They’re joining the parade. Though many German MPs found Angela Merkel’s plan to provide military support for anti-ISIS campaigns in Syria controversial, a majority voted to send 1,200 soldiers, a naval frigate and six reconnaissance jets to the Middle East. It’s widely seen as an expression of solidarity with France — and a nod to the fact that after the Paris attacks, Germany could also be a target for ISIS fighters. The $146 million operation, which joins Britain’s recent foray into Syrian airstrikes, is expected to last a year.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Why did they do it? Though officials are still puzzling out the motive that led married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik to kill 14 people with rifles and handguns before dying in a police shootout on Wednesday, they suspect the two may have sworn allegiance to ISIS. Though there’s no evidence that ISIS directly planned the attack, the FBI is investigating the crime as an act of terrorism based on Facebook posts that indicate the couple may have been inspired by the militant group — stoking U.S. fears of the specter of homegrown terrorist acts.
Water, water, everywhere. Torrential rains in the capital of Tamil Nadu state have killed 280 people this week, and though the deluge has let up, the danger hasn’t passed. Flooding continues as lakes and rivers overflow, and Chennai has come to a standstill in what some analysts estimate could cost local businesses more than $2.2 billion. India’s calling for relief efforts for those who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods, but with roads washed out and telephone networks down, it may be impossible to deliver aid to those who need it.
They were trapped in a basement. At least 16 people are dead after several masked men reportedly threw firebombs into an underground restaurant in a central Cairo nightclub. Grey smoke billowed from the venue’s doorway, blocking the entrance as those inside died inhaling the fatal fumes. Early reports point to varying culprits: Some accuse a disgruntled ex-employee, while others blame a group that got in a fight with staff members earlier in the evening. Now authorities must catch the masked men, all of whom remain at large.
They’re sending a message. Though Senate Republicans have tried multiple times to pass a bill repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, they’ve never been able to get a filibuster-proof majority. This time they used a procedural loophole known as reconciliation that allowed them to pass the bill — which also defunds Planned Parenthood — with a simple majority of 52-47. Now it’ll go back to the House, which passed similar legislation two months ago, and then to the White House … where it will certainly be vetoed.
They hit their target — and exceeded it. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen explained Thursday before a congressional committee that the economy needs to create about 100,000 jobs per month to sustain a December rate rise. Analysts expected about 200,000 new jobs in November’s scorecard — but this morning’s report gave them 211,000. Unemployment held steady at a seven-year low, and while wage growth is still slightly slowing, these numbers may well and give the Fed the confidence it needs to move forward.
Paris café hit by terrorist attacks reopens. (France 24)
Texas walks back effort to block Syrian refugees from Dallas. (ABC)
Japan to open anti-terrorism unit next week. (AP)
Australia passes a bill to strip jihadis of citizenship. (Time)
Pharmaceutical CEO says he should have jacked up drug prices further. (Forbes)
He was one of the most influential voices of the grunge era. Scott Weiland, who struggled with addiction throughout his career, died Thursday while touring with his band Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts. His death was leaked in a later-deleted tweet from fellow rocker Dave Navarro, who wrote, ”So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.” Weiland’s band Stone Temple Pilots brought him enormous fame, with hits like “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song” giving him a place in grunge history alongside Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
Donald Trump isn’t the only one. Independent candidates are sprouting up around the world, with small businessmen garnering political attention in Malaysia, India and the U.K. Social media, tight-knit economic communities and global disenchantment with political elites are helping these laymen gin up the courage and support that makes a run possible. Sure, they don’t always win, but even their presence can get the business sector politically involved — and remind established politicians that they’ll have to court independent voters if they want to stave off third party challengers.
They’re trying to steer the industry. Uber’s had its share of troubles in France — UberPop, the equivalent of America’s UberX, was banned by the French courts — but now the drivers themselves are rebelling. While some are unionizing, others are trying to beat Uber at its own game. One group has created an app called VTC Cab that operates as a nonprofit, charging membership fees to drivers rather than collecting hefty 20 percent commissions. So far, 1,500 drivers have signed up, and they’re hoping to have 5,000 by New Year’s Day.
Parents really do carry the weight of the world. A new study has found that sperm carry different chemical tags depending on whether a father is obese or lean — and the tags appear to be affected by dad-determined behaviors like diet and exercise, signaling the next generation about the availability of food. It’s the first time chemical tags have been identified in sperm, and while researchers say the findings are preliminary, they could open new avenues of inquiry on obesity — and encourage future dads to get off the couch.
He’s showing his stripes. Nearing 40, the athlete who once dominated golf doesn’t know if he’ll ever return to form, as back problems continue to sideline him — but he’s swearing off risky surgeries that might put him back in the game. He says he’s not closing the door on a return but is “reconciled” to the possibility of putting his glory days behind him, saying, “I’ve had a good run.” Now he’ll be turning to a different legacy: Making time to hang out with his kids.