Rescue efforts are underway. The 6.4 earthquake struck the city of Tainan at around 4am local time, collapsing several buildings and potentially injuring hundreds. The quake is estimated to have gone on more than 30. More than 200 people have already been rescued from the rubble but a baby and at least four others were pronounced dead after a residential high-rise building collapsed. At least 23 other people were injured in the building. President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in the city located in south Taiwan and home to two million residents.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Fifteen thousand refugees have shown up at the Turkish border, fleeing Aleppo as Russia’s military, supporting the Syrian government, pounds the rebel-held city with airstrikes. Russia’s accusing Turkey, which is so far feeding but not taking in the refugees, of wanting to invade — though Turkey denies it. Meanwhile, countries pledged more than $10 billion in aid for Syria, and Saudi Arabia expressed willingness to send ground troops to join the Western coalition battling ISIS and supporting the rebels. But first the United Nations will try to restart stalled peace talks by February’s end.
The gloves came off. Despite insisting they want to focus on issues and not attacks, the Dems held little back in their first debate since the field narrowed to just two. OZY’s Nick Fouriezos, reporting from New Hampshire, said it was easily the best debate so far because it gave voters a clear choice: the progressive who wants to work within the system, or the one who wants to defy it. With the primary just days away, the candidates are pushing to break their delegate deadlock after Iowa.
The Australian WikiLeaks founder, holed up at London’s Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, is celebrating a U.N. panel ruling today that said he’s being arbitrarily detained — and should be freed and compensated. Assange is demanding the ruling be upheld. But British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has labeled the U.N. decision “ridiculous,” noting that Assange was never detained and simply avoided arrest over an alleged 2010 rape by hiding in the embassy. Hammond says Assange can come out “any time” and, when he does, will face justice in Sweden.
This is the moment of truth. Economists had expected to see about 185,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in January, but in fact it was more like 151,000 — perhaps due to uncertainties surrounding the spectacular worldwide market implosion and an unseasonable cold snap, which may have sapped construction jobs as the year kicked off. The latest jobs report did have some good news: Unemployment fell even further, to 4.9 percent. Now the question is whether that’s enough to encourage the Federal Reserve to continue gradually raising interest rates in 2016.
Major 6.4 earthquake rocks Taiwan city of Tainan (BBC)
Twitter has suspended 125,000 accounts linked to ISIS militants. (USA Today)
Massive tech sell-off drops Nasdaq down 3.25% (CNBC)
Al-Shabab retakes key port in Somalia. (BBC)
President Obama proposes $10-per-barrel oil tax. (Washington Post)
Sexual abuse allegations against U.N. peacekeepers spur calls for change. (Time)
BMX star David Mirra dies in apparent suicide. (NYT)
Martin Shkreli invokes Fifth Amendment before Congress. (The Atlantic)
Kim Campbell, Canada’s first (and thus far only) female prime minister says the country could instantly achieve gender equality in its House of Commons: Just require each party to nominate both a man and woman per constituency. A similar approach, she tells OZY’s Neil Parmar, was once used to avoid religious antipathies between Protestants and Catholics in Canada. Could it work in the U.S.? Campbell notes the American Senate has two-member constituencies, “so it’s not a radical departure.” But would the U.S. accept it? Take our OZY poll.
It’s a big issue. Researchers challenging the use of Body Mass Index say 54 million are inaccurately labeled “overweight” or “obese” — including professional athletes, who exceed the “normal” range because of increased muscle mass. A UCLA study of 40,000 individuals weighed BMIs against other metabolic factors, like blood pressure and cholesterol, and found that BMI doesn’t correlate to health. Researchers say that using it as the primary indicator could unfairly raise insurance costs for healthy individuals, and hope this will be the “final nail in the coffin” for BMI.
They stuck it where the sun does shine. Morocco has flipped the switch on its Noor I Concentrated Solar Power plant, set in the Sahara desert, which can generate up to 160 megawatts of power. When phases II and III are complete, it’ll be the world’s biggest solar power production plant, providing energy for up to one million people. A whopping 97 percent of Morocco’s energy is currently imported, so this shiny new object will help this nation of 34 million cut back on its carbon emissions.
He’s off to Boogie Wonderland. Maurice White had been battling Parkinson’s for more than two decades and ceased touring in 1994. But before that, he co-wrote and sang on major hits including “Shining Star,” “September” and “Let’s Groove.” Earth, Wind and Fire’s unique mix of funk, R&B, jazz and Latin inspirations helped define the ’70s soul sound and propelled them to more than 90 million global album sales. No doubt there will be some tearful tributes when the band receives a Lifetime Achievement Grammy on Feb. 15.
It’s no laughing matter. The shooting guard collapsed after colliding with power forward Ryan Anderson during the Spurs’ 110-97 win over New Orleans Wednesday night. Ginobili had surgery Thursday and will now miss at least a month of play. Teammate Tony Parker told reporters, who seemed amused by the injury, that it “doesn’t look good.” Despite slowing down in recent years, Ginobili is an integral part of San Antonio’s success — and they’ll need him back on the ball to make another run at the championship.