It’s no joke. Pennsylvania prosecutors have filed sexual assault charges against the 78-year-old comedian over an alleged incident in 2004. While prosecutors didn’t name the victim, the accusations mirror those made by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the first to publicly point a finger at Cosby, saying he drugged and fondled her. Cosby was arraigned and pled not guilty before being released on $1 million bail. Prosecutors had earlier declined to file charges, citing insufficient evidence. If found guilty, the funnyman could face up to 10 years in prison.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It was close, and they called. But Iran broadcast its warning that it would fire unguided missiles near a U.S. aircraft carrier only 23 minutes beforehand, which is “unsafe, unprofessional and inconsistent with international maritime law,” U.S. Central Command charged today. The vessel was accompanied by an American destroyer and French frigate through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entrance to the Persian Gulf and a key shipping corridor for anti-ISIS operations, during the Saturday incident. Iran hasn’t commented, but the incident is likely to complicate implementation of its new nuclear deal.
Brace yourself. The U.S. space agency cautions that the phenomenon could be as severe as history’s worst 17 years ago. That means unusually warm weather for the Northern Hemisphere and extreme weather events, such as California being inundated with rain as it was in 1998. The periodic condition involves normally warm central Pacific waters expanding eastward. So far, it’s being blamed for the worst floods in a half-century hitting South America and high water in northern Britain — and aid agencies warn that it may curtail food supplies for famine-hit populations in Africa.
Why yes, he was running. The former New York governor reportedly told supporters in New Hampshire he’s “suspending” his presidential bid after failing to rise above zero percent in the polls. Despite being elected three times to run the Empire State, the 70-year-old stumbled in fundraising attempts and never qualified for the main stage in any of the Republican debates. Pataki, a moderate, has tried to gain traction by attacking frontrunner Donald Trump and calling the primary a “reality gong show” — a performance that must now go on without him.
It’s an exclusive club. An army of lawyers, lobbyists and activists reportedly make up the “income defense industry,” which has quietly created a host of tax shields for America’s elite earners. It benefits billionaires of all stripes, from GOP-backing hedge fund magnate Daniel Loeb to Democrat-funding George Soros, and its influence has spread from the tax code’s fine print to campaign-trail rhetoric. Since the 1990s, these loopholes reduced the tax liability on the nation’s wealthiest 400 by 10 percentage points — but an outgunned IRS is currently struggling to reverse that trend.
Levees can’t hold back Mississippi floodwaters in Missouri. (CNN)
Another North Korean official reportedly dies in car accident. (NYT)
Two arrested in alleged New Year’s terror plot in Turkey. (AP)
Pizza delivery gave away ‘affluenza’ teen’s whereabouts in Mexico. (CBS Dallas)
‘Glee’ cast member Mark Salling faces child porn charges. (Washington Post)
It’s the only thing that makes life worth it, or a bitter, twisted lie — depending on whom you ask. But everyone’s got an opinion on love, and OZY’s exploring a few of them today. Learn about the process of getting married in India, which includes a dossier of potential mates and an emphasis on reading your horoscope for clues to the future. Then delve into the science of attraction with a look at fruit fly biology. Spoiler: hotness won’t make you happy.
It may be under control. After more than 2,500 deaths, the country’s leaders plan to celebrate with fireworks and concerts now that the World Health Organization has declared Guinea free of the deadly virus, with no new cases in the last 42 days — twice Ebola’s incubation period. An official said the mood was “humble,” noting that entire families had been lost. It’s the first time since the outbreak that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have all passed clearance tests — but experts warn that close monitoring is vital to keep the disease from returning with a vengeance.
They’re Uber-bummed. Chief Executive Sunil Paul announced that all rides and deliveries will cease December 31. Launched in 2012, the regulation-friendly company was actually early to the ride-hailing game, but quickly lost ground to Uber and Lyft. It featured consumer-friendly options rivals didn’t, including letting riders choose drivers and eschewing additional peak-time charges. The company raised $35 million behind high-profile investors like Richard Branson, far short of the billions its competitors attracted. Paul said the company will continue working toward the next “big thing,” but didn’t offer specifics.
“Estranged” no more. The band’s core members haven’t played a show together since 1993, but that’s reportedly about to change in April when Axl Rose and lead guitarist Slash headline at Southern California’s Coachella music festival. If all goes well, there are whispers that the pair, along with original bassist Duff McKagan and longtime drummer Matt Sorum, could embark on a 25-date stadium tour next summer. Apparently you can put a price on nostalgia, with prime tickets expected to have a face value of up to $275 each.
He may have to fly south. The former University of Oregon Ducks football coach was booted by Philadelphia after nearly three seasons. The innovative 52-year-old had a promising first year, but his team collapsed to a 6-9 record this season after Kelly won more personnel authority and did some questionable roster-shuffling. Former Cleveland skipper Pat Shurmur will shepherd the team’s season finale against the New York Giants. Speculation has a number of pro and college teams recruiting Kelly, including the Tennessee Titans, who drafted his protégé, Marcus Mariota.