They went hard … but they may still go home. The final Republican debate before Super Tuesday saw Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz go after Donald Trump for hiring undocumented immigrants, donating to Democrats and being “neutral” on Israel. But the billionaire pushed back, boasting that he’s the only candidate who’s ever created jobs. OZY CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson now believes Wharton’s most famous grad — the Donald — will soon sew up the GOP nomination, especially with a fresh endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Four are dead following a shooting spree north of Wichita that culminated in an attack at a manufacturing plant in Hesston. The dead include the gunman, who was killed in a firefight with police, and three of his fellow employees at a factory owned by Excel Industries, a maker of lawn equipment. Fourteen others were injured, including three who were shot before the plant attack, and 10 remain in critical condition. No motive has been given, but authorities believe they have an idea about what sparked the rampage.
They’re not budging. The tech giant has filed a legal motion asking a U.S. court to vacate an earlier ruling ordering it to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. “This is not a case about one isolated iPhone,” it reads, arguing that the request violates its First and Fifth Amendment rights. Apple says the FBI is trying to use the courts to wield power reserved for Congress and American voters, warning, “Once the floodgates open, they cannot be closed” — and clearly signaling that they’ll wage war on behalf of privacy.
We’ll soon know whether they like reform. Polls have opened in the Islamic Republic, where voters — 55 million strong — are deciding on 290 parliamentary seats and voting on the clerical body responsible for appointing their Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Khamenei voted early today, telling Iranians, “Elections should be such that make the enemy disappointed.” The parliamentary outcome will indicate whether President Hassan Rouhani has the public’s seal of approval for last year’s nuclear agreement, and his coalition hopes to break the conservative majority in the legislature to push for further reforms.
White House warns Moscow ‘world will be watching’ Syrian ceasefire. (DW)
U.S. to send advisors to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram. (NYT)
Beijing admits it must address currency image problem. (FT) sub
Plane crashes in Nepal, killing two. (CNN)
Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)
Will his reign be more of the same? Infantino, who won after two rounds of voting, was previously a deputy to UEFA president Michel Platini, who’s been suspended over an ongoing corruption scandal along with former FIFA top dog Sepp Blatter. Infantino beat out Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a Bahraini royal, Jerome Champagne, a French former FIFA executive, and South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale. FIFA voters also approved a package of reforms, including the dissolution of the body’s Executive Committee, which will now be the Infantino’s responsibility to implement.
It’s no fish story. The aquatic animal theme park’s been planting moles among People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists to help “maintain the safety and security of employees, customers and animals in the face of credible threats.” So says CEO Joel Manby, who also noted that his board has since tanked the spying activities. He’s not saying whether anyone was fired over the nefarious undertakings, but the firm’s stock — despite a Q4 report showing improved revenue and attendance — just sunk 9.2 percent.
They’ve seen the writing on the wall. The social network has circulated an internal memo chastising employees for crossing out the words “Black lives matter” written on the walls of its Menlo Park headquarters — where graffiti’s sanctioned — and replacing it with “All lives matter.” Founder Mark Zuckerberg had already warned employees once and is now calling the continued misconduct “malicious.” The company has launched an investigation into the incidents, and Zuckerberg has invited employees to attend a Q&A about the Black Lives Matter movement next week.
It’s an eye-opener. Celebs want us to think they do their own stunts, and our brains are helping them trick us. A new study says we see faces that we expect to see because of a brain mechanism that helps images look stable and continuous. “Our minds assume continuity,” writes OZY’s Libby Coleman, which convinces us that it’s really Uma Thurman flying through the air, not her stunt double. Sure, movie magic also helps, but we can thank evolution for our inability to sometimes see what’s right before our eyes.
“I will not be lulled into submission,” says Anohni, only the second transgender person ever nominated for an Oscar — the first was Angela Morley, a composer who got two nods in the 1970s. Anohni is up for Best Original Song for “Manta Ray,” featured in the documentary Racing Extinction. But her number was cut from the telecast performance, and while she says she doesn’t think it’s specifically about her being transgender, she’s decrying the Academy’s lack of support for LGBT performers — and says she’ll be skipping Sunday’s awards.
Will there be a hand-off? Despite assurances from new 49ers coach Chip Kelly that he’s part of the team’s plans, the quarterback’s agents have asked San Francisco for permission to seek a trade. The 28-year-old was benched midway through last season and later put on the injured reserve, but many analysts think he could thrive under Kelly’s system. The club now has until April 1 before Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary becomes guaranteed for the year, which could complicate any talks with other teams.