Global aid is starting to arrive and the search for survivors continues amid aftershocks and fear of fresh tremors in Nepal, where the death toll from the weekend’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake has reached more than 3,400. It is expected to move higher still.
(The BBC‘s Justin Rowlatt gets caught in a heavy aftershock)
* The Times of India Live Blog is here.
* A series of resources for journalists reporting on the disaster, via Al Tompkins at Poynter is here.
* A list of charities soliciting donations for relief efforts is here. (via NYT)
In what is now Mount Everest’s worst disaster, authorities are still uncertain how many people might the trapped on the mountain, at or between the various camps.
Eric Holthaus writes at Slate on why poor countries like Nepal are falling behind in preventing disasters.
So what makes places like Nepal and Haiti so vulnerable to earthquakes? Poverty is a big factor, but so is politics. Preparedness funding routinely returns five dollars for every dollar spent. But governments with low resources find it difficult to justify extra spending to mitigate even likely disasters. Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, ranks near the bottom in a list of countries working to reduce their risk. Even in the United States, spending on disaster relief routinely outstrips investment in disaster preparedness by at least a factor of 10.
* WORLD * Japan‘s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in the US for a week of meetings including a speech to Harvard Business School on Monday. He is due to become the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Bloomberg reports:
Abe will also cite gains in bilateral trade talks in Tokyo last week aimed at progressing a 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership that would cover roughly 40 percent of global gross domestic product. The Japan-U.S. discussions have been bogged down at times by differences over Japan’s rice and auto sectors, while Congress has been debating whether to give Obama fast-track authority to expedite pacts such as the TPP.
Ukraine and the EU hold a summit in Kiev on Monday, with energy, a free trade pact and calls for peacekeepers expected to be on the agenda. Fighting continues in disputed areas, however.
As fighting again escalates in Yemen, the Wall Street Journal reports that a political deal “was close” before the start of Saudi airstrikes, according to a UN envoy who is due to address the Security Council on Monday. Iranian warships have moved away from the Yemeni coast as US vessels arrived. Meanwhile, Al Arabiya reports that a video purporting to be created by ISIS claims the group has established a presence in Yemen.
The longtime leader of Kazakhstan, 74-year-old Nursultan Nazarbavev, was apparently re-elected with 97.7 per cent of the vote in a 95 per cent turnout.
With Freddie Gray’s funeral set for Monday, Baltimore is still on edge following weekend protests over the death of the 25-year-old, who was injured while in police custody. City leaders called for calm after 35 people were arrested and six police officers injured in clashes. WBAL reports that:
The problems happened near Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles game against the Boston Red Sox went on as scheduled, only fans were told toward the end of the game to stay in the stadium because of public safety worries. Before the game, demonstrators fought with fans at a bar.
* POLITICS * With the US Supreme Court set to take up the issue of Same Sex Marriage on Tuesday, Republican opposition to equality was on display at the weekend at the “Faith and Freedom” gathering in Iowa. James Hohmann at Politico writes:
Many GOP elites, in the donor and operative class, want to move beyond gay marriage. They think it’s a losing issue for the party in the long-term and makes outreach to younger voters more difficult. But social conservatives are the most influential constituency in the caucuses, which kick off the nominating process.
The nuanced answers from many Republican candidates in recent months took a backburner Saturday night, as several of the candidates tried to outdo one another on who could speak out most strongly against a right to gay marriage.
One of the weekend speakers, Sen Ted Cruz, said there was “a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers,” and that “today’s Democratic Party has become so radicalized for legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty.” Meanwhile, two gay businessmen who hosted a New York fundraiser for Cruz earlier in the week have faced widespread criticism from the gay community.
The so-called “Adelson primary” took place this weekend in Las Vegas, where GOP contenders reached out to one of the party’s biggest donors, “palms up.” Jason Horowitz at the New York Times writes:
In the last presidential election, many Republicans blamed Mr. Adelson for pumping $15 million into the primary campaign of Newt Gingrich, a long shot who used the money and time it afforded him to eviscerate Mitt Romney, the party’s eventual nominee, with political attack ads. This time, Mr. Adelson has expressed a desire to support a candidate who can win the general election.
And he finds himself on a political roll, at least in Israel, where his free and widely circulating newspaper, Israel Hayom, unabashedly backed Mr. Netanyahu.
When the prime minister made his controversial speech before Congressbefore the Israeli election, Mr. Adelson had a prominent seat in the House gallery. His wife accidentally dropped her purse on the head of a Democratic congressman, a mishap that many took as symbolic of what Mr. Adelson would like to do with his money.
On the Democratic side, the Clinton Foundation admitted “missteps” in donor disclosure. But Hillary Clinton’s campaign is still dogged by skepticism over possible conflicts of interest. An editorial in the Orange County Register calls it the “flaw Hillary’s resume can’t offset.”
No one, stated Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, “has produced a shred of evidence that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton foundation.”
Well, Mr. Fallon is absolutely correct. There is no smoking email – that we know of – from Mrs. Clinton to Mr. [Ian] Telfer [former chairman of Uranium One] in which she promised a quid pro quo.
