Vet this. President Trump sacked acting U.S. Attorney General and Obama administration holdover Sally Yates, after she ordered the Justice Department not to defend his executive order blocking travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump has defended the action as a matter of national security, saying it’s “not a Muslim ban,” while administration officials indicated it won’t apply to legal U.S. residents going forward. Protests erupted at the nation’s airports, but even as multiple courts blocked aspects of the order and 16 state attorneys deemed it unconstitutional, lawyers and members of Congress reported border officials refusing to release detainees.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They were gathered for evening prayers. A 27-year-old with anti-immigrant views was charged today with six counts of murder, one day after gunmen opened fire on dozens of worshippers at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Officials are calling it a terrorist attack. This mosque was targeted before, when a pig’s head was left on the doorstep in June. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while authorities beef up security at mosques around Canada.
The lines are drawn. Former Education Minister Benoît Hamon, initially seen as a distant third in France’s Socialist primary, won the nomination last night in a landslide against conservative former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Hamon supports universal basic income and legalizing marijuana, and his win signals that France’s left is rejecting the pro-business centrism of notoriously unpopular President François Hollande. Now Hamon will face embattled conservative candidate François Fillon, independent Emmanuel Macron and ultranationalist Marine Le Pen in April’s general elections, in which he’s predicted to finish fourth.
“You policemen are the most corrupt.” So said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who’s halted his notably violent signature war on drugs after officers allegedly kidnapped and killed Jee Ick Joo, a South Korean businessman, inside police headquarters last fall — one of more than 7,000 murdered during the crackdown. Police also reportedly extorted $100,000 from Jee’s wife. Duterte spoke of “cleansing” the police force, despite earlier praise of harsh measures for purging the country of drug users before a March deadline. He now says he’ll dissolve all anti-drug units.
Know This: The Boy Scouts of America will allow trans children who identify as boys into boys-only programs. California campaigners have gotten the go-ahead to collect signatures for a 2018 “Calexit” vote on seceding from the U.S., which would require a constitutional amendment. A petition in the U.K. to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit over his immigration ban has garnered more than a million signatures. And Festival in the Desert, Mali’s famed music event, has been canceled over fears of a terrorist attack.
Remember This Number: 10,000. That’s how many refugees Starbucks says it will hire around the world as a response to Trump’s immigration ban, with a focus on individuals in the U.S. who have aided the American military abroad.
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It’s no longer just business. As New York City’s taxi drivers went on an hour-long airport strike Saturday against President Trump’s immigration ban, Uber continued operating, turning off surge pricing. This perceived opposition to the strike prompted social media outrage — and the hashtag #DeleteUber — from many in Uber’s biggest pickup zones: coastal cities. Rival ride-hailing app Lyft denounced the ban and pledged $1 million to the ACLU, while Uber’s now trying to appease customers over CEO Travis Kalanick’s role on Trump’s economic advisory board.
Watch for bluegrass brainiacs. Kentucky’s becoming a leader in dual-enrollment — where high school students get credits for college classes — with more than 42,400 students taking advantage last fall. More and more states are following the “early college” trend as the federal government starts to tailor Pell Grants to younger teens, with low-income students seeing particular gains. While there are concerns about equal access to the program and overworking adolescents, employers and parents are still chasing the prospect of better-prepared youngsters and shrinking tuition bills.
They work for you, but how best to remind them? Constituent contact with the Senate alone grew 548 percent between 2002 and 2010, and while email is now the most common way to reach representatives, a third of people who email Congress never hear back, and half of those that do say they don’t get satisfactory responses. Some activists and staffers warn that online petitions and emails have a statistically smaller impact in understaffed offices, and urge people to communicate the old-fashioned way — by picking up the phone.
It ran away with the jury. Amid a series of speeches lambasting President Trump, first-time director Macon Blair’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore nabbed the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Awards. Unheralded entering the Utah gathering, the film follows a depressed woman who tracks down the thieves that targeted her. If you’re handicapping Oscars 2018, keep an eye on Sundance premieres Call Me by Your Name, about an Italian love affair, and Mudbound, which follows Black and white families in post-World War II Mississippi.
Just call him GOAT. After six months away, an unusually aggressive Roger Federer overcame his wonky knee and a fifth-set deficit to become one of the oldest tennis champions at 35 — and perhaps seal his claim as the greatest men’s player ever. Nadal, with 14 majors of his own, was outlasted this time by his Swiss opponent 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Despite battling injuries, both men seemed rejuvenated in Melbourne and are expected to contend on the Nadal-friendly clay of the French Open in June.