Tsk tsk. That’s the message from the U.S. secretary of state to Benjamin Netanyahu over new Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Kerry defended the U.S. decision to abstain from last week’s U.N. resolution condemning the settlements, saying it was to preserve the two-state solution — and the region’s only shot at “just and lasting peace.” President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, said he wouldn’t let Israel be treated with disrespect. Netanyahu denounced Kerry’s speech, saying he’s looking forward to working with Trump “to mitigate the damage.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Reconciliation was in the air. Shinzo Abe joined Barack Obama at the site of the 1941 Japanese attack on Hawaii that launched U.S. involvement in World War II, offering remorse but not an apology. While Japanese leaders have toured Honolulu before, Abe’s visit is the first at the memorial above the sunken USS Arizona, and comes six months after Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in 1945. It was Obama’s final meeting with a foreign leader, with less than a month left in his presidency.
That’s one way to go for gold. Russian authorities had previously denied the World Anti-Doping Agency’s findings of their athletes’ widespread, state-sponsored use of banned substances. Now, perhaps hoping to reconcile with global regulators — who’ve said Russia has to accept the investigation before hosting another Olympics — officials say they no longer dispute the drug allegations, though they deny that top government officials were involved. A team of Olympians and politicians must now overhaul Russia’s anti-doping practices in order to get back into global sports’ good graces.
“They shall find no safe haven here.” So wrote Rep. Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the interior, in a letter that was signed by Montana’s U.S. senators of both parties and its Democratic governor. White nationalists are planning to march, heavily armed, through the town of Whitefish next month. They’ve already published names, photos and phone numbers of Jewish residents, urging racists to “take action.” Whitefish is the home base of Richard Spencer, a prominent neo-Nazi leader, who’s said he may run for Zinke’s House seat.
It’s a meltdown. Japanese industrial giant Toshiba took a hit last year when its CEO resigned amidst a profit overstatement scandal. Part of its recovery plan was its nuclear business. But even before news that the company may be facing “several billion dollars” in losses after a U.S. nuclear deal soured, stock had fallen 12 percent as investors scented blood in the water. After the announcement Wednesday, stock fell another 20 percent, the daily limit, and Toshiba acknowledged this could be the end of its nuclear interests.
Know This: Actress Debbie Reynolds was reportedly hospitalized one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. President Obama is set to announce sanctions against Russia for meddling with U.S. election. Richard Adams, who penned the classic children’s novel Watership Down, has died at 96. Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been charged in a corruption case, and British bank Lloyds says it’ll establish a subsidiary in a European country if Brexit means losing rights to EU business.
Read This: Earth may be on the verge of its sixth mass extinction, with species disappearing at a rate a hundred times higher than normal. Here’s a rundown of the causes — and what people are doing about it.
Talk to Us: We want your feedback on the PDB — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want to be with Carrie.” That’s what Reynolds — whose daughter, fellow actress Carrie Fisher, died Tuesday — reportedly told her son from her deathbed in a Los Angeles hospital, where she was rushed yesterday after a possible stroke. Reynolds became a star dancing alongside Gene Kelly in the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain, and she was nominated for both an Oscar and a Tony during her 63-year career. Reynolds and Fisher will appear together in an HBO documentary, Bright Lights, early next year.
May the Force always be with her. The iconic Princess Leia actress went into cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles last Friday and died yesterday. In recent months, the indomitable performer had been promoting her memoir, The Princess Diarist, and completing her scenes for the next installment of Star Wars. Fans worldwide are grieving, remembering her not only for the epic space drama, but also for her biting humor, her activism and her brave observations about her struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction.
They’re petty in pink. British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor was banned from buying the “pinkest” pink by its creator, Stuart Semple, who was peeved that Kapoor had exclusive rights to Vantablack, a black paint that absorbs 99.6 percent of light. Purchasers of Semple’s PINK had to sign a legal document agreeing not to resell to Kapoor, but he recently skirted the ban and posted his middle finger covered in the contraband color on Instagram, adding “Up yours.” Semple retaliated by banning Kapoor from purchasing his new creation: The world’s glitteriest glitter.
It’s a digital jungle out there. 2016 has seen the world’s biggest data thefts yet, with billions affected by major hacks of Yahoo, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. The most significant security breach was at Yahoo: The Internet giant revealed two serious attacks that compromised over a billion accounts. Increasingly, corporate sites are having to admit that they lack security guarantees, with hackers even allegedly affecting the U.S. election. This means regular users may need to alter their current online behavior, changing passwords frequently or using several levels of authentication.
They’re going fast. New research shows that half the world’s cheetahs could be gone in 15 years — and that’s an optimistic estimate. The assessment comes from data about populations in national parks, where cheetahs are arguably safest. Researchers recommend that the remaining cheetahs — numbering fewer than 10,000 — be downgraded from “vulnerable” to “endangered.” With two-thirds of cheetahs currently living outside protected areas, the world’s fastest land animal may not be able to outrun extinction beyond zoos and conservation programs unless aggressive new plans to save them are implemented.
His bite never matched his bark. Ryan promised plenty when he arrived in Buffalo, but after two more years without making the postseason, owners Terry and Kim Pegula showed Ryan the door — along with his twin brother, Rob, an assistant. The bombastic former New York Jets coach saw his defense regress and support wane in the locker room. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn now becomes interim head coach and is a strong candidate to take over permanently, while Ryan likely will draw interest as a commentator.