They’re put out. Thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest state corruption — and by extension, President Vladimir Putin. Organized by opposition leader and potential presidential challenger Alexei Navalny, the synchronized rallies saw thousands of people demonstrating in nearly 100 cities across Russia, a rare show of force by critics of Putin, who remains popular outside the country’s big cities. The rallies ended after a crackdown by police resulted in hundreds of arrests, included that of Navalny himself — an action strongly condemned by the U.S. State Department.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re under friendly fire. After last week’s legislative debacle, which saw President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan defeated by their own party, the White House is scolding conservatives who didn’t fall in line — and publicly appealing to moderate Democrats instead. Though the Trumpcare bill’s failure might make tax reform tougher, many see that as Trump’s next big fight — and one that’s key to proving he can deliver on campaign promises. It remains to be seen if any Democrats will be willing to work with the president.
Dozens of students saw it hit. Pupils from seven schools taking part in a group mountain climbing event were at a ski resort near Nasu, north of Tokyo, when an avalanche swept down the mountain. Eight people, some of them students, were found with no vital signs and about 30 more were injured. The area’s seen more than 11 inches of snow since Sunday, and rescue helicopters have been unable to reach the scene. Authorities are still struggling to confirm how many may have been swept up in the avalanche.
Where’s the line between privacy and security? British officials have blasted Facebook-owned messaging tool WhatsApp for its end-to-end encryption policy after Westminster attacker Khalid Masood reportedly checked the app just minutes before his deadly assault on the Houses of Parliament last week. While major tech companies like WhatsApp and Apple have maintained that encryption is in the customer’s interest, government officials argue that intelligence services need the ability to access private communications. WhatsApp says it’s cooperating fully with the Westminster investigation.
Know This: U.S.-backed rebels in Syria have taken a strategic airbase from ISIS and are now battling for a nearby dam. Chinese government-backed Carrie Lam has been chosen leader in Hong Kong after heavily restricted elections — and now nine people are set to be charged for their role in the region’s independence movement. And thousands have been evacuated in Queensland as Cyclone Debbie barrels toward Australia.
Read This: America Chavez is the newest superhero from Marvel — and the lesbian Latina character is at the forefront of a revolution in comic book diversity.
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This isn’t gonna fly. United came under fire yesterday when Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts tweeted that she’d seen two young women denied boarding because they were wearing leggings, and a ten-year-old forced to put on a dress before she could fly — even though her dad was wearing shorts. United doubled down, telling hordes of angry tweeters that its dress code bans spandex for those traveling as relatives of an employee. Nonetheless, celebrities like Sarah Silverman and Kat Dennings vowed to choose leggings and boycott the airline.
You can’t always keep your eye on the ball. Some in the sports world prefer to avoid the controversy Colin Kaepernick stirred when he took a knee. But a growing number of athletes, coaches and commentators are using their fame to score political points. Along with President Trump’s divisive rise, ongoing racialized police brutality, and activist movements like #BlackLivesMatter, 2016 saw a massive uptick in sports figures wading into the political sphere. And with social media providing easier avenues of dissent, it looks like the athlete activist is here to stay.
Blame the other guy. A driverless Uber Volvo has crashed in Tempe after a human-controlled vehicle failed to yield, striking the autonomous SUV, which rolled onto its side. No one was injured, but Uber is putting its self-driving fleet in park while investigating the incident. The company’s been testing its prototype in Arizona after its California registrations were revoked when Uber refused to pay a $150 fee for a San Francisco testing permit. This, along with several similar fender-benders, may diminish the public appetite for going driverless.
Get them sleeping safe and sound. That elusive goal of every new parent for their infant is being aided by new programs in three states. Following an 80-year-old Finnish tradition, Ohio, New Jersey and Alabama have started providing “baby boxes” to new parents. The free crates come packed with educational materials, diapers and other supplies, and the boxes themselves become portable, ready-made bassinets. By providing the education and resources for safer sleeping practices, the states hope to curb the country’s 3,500 yearly deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Unexpected teams are rising from the ashes in Phoenix. The men’s NCAA Championship has delivered on its reputation as a tournament of upsets: Long-shot Oregon wasn’t expected to go all the way, while Gonzaga and South Carolina have never even made the Final Four before. North Carolina, with a record 20 Final Four appearances, is the exception. Now, leaving a trail of destroyed brackets in their wake, the teams hope they can make it through the unlikely foursome in Arizona to claim their spot in an odd-couple final.