After numerous debates and campaign stops — featuring poetry to verbal spats — Iowans will finally tell us whom they prefer. Voters from the Hawkeye State’s 1,681 precincts will cast their ballots for preferred GOP and Democratic candidates on Monday in races where the “front-runner” labels held by Donald Trump and New York Times-endorsed Hillary Clinton are debatable. “It will all depend on turnout,” says OZY’s Nick Fouriezos, reporting from Des Moines. “If new voters caucus like they did for Obama in 2008, then look out for a Sanders-Trump sweep.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Will they go peacefully? Ammon Bundy reiterated his call to end the protest occupation of a federal wildlife refuge building in rural Oregon. But four holdouts remained as the FBI released footage of authorities fatally shooting movement spokesperson Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. The feds say Finicum was reaching for what could’ve been a loaded weapon, and that they wanted to release the footage in the interest of transparency. Meanwhile, Bundy and 10 others face charges of conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of six years.
This bites. Some 2,100 pregnant Colombian women have been infected by the mosquito-borne virus, and while they might not be sick their babies may suffer severe birth defects. The disease is rapidly spreading in the Western Hemisphere, and cases have cropped up in the U.S., Europe and South America, and many fear travelers could carry the virus even farther. Researchers are scrambling to develop treatments and vaccines before Zika goes global — and some predict the virus will revive abortion debates as El Salvador is already urging women to delay pregnancy until 2018.
They’re not going to take it. Poland’s deposed left is turning out to battle the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), which is buoyed by an increasingly nationalist demographic of underemployed young voters. Opponents have put thousands on the streets, sounding the alarm over the government’s perceived assaults on free expression and an independent judiciary, and Brussels is investigating whether the new restrictions violate EU law. Protesters hope that despite being swayed by the example of Hungarian nationalists, Poles — who’ve benefited economically from EU membership — won’t let hard-fought democratic liberties be stripped away.
ISIS Bombers in Damascus Kills Scores and Trouble Peace Talks, Novak Djokovic Wins Australian Open to Tie Singles Record
Bombing of Damascus Shiite shrine kills more than 60, disrupts peace talks. (Reuters)
Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray Down Under to tie men’s singles record. (NYT)
All three California escapees now back in custody. (LA Times)
Police arrest second Virginia Tech student in teen’s death. (USA Today)
Fatal Denver motorcycle show shootout involved rival gangs. (Denver Post)
The color was blinding. Idris Elba, whose Beasts of No Nation performance got no Oscar nomination, took home an unprecedented two individual acting awards for playing Beasts’ commander of child soldiers and leading BBC’s Luther detective series. Other Black awardees included Viola Davis and Uzo Adubo, both repeating actress awards for roles in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, respectively. Queen Latifah also won for playing Bessie Smith in an HBO biopic in a night that should aid #OscarsSoWhite’s case to get Academy members to look to the rainbow.
She made headlines upsetting a megastar. That was 1999, when American Serena Williams, 17, beat “Miss (Steffi) Graf,” as she called the German who’d captured 22 grand slams — the post-1968 Open Era record. Today Graf compatriot and practice partner Angelique Kerber, 28, returned the favor, nabbing the Australian Open trophy and her first major by beating Williams (21 Grand Slams), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Kerber’s the first German to win a major this century and her feat is sure to launch corks across her homeland.
For political junkies, it’s always been a fix. But following a presidential contest this early, in the so-meh state, usually requires a preternatural electoral attention span. Not so in 2016, where there’s enough wild-eyed front-runners — not to mention losers — to overload your social media feeds. There’s the irascible Donald Trump, of course, and revolution-trumpeting Bernie Sanders. But OZY’s Sean Braswell says it’s Ben Carson’s calm, even “sleepy” delivery that has kept his approval ratings among the field’s highest, even if his position on pyramids will never win over Egyptologists.
Is he the master of the universe? The Cambridge University-based physicist and his colleagues have proposed a solution to the “black hole information paradox.” Back in 1976, Hawking theorized that black holes suck stuff in and then collapse, erasing all evidence of their existence. The paradox? The premise contradicts the physical law that information doesn’t simply vanish. But Hawking’s new paper says remnants of the missing material exist in forms like “soft” photon particles and gravitons in the “empty” space following a collapse, an argument some scientists are greeting with skepticism.
The King of Pop was a gamer. But did he write the music for 1994’s Sonic 3 video game? Though Sega won’t comment, Jackson visited the company in 1993, leading to his team crafting an extensive original soundtrack. But the singer was slapped with child-abuse allegations that same year, and when the game came out, only his colleagues were credited. Now fans are asking if Jackson’s name didn’t appear because of the controversy, or because he was dissatisfied with the game’s limited audio. Either way, conspiracy theorists can now tell skeptics to “Beat It.”
She’s sending Smoke Signals — the name of her bakery deep in the wilds of North Carolina — via Instagram. Jensen structures her days around the rhythms of making bread, baking the loaves in a wood-burning oven while tending to her 90,000 online followers. She doesn’t have a retail space or book deal, but when Jensen hosts her monthly pizza nights, crowds of people — seduced by her images — travel from throughout the region to attend. Once an anarchist feminist, this 33-year-old artist-turned-baker is giving rise to a new kitchen philosophy.
Don’t bet on it. Even though St. Louis and the Rams football franchise have been “married” for 25 years, profit motives are dividing them. For super-fans like Karl Sides, who wears an angry bighorn sheep’s head, the team’s move “leaves a hole” akin to divorce. In a fraught relocation struggle, these oft-televised characters are touchstones, with Ray “Dr. Death” Perez chiding the boss of his beloved Raiders for lamenting fellow NFL owners’ recent decision to keep the team in Oakland. “YOU lost,” Perez says. “It was a glorious day for us.”