Violence consumes Kiev, where fighting between protesters and police has killed at least 26. Police launched an assault on demonstrators in the city’s Independence Square early Wednesday, reportedly taking control of the area for the first time since December. The renewed clashes come just days after protesters agreed to end their occupation of government buildings. The fatalities included victims on both sides of the conflict, as well as a journalist. European leaders have responded by seeking sanctions against Ukraine.
The Presidential Daily Brief
No pressure, just the dreams of an entire nation waiting for a shot at hockey gold on home turf for the first time. And the Russians buckled. Local headlines screamed about hopes for today’s quarterfinal match with a superstar-studded team, but their missed passes and fanned shots couldn’t breach the Finnish goalkeeper in a knockout round. One neighbor vanquished, Finland will now square off against the Swedes Friday for a shot at their first hockey gold.
An Oklahoma pharmacy has said it will not provide a drug needed for a Missouri inmate’s execution after the prisoner filed a lawsuit claiming the drug caused inhumane pain. Officials still plan to move ahead with the execution, and the judge has thrown out the lawsuit. The case highlights how states that administer the death penalty have been increasingly wracked by shortages as drug makers stop selling to prisons. Many of the firms are based in Europe, which has long been opposed to the death penalty. And with negative media attention and threats of legal action, pharmacies are becoming less willing to take the risk.
A damning investigation by The Guardian of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has found that nearly 1,000 migrant workers have died since Qatar was awarded the prestigious event in December 2010. The deaths of those involved in building the sporting event’s infrastructure have forced the European parliament and FIFA to demand improvements in labor practices, though FIFA’s president has said Qatar’s status as host is not threatened. A Qatar official said the death rate for the migrant community is “normal,” but the International Trade Union Confederation says an average of 20 migrant deaths a month is exceptionally high.
Obama to hold talks with North American leaders in Mexico. (NYT).
India set to free seven convicted of plotting Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. (BBC).
CBO: Minimum wage hike will kill jobs but ease poverty. (Reuters).
Chinese car maker buys part of French PSA. (DW).
Obama seeks new rules to cut truck pollution. (NYT).
The U.S. has been doing well in the Winter Olympics’ newly welcomed sporting events, and David Wise continued that tradition yesterday by claiming gold in the ski half-pipe. Anticipation is building over the women’s bobsledding, as Americans Lauryn Williams and Elana Meyers are currently in first place after two runs, with the final two runs scheduled for today. The U.S. is now tied with the Netherlands for the most medals, and highlights for the day ahead include giant slalom, curling, figure skating, hockey and more speed skating.
Sister Megan Rice, an octogenarian peace activist, has been sentenced to 35 months for breaking into a nuclear facility. Rice and two accomplices infiltrated Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee in 2012, spraying Biblical peace slogans and human blood on the walls of a bunker that houses much of the country’s bomb-grade uranium. Rice had advised the judge against leniency. But if the so-called “Fort Knox of uranium” was no match for the 82-year-old activist, who thinks jail will be?
The cold heart of the southernmost continent may be warming to the news that frostbitten scientists and explorers can find love using the geolocation-based dating app Tinder. Two researchers connected across the tundra to become the frozen continent’s first Tinder match. Although the instigator — who remains anonymous — insists he logged on to the app “just for fun,” the successful match could inspire other lonely hearts to find love in cold climates.
The beverage giant has announced an 8.4 percent drop in fourth quarter profits and declining sales growth. The news shows Coca-Cola faces bigger threats than California’s proposed plan to put safety warnings on sugary drinks. While CEO Muhtar Kent linked the decline to broader macroeconomic challenges, the company has taken a hit from Americans reaching for healthier drinks, as well as sluggish sales in emerging economies. After spending so long at the top of the food chain, it may be time to look on the Coke side of loss.
A handwritten letter by the Alice in Wonderland author, in which he complains about the price of notoriety, is hitting the auction block. Carroll was an eccentric yet notoriously shy man who originally wrote the children’s classic as a private gift to 12-year-old Alice Liddell. The 1891 letter reveals that he hated being stared at by strangers, so much so that he sometimes wished he hadn’t written any books. The words, written in his own pen, are set to fetch between $5,000 and $7,000 in the London sale. It seems even in death, Carroll can’t escape his fans.
The two lead members of the Russian punk band have been released after being detained by Russian authorities on suspicion of theft. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova tweeted that she and Maria Alyokhina had been detained by Sochi police on each of the past three days. The women were recently released after spending nearly two years in prison on hooliganism charges for criticizing Putin in a protest song. This time they left the Sochi police station wearing their trademark ski masks — and no doubt a sense of deja vu.