He’s hitting the pause button. President Donald Trump moved forward on a campaign pledge to institute “extreme vetting” on refugees to keep out terrorists. The executive order signed today at the Pentagon stops all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and blocks Syrians indefinitely. All immigration from Iran, Sudan and Syria — and possibly other nations — will be blocked for 60 days. The signing capped an opening week flurry of orders that often came full of legal holes and without agency consultation — putting their efficacy in serious doubt.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The wall won’t pay for itself. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled his trip to Washington to meet with Donald Trump, sparring over the new president’s insistence that Mexico will pay for his planned border wall. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer yesterday touted a 20 percent levy on Mexican imports to fund the wall, but later backpedaled, calling it just one of many options. Meanwhile, Trump will visit the Pentagon today, where he’s expected to request a more aggressive plan to hit ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
They’re out of control. Raging wildfires have swept through central Chile, killing five firefighters, two policemen and three residents as they ravage pine and eucalyptus forests that support the country’s wood and paper industries. Thousands have been evacuated from the Biobio region 340 miles south of Santiago, but many residents have remained behind, trying to protect their homes and farmland. President Michelle Bachelet called the conflagration the worst in the nation’s history, and allocated funding for firefighting efforts, including the use of Boeing 747 tanker jets.
How special is it? In his first week, Donald Trump has already threatened relations with several nations – but U.K. prime minister Theresa May seems ready to maintain good Anglo-American relations. Yesterday the U.K. prime minister warned Republican leaders against returning to a “failed” policy of international interventionism. Today May and Trump reaffirmed a commitment to NATO and the special relationship in an 18-minute White House press conference. Tomorrow Trump will reportedly hear another friendly voice as he chats on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They’re getting results. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, stands at a symbolic crossroads. In the coming year, its revenue is expected to surpass that of the software king of the PC era, Microsoft. Alphabet took in $90.3 billion last year, just below Microsoft’s $93.1 billion. But with quarterly revenue growth at 22 percent thanks to booming advertising sales, the search giant expects 2017 revenues to exceed $100 billion. That’s likely to surpass slower-growing Microsoft, which has shifted focus to cloud computing — an area where the two firms compete.
Know This: A series of avalanches in India’s tumultuous Kashmir province have killed 20 people. The eyeball of an American pro basketball player in New Zealand popped out on the court — and later slid back in while he was riding in an ambulance. And Mike Connors, star of the 1960s and 1970s detective series Mannix, has died at age 91.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.
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 email@example.com.
Some animals are more equal than others. California scientists have engineered human-pig hybrids, injecting human stem cells into pig embryos to develop for a trimester in surrogate sows. The goal is to create pigs with a few human cells, paving the way for animals to grow specific human organs for transplants. Though the experiment could be a game-changer for organ donation and medical testing, skeptics have serious ethical concerns, from chimeras accidentally mixing with wild populations to the idea of subjugated pigs with humanized brains … perhaps inciting farmyard unrest.
Predictions were apocalyptic. But according to the U.K. Office of National Statistics, the British economy grew by 1.2 percent in the second half of 2016 — the fastest-growing in the G7 last year. Some experts feared a year-long recession after the Brexit referendum, and now credit everything from the lower pound to the Bank of England’s swift efforts to keep markets steady to explain away their errors. But as Prime Minister Theresa May visits the White House today, the question remains: Will 2017 bring promise or pain?
These flying robots save lives. China has developed a sophisticated earthquake response system since the 1960s — and now they’re adding drones into the equation. China’s National Earthquake Response Support Service aims to predict temblors, improve communication and mobilize first-responders. But after every quake, timing is vital: 90 percent of people rescued within half an hour survive, and mortality increases significantly as hours pass. That’s where drones come in, whizzing past landslides and other obstacles to light the way for rescuers, both in China and around the world.
She lived her life like a flamethrower in the wind. John announced yesterday that he’s adapting the bestselling Lauren Weisberger novel and 2006 film inspired by domineering Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The 69-year-old legend is no stranger to Broadway: He’s won accolades for stage versions of The Lion King, Billy Elliott and Aida. While the production schedule hasn’t been set for John’s collaboration with veteran Broadway writer Paul Rudnick, the flamboyant superstar said, “I can’t wait to sink my musical teeth into this hunk of popular culture.”
The road back is hard. In his first competitive PGA Tour round since August 2015, Woods finished at 4 over par, risking missing the cut at Torrey Pines. He struggled at the start but closed strong yesterday, saved mostly by his short game. Measured against playing partners Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, Woods is missing the booming drives that helped him to 14 major championships. After a series of injuries, he’ll need to reinvent his game with finesse — or fans and writers might just stop obsessing over him.