They’re on high alert. Shortly after a semi truck crashed into a Berlin Christmas market Monday, killing 12 people, police arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker — but he’s been released due to a lack of evidence linking him to the crime. Now authorities are searching for a Tunisian suspect and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, far-right nationalist movements in Germany are using the incident to question Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fitness to lead, something that could scupper her re-election bid next year.
The Presidential Daily Brief
This is more than an occupational hazard. Technicolor rockets exploded over the crowded San Pablito fireworks bazaar outside Mexico City as a huge blast destroyed 80 percent of the market stalls. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene, where 31 people were killed and another 70 injured, including 13 children who were sent to Texas for medical care. State Governor Eruviel Avila has promised to punish those responsible, but the cause of the blast is not yet known. Meanwhile, investigators are using DNA testing to identify victims’ badly burned bodies.
He’s in uncharted territory. President Barack Obama invoked an obscure 1953 law to unilaterally and permanently ban oil drilling in U.S.-owned waters of the Arctic and Atlantic, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a similar deal for Canadian-controlled areas. It’s an attempt to shore up an environmental legacy that the business-friendly Donald Trump administration may be eager to reverse, especially with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson named as secretary of state. Experts say the waters’ fate will likely be decided in federal court.
Everyone’s running for the hills. China’s northern industrial regions have been overwhelmed by smog since Friday, spurring tens of thousands to head south seeking cleaner air. Social media is ablaze with protest, airports are canceling flights — and a group of lawyers has filed suit against the government for not taking earlier action on pollution. The lawsuit is unprecedented, but experts expect Chinese courts to reject the salvo in favor of the government — and even with aggressive anti-pollution efforts it could take decades to clear the air.
Know This: A deal to repeal North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom law” fell apart in a special legislative session today. Families of three Pulse nightclub shooting victims are suing Twitter, Facebook and Google for providing a platform for terrorism. Yahya Jammeh says he won’t step down as president of the Gambia despite losing the election. And Russia, Iran and Turkey met for talks on Syria, excluding the U.S. and the U.N. from proceedings.
Watch This: Ballerinas in Cairo are taking a stand against intimidation and fear by literally dancing in the streets.
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At last, ladies are lording over the dance. From London to Paris to Miami, women are taking over executive jobs that previously were dominated by men, and bringing new perspectives to a culture that can be particularly harsh for female dancers. Basic sexism and women’s own family choices had diminished their ranks in leadership in the past. But now there’s a better support system for young dancers, from nutritionists to career coaches, that helps them transition into executive roles — and then mentor the next generation.
Smile for the camera — or machines will do it for you. Twitter bot Smile Vector uses artificial intelligence to make celebrity photos smile. Similar technology can make 3-D models from 2-D images, manipulate facial expressions in real-time video, or generate sound based on silent footage. Now machines trained on photo databases can generate their own convincing images, which could benefit would-be hoax artists. These technologies have huge ramifications for fake news, when a faux video of a president speaking could look convincing — and go viral.
Don’t count on a cold winter at the North Pole. Temperatures in the Arctic are expected to rise above freezing this week, more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average and something that doesn’t normally happen until May. Though the same thing happened last year, the spike’s not just from man-made climate change: There’s a giant storm brewing off Greenland that’s throwing the weather for a loop. But with Arctic and Antarctic sea ice at record lows, scientists are seriously concerned about the implications of these heat waves.
All eyez on them. Shakur enters the Hall nearly two decades after his murder, along with folk pioneer Joan Baez — who says she doesn’t even consider herself a rock artist — and prog rockers Yes and Electric Light Orchestra. The April 7 ceremony in Brooklyn could be a chance for some inductees to reunite: Steve Perry has been estranged from his Journey mates, who tour with a new singer, since 1991. It’s unclear whether he’ll accept their offer to share the stage or if they’ll go separate ways.
It’s called the Kevin Durant rule. Tucked into the league’s new collective bargaining agreement is a deal allowing teams to lure elite players with inflated salaries — but only if they’re re-signing. While everyone made the same salary bid this year for Durant, the new rule means Golden State could keep Stephen Curry for $209 million over five years, while another suitor would only be allowed to offer $133 million for four years. Expect more money and less movement for the biggest stars … sorry, Oklahoma City.