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Self-Driving Reality

Driverless cars used to seem like the stuff of sci-fi. But as the U.S. unveils a list of guidelines about self-driving vehicles today, it's safe to say that these cars have zipped from the realm of a distant future to the regulatory thicket that's an all too clear reminder that this is very much a present day reality.

The government will propose 15 benchmarks today that automakers will need to meet before their driverless vehicles can hit the road, Bloomberg reports. And there's good reason for these guidelines: In July, Tesla confirmed that a fatal accident in its driverless Model S car was caused by the vehicles failure to tell the difference between a white truck and the clear sky. There's also the ominous risk of self-driving vehicles getting hacked.

Still, automakers are worried about regulation stifling innovation at this key juncture.

President Barack Obama writing in an op-ed for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette yesterday tried to calm such fears and strike a balance between regulation and innovation. "Right now, too many people die on our roads — 35,200 last year alone — with 94% of those the result of human error or choice," he wrote. "Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year."

It's a concept that may be hard to grasp: giving up control to a machine that can take care of us better than we can take care of ourselves. Welcome to the future.


  • Obama's final speech to the UN General Assembly.
  • Two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting opens, amid rate hike anxiety.


The United Nations has suspended all aid convoys in Syria after aid trucks were attacked yesterday near Aleppo. One UN aid convoy delivering food relief to a rebel-held area near Aleppo was targeted in an airstrike that killed 12 people and destroyed 18 trucks, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told CNN. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the U.S. said it blamed Russia, arguing Moscow was responsible under the seven-day ceasefire agreement for reining in Bashar al-Assad's government forces, The Guardian reports.


A migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, suffered extensive damage last night in a fire that authorities believe was set on purpose, as clashes allegedly broke out among rival nationalities in the of Moria camp earlier in the day, according to the news website Greek Reporter. Authorities estimate that about 60 percent of the camp is destroyed, and thousands of residents were forced to flee to safety. There are currently more than 60,000 refugees and migrants in Greece.


Suspected of Saturday night's bombing in New York City, Ahmad Khan Rahami remains hospitalized and held on $5.2 million bail after he was captured yesterday in Linden, N.J. after an exchange of gunfire that left him and two officers wounded. The 28-year-old is believed to be the attacker behind three attempted bombings on Saturday and Sunday. Reuters reports that Rahami traveled multiple times to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years and showed signs of radicalization.


The very first Cannes Film Festival opened exactly 70 years ago. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


At least 17 people were killed yesterday in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a violent anti-government rally. The protesters were marching against President Joseph Kabila's expected bid to extend his mandate. There has been growing local and international pressure on Kabila to step down when his term legally ends in December, Reuters reports.


Both city officials and business leaders take note of where artsy types, LGBT and creative young people move to live, as these are the new "influencers" who can give the decisive spark to cities. For Argentine daily Clarin, Miguel Jurado writes: ... the creative class is drawn to cities that offer creative jobs, good quality of life, green spaces, and good schools and universities. Their preferred cities are culturally rich and dynamic, which does not mean simply more theaters and museums. These people look for neighborhoods that have a strong sense of community, open-mindedness and tolerance. ... They seek out areas that are on the cusp of gentrification. These tend to be close to the city center — usually with a bit of history — but interesting enough to host a bohemian scene and spontaneous cultural events."

Read the full article, Can Beauty Save The World? The Rise Of "Creative Cities."


French authorities arrested eight people this morning in connection with the July 14 attack in Nice that killed 86 and wounded 400, the local daily Nice Matin reveals.


The Philosopher's Stone — Kaliningrad, 2001


"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem," read an image Donald Trump Jr. tweeted yesterday, as part of his father's "Make America Great Again" campaign. This was the response from the producer of the colorful treats: "Skittles are candy, refugees are people."



Parisians will soon be able to recreate one of the most famous images in music history: The zebra crossing featured on the cover of The Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album will be scanned (in 420 high-resolution photographs) and replicated down to the pebble near Paris' Centre Pompidou.

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Photo of Tarragona’s “Correfocs” (fire runners) setting off their fireworks amid a cheering crowd gathered for the Santa Tecla Festival in Catalonia, Spain.

Tarragona’s “Correfocs” (fire runners) set off their fireworks amid a cheering crowd gathered for the Santa Tecla Festival in Catalonia, Spain.

Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Monday, where Russia targets the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, Hollywood writers reach a tentative deal with studios, and an Ethiopian athlete shatters the women's marathon world record. Meanwhile, Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda tells the harrowing tale of “Conan”, a Ukrainian special forces operator who got lost at sea and survived 14 hours afloat, dodging Russian patrols, before being rescued.

[*Sundanese, Indonesia]

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