She finally responded. Hillary Clinton forcefully defended her exclusive use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state, saying she did it for convenience’s sake. “I thought using one device would be simpler; obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way,” Clinton said, emphasizing that the “vast majority” of her emails went to government workers and were archived by the State Department. Her brief comments left some big questions unanswered. Tellingly, Clinton also dodged questions about the scandal’s effect on her presidential bid.
The Presidential Daily Brief
President Obama and Vice President Biden have strongly condemned an open letter from 47 GOP senators to Iranian leaders. The message warned Tehran that any nuclear deal struck without congressional approval could be reversed by the next president or a future Congress. Biden labeled it a “partisan strategy” to undermine the president and his efforts to make America safer, while Obama questioned the senators’ “unusual coalition” with Iranian hard-liners. The White House will learn whether its credibility has been bruised when talks resume in Switzerland next week.
Janet Yellen appears ready to move the needle. Wall Street’s growing sentiment that the Federal Reserve will shift from its promise to be “patient” about rate increases at its March 17-18 meeting sent the Dow plunging 333 points today, giving back its 2015 gains. The dollar’s rise to multiyear highs and worrisome corporate earnings also dragged on the market. Many investors expect liftoff as soon as June. But the Fed could still hold off, citing an inflation rate below its target of 2 percent.
The ceasefire seems to be holding. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have relocated a “significant” number of heavy weapons, and Kiev has withdrawn “the lion’s share” of big guns from the region. The two sides are still clashing, despite the Feb. 15 truce, but fewer are dying. Putin, meanwhile, has finally admitted that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was planned weeks before the self-determination referendum, and today European officials are expected to decry Moscow’s role in destabilizing Eastern Europe.
They’re firing up the lawyers. The Internet information giant has filed suit against the U.S. government over “upstream” monitoring — the mass tracking of online information — on the grounds that it violates both the first and fourth amendments covering free speech and search and seizure. The ACLU is handling the case, which also includes Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA. The NSA and the Department of Justice aren’t commenting.
An accident in Argentina has left France reeling. Monday’s crash claimed 10 lives, including French Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Camille Muffat, bronze medal-winning boxer Alexis Vastine and yachtswoman Florence Arthaud. They were filming the reality survival show Dropped when two helicopters collided in mid-air, killing eight French nationals and two Argentine pilots. The tragedy has postponed filming and is likely to inspire questions over whether proper safety precautions were taken, as France begins mourning the loss of three of its finest athletes.
Patience has run out on the Greek government. After weeks of arguing over “who meets whom where,” exasperated officials from the “troika” of bailout monitors will gather in Brussels tomorrow to discuss an earlier deal to dole out an additional $7.8 billion to Greece. The leftist administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has tried to keep politically unpopular eurogroup inspectors out of Athens. But it won’t have a choice: Money won’t flow until a full accounting of Greece’s financial situation is done.
European vacations are getting cheaper. The Euro continues its downward trend, falling Tuesday to rates not seen in 12 years — almost even with the worth of the dollar. And it’s likely not done falling yet, with Greece remaining a wild card. The Fed is scheduled to meet March 18. Yellen and company will have a delicate path to thread as they juggle an economic recovery and serious banking reserves — which could push the dollar’s overseas value even higher.
Oklahoma University throws out two students for racist video. (USA Today)
Ferguson city manager cited in Justice Department report resigns. (NYT)
ISIS believed to have kidnapped nine foreign oil workers. (CNN)
Iraqi security forces seize large parts of Tikrit from militants. (NYT)
Ivory Coast jails former first lady over post-election violence. (Telegraph)
U.S. to deploy 3,000 troops to Baltics for military exercises. (DW)
Dollar hits multiyear highs against euro and yen. (WSJ) sub
Student protesters clash with police in Myanmar. (BBC)
Pharrell Williams isn’t happy about this. A Los Angeles jury ruled today that Williams, Robin Thicke and rapper T.I. plagiarized the soul singer in recording their 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines,” ordering them to $7.3 million. The Gaye family contends that all but two bars of it came from the late singer’s 1977 smash, “Got to Give It Up,” echoing the sentiment of many fans. Pharrell argues that he merely heard it through the grapevine as Gaye was a part of his childhood.
