HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
The U.S. and Cuba will both be in attendance at the Summit of the Americas for the first time. The summit, a gathering of nearly all Western Hemisphere heads of state, starts today in Panama. A potential meeting between President Raúl Castro and President Barack Obama is one of the most anticipated moments of the gathering, BuzzFeed News’ Karla Zabludovsky reports from Panama. Cuba and the United States announced in December that they would restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of enmity. The U.S. State Department has recommended that Cuba be removed from its list of state sponsors of terror, which would clear the way for the reopening of embassies and fully normalizing relations, Reuters reports.
And a little extra. Venezuela could complicate the U.S.’s efforts to improve relations with Cuba at the summit. Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel has reiterated support for Venezuela, a direct critique of the U.S.'s decision to impose sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials for human rights abuses last month, Reuters reports. A top aide to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was sent to Venezuela earlier this week to ease tensions ahead of the summit, the New York Times’ William Neuman writes.
The 2016 U.S. presidential race is heating up. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who also ran for president in 2012, has set up a “testing the waters” account to explore a 2016 run, according to CBS News. The account will allow him to raise and spend money under the same formal campaign caps without having to keep financial records until he officially becomes a candidate. He’ll make a decision on his bid “by late spring,” his adviser told CBS.
Hillary Clinton is also expected to officially launch her campaign Sunday with a video on social media while she’s on her way to Iowa, which holds the country’s first vote in the presidential primary process, sources familiar with the campaign told The Guardian and CNN. Business Insider is also reporting that Clinton will launch her campaign this weekend.
And a little extra. If you’re keeping track, here’s how things stand on the Republican side for 2016: Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have both formally declared their runs, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have been traveling and fundraising without formally declaring their campaigns. Like Santorum, Sen. Lindsey Graham has also created an account to test the waters, while Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson have both created exploratory committees.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
North Charleston, S.C., grapples with trust in police after fatal shooting. Many in the community doubt justice would have been served for Walter Scott, a black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer on Saturday, if it weren’t for a bystander capturing video of the incident. “No one’s surprised by this,” a North Charleston resident told BuzzFeed News’ Claudia Koerner. “It just confirms what people already believed.”
Two videos captured the incident: the bystander’s video of the killing and a dashcam video released yesterday showing the police officer, Michael Slager, pulling Scott over for a broken brake light. But even with those videos, there’s still a question about whether there was a struggle between the two.
What’s next? “On Thursday, local activists called on the city council to create a civilian oversight board of the police department that could investigate potential misconduct with subpoena power,” Koerner writes. Mayor Keith Summey agreed to discuss the matter with the activist groups.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
“These are the families left to reclaim Garissa’s dead.” Last week, Somali extremist group al-Shabaab killed 148 people in an attack on Garissa University College in Kenya. “This story is about the days that came after — the dozens and dozens of hours idling by as hundreds of family members wait, under tents in the parking lot of the Chiromo Funeral Parlor in Nairobi, to find out which of the bodies inside belongs to them,” BuzzFeed News’ Jina Moore reports from Nairobi.
This is what happens when you undergo gay conversion therapy. BuzzFeed UK LGBT editor Patrick Strudwick went undercover in 2009 to expose therapists who attempted to “cure” homosexuality — and discovered practices that could be extremely damaging. He later worked to get legislation passed in the British Parliament to prevent those practices, but his efforts are not expected to succeed. “My experiences reveal why Obama is right to call for a ban,” Strudwick writes.
Should you buy an Apple Watch? Starting today, you’ll be able to try on and pre-order an Apple Watch at the Apple Store. Whether you should actually buy one depends on how you feel about a bunch of things. Quartz’s Dan Frommer has a good list of questions if you’re on the fence. Something you won’t have to consider? Lining up for hours on launch day to get one. Potential Apple Watch buyers need to make appointments online as part of the company’s “anti-hype” strategy.
A Murder at La Casa Green, Part 3. In 2010, two men were exonerated and freed after more than 16 years in prison. Then the man who worked to free them was arrested for witness tampering, putting their newfound freedom in jeopardy. This is part three of a four-part series looking at a wrongful conviction case that has baffled and frustrated for over 20 years. Need to catch up? Here’s part one and part two.
LinkedIn could move beyond just being a resume platform — and into a higher education institution in its own right. This possibility became increasingly apparent when LinkedIn announced yesterday that it’s buying Lynda.com, a company that produces online learning videos. The theory is that LinkedIn could potentially offer credentials rather than traditional diplomas and, most importantly, tie them directly to job skills and employers, BuzzFeed News’ Molly Hensley-Clancy writes.
How to structure your days if you’re depressed. In this thoughtful essay, Rookie Magazine’s Ragini Nag Rao provides an accessible guide to cope with the day-to-day of experiencing depression. “Cherish your isolation,” she writes. “It has given you the space to survive.”
Quick things to know:
A disturbing video catches California police deputies beating a man on the ground after they chased and tasered him (BuzzFeed News)
A massive tornado ripped through Illinois yesterday, killing 1 and injuring several others (BuzzFeed News)
Orlando International Airport will offer flights to Cuba starting July 8 (Orlando Sentinel)
Sabra voluntarily recalled around 30,000 cases of hummus due to a possible listeria contamination (BuzzFeed News)
A deadly flu is attacking turkey flocks in North America (New York Times)
Taco Bell is going to start a delivery service (BuzzFeed News)
The Kardashians met with the Armenian prime minister yesterday to commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (BuzzFeed News)
And, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt reunited for the most epic “Lip Sync Battle” ever (BuzzFeed News)
How well you do know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News Quiz!
Our special guest today is BuzzFeed News’ National Editor Adam Serwer, sharing two stories he really liked this week.
In the New York Times Magazine, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah profiles author Toni Morrison and her decades of making "black life — regular, quotidian black life, the kind that doesn’t sell out concert halls or sports stadiums — complex, fantastic and heroic, despite its devaluation."
Hua Hsu offers a colorful portrait of the enigmatic comedian Hannibal Burress for The FADER. Even though it was his joke that went viral and catalyzed the late destruction of Bill Cosby's career, it's maybe the last thing he wants to talk about.
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Photographer Kate Parker put together a photo series, “Strong Is the New Pretty,” capturing the fearlessness of her two daughters: Ella, 9, and Alice, 6. It’s a collection full of energy, verve, and life. “My girls are strong, loud, crazy, silly,” Parker told BuzzFeed. “As a mother and a photographer, I celebrate them.”