Are they joining the fight? After watching the Libyan militants’ video of the horrific killings of 21 Egyptian Christians, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi had Egyptian warplanes bomb ISIS targets in Libya. The raids, supported by Libya’s own air force, should aid a Libyan government struggling against Islamist factions that are increasingly ISIS-affiliated. It remains to be seen whether the “heroic epic” unfolding on Egyptian television will be a sustained campaign, or just a fleeting reprisal.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The FAA wants to clip drone wings. Proposed rules would require drones to stay in view of their controllers — meaning no night flights and no long distances. It would also put the kibosh on widely publicized plans by firms like Amazon for using drones for deliveries. Critics say the “in sight” rules could negate most of the usefulness of drones. A public comment period starts now, and it will likely be a couple years before any regulations go into effect.
They adjourned with nothing but angry words. A critical meeting in Brussels today failed to produce a roadmap for resolving the nation’s bailout crisis, with Greek officials bitterly accusing eurozone creditors of “wasting their time” with “unreasonable” demands. In talks, Athens made it clear that it won’t move forward unless the bailout’s original austerity measures are tempered. The stalemate esclates a crisis that could have Greece running out of money and making an ugly exit from the euro, although a sliver of hope remained for a last-ditch resolution this week.
As families in separatist areas of eastern Ukraine emerged from shelters to enjoy the cease-fire that went into effect Sunday, much-anticipated trouble was already brewing nearby. Shells landed on government positions, and rebels surrounding the rail hub of Debaltseve pressed their claim to the town and refused to allow European truce monitors access. With this shaky start, the document hammered out by Ukrainian, Russian, French and German leaders last week may soon go up in flames.
There’s a Feb. 27 deadline for the DHS budget, and there’s an impasse. House Speaker John Boehner supports a bill that would fund the department but overturn White House efforts to limit the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants. Democrats quickly called foul, and even some Senate Republicans aren’t on board. The bill passed the lower house but still has the upper to contend with. And due to this week’s break, tthere’s only four working days for Congress before the money runs out.
It’s time to bundle up — again. New England was already pummeled by storms — and Boston got another foot of snow on Sunday — and now a wide swath farther south is about to take a beating from a storms that are expected to affect about 40 million Americans. The frigid weather should ice over states from Oklahoma to the Atlantic Coast. Hundreds of Monday flights have been canceled, as mid-Atlantic and Appalachian states are also expected to see several inches of snow.
The case isn’t closed. Copenhagen police say they fatally shot the gunman who killed one man on Saturday at a free-speech gathering — attended by a Muhammad-mocking cartoonist and the French ambassador — and another man outside a synagogue. But today authorities said they’d charged two others for helping hide the assailant, named by local media as Danish-native Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a recently released convict who’d been “on the radar” of intelligence services. With no apparent refuge, some are urging satirists to check their edge.
It looks like the biggest bank heist in history — and all without a getaway car. An international coterie of criminals has stolen as much as $900 million, mostly from Russian banks, by installing malware that monitored computer screens, allowing fraudulent wire transfers and even ATM withdrawals. More than 100 financial institutions in 30 countries may have been hit. But none have acknowledged the threat, and thefts could be continuing. Expect this to become Exhibit A in President Obama’s push for a cybersecurity law.
No tsunami threat from powerful earthquake off coast of Japan. (CNN)
Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore dies of cancer at 68. (NPR)
Hundreds of Jewish graves desecrated in France. (TIME)
Kayla Mueller could have lied to protect herself, but didn’t. (NBC)
Washington Monument comes up 10 inches short. (AP)
New York City goes 12 days without a homicide. (NYDN)
India, Sri Lanka sign nuclear pact. (Bloomberg)
Tesla could be in for a shock. Apple may be prepping a rival electric car, with several hundred employees reportedly developing the concept. While the Titan, as it’s being called in Cupertino, may never go anywhere, Apple hasn’t had a revolutionary launch since the iPad in 2010. If it does introduce a big transportation product, some say it might instead be an alternative to Google Maps’ Street View. Maybe Elon Musk won’t need that defibrillator after all.
Famed chocolatier Michele Ferrero, 89, died Italy’s richest man, worth $23.4 billion thanks to the famous chocolate-hazelnut spread, Ferrero Rocher pralines, Kinder eggs, Tic Tacs and other candy. His father, Pietro, invented supercrema gianduja by blending scare cocoa with hazelnuts during World War II. Michele renamed it Nutella after he inherited the firm in 1957, and he expanded the family business into a global confectionery empire Willy Wonka would drool over. Still private, the dolce fortuna passes to Ferrero’s 50-year-old son, Giovanni.
They aim to “rock the world” — with a tiny discovery. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is firing up its Large Hadron Collider to attempt breakthroughs “more exciting” than the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle that netted the 2013 Nobel prize for physics. After a two-year upgrade hiatus, the accelerator is now twice as powerful and primed to detect “supersymmetric” particles, which might unravel why nature prefers matter over anti-matter. And that’s no small feat.
It’s a grey area. Though protesters have railed against Fifty Shades of Grey for “normalizing” abusive relationships, the movie marks a milestone for Hollywood women. Sam Taylor-Johnson will score the biggest opening in history for a female director, as the film is set to gross more than $90 million in North America over the long holiday weekend, outpacing Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight opening. Females also made up 68 percent of the audience, so maybe it’s time for Hollywood to unleash its female talent.
It’s no soccer score. The final of last night’s NBA All-Star Game was high even for basketball, with a record combined 321 points. Still, the West beat the East by only five points, 163-158. New York’s Madison Square Gardens hosted the spectacle of celebrities and stagecraft, but Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook stole the show with an astounding 41 points to lead his conference team and take MVP honors. In that context, Cleveland’s mega-star Lebron James, with his East-leading 30 points, was somewhat disappointing.