ISIS just rocked Jakarta. Multiple bombs struck the central part of the capital today, with gun battles hitting the streets. At least seven were killed when suicide bombers detonated devices in front of a shopping mall near embassies and U.N. offices. Five attackers are among the dead, and three more have been arrested. Indonesia has been on alert for months in response to threats from ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, and President Joko Widodo is urging his nation to not be afraid of “such terror acts.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Iranian state TV says officials have released 10 American sailors who were detained after their two small vessels broke down in the Persian Gulf en route to Bahrain from Kuwait. American diplomats said they lost contact with the crew before Tehran announced that the Americans were safe and in their custody. Iran claims the U.S. apologized for the incursion before the release — something Washington hasn’t confirmed. But Secretary of State John Kerry did reach out to his Iranian counterpart, no doubt hoping the incident wouldn’t stymie the nuclear deal they negotiated last year.
Two schoolchildren and a Ukrainian tourist died today in a snow slide in the Les Deux Alpes region of southeastern France. The avalanche swept away a group of nine French pupils and their teacher, who were reportedly skiing on a closed piste marked with warning signs. Two of the students were killed, and another three were found injured, but everyone else in the party has been rescued. Following December’s slow start to the ski season, recent heavy snowfall has made some areas more prone to deadly slides.
Try to stay upbeat. OZY’s own Nick Fouriezos was at last night’s State of the Union, where the president touted his successes and outlined a vision for the future: Fight ISIS, reform U.S. prisons and cure cancer. But he also acknowledged that he regretted how the “rancor” of partisanship has gotten worse under his leadership. His critics point to divisive decisions on issues ranging from immigration to foreign policy. Yet in a final Whitman-esque call for unity, Obama waxed poetic about how America should reject fear and remain optimistic about the future.
It’s time to bring the pain. South Korea’s jittery after its northern neighbor conducted a fourth nuclear test last week, claiming it was a hydrogen bomb. Seoul is hoping the U.N. and China can chasten North Korea with crippling sanctions. On Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of similar measures, while an undeterred Kim Jong Un called for beefing up the country’s nuclear arsenal. But South Korea, which shot down a northern drone today, is betting that China, as one of Pyongyang’s only friends, will stop talking softly and use its big stick.
Those nickels and dimes add up to $3 trillion. New financial reporting regulations in the U.S. and abroad are set to affect more than half of the world’s public companies — and they’ll be adding quite a bit of debt to the books. Businesses will now have to disclose their leasing commitments, adding transparency to rules that have been debated for decades. This should hit airlines, hotels and retail companies hardest — and the financial industry will likely have to adjust its expectations now that it knows more about what everyone owes.
European Commission probes new Polish court and media laws. (BBC)
Americans grab tickets for $1.5 billion Powerball drawing. (LA Times)
China wary as Taiwan prepares for weekend elections. (Time)
Polio center blast in Pakistan’s Quetta kills 14. (NBC)
Lebanon adopts policy of turning back Syrian refugees. (NYT)
Officer shoots 12-year-old girl accidentally while evicting family. (Daily Mail)
Southeast Asia has cooked up its own remedy to the ubiquitous app’s aggressive hookup culture and the so-called “dating apocalypse” that’s devastating love-starved millennials. The answer: less is more. Here, where one-night-stand apps plucked from the West are shunned, conservative dating apps like Noonswoon and Peekawoo reign supreme in the region’s Muslim and Buddhist heartlands. And they’re homegrown, too — from Thailand to the Philippines — with features like group dates, arranged chaperones and one-match-a-day platforms that are designed to make swiping right feel less wrong.
There’s no silver lining. A new study says clouds over Greenland’s ice sheet are trapping heat and directly causing increased melting, flushing 56 billion extra tons of water into the ocean every year. The clouds cause the most damage after dark, when they prevent heat captured during the day from escaping into the atmosphere, which significantly lowers the refreeze rate. Researchers say the data could help scientists create clearer climate change forecasts — since the clouds aren’t likely to roll away anytime soon.
They’re seeing the big picture. The tech giant has tasked Clay Bavor, VP for product management, with focusing exclusively on virtual reality. The move is designed to build on the company’s thrifty Cardboard program and help them compete with Facebook, Microsoft and Sony, which have already launched major initiatives in user-enveloping interfaces. That’s expected to include the launch of new hardware akin to Facebook’s Oculus headset — though it may not emerge for several years, meaning Google is committing long-term to the virtual becoming a reality.
He wants them to take another look. With the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer casting doubts over his murder conviction, the 53-year-old is hoping to seize on public outrage by officially requesting to have his verdict overturned. Avery, who was representing himself, argues that his 2005 conviction resulted from jury bias and mishandled evidence. Prosecutors maintain the Netflix series left out crucial evidence of Avery’s guilt, but his new defense team aims to prove that in this case, justice turned a blind eye.
You can go home again. The NFL approved a bid by the St. Louis Rams to build a massive new stadium in Inglewood and return to Los Angeles, which they left in 1995. Voting 30-2, league owners bypassed proposals from San Diego and the Oakland Raiders, but offered each $100 million for new venues — and options for the Chargers or Raiders to share the L.A. stadium. St. Louis loses its team, but saves $400 million in new stadium costs, while L.A. will spend nothing on the possibly $3 billion facility.