The support is there. European Council president Donald Tusk announced that al 28 leaders had reached an agreement on a package of incentives to maintain the UK’s “special status” in the European Union. British Prime Minister David Cameron helped finalize the deal and will present it to his cabinet. Some of his victories reportedly include ensuring that financial regulations could not be imposed on London by the euro zone. Despite today’s victory, there’s still doubt over the fate of a nationwide referendum on EU membership, expected to be held on June 23.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ has died in a nursing home less than a mile from where she grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. Known as Nelle to loved ones, Lee got her big break when friends decided to support her for a year so she could “focus on her passion without distraction,” writes OZY’s Sean Braswell. Their generosity culminated in her 1960 masterpiece — and for decades her only novel — which became one of the most widely read books about American racism. Last year, it was revealed that Lee had written another book, Go Set a Watchman, which hit bookstores last July. She’s being remembered today as a literary legend.
They’re chasing a moving target. U.S. warplanes attacked ISIS militants today in the late Moammar Gadhafi’s homeland, killing at least 38. They were targeting an extremist camp in Sabratha, and officials say it’s “likely” that senior Tunisian militant Noureddine Chouchane was killed. OZY’s Tracy Moran recently looked at the extremists’ push into North Africa, determining that the thousands of militants who’ve left Syria and Iraq — where they’re dogged by airstrikes — considered Libya a “haven.” Officials say this does not signal a new American war, but it clearly indicates a willingness to engage on a whole new front.
He liked a good argument. The body of Justice Antonin Scalia will lie at the Supreme Court today for mourners to pay respects before his funeral tomorrow. OZY co-founder Samir Rao says Obama has a chance to diversify the court with the first Asian-American justice, but Vice President Joe Biden notes that the president can’t pick “the most liberal jurist” if he wants Senate confirmation. Republican senators may not care: A new poll suggests 46 percent of voters want the next president to make the choice.
Every bad impression counts. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are expected to run neck and neck in Nevada’s caucus tomorrow, but it’s South Carolina’s Republican primary that’s getting really messy. Donald Trump skirmished with the Pope after the pontiff questioned his Christian values, with Trump first decrying the comments but then relenting, calling Francis “a wonderful guy.” Meanwhile Canadian-born Ted Cruz is seeing the issue of his eligibility to serve as president go to court in Chicago, which could dampen his support in the polls until it’s resolved.
That’s quite an entry fee. Travis Kalanick, the ride-hailing app’s CEO, says that since Uber launched in China in 2014 it’s sunk billions into the market, largely due to competition from homegrown rival Didi Kuaidi. Kalanick asserted that despite the loss, they’re still ahead, since they’ve got a lucrative U.S. market to draw cash from and their competitor is “unprofitable in every city” — a claim Didi Kuaidi disputes. Uber’s currently driving in more than 40 Chinese cities with hopes to expand to 100 by the year’s end.
Lions escape from national park, putting Kenyan capital on alert. (BBC)
Austria puts daily migrant cap in place. (BBC)
Court delays trials of officers in Freddie Gray case. (NYT)
Palestinian teens kill one, wound another in Israeli supermarket. (BBC)
Oregon legislators pass landmark minimum wage bill. (AP)
At least 100 dismembered bodies found under Colombian jail. (Time)
He did it all. The 84-year-old Italian semiotician was also an acclaimed novelist, philosopher and cultural critic. He had reportedly been battling cancer at the time of his death, which was confirmed by his publisher. It was the second passing of legendary figure in the literary world after news broke of the loss of Harper Lee. Perhaps most famous for his first novel, The Name of the Rose, which didn’t come out until he was 48, Eco said all of his work came down to telling stories.
“Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.” So says the head of the Roman Catholic Church in response to the Zika epidemic. Several Latin American bishops had previously maintained that the crisis wasn’t an exception to the church’s rule on contraception. But drawing a parallel with Pope Paul VI’s 1960s approval of contraception for nuns who were being raped in the Belgian Congo, the pontiff suggested that contraception can be condoned today in the face of Zika. Abortion, which Francis calls a Mafia-style “crime,” however, remains off the table.
There goes the bride. Couples in the U.S. are increasingly ditching the concept of a big wedding for something a bit more low-key — but with more flair than a courthouse and two signatures. Instead, they’re going for pop-up weddings, paying a few thousand dollars, which is paltry in the wedding business, for professional photographs and a legal ceremony. While many worry that traditional weddings are important for family and community, the combination of low-cost and Instagram-ready may be hard for millennials to pass up.
It’s escalating. The DoJ is trying to force the tech giant into assisting the FBI. Apple seemed to gained an advantage this week, with significant support from companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook expressing solidarity with the company’s refusal to provide decryption help in attempts to access an iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooters. Apple has been given an extension to a court order and has until Feb. 26 to issue an official response but must now take into account the added pressure from the highest levels of government.
There won’t be a third season. After less than two years at the helm, Seligman is stepping down from her dual posts as president of both Sony Entertainment and Sony Corp. of America. Largely credited with helping the company deal with and bounce back from its hacking scandal, she reportedly said her talents could be best served elsewhere. Before that, Seligman gained notoriety advising Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, and during her 15 years with Sony she also served as the company’s general counsel. She’ll step down at the end of March.
The shot clock expired. After weeks of hype about potential blockbuster moves involving Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Al Horford, the trade deadline expired with only a handful of smaller trades. The biggest deal was between the Clippers and Grizzlies, with Los Angeles picking up forward Jeff Green in exchange for Lance Stephenson and a draft pick. The lack of action is being interpreted as a sign that teams, and agents, are saving their big moves for this summer when the salary cap rises and larger deals will abound.