OZY’s own Nick Fouriezos writes on the GOP Debate: Who needs enemies with friends like these? Only weeks before the primaries, the sixth GOP debate became a bar brawl between former pals turned rivals. Donald Trump questioned whether Ted Cruz, born in Canada to an American mother, was eligible for the presidency — and Cruz, who had played buddy-buddy until this point, launched an assault on Trump’s “New York values.” Soon, everyone joined in: Marco Rubio and Chris Christie tussled and Jeb piled on Trump. But as candidates jockeyed to separate themselves, the only real resolution was anybody but Hillary.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Investors will have to settle for less. The agreement, still pending approval from the Justice Department, includes a $2.4 billion civil penalty, $875 million in cash and $1.8 billion in “consumer relief.” The bank has been accused of selling mortgage securities that were likely to fail to unwitting customers in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The consumer relief is said to include loan forgiveness for underwater homeowners and support for affordable housing. The settlement will reportedly reduce Goldman’s fourth quarter after-tax earnings by $1.5 billion. It’s quarterly report is due January 20.
ISIS just rocked Jakarta. Multiple bombs struck the central part of the capital today, with gun battles hitting the streets. At least seven were killed when suicide bombers detonated devices in front of a shopping mall near embassies and U.N. offices. Five attackers are among the dead, and three more have been arrested. Indonesia has been on alert for months in response to threats from ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, and President Joko Widodo is urging his nation to not be afraid of “such terror acts.”
’Tis definitely not the season. Alex is the first hurricane to form in January since 1938 — though Hurricane Alice in 1955 struck in January, it formed in December — and it’s the strongest January hurricane ever recorded, with winds of 85 mph and a classification as Category One. It’s forecast to move north over the next few days, and is headed straight for the Azores, where it’s expected to dump heavy rain and strong winds on the islands tonight and tomorrow morning.
Three Americans are richer today and probably have a lot more friends … unless they misplaced their tickets. The $1.5 billion lottery, played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, has at least three winners. California officials say a golden ticket was purchased in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb, and more winning stubs were reportedly bought in Florida and Tennessee. It’s unclear whether there are others with the lucky numbers, but the federal government will also enjoy a windfall when each winner pays 39.6 percent tax on their prize.
Investors hit the brakes this morning after hearing that French authorities searched several of the brand’s sites last week. The raids, which caused stocks to crash by more than 20 percent today to a low not seen since 1994, were possibly linked to an emissions fraud probe. The firm says it is cooperating fully with investigators, who were reportedly checking factory equipment and engine control units. They also took away managers’ computers for testing, according to the CGT union, in an investigation that is bound to affect more European brands.
Will this give him a run for his money? The GOP presidential candidate is under fire following reports that he didn’t disclose a nearly $500,000 Goldman Sachs loan to the Federal Election Commission during his 2012 Senate campaign. Cruz calls it an “inadvertent filing error,” saying the information has been public for many years. However, he’s often described how his family “liquidated” their life savings to fund that campaign, so while Cruz may fix the error with the FEC, voters will decide whether it’s enough to repay his debt.
They’re not hot commodities. Yesterday’s sell-off on Wall Street, which saw shares fall more than 2 percent thanks to new concerns over oil prices, hit Asia like a hammer today, culminating in Japan’s Nikkei 225 closing down 2.7 percent. Brent crude prices dropped to $29.73 a barrel earlier this week — their lowest since 2004 — and have since risen slightly to $30.05. Some investors now worry that the U.S. economy can’t handle four rate hikes this year, which could force the Fed into a more gradual course.
Israel’s Shimon Peres has ‘mild’ heart attack. (AP)
Obama approves record $70 million expansion of refugee aid. (USA Today)
American sailors apologize for mistake in video released by Iran. (ABC)
Attack on police station in Turkey leaves five dead, 39 wounded. (DW)
Ferry bomb threat prompts evacuation of Sydney Opera House. (SMH)
Mixed response to Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for GOP tolerance. (Washington Post)
They’re going for the gold. The Academy Awards released their list of potential winners today in Beverly Hills, and it contained few surprises: As expected, Leonardo DiCaprio, four-time nominee, and Eddie Redmayne, who won last year, both received nominations for Best Actor. However, director George Miller saw a surprise nod for Mad Max: Fury Road, which will also compete for Best Picture alongside The Revenant, which got 12 nominations, and Spotlight which nabbed six. The Oscars will take place February 28, with Chris Rock at the helm for film’s swankiest awards show.
For many, he was malicious potions master Professor Snape in Harry Potter. But the London-born actor’s career defied generalization, with star turns in romantic comedies like Love Actually, blockbusters like Die Hard and critical darlings like The Butler. Rickman’s family confirmed that he’d been battling cancer in secret, and British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn remembered him as “one of the greatest actors of his generation.” His legions of fans, meanwhile, can look forward to his final film, Eye in the Sky, due out in March.
They’d love to have you … in a country that technically doesn’t exist. The self-declared nation of Somaliland, which seceded from Somalia in 1991, estimates that it’s doubled its tourist visitors since 2010. Admittedly, it still only had 700 vacationers in 2015, but those who came enjoyed prehistoric cave paintings, undeveloped beaches and ancient sacred ruins. If Somaliland can keep it up, the increasing tourist trade could be a boon to a nation as-yet-unrecognized by the international community that’s struggling to survive in the face of a crippling drought.
They’re lighting up Bean Town. Boston won a competitive bid over the Big Apple and Fairfield, Connecticut, GE’s home since 1974. And it didn’t come cheap, with the state offering $120 million in grants and other perks, along with $25 million in property tax relief from the city. CEO Jeff Immelt said he was drawn to Boston’s academic atmosphere and how it attracts “a diverse, technologically fluent workforce.” Some staff will begin relocating this summer, with the official move to a Seaport District site to be completed by 2018.
They can’t take the heat. The law of the jungle is eat or be eaten, so most of the food chain develops defenses. This includes plants, many of which contain toxins that can accumulate in the bodies of animals over time. A new study shows that in warmer temperatures desert woodrats are significantly less able to shake off those toxins. And the findings appear consistent in other species, which means that the 40 percent of animals who eat only plants could be at risk as the planet warms up.
Don’t expect breathless acceptance speeches. The Razzie noms for 2015 have landed, and Fifty Shades of Grey took a beating … alongside Pixels, Jupiter Ascending and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, with six nods each. The acting D-list includes Adam Sandler (his 13th Worst Actor nod), plus recent Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, Gwyneth Paltrow and even Johnny Depp, who was nominated for Worst Screen Combo, along with his mustache, for the comedy Mortdecai. Those dreading final decisions must wait until Feb. 27, when “winners” can collect their spray-painted trophies.
No one saw this coming. The former NFL running back and two-time national champion Nebraska star was found unresponsive in his cell yesterday at Kern Valley State Prison. Phillips, 40, had been serving 31 years for assaulting an ex-girlfriend and running his car into three teenagers. But he was also facing a murder charge — and possibly the death penalty — for the alleged killing of his former cellmate. His death is being investigated as a suicide, which his attorney said would be out of character for his “optimistic” client.