlando Sentinel, Voice of America]


NRA backs gun-purchase delays for people on terrorism watch list

The NRA said Wednesday that people on the terrorism watch list should have to wait for the FBI to investigate before they can buy a gun. The NRA previously opposed such measures "to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process." Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said in the wake of Sunday's Orlando nightclub mass shooting that he would talk with the NRA about such a ban. The shooter, Omar Mateen, had been investigated by the FBI but was not on a watch list. [Reuters, CNN]


Democrats end filibuster after getting promise of vote on new gun laws

Senate Democrats ended a 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican leaders reportedly agreed to hold votes on more strenuous gun background checks and restrictions for people on terrorism watch lists. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) started the effort in response to the Orlando mass shooting, and was quickly backed by other Democrats. "I've had enough," he said. "I've had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I've had enough of inaction in this body." [NBC News]


Fed holds interest rates steady

Federal Reserve policy makers left interest rates unchanged as they ended their two-day meeting on Wednesday. The decision was widely expected in the wake of May's disappointing jobs report. The Fed said it still expected to make two quarter-point increases to its benchmark short-term rate this year, although six of the 17 Fed policy makers — up from one in March — now anticipate just one increase this year. [Bloomberg, Reuters]


Trump calls for 'respectfully' monitoring mosques

Donald Trump said in a Wednesday rally that the U.S. had not been "smart" and "vigilant" enough in fighting terrorism on U.S. soil, and called for "respectfully" conducting surveillance of mosques. Trump said people are "beside themselves" with fear and frustration over the "terrorism problem" in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting by a man, Omar Mateen, who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. "This is a problem that if we don't solve it, it's going to eat our country alive," Trump said. [Business Insider]


Hillary Clinton reportedly vetting Elizabeth Warren among possible running mates

Hillary Clinton's campaign is not currently considering her primary rival Bernie Sanders as a running mate, but it is vetting progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), according to The Wall Street Journal. Sanders is in talks with Clinton about unifying the Democratic Party, and one senior adviser says he isn't particularly interested in the vice president's job. The process is in its early stages. Other prospective candidates include Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, and Sens. Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown, and Cory Booker. [The Wall Street Journal]


Disney opens gates of its first China park

Walt Disney Co. opened its first theme park in China on Thursday, with thousands of visitors streaming in as the gates opened. The Shanghai Disney Resort is the company's biggest overseas investment, at $5.5 billion. Disney is betting that the spending power of China's middle class and its tourism boom will make the park a bright spot among its otherwise struggling international theme park businesses. The Shanghai park features Disney's tallest castle. [The New York Times, Reuters]


Divers find body of toddler attacked by alligator at Disney resort

Divers on Wednesday found the body of a 2-year-old boy dragged into a lake near a Disney resort, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Wednesday. The body was intact, six feet under water about 15 feet from where the boy, Lane Graves, was last seen. Demings said he had notified the child's parents, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska. The child was wading on the edge of a lake at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with his mother, father, and 4-year-old sister on Tuesday night when the alligator snatched him. [The New York Times, Orlando Sentinel]


Egypt finds main wreckage from lost EgyptAir flight

Egyptian authorities said Wednesday that they had located the main wreckage of the EgyptAir passenger jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month on the way from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board. The plane disappeared from radar screens without sending out a distress call. Many suspect a terrorist bomb brought down the plane, although investigators reportedly have not ruled out human or technical error. Flight data indicate that smoke detectors went off minutes before the plane disappeared. [BBC News]


Canada's House approves gender-neutral changes to anthem 'O Canada'

Canada's Liberal-controlled House of Commons voted Wednesday to change the English version of "O Canada," the country's national anthem, to make the lyrics gender-neutral. The bill calls for replacing "in all thy sons command" with "in all of us command." Some conservatives opposed the measure, saying the public had not had time to comment. The bill now goes to the appointed Senate, which usually approves House legislation. "It's really important as a very strong symbol of our commitment to gender equality in this country," said Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu. [Reuters]