Will they serve Happy Meals in court? The fast-food giant is submitting a complaint that the Emerald City’s new $15 minimum wage violates the company’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause. Originally defined by the 14th Amendment as a way to guarantee people’s rights to “fair, living wages” after slavery’s injustice, the clause has recently been invoked by corporations. Expect Ronald’s battle for Corporate Personhood, which begins today in federal court, to shake out more than a few spilled fries.
He helped birth one of the most iconic TV series and won nine Emmys. But the mercurial Sam Simon came to loathe the industry, saying it turned him into a “monster.” Despite leaving the show back in 1993, he’s credited with developing its signature snarky tone. Diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012, the L.A. native and Stanford graduate announced he would give away $100 million to charities. He outlived an initial six-month prognosis and is being remembered for his philanthropy and creative flair.
It just got a little easier to break into an Ivy. Sorta. The New Haven instition’s medical school will offer a master’s degree for physicians’ assistants online, with field training at local clinics that Yale approves. The offering partners with online education company 2U Inc. But online doesn’t mean cheap. The degree will still cost $84,000. And that’s music to the ears of elite universities, who see the potential to broaden their offerings — and their income. Classes are expected to start in January.
This is bound to rile sheep farmers. A plan is afoot to reintroduce cats that haven’t roamed British shores for 1,300 years. Advocates believe the lynx can revive countryside wildlife and get an overabundant deer population under control. A public consultation is currently under way, and while proponents acknowledge the risk to roaming sheep (suggesting compensation for flock kills), the Lynx UK Trust hopes to integrate several Eurasian lynx into the remote woodlands of Wales as early as this summer.
This could be a game-changer. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants the NFL stripped of its tax-exempt, non-profit status and for it to pay up like any other business. The teams in the NFL pay taxes on around $10 billion in revenue a year, but the league itself gets off Scot free. As chair of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz wants to change all that and score an estimated $109 million in tax revenue from the league every 10 years.
Move over Motown. Spacebomb Records is in the house. Taking a page from R&B history, Matthew E. White’s recording studio goes old school, featuring a house band that records with a rotating cast of musicians. It’s a production style that fell out of favor with big labels due to costs. But White and other musicians feel the collective’s sound is worth it. White’s new album launched today, with a tour starting later this month. Meanwhile, he’s putting the unsung Virginia capital on the musical map.
Sweet Briar College is flirting with the wrong side of the law. The cash-strapped Virginia school is being forced to close, but it’s unclear how it’ll do so without contradicting the last will of its founder. When Indiana Fletcher Williams died 115 years ago, she decreed that her estate become an all-female school and the land never be sold. The college needs — and is unlikely to get — court approval to cover its debts by selling its campus, whose ownership may instead transfer to another women’s charity.
When it rains, it pours. Arsenal’s almost decade-long drought at Old Trafford ended yesterday, courtesy of a strike from Danny Welbeck, acquired from United last year. The Red Devils were crippled by a reckless Angel Di Maria, who compounded a yellow card by tugging the ref’s shirt, helping to clinch another season without an FA Cup trophy. But the 2-1 win punches the Gunners’ ticket to Wembley for a semi-final match-up against a weaker team, making them a favorite to reach the final.
In the words of millennials everywhere: “Well, duh.” A new study finds that parents who shower their progeny with unwarranted praise are more likely to raise narcissistic children. The study’s co-author says adults can avoid ingraining an unhealthy sense of self by applauding behavior (“you worked really hard”) rather than the child (“you’re so smart”). So to avoid narcissistic tendencies — which have been linked to aggression — parents should try employing effort-related praise that encourages harder work.