Russia is a nation in mourning. Yesterday’s blast aboard a subway train in the country’s second-largest city killed 14 people and injured 49, while another unexploded bomb was defused at a second station. Authorities, who’ve launched an anti-terror investigation, say the suspected suicide bomber was Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Russian citizen born in Kyrgyzstan in 1995. President Vladimir Putin, a St. Petersburg native who was in the city yesterday, said the bomber’s motives are still under investigation and that terrorism hasn’t been ruled out.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The photographs can’t yet be verified. But human rights and monitoring groups say that 58 people died, including nine children, and scores more were wounded in an attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province. Victims’ symptoms were consistent with chemical weapons. Observers, who posted photos on social media, said they vomited, foamed at the mouth and died of asphyxiation. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the airstrikes were carried out by Syrian government or Russian jets. Bashar Assad’s army has denied it uses chemical weapons.
He’d rather be hands-off. Several high-profile police shootings of civilians spurred the Obama administration to institute reviews of local police departments and suggest potential reforms to improve relations between officers and the populations they serve. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of all of those policies, saying reform agreements and “consent decrees” in Baltimore, Seattle, Cleveland and other cities aren’t the Justice Department’s job. In response, the ACLU slammed Sessions’ assessment that police shootings are the fault of “individual bad actors” rather than toxic culture.
It’s all about speed — and market value. Tesla’s stock soared yesterday, pushing the company’s value to $48.7 billion, while Ford, established a century earlier, stalled at $45.6 billion. Other electric cars saw downturns as gas prices plunged, but Tesla defied the odds and managed to stay robust, reinforcing the idea that the internal combustion engine won’t always be the auto industry norm. Though both General Motors and Ford have maintained steady growth since the financial crisis, analysts say Tesla’s futuristic image may attract more forward-thinking investors.
Know This: While Senate Democrats likely have enough votes to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, Republicans could choose the “nuclear option” to end the loophole for good. The S&P has downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to “junk.” And the White House and the Freedom Caucus are reportedly considering tweaks that could revive Trumpcare.
Remember This Number: 85,000. That’s how many H-1B visas are available for highly skilled workers to enter the U.S. per fiscal year. This year’s lottery opened yesterday and is expected to fill up in a matter of days.
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.
This could trump the courts. With Republicans in control of Congress, President Donald Trump is now looking to tip the judiciary — which has thwarted his two travel bans — to the right. Standing in his way is the fabled blue slip, which has for over a century been a key judicial step despite being more custom than law. Blue slips, the legislative filibuster’s judicial cousin, let home-state senators advise the Judiciary Committee on nominees. But Republicans may toss them both in their haste to tip the scales while they have the chance.
Hats off to this discovery. Researchers studying patients with the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme found the five-year survival rate more than doubled in those who wore the Optune, a cap-like device that uses electric fields to fight new tumors by disrupting cancerous cell division. Some doctors are skeptical, waiting to see more long-term results, but others are heralding it as a victory against a particularly deadly cancer, despite its eye-popping $21,000 monthly price tag. It’s now being tested for breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.
They’re still digging. Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the remains of a pyramid some 3,700 years old in the Dahshur necropolis south of Cairo. Among the remains was a corridor structure possibly leading to inner chambers and an alabaster block bearing 10 vertical lines of hieroglyphics that are still being studied. The new find comes just weeks after another group of archaeologists unearthed a 26-foot quartzite statue within a Cairo slum, which will likely go on display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, set to open in 2018.
It’s her final roar. The creative director and president of J.Crew — whose tenure made the brand iconic — is departing after a disappointing 2016 that saw sales plunge 6 percent. Lyons influenced the label with her own quirky look, becoming a fashion and Instagram icon and serving as the public face of J. Crew. But CEO Mickey Drexler said they’ve both agreed it’s “time for a change.” Lyons’ next step isn’t clear but she’ll reportedly stay on as creative adviser until December to help Somsack Sikhounmuong transition into her job.
It’s redemption for the Tar Heels. North Carolina avenged last year’s devastating finals loss, beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65 in Arizona last night to claim its sixth national title. After a fast-paced start, the Tar Heels barely survived a scrappy, foul-ridden second half to hold on to their tight lead in the final minutes. It’s a brutal ending for the Gonzaga team, which had experienced a remarkable 37-1 run building up to the final, but for UNC it’s an emotional victory rich with joy and vindication.