He didn’t mince words. President Donald Trump harshly questioned why the U.S. should accept immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, resorting to vulgar expletives during a meeting with lawmakers yesterday. “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump reportedly asked, demanding the U.S. focus more on immigrants from Norway. Some worry that racially charged remark, which he’s denied, could derail the immigration debate. Meanwhile, Trump canceled his trip to open the new American embassy in London, claiming he disapproved of the location — though some believe he may be hoping to avoid planned protests.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Peace is possible. Germany has been in limbo without a stable federal government since September elections. But after weeklong negotiations between the Christian Democrats, led by longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Social Democrats and the Christian Social Union, the parties have reportedly reached a breakthrough that will allow formal coalition talks to begin. This is the longest it has taken a coalition to come together in Germany since World War II. Their fragile peace, reportedly over funding social programs, still hinges on the Social Democrats’ party conference next week.
They call it “patient dumping.” According to video taken by a bystander, the University of Maryland Medical Center took an apparently disoriented woman wearing only socks and a hospital gown and left her at a nearby bus stop in cold weather. The hospital has apologized for a “failure of basic compassion” after the video incited rage on social media, promising to review its procedures. Patient-dumping was prohibited by federal law in 1986 but still happens across the United States. The woman’s identity and current whereabouts remain unknown.
There’s a cloud on the horizon. The file-sharing company, which stores users’ data in the cloud, has reportedly made a secret filing for an IPO and plans to go public by the end of March, according to insiders. It’d be the most valuable tech IPO since Snap — Dropbox was valued privately at $10 billion — but unlike Snap, Dropbox is already profitable. The move, if successful, could spur potential IPOs from companies like Airbnb and WeWork, who may have been put off by sluggish debuts from Snap and Blue Apron.
Know This: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’s been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for five years, has been made a citizen of Ecuador. Walmart will hike its minimum wage to $11 per hour next month but is closing dozens of stores. And Facebook has overhauled its news feeds to focus on maintaining real-life connections and de-emphasizing brands and advertising.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.
Talk to Us: Tell us how you really feel. Our electrifying TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each week we’re posting a provocative question, and we want you to weigh in. This week: Has the movement against sexual harassment gone too far? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.
Color him busted. Shigeharu Shirai, 74, reportedly showed off his elaborate tattoos to his chess partners in a small town north of Bangkok. One admirer Facebooked snaps of his well-inked torso, attracting 10,000 shares and the attention of Japanese authorities — who identified him as a murder suspect and former boss of an infamous Yakuza crime syndicate. Shirai, who’d been on the run for 14 years, will reportedly be extradited to Japan for the 2003 murder of a rival gangster, but only after facing Thai immigration charges.
Judgment day can wait. The robots ruled the spotlight at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — but they seemed unprepared to conquer humankind. Various bots failed to impress, from a “puppy” suitcase that wouldn’t follow its owner to LG’s CLOi household assistant, which got stage fright and refused to respond during a demonstration for journalists. Netflix was more successful promoting a fictional company: Its “Psychasec” booth featured creepy lifelike mannequins and offered to upload attendees’ consciousnesses into artificial bodies to promote the company’s new cyberpunk series, Altered Carbon.
Ice, ice, maybe. Scientists studying Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data have spotted 330-foot-thick sheets of ice just below the planet’s surface. The glaciers, exposed by natural erosion on hillsides, provide a glimpse into Martian history: Layers in the ice suggest they may have been formed by snowfall as recently as tens of millions of years ago. Geologists don’t know how pure the ice is, but it appears to be relatively clean — which could be important for future Mars missions that require water to create both oxygen and rocket fuel.
Time’s up. Franco, fresh off winning a Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist, has been accused by five women of coercive or sexually exploitative behavior, including pushing female actors to perform nude scenes. One former student at Franco’s now-closed Studio 4 acting school said seeing him wear a Time’s Up pin on TV was “like a slap in my face.” Franco said the accusations, made via Twitter following the ceremony Sunday night, were not accurate. He didn’t attend the Critics’ Choice Awards last night, despite winning a best actor trophy.
Gotta watch ’em all. The field of competitive e-sports has a new player: The league of 12 teams playing first-person shooter Overwatch debuted Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd at Burbank’s Blizzard Arena and 363,000 online spectators via Twitch. The league, with $240 million in team franchise fees, has ambitions to bring e-sports mainstream. But critics complained there’s not a single woman in the league, despite one of the world’s best Overwatch players being female. One team explained that they worried including women would be perceived as a “stunt.”