The candidates are proving where their loyalties lie. Ted Cruz, who’s zoomed into the spotlight as a potential challenger to Donald Trump in the all-important Iowa caucus, is touring Southern states, where he’s hoping to shore up the support of social conservatives. This means the Texas senator may be neglecting New Hampshire, where Ben Carson appears tomorrow. Jeb Bush’s team insists he shouldn’t be counted out, despite garnering support from just 3 percent of Republicans — and some still think Trump could bankroll an independent bid if he doesn’t win the nomination.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’ve tightened the reins, but the horse can still bolt. Fed chair Janet Yellen used monetary policy to drive up borrowing costs this week, rallying investors around the globe. But when the Fed boosted its target rate for bank lending to 0.35 percent, Treasury yields fell thanks to huge demand, which drove prices north. Investor movement dictates yields in the Treasury market, which sets rates for mortgages. And thus far, market forces are conspiring to drive some U.S. interest rates even lower than before, which could eventually undermine the Fed’s authority.
They’ve finally stepped up. Five years and 250,000 deaths into the bloody civil war, the United Nations Security Council has agreed on a road map to peace. After five hours of debate yesterday, the body resolved that cease-fire talks should begin next month, followed by elections 18 months later. The proposed truce would not end international airstrikes against “terrorist groups,” including ISIS and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. It also omits any reference to the fate of Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al Assad, casting doubt over chances the plan will take hold.
This is no flash in the pan. While politicians around the world have railed against the murdering militants, a research project involving dozens of interviews with captured ISIS fighters and Muslim youth tried to figure out what’s drawing recruits to this brand of extremism. It found that, far from offering a nihilistic world view, ISIS may be luring young people with the promise of a cause to fight for and believe in. The researchers also noted that Western bombardment and anti-Muslim rhetoric may counterintuitively be aiding the jihadis’ recruitment efforts.
Are they stacking the deck? Voter turnout is critical, but after the U.S. Supreme Court scrapped aspects of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, 2016 is shaping up to be a chess match with certain interests hoping to limit turnout, particularly among Hispanics. Previously regulated by the act, tactics like photo ID requirements, likely to limit minority voting, are being implemented. Hispanic voters could potentially make Texas a Democratic state by 2036, but the new rules could leave those in power holding the winning hand.
China Decries ’provocative’ U.S. Bomber Flights, Budget Battle Ends with Senate Passing $1.8 Trillion Package
China demands halt to ‘provocative’ B-52 flights over South China Sea. (ABC Online)
Senate passes $1.8 trillion budget, which Obama is set to sign. (Huffington Post)
Defense secretary offers condolences after U.S. airstrike kills Iraqi troops. (BBC)
Sanders campaign data breach casts cloud over Democratic debate. (NBC)
Spanish model wins controversy-wracked Miss World competition. (AP)
She was “Born Beautiful.” That was the tag line on boxes of Clairol hair color featuring the face of Black model Tracey Norman in the mid-1970s. Norman followed in the footsteps of Black models like Beverly Johnson, finding success in magazine shoots for Essence and Italian Vogue. But after being outed as transgender, she could no longer find work and disappeared from the New York modeling scene. Norman’s largely forgotten today, but she continues to inspire trans women, including Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox.
Today’s communication revolution demands a fresh take on delivering mail. But try telling that to the Universal Postal Union. Founded in 1874 to make cross-border delivery more fair, the now-U.N.-absorbed entity faces criticism for stifling competition with cost-sharing rules that make it cheaper to buy merchandise from developing nations like China, rather than products made closer to home. This, in turn, hurts online trade, production and postal systems in the West. The next UPU Congress in September could bring change, but observers fear reform proposals may end up in the dead letter office.
Knowledge comes at a price. But in a world of $1 microscopes, benefits reliably outweigh costs. Stanford biophysicist Manu Prakash has sent 50,000 of his paper “Foldscopes” to researchers and classrooms in 130 countries, hoping to reap a grassroots scientific bonanza. It’s part of a frugal scientific trend that includes paper squares for detecting diseases from a drop of blood and postcards that microbe-carrying mosquitoes find tasty. Now Prakash’s colleagues are preparing to test a hand-cranked chemistry set in Kenya, and he plans to distribute thousands of Foldscopes in India.
She’s a jack of all trades. The Master of None star can write, produce and act — in both comedy and drama. Along the way, she’s taken advantage of social media to gain a following and landed on the list of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” and The Hollywood Reporter’s 10 TV breakout stars. In an era where only 4 percent of TV regulars are lesbian, gay or bisexual, Waithe’s intersectional identity as a Black lesbian, along with her ability to mentor and be mentored, has some predicting she’s on the road to moguldom.
In the early ’90s, the University of Arizona defensive star had it all in front of him: a Sports Illustrated cover and three years in the NFL. By 2002, headlines pointed to his association with a marijuana distribution operation, which led to a felony conviction that ruined his career. But today he’s the athletic director at Tucson’s Pueblo Magnet High School, where he steered the school to its first winning season in 12 years. Sanders has been named coach of the year by the Arizona Daily Star and is content preparing for life’s “next play.”