The truth really is out there. Scientists have found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a very small star outside our solar system. Circling the dwarf star Trappist-1, the planets are about 40 light years (235 trillion miles) away from us, which is actually considered “close” by space standards, and can therefore be easily studied. Based on the distance of the planets from the star, scientists believe the temperature on their surface might be just right to cultivate water-filled oceans, and astronomer Sara Seager says the ”search for life in the galaxy imminent.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Caitlyn Jenner’s friendship was not enough. The Trump administration has removed Obama-era federal guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their true gender, regardless of what they were assigned at birth. The repeal is part of Trump’s belief that protections for transgender students are a state issue, and not for the federal government to decide. LGBT rights campaigners say the decision signals that the current administration does not view federal civil rights, with its legal core of non-discrimination, as necessarily prohibiting discrimination based on gender.
They just want to ask a few questions. Malaysian officials have named Hyon Kwang Song, the second secretary of North Korea’s local embassy, as one of three people they want to interrogate over the murder of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, who was killed mysteriously in Kuala Lumpur last week. Security has ramped up following an attempted break-in at the morgue where Kim Jong Nam’s body is being kept, after North Korean officials, who demanded that no autopsy be performed, were denied access to the body.
The message is clear: Get out. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly released documents detailing a new plan for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. Agents are now directed to expel people even for small infractions, rather than focusing on major crimes. They’re also planning to hire 10,000 new enforcement agents, even as immigration courts face a record backlog of 534,000 cases. The news riled Mexican officials ahead of Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s diplomatic visit. They’ll now have to negotiate cross-border cooperation to cope with the increasing deportations.
It turns out there is such a thing as “too far.” The far-right provocateur stepped down yesterday from his job as senior editor at Breitbart News, taking full responsibility for the decision and saying he didn’t want to detract from Breitbart’s reporting after audio was leaked this week of him making statements condoning pedophilia. Yiannopoulos, 33, also saw his speaking engagement at the Conservative Political Action Conference and $250,000 book deal canceled. He says he’ll now move on to launching a new media website.
Don’t write checks you can’t cash. Airbus released results today showing a 66 percent year-on-year decline in profits, largely due to a $1.26 billion charge on its A400M military transport plane. The project saw huge setbacks at nearly every stage, from building to transport, but Airbus said it’s still a top priority for 2017. The company, which is being investigated by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, has promised to deliver 700 planes this year, though several other projects have been pushed to the end of the year or even 2018.
Know This: Bao Bao, a 3-year-old panda born in Washington, D.C., was sent to China yesterday to take part in its breeding program. Amnesty International has warned that toxic political rhetoric focused on dehumanizing certain groups is dangerous. And Hong Kong’s former leader has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for misconduct.
Read This: A Canadian reality TV star is vying to lead the country’s Conservative Party, drawing comparisons to Donald Trump’s rise to political power.
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This is solidarity. After more than 150 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri, Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi have crowdfunded more than $57,000 for repairs. Unused funds will go to other Jewish graveyards that have been vandalized. No arrests have been made in the case, which was condemned by President Trump as “a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done.” Both Muslim and Jewish communities fear the increasing number of racist attacks and discrimination in the U.S.
It’s not quite ready to fly. Drones might still be years away from delivering packages to your doorstep, but logistics giant UPS is planning ahead. On Monday it showed off its HorseFly octocopter, which launches from a custom-built delivery truck with a sliding roof and robotic arms. The driver-controlled drone can carry a 10-pound package for up to 30 minutes and is intended to complete last-mile deliveries, reducing trucks’ mileage. After one successful delivery, though, a malfunction aborted the second attempt, which might bring people’s expectations back down to earth.
Don’t pencil it in. A series of Ohio State University studies shows that imposing structure on social events, like meeting an old friend, makes them feel less enjoyable and more like tasks to be completed. Researchers concluded that while some individuals cope better with a degree of planning — and may enjoy color-coding their calendars — for most people, stricter schedules translate to less enjoyment of actual events. The study suggests that to experience more happiness, we should allow some uncertainty in our social schedules to keep things exciting.
Little by little, it’s happening. A new study found that 29 percent of 2016’s 100 top-grossing films had sole female protagonists, up from 22 percent in 2015, but still nowhere near real-life demographics. Women of color saw representation decrease slightly: Only 24 percent of onscreen women weren’t white. But 57 percent of films with even one female director or writer had female protagonists, compared to 18 percent from all-male creative teams. Meanwhile, overall speaking roles for women actually declined to just 32 percent of all roles.
”It was a pasty not pie.” So says Wayne Shaw, Sutton United’s reserve goalkeeper who quickly went from hero to, well, unemployed. Overshadowing his team’s Cinderella run to the fifth round of the FA Cup, the 322-pound goalkeeper, 46, was caught on camera eating a pie during the match. The incongruous image quickly went viral — but it caught police attention, too, as it emerged that one bookmaker had offered tongue-in-cheek odds on Shaw being spotted eating a pie, suggesting that gambling rules may have been broken.