A gunman opened fire at a bar on a busy street in the Israeli city today, wounding nine people, two who of whom later died in a hospital. The motive remains unclear, but Tel Aviv’s mayor, Ron Huldai, reportedly said it “appears to be a terrorist attack.” In three months, Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis — usually with knives or vehicles, while 41 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces. The attacker was said to have used an assault rifle, and Israeli police continue to search for him.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s locked and loaded. On Monday, the president is to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to mull executive options for keeping firearms out of the hands of mass shooters. Non-legislative action is the only weapon available to the chief executive who faces a Congress opposed to any limitations on the right to bear arms. The measures would reportedly involve background checks, and their implementation is “imminent.” But with red states like Texas going the opposite direction, loosening holster rules with the new year, a showdown is sure to follow.
They took it seriously. Citing a credible terror tip, German authorities evacuated and closed the city’s main train station and a second city terminal. Approaching trains were stopped because of the threat, which sources said was provided by French intelligence. The anticipated five to seven ISIS-linked suicide bombers did not surface, and officials reopened the stations several hours later. Similar fears canceled New Year’s celebrations in Brussels, but the year ended peacefully. Nonetheless, the Nov. 13 Paris attacks helped make 2015 Europe’s worst year of terror since 2004, promising a new year of cautious public gatherings.
The show must go on. Last night flames erupted from a 63-story hotel in the glitzy Persian Gulf emirate, just across a pond from the world’s tallest skyscraper, the 163-story Burj Khalifa. Dubai officials nonetheless decided to go ahead with a planned New Year’s Eve celebration, resulting in bizarre images of one tower ablaze with colored pyrotechnics, and the neighboring Address hotel burning wildly. Luckily, only 16 people suffered minor injuries and the fire seemed under control this morning as investigators began seeking its origin, said to be a 20th-floor curtain.
Look at the upside. With China’s shares in flames and the Greek debt crisis nearly disbanding the eurozone, it could have been worse. Then there were lackluster corporate earnings and the looming U.S. interest rate hike — which finally happened last month — so some are encouraged to be ending 2015 with the Dow down just 2.2 percent. But after a year when the recovering U.S. economy seemed to be propping up the world, it’s a bad sign that jobless claims just rose last week to their highest level since July — indicating a bumpy ride into 2016.
China confirms it’s building a second aircraft carrier. (FT) sub
More than a million revelers mark start of 2016 in Times Square. (Reuters)
BBC website target of online attack. (NYT)
Martin O’Malley fails to collect enough signatures to enter Ohio primary. (WSJ) sub
Dutch take over rotating EU presidency. (DW)
She was unforgettable. Picking up the baton from her R&B crooner father, Cole went on to win nine Grammy awards before passing away due to congestive heart failure. But she was never more famous then when she and Nat King Cole performed a posthumous, virtual duet thanks to digital innovation, re-releasing his hit song “Unforgettable.” The Los Angeles native endured substance abuse problems and had in recent years undergone chemotherapy to treat Hepatitis C but had been scheduled to perform a New Years Eve concert before health problems forced her to cancel.
You heard it here first. For the new year, Ozy is revisiting a few of the now-celebrities we caught and profiled way before they were megastars. Check out our piece on the activism of groundbreaking Black ballerina Misty Copeland. Then go deep underground with a profile of Caitlin Doughty, the woman behind funny-but-informative YouTube channel Ask a Mortician — and the woman trying to bring death into our lives in a positive way, insisting that the less we pay attention to mortality, the scarier it becomes.
He left people in stitches, and that was before the surgery. While he only starred in three of 11 seasons on one of TV’s most popular shows, Rogers, who died yesterday of pneumonia complications at age 82, left an indelible imprint on fans with his portrayal of Korean War battlefield surgeon Trapper John. The sharp-witted foil to star Alan Alda’s irreverent Hawkeye Pierce, Rogers felt he deserved more screen time. He quit in 1975 — a move he later questioned as he went on to become a successful money manager and Fox News financial commentator.
Dig in. The U.S. military needs some 60 volunteers willing to subsist on its MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) for 21 days. What sounds like a publicity stunt to highlight troop toughness is actually the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s way of measuring how the vacuum-sealed meals affect the gut, particularly how to satisfy the needs of beneficial bacteria that live there. Additionally, researchers say the data will help them add more nutrients and even help ward off digestive illnesses, all while ensuring fighting men and women chow down with a smile on their faces.
Mistakes were made. The microblogging site welcomed back a tool they banished four months ago that’s used to archive politicians’ deleted tweets. The reversal from CEO Jack Dorsey was praised by government accountability proponents, who argued public servants have a lesser right to privacy than traditional users. The tool made news after several politicians praised the return of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl but deleted their comments after he was accused of desertion. So the next time a campaign aide sounds off in 140 characters or less, it’d better be good.
The battle lines are drawn. Yesterday, top-ranked Clemson dispatched Oklahoma 37-17 while second-ranked Alabama rolled past Michigan State 38-0, setting up the Jan. 11 national championship game in Arizona. This is only the second time college football has used a playoff to set up its finale (could the game also conquer New Year’s Eve?), as the two top-ranked teams silenced rival claims. Alabama is a near-consensus favorite to win the big game, but Clemson continues to confound skeptics, repeatedly demonstrating that they deserve their No. 1 status.