The U.S. president today defended his decision to set in motion the early release of the former Army intel analyst, who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material. Manning will be released on May 17, rather than in 2045 as scheduled — a decision that some Republicans have labeled as a dangerous precedent. Obama is not pardoning Manning but noted — in his final press conference as president — that ”Justice has been served.” Manning’s release could lead to Julian Assange facing a U.S. court: The WikiLeaks founder recently said he’d agree to extradition if Obama commuted Manning’s sentence.
Team SIX Military Daily Brief
“It was never intended.” So said a spokesman for Nigeria’s armed forces after a fighter jet bombed a camp in Rann, killing at least 52 refugees and aid workers and injuring hundreds more. The military says it was targeting the forces of Boko Haram, the Islamist group whose war with the Nigerian government has killed 20,000 and displaced millions. Militant fighters were thought to be gathering in the area. Now medical teams from Cameroon and Chad are converging to help the wounded, as authorities launch an investigation into the incident.
He’s not in denial. Former Navy SEAL and Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the interior, said yesterday that climate change is not a hoax — a departure from the president-elect’s stance — but that the degree of human influence is debatable. He’s acknowledged a “glitch” in his Navy record, when he used military vouchers for personal travel, which might have hindered Zinke’s rise through the ranks. But the public-lands advocate had a fairly easy hearing and is expected to win Senate confirmation.
Cue the scramble. Theresa May had long signaled that staying in the EU’s single market wouldn’t be a goal of Brexit, despite the potential devastation for British industries that depend on the tariff-free trade with EU countries that the single market promises. Now she’s made it official in a highly anticipated speech, and financial markets, automakers and other businesses are swiftly drawing up contingency plans. This comes as the UK Supreme Court announces it’ll release a decision about the government’s appeal to trigger Article 50 next week, determining the timeline for Brexit.
Know This: Donald Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his Agriculture Secretary. Chinese President Xi Jinping may be stepping up his country’s role as a global leader. Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos is suing Trump for defamation after he called her allegations that he sexually assaulted her “false and ridiculous.” Former President George H.W. Bush, 92, has been hospitalized but is “doing fine;” wife Barbara has also been hospitalized as a precaution.
Paws and Reflect: “I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools [in Wyoming] to protect from potential grizzlies.” So said Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, during a question about guns in schools at her confirmation hearing.
Talk to Us: We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three’s good company. An Astros slugger, a speedy Expo and a 14-time All-Star catcher topped writers’ ballots to be inducted into Cooperstown this year. Tim Raines, Montreal’s superstar leadoff hitter, ranks fifth in history with 808 stolen bases. Jeff Bagwell twice notched 30-homer, 30-steal seasons for Houston. And Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez won 13 Gold Gloves in his 21-year career. While voters overlooked steroid speculation about Bagwell and Rodriguez, tarnished stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens fell short again and their future chances look murky.
Talk about open access. The southern Indian state of Telangana has a roadmap for improving residents’ lives, beginning with running water and broadband in every home. That means getting 23 million people online, a revolutionary leap for India, where 1 billion citizens don’t have internet access — a quarter of the world’s disconnected population. Telangana has rejected Western proposals like Facebook’s Free Basics access. Instead, the recently independent state is building its own network, laying 62,000 miles of fiber optic cables alongside new pipes carrying fresh water to rural homes.
Their hopes are inflating. For six post-crash years, only two banks were launched in the U.S., but would-be finance lords are now piloting a small-bank revival in places like Austin and Buffalo. Institutions with less than $10 billion in assets see a sunny forecast in rising interest rates, which help their margins, and Republican plans to roll back financial regulations. But in order to survive in the megabank era, mom-and-pops will have to find a niche — like, say, serving millennial entrepreneurs in Boston.
This isn’t just a millennial problem. A new report shows that people over 60 are now the fastest-growing demographic in the American student loan market, and many are already in serious debt. Over the past 10 years, seniors’ debts have quadrupled as parents and grandparents take out loans on behalf of college-age relatives. A generation ago, it wasn’t common for grandparents to be involved with paying for their grandchildren’s education. But now, skyrocketing school costs have left 2.8 million over-60s in debt to student loan companies.
It’s no laughing matter. The comedian apologized yesterday for a segment on The Steve Harvey Show in which he joked that books about Asian men dating Black or white women should be one page long, ending with, “No thank you.” Then he dissed Chinese food. After a torrent of online criticism, Harvey tweeted that he did not intend “malice or disrespect.” The 60-year-old Family Feud host also caught flak for a recent meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss a possible role in shaping housing policy.
This one hurts. The Clippers have weathered the absence of Blake Griffin, but now they’re facing a torn ligament in their nine-time All-Star point guard’s left thumb. After going under the knife today, Paul isn’t expected back until early March, missing a crucial stretch as Los Angeles battles for NBA playoff positioning. Griffin is expected to return later this month, but the Clippers have been woeful in the past without the two stars. Raymond Felton and others will try to fill the floor general gap.