It’s finally done. Two months after voters rejected an agreement to settle the South American nation’s five-decade guerrilla war, Colombia’s Congress backed a modified deal that will lead to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, laying down arms and entering politics. President Juan Manuel Santos asked lawmakers rather than voters to approve the new deal, which ends a war that’s killed over 220,000 people. The revised deal includes new concessions for the government, but the rebels will still be allowed to form a political party.
The Presidential Daily Brief
She’s back in business. Nancy Pelosi has beaten a challenge from Tim Ryan to lead the Democratic caucus for an eighth term. Ohio Democrat Ryan had attempted to challenge Pelosi for the party’s lack of commitment to working class voters. This same voting bloc had helped get a Senate majority 10 years ago when Pelosi became the first woman speaker – and now, critics say the 76-year-old House Minority Leader will have to do more to win them back. With a tough year ahead for the Democrats, many are looking to Pelosi for more than business as usual.
Mo’ money, mo’ problems. The president-elect announced via Twitter that to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, he’ll “leave” his business and focus on governance, without offering details. As he assembles the richest cabinet in modern history, Trump has yet to fully address the rampant conflicts of interest involved in his empire — even if his children run it. The Office of Government Ethics praised the move in Trump’s own style on Twitter, noting that only full divestiture — which he hasn’t yet promised — would resolve the issue.
They made a deal. Carrier Corp. has announced an agreement — terms not disclosed — with Donald Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis. It previously said they’d move to Mexico, provoking campaign-trail threats from the president-elect. Meanwhile, Trump’s set to nominate Goldman Sachs alum Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary, former Bush official Elaine Chao as Transportation secretary and billionaire Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary. Trump later dined with potential Secretary of State Mitt Romney, who showered his former adversary with glowing praise.
Could it happen there too? Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer thinks so: If he wins, he’ll be the first far-right head of state in Western Europe since WWII. But with ultranationalist parties controlling Poland and Hungary and surprise victories for Brexit and Donald Trump, Hofer’s optimistic about his chances and the appeal of his anti-immigration platform. Meanwhile, a video of an 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor pleading with voters about the dangers of the far right has gone viral among Austrian youth, and polls remain too close to call.
They came from all corners of the globe. While countries like the U.S. sent lesser officials, leaders from many nations, including Mexico, Greece, Vietnam and Algeria, paid Castro tribute in a four-hour ceremony in Havana’s crowded Revolution Square. The Cuban leader died on Friday, aged 90. Castro was remembered as a revolutionary and a champion of the poor — though Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto looked ahead in his eulogy to a “more inclusive” future for Cuba, which will observe another week of official mourning.
Know This: The current CIA chief says scrapping the nuclear deal with Iran would be foolish and dangerous. A tornado in Alabama has killed three people. And Belgium and the Netherlands have agreed to cede small uninhabited pieces of land to each other after a border river changed course.
Read This: Rebels in Syria have a deadline: If Bashar Assad can take Aleppo before President-elect Trump takes office, it could shift U.S. military strategy in the region and permanently damage their cause.
“The plane is in total electric failure and without fuel,” the pilot of LAMIA Flight 2933 reportedly said before crashing near Medellin, Colombia, according to sources that have heard audio recordings between the flight crew and air traffic control. Seventy-one were killed, including all but three members of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team. Memorials have been pouring in from teams worldwide. Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, which would have been the team’s next opponents, have petitioned regional soccer authorities to award Chape the Copa Sudamericana tournament title and send the prize money to the victims’ families.
There are bonuses beyond just speaking two languages. While some decades-old science indicated that bilingual kids underperformed in school, new research suggests the methodology was flawed. Dual-language classrooms are increasing nationwide, and California’s passage of Proposition 58 last month will expand bilingual education in the state with the most English-language learners. While cognitive advantages were only seen in 17 percent of studies last year, the sum of effects was positive: Research shows bilingual learning correlates to improved reading skills, higher test scores and even a decreased risk of dementia.
Watch the glaciers recede before your eyes. Google Earth has released an update to its timelapse feature, with data now going back to 1984 and higher-resolution maps to show the evolution of the globe from above. You can watch rivers reroute, islands disappear and glaciers roll swiftly back, using images collected from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2. The tool could be useful in classrooms — not just for studying hometown growth and local environmental changes, but as a stark illustration of climate change in action.
It’s more than a love drug. The U.S. government yesterday commissioned Phase 3 trials for MDMA, a popular drug among clubgoers that floods the brain with warm feelings of love and trust. The research involves treating PTSD, a rampant problem among veterans and first responders, in cases that have not improved with traditional therapy. High risks of abuse — and a lot of skepticism — remain, but the trials, featuring at least 230 patients, are a huge step forward for the movement to legalize psychedelics for medical use.
The fairway is their runway. South Korea spends $13 billion a year on golf — trailing only the U.S. and Japan — and much of that dough goes to carefully crafted outfits. With bright colors and big logos, “golf casual” is a break from the country’s drab office culture. Golf fans (an estimated 10 percent of the population) are inspired by pro tours where Koreans thrive — particularly the LPGA, which has already launched six stores to capitalize on its fashion icons and plans to open 100 more by 2019.