The preacher’s son pulled it off, winning 28 percent of the vote to Trump’s 24 percent. OZY co-founder Carlos Watson says the Hawkeye State has effectively ended The Donald’s campaign, and he welcomes the rise of a Cuban-American — Cruz or Marco Rubio, who garnered 23 percent — to the top of a presidential ticket. Clinton, meanwhile, has claimed a narrow victory over Bernie Sanders, and Watson predicts the former secretary of state will be the Democratic nominee, even if she’s not (yet) expected to take New Hampshire.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s officially a crisis. A World Health Organization committee met today to decide whether the mosquito-borne virus is bad enough to declare a global emergency — and they’ve decided it is, perhaps spurred by criticism of how long the body waited to declare an emergency in the case of last year’s Ebola outbreak. Last week, WHO experts said the illness was spreading “explosively,” with some 4 million estimated infections throughout the Americas — and this new classification means research into the disease will be fast-tracked, as will aid to affected countries.
The country has ushered in their first freely elected legislature in five decades, but a question remains over who will officially lead. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won by a landslide, but the longtime human rights campaigner is ineligible to hold the presidency. With today’s opening session of parliament, the focus turns to who will succeed Thein Sein in March, and while Suu Kyi vows that she’ll be “above the president,” there are rumors that her chief of staff or personal physician may be handpicked for the official role.
Move over, Taliban. The American anti-ISIS push has moved beyond Iraq and Syria and into Afghan territory. Commando raids and airstrikes have been carried out in the mountainous region near the Pakistan border, where U.S. commanders say around 100 of an estimated 1,000 extremists have been killed. Former CIA deputy director and OZY contributor John McLaughlin has noted the militants’ strategy of expansion via concentric rings, and this effort, which may soon be bolstered by a similar push in Libya, signals Obama’s intention to tackle the spread of ISIS affiliates.
They don’t want to slip and fall. Faced with sliding oil prices, Nigeria is negotiating with the World Bank for $2.5 billion and the African Development Bank for $1 billion in emergency loans. This is to help balance a $15 billion state deficit driven by public spending efforts to stimulate Africa’s largest economy. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government gets two-thirds of its revenue from oil exports, so finances have been hit hard by crude’s recent plummet, but the banks have yet to approve any such loans.
Boko Haram kills 86, burns children alive, in northern Nigeria. (Al Jazeera)
Chechen leader posts video showing Putin critic in a sniper’s crosshairs. (BBC)
China punishes 27 officials over unlawful execution of teen. (BBC)
Talks over Britain’s possible exit from EU extended amid reports of ‘breakthrough.’ (DW)
World’s ‘best chef’ found dead in apparent suicide at age 44. (France24)
At leat 20 dead in Kabul suicide bombing. (NYT)
They’re slicing and dicing. CRISPR is a controversial technique that allows researchers to edit DNA containing pieces that will keep a fetus from properly developing. Now the U.K. will pioneer its use in humans — no other country allows such research — though none of the edited embryos will be born, implanted in wombs, or even permitted a lifespan of longer than two weeks. The research team is hoping it’ll give them insight into infertility, but others worry the tech could lead to designer babies — or worse.
Big Brother may be watching. Cell-site simulators are surveillance devices that ping mobile phones by mimicking cell towers. But instead of placing calls, they track a phone’s signal — pinpointing its location — and can even collect identifying information from the phone and record the content of texts and live calls. Critics worry that these devices, purchased by agencies in 23 U.S. states so far, are essentially wiretaps and violate the Fourth Amendment. A new bill aims to require law enforcement to obtain warrants before deploying Stingray technology.
Was it divine intervention? Israel’s Cabinet yesterday approved a measure allowing non-Orthodox worshippers at the Wailing Wall, with plans for a $9 million shared-space plaza where both genders can pray together. Worship at the wall is controlled by ultra-Orthodox authorities, and women have historically been forbidden from praying alongside men. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly pushed for the change to placate American Jews, noting that this “fair and creative” solution should “unite the Jewish people.” But strong opposition is being voiced by more Orthodox circles.
Call it a cosmic crash course. Earlier hypotheses about the moon’s origins pointed to the young planet Theia sideswiping an infant Earth 4.5 billion years ago and creating our natural satellite. But a new UCLA study of oxygen isotopes in moon rocks finds that they’re identical to those in terrestrial rocks, meaning that Theia and Earth probably met in a violent head-on collision resulting in a substantial mixing of material that created the moon. The findings could help science better understand lunar beginnings and our now-extinct planetary cousin.
Nate Parker was already having a good week. His writing and directing debut about Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion was just optioned by Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million. And now he can add the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award — considered the two most prestigious prizes of the 11-day festival — to his list of accolades. OZY’s Libby Coleman, reporting from Sundance, says this should launch Parker’s career beyond acting into that of a signature director and cinematic voice.
He had his eyes on history. The 28-year-old Serb didn’t even play his best, but it was enough to quickly dispatch Andy Murray in straight sets for his sixth Australian Open win. The sport’s top player has now reached the level of greats Bjorn Borg and Rob Laver with 11 Grand Slam titles. Asked afterward, Djokovic said he couldn’t deny that thoughts of making “history” were a great motivator. And his victory, including a semifinal triumph over Roger Federer, is prompting speculation about his place among the all-time best.