Battle lines have been drawn. The next cover of Charlie Hebdo features the Prophet Muhammad shedding a tear and holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the words “All is forgiven.” The issue, with a print run of three million, hits newsstands worldwide tomorrow. Funerals for those killed at a Parisian kosher supermarket were attended by thousands of mourners in Jerusalem, and French President Francois Hollande held a memorial for the three slain police officers. Bulgarian officials, meanwhile, have reportedly arrested a Frenchman with suspected ties to the terrorists.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He could walk free. The former Egyptian president, who ruled for 30 years, has had the corruption charges against him tossed by an appeals court. The court ordered a retrial, but Hosni Mubarak has already served enough time that he could simply go free. But it’s not that easy. Egypt has never had a real, live former president walking the streets. Will he pose a challenge to the current president? Will he face his own security threats? Can Egypt handle a free Mubarak?
Jihad hit cyberspace yesterday when Cyber Caliphate — hackers apparently aligned with ISIS — took control of Twitter and YouTube accounts belonging to the U.S. Central Command. “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back,” said one tweet. The hackers posted phone numbers of military brass, as well as pro-extremist videos on the military’s YouTube channel. Officials say the attack, which lasted 30 minutes, didn’t compromise classified information or threaten operations. But it does raise concerns about American readiness to wage war on the technological front.
He’s demanding respect. Excited crowds, drummers and elephants greeted Pope Francis today as he kicked off his two-nation Asian tour in Sri Lanka, where he pointed to the need for improved human rights. The country, which refuses to participate in a U.N. probe of alleged wartime mass murder, has endured decades of civil war and is ready for change. It just elected a new president, but rebuilding trust requires ”promoting human dignity,” said the pontiff, who continues on to the Philippines on Thursday.
Call it a public service. The social media network will post missing children“Amber Alerts” on news feeds. With 140 million U.S. users daily, the hope is that extra eyes will help find missing kids. It’s not the only change. Stricter rules about violent videos shown to kids were also announced. This goes for news footage too — including that of a Charlie Hebdo shooter killing a Paris police officer. Parents might appreciate efforts, but the kids may be able to circumvent the system.
They’re paying zilch. Yields on five-year Japanese government securities dropped to zero today for the first time ever as the Bank of Japan charged ahead with a massive bond-buying program to juice the economy. Yields move inversely to bond prices, which have soared on the government’s efforts to avert deflation through stimulus. They’ve actually turned negative in the eurozone, where consumers are essentially paying for the privilege to keep their cash safe. Japan is likely to follow suit.
They’ve set a record. PEGIDA, Germany’s surprisingly popular anti-Islamization movement, held a 25,000-strong march yesterday in Dresden, signaling an uptick in support following the Paris attacks. Back in October, the group — which campaigns for the expulsion of Islamists and religious extremists — had just a few hundred supporters. German politicians urged folks not to march, and 9,000 liberals fought back with a protest of their own. But the rallies are feeding concerns of growing xenophobia.
The train made a sudden stop before filling with smoke. Last night, one woman was killed and 84 were injured — two critically — in Washington, D.C., shortly after their Virginia-bound subway train pulled away from L’Enfant Plaza station. Passengers reported having to wait nearly an hour as fire crews worked to free them. Officials blamed “an electrical arcing event,” for the emergency, but investigators are still searching for clues. One line remains shut today, with reduced service on three other routes.
Speaker John Boehner’s bartender planned to poison him. (CNN)
Divers retrieve cockpit voice recorder from AirAsia flight. (BBC)
Alleged Silk Road founder’s trial starts to start. (NYT)
LRA commander faces trial before ICC. (The Guardian)
China misses trade growth target. (FT) sub
Italian President Napolitano set to resign. (DW)
They got spooked. Investors in the hot wearable-camera company sent its shares down 12 percent today after learning that Apple reportedly received a patent for a similar device. The proposed design even suggests improvements on the GoPro, such as a less wind-resistant and more durable body. But experts cautioned that the iPad giant often pursues patents for technologies that never reach consumers. Still, there’s no doubt that GoPro will face stiffer competition for its $1 billion camera business.
Pour yourself a damn fine cup of coffee. Kyle MacLachlan is reprising his famous role as the deadpan Special Agent Dale Cooper for the new Showtime series out in 2016. “May the forest be with you,” he joked. MacLachlan is the first confirmed cast member, but probably won’t be the only original star to join the cult favorite’s relaunch — the Log Lady’s log may have something to say about this. Production begins this year with David Lynch directing all nine episodes.
It’s a prime coup. Days after scoring its first Golden Globes for “Transparent,” Amazon announced that the legendary filmmaker would helm his first-ever TV series for its streaming service. Allen, who will create a full season of half-hour episodes, downplayed the news: “I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin.” The high-profile deal strengthens Amazon’s production prowess, but the director’s lingering cloud of sexual misdeeds threatens to tarnish its brand.
The electric car is going mass-market. General Motors drove the Detroit Auto Show into high gear yesterday, introducing an all-electric concept car that promises a 200-mile range priced at $30,000 after federal rebates. The Chevy Bolt EV could hit dealerships as soon as 2017, when Tesla plans to start selling its $35,000 Model 3. So far, these are the only sub-$40,000 e-cars that can go 200 miles on a single charge. But Elon Musk probably isn’t checking his rear-view mirror.
Big Brother wants your Snapchats. British Prime Minister David Cameron — apparently discounting the power of the youth vote ahead of this spring’s election — says that if he’s reelected he might ban encrypted messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp unless they share data with intelligence agencies. Prompted by the Paris terrorist attacks, Cameron’s announcement signals a growing wave of worldwide anti-encryption efforts. For those concerned with privacy, he promised that such snooping would require warrants, though that’s unlikely to calm many nerves.
The Easter bunny won’t be bringing the usual Creme Eggs this year, and Brits are hopping mad. The British chocolate-maker — owned by American firm Kraft since 2010 — has said the eggs’ outer shell will now be made from a “standard, traditional Cadbury milk chocolate,” rather than the usual Dairy Milk chocolate, and will be sold in batches of five rather than six. Brits have never warmed to foreign ownership of their beloved brand, but now Kraft is walking on eggshells.
With a third-stringer no less. QB Cardale Jones — the backup’s backup — and unstoppable running back Ezekiel Elliott led Ohio State to victory last night in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. The Bucks stomped Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks 42-20. “The chase is complete,” proclaimed coach Urban Meyer after Oregon couldn’t catch up to MVP Elliott’s 246 yards and four touchdowns. Under the old BCS system, the champs — ranked fourth — wouldn’t even have played.