Easy does it. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged “diplomacy and de-escalation” following Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet yesterday. Obama, EU leaders and the U.N. have likewise appealed for restraint, and the Turkish president has agreed to try to prevent a repeat incident. One pilot has reportedly been rescued — and says the plane was giving no warning and never violated Turkish airspace — while the other is believed to have died. Meanwhile, Putin called it a “stab in the back,” suspended military cooperation with Turkey and plans to send fighter jets to escort Russian bombers on future Syrian airstrikes.
The Presidential Daily Brief
A storm is brewing in the Windy City. Hours after charging Officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder yesterday, Chicago authorities released a disturbing dash-cam video of the white officer firing 16 times at Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old African-American, killing him. Van Dyke is the first on-duty cop charged with murder in the Illinois metropolis in three decades. Hundreds took to the streets last night, chanting “16 shots,” and Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged calm, saying protests are fine, but it’s “essential to remain peaceful.”
The French and American presidents met in Washington yesterday, standing united in the face of terror. Obama vowed “total solidarity” with Francois Hollande, who’s been pushing for the U.S. to work alongside Russia in Syria. French success, analysts say, depends upon the degree of support from Washington, which is already helping French bombers target militants in Syria. Obama also acknowledged that “[ISIS] must be destroyed, and we must do it together.” But with Turkey’s downing of a Russian plane muddying the waters, hopes for a grander international coalition against the extremists are quickly fading.
Move over Abramovich. English football club ownership is reaching beyond the traditional billionaires, with private equity investors showing a renewed interest. In recent weeks, a 25 percent stake in Bournemouth FC has gone to the Chicago-based PEAK6, and minority stakes in Crystal Palace FC have gone to two American private equity execs. U.S. owners are nothing new — Manchester United is owned by the American Glazer family — but the ever-rising profit margins of Premier League clubs are increasingly drawing professional investors to stake their claim.
Schools, subway reopen amid tight security in Brussels. (BBC)
Paris attacks organizer ‘planned to target business district.’ (France 24)
U.S. officials: Kunduz hospital mistaken for Taliban site. (CNN)
Adele’s new album breaks record for first-week U.S. sales. (FT) sub
They may have class, but they pay for it. A new report shows that British undergrads pay more for public university tuition than Americans — $9,000 per year, compared to $8,200. Until 1998, higher education was free in England, but fees skyrocketed after the government relaxed regulations for keeping costs down. It’s still cheaper than going to a private American college — averaging $21,189 a year — but the survey also shows the British system to be sustainable because the costs are shared between students, employers and the government.
Fossil fuels are looking more and more like a crude investment strategy. A growing number of financial planners are instead nudging clients toward energy stocks that aren’t slowly poisoning the earth. This is partly pragmatic — some, for example, specialize in finding investments that don’t offend the values of vegans or vegetarians. But with coal expected to suffer steep losses over the next decade, more and more are betting on renewable energy, which is predicted to rise by as much as 54 percent in the next 30 years.
Tensions are sky-high. The SpaceX CEO got fired up yesterday after the successful launch and landing of a reusable rocket by the Amazon founder’s firm, Blue Origin. Bezos said his unmanned New Shepard vehicle soared above the boundary between atmosphere and space before gently returning, intact, to the West Texas launchpad. Musk offered a congratulatory tweet, followed by a snarky reference to the suborbital height of Monday’s test — in what is shaping up to be an explosive space race between billionaires keen on harnessing rocket reusability.
It’s Christmas, Carol. The Cate Blanchett drama about a lesbian relationship has emerged as the leading independent film of the season with six nominations, including two for its leading ladies. The other big contender is Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, featuring Idris Elba, which was released on Netflix. Though the Spirit Awards often applaud unconventional flicks — another nominee was shot entirely via iPhone — this could see the streaming giant, a relative newcomer to the film distribution game, win more mainstream acclaim this awards season.
They’ve made history. The reigning champs barely broke a sweat as they crushed the Lakers 111-77, claiming the NBA’s best-ever season start. It didn’t hurt that Kobe Bryant had an ugly night and that Los Angeles boasts the second worst record in the league. MVP Stephen Curry contributed nine assists and 24 points and Draymond Green added another 18, while coach Steve Kerr watched from afar as he recovers from back surgery. Next, Golden State can shoot for beating the 1971-72 Lakers’ 33-game winning streak.