But that’s beside the point. What troubles us is that it apparently didn’t occur to Mrs. Clinton that, as secretary of state, she not only should have scrupulously avoided conflicts of interest, but even the appearance of such conflicts.
A public official with an ethical compass would have known that.
* MEDIA * The fourth annual Interactive Advertising Bureau Digital Content NewFronts kick off on Monday. Randall Rothenberg at AdWeek writes that “the future may belong to web and mobile video, but TV will survive.”
True, the changes television is undergoing now are breathtaking, in volume and speed. Prime time has become an anachronism. Today, Emmy-winning, high-quality shows, once the domain only of a specific time and device, are available across multiple devices at any hour of the day. We rarely sit down together as families and friends to watch a TV show after dinner. We watch the programming we love, on our own, several times a day, wherever we happen to be. And that family and friends with whom we hashed it over? That would be our social graph—an ever-present (and ever-growing) real-time feedback loop.
The once-unmatchable power of the 30-second spot is also on the decline. So is the assumption that a bigger screen is always better, and the reliance on audience-size estimates based solely on samples. What we have to do now is identify the new standards that will take television, in its new digital form, into the future.
One of the stars of Yahoo’s NewFront presentation on Monday will be former CBS anchor Katie Couric. The Wall Street Journal reports that
Ms. Couric’s first year at Yahoo was a test of whether television journalism’s big-name personalities and storytelling techniques, like the newsmaking interview, can survive on the Web.
Yahoo’s bet on Ms. Couric is one of the most high-profile moves Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has made in her attempt to turn around the lumbering tech company.
Another former anchor in a somewhat less optimistic position is NBC’s Brian Williams, with Politico reporting that recent leaks have put pressure on the newsman to quit. “Look for a resolution over the next several weeks,” Politico says.
The New York Times’ data explainer site The Upshot was a year old this week – here are some of its most-read pieces.
The White House Correspondents Dinner saw President Obama deliver a wonderfully-paced 20-minute piece of stand-up to kick off the “fourth quarter” of his presidency. If you haven’t seen it in its entirety, it’s well worth the investment of your time.
(The White House)
After Patrick Gavin’s piece ahead of the “mess” that is NerdProm, Will Bunch writes brilliantly on “the night the news died.”
No, only one thing could really screw things up last night, actual important news. The day started with unspeakable tragedy in Nepal with news of a massive earthquake and an ever-rising death toll — the kind of overseas natural disaster that cried out for coverage, not only for the human interest but to drive a global response and donations for the victims. (If you wish to donate, here is more info.) As night fell, another type of tremor — a social one — was hitting much closer to home. Less than an hour up I-95 from the posh ballroom where the correspondents and President Obama were gathering, tensions over policing seemed about to erupt in a major American city. The violent killing of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose spine was snapped in the custody of Baltimore police who’d stopped him for no obvious reason, is an American tragedy, driving thousands of people into the streets on Saturday. Most were peaceful, but some young people on the fringes shattered windows, looted convenience stores, and stomped on police cruisers. Some 40,000 baseball fans at Camden Yards were abruptly told by city officials that it wasn’t safe to leave.
Think about that for a moment, in relation to TV news. CNN and their rival networks have been known to cut away from regular programming to show planes with stuck landing gear circling a runway, or random police chases of random suspects in a random city. But now a city telling 40,000 people not to leave a baseball game because of social unrest, albeit briefly, wasn’t news? Are you kidding me? More important was the broader stakes, that the citizens of a great American city, stripped of its factories and caught between high crime and appalling levels of police brutality, were trying to make a statement, that their lives mattered. But to the Beltway revelers…they just didn’t.
* BUSINESS * Jury selection begins in New York on Monday in the trial of three senior lawyers at the firm of Dewey & LeBouef. The New York Times reports that the trial “promises to be a long legal slog with the proceedings expected to last about six months, meaning a verdict may not be reached until after Labor Day. The process of seating a jury could itself take several weeks.”
* BRITISH ELECTION * Jim Wells, a candidate for the DUP in the South Down constituency, resigned as a Northern Ireland health minister, saying he wanted to spend more time with his sick wife. The BBC reports:
The resignation follows his remarks at a hustings where he linked same-sex relationships to child abuse. He later apologised for those comments.
Police also said on Sunday they were investigating after an incident during an election canvas in County Down. It is understood it involved Mr Wells and a lesbian couple.
In what The Economist called “an embarrassing gaffe” and The Guardian said was “an astonishing own goal,” David Cameron appeared to forget which football team he’d said he supported. The Prime Minister said mistaking Aston Villa for West Ham was “just one of those things.”
* SPORTS * Chelsea’s Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard won the PFA’s Player of the Year award. Spurs striker Harry Kane was voted Young Player of the Year. Meanwhile Chelsea edged closer to sealing the Premiership title with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates. The home fans’ taunting of “boring, boring Chelsea” drew a typical response from Blues manager Jose Mourinho.
(The Sun/Tomorrow’s Papers Today)
* CULTURE *
(Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art/AP)
Mary Keefe, the model for ‘Rosie The Riveter’, Norman Rockwell’s 1943 painting and patriotic embrace of wartime labor, died this week aged 92.