Rescuers picked through the remains of a 17-story residential tower in Tainan today after Saturday’s 6.4-magnitude temblor killed at least 20, most from the toppled Golden Dragon building. A reported 171 were rescued from it, but authorities fear 124 remain trapped. One story from the 80-unit structure involved a cat that refused to leave its 7-year-old owner’s side, mewing until rescuers found him alive. The shaking injured nearly 500 in the city of 1.8 million, and some are urging authorities to probe the doomed tower’s 1989 construction.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Houston, we have a problem. The Hermit Kingdom claims it’s just a science satellite, but even China is calling it a U.N.-prohibited long-range missile test, detected by both American and South Korean military monitors. It’s one of the last things anyone wants the pariah nation to have: A vehicle that could send its nuclear weapons across oceans and continents. Kim Jong-un named the orbiting object after his late father, Kim Jong Il, and if it’s like the last “satellite,” launched in 2012, no one will detect a signal coming from it.
They’re feeling the chill. Reporting from a snowy Granite State, OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says it’s reckoning time for America’s presidential crop. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders must win big to convince voters that their movements are more than mere moments. Last night, Chris Christie savaged Marco Rubio in a GOP debate in Manchester, as Jeb Bush managed to finally establish a presence while debate champ Ted Cruz seemed to rest on his Iowa laurels. Hillary Clinton, polling 20 points behind New England favorite son Sanders, is betting next week’s southern primaries will warm supporters’ hearts.
It’s spiraling out of control. As European officials plead with Ankara to keep the thousands of new refugees surging across its border, Moscow and Damascus seem uninterested in a political solution to a conflict that has claimed an estimated 300,000 lives and left many starving. As soon as Geneva peace talks began this week, Assad and his Kremlin backers attacked Aleppo and Homs. Negotiations were suspended, and U.S. officials admonished Russia for the violence. Meanwhile, cries for aid have raised billions for those fleeing the fighting, but hopes for peace are fading.
Will they go nuclear? To help understand how the world might end — or be saved — the BBC assembled a team of British former military officers and diplomats in a “war room” with a fictional doomsday scenario. Mirroring the unrest in Ukraine, an uprising of Russian separatists in NATO-aligned Latvia triggers an escalation that gets London vaporized. Then it’s up to the decision-makers to retaliate by launching submarine-based ICBMs. With the planet in peril, each player must decide whether to give in or unleash a barrage of nuclear missiles.
Is it slip slidin’ away? Britain’s BP suffered a $6.5 billion loss last year, Chevron dipped in the fourth quarter, and Shell’s profits are down. America’s industry leader, Exxon Mobil, raked in $16.2 billion, but that’s only half of what it earned in 2014. Economists point their fingers at a strong U.S. dollar, low commodity prices and emerging market sluggishness. Citigroup, meanwhile, optimistically forecasts $50 barrels by year’s end. But others say oil producers must embrace digital supply systems to cut costs and boost supply efficiency now, rather than later.
Authorities Probe Nuclear Plant Water Leak Near NYC, Anti-Islam Protesters Clash With Police in Europe
Gov. Cuomo orders probe of radioactive leak 40 miles from NYC. (NYT)
Clashes erupt as anti-Muslim groups protest across Europe. (AP)
Twin brothers die sledding on Canadian Olympic bobsled track. (CBC)
Haiti’s leader departs as provisional government takes over. (Miami Herald)
Bomb blamed for hole that sucked passenger from jet over Somalia. (AFP)
It was a grinder. Despite all the hype about quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, the defenses dominated Sunday night in a 24-10 showdown. Denver proved a team can win almost entirely on defense, as Manning barely managed 140 yards and no touchdowns. But it was enough to topple the normally unstoppable Panthers offense, which was shuttered most of the game. Manning will now take some time to reflect on his future, though most experts assume he’ll retire with his legacy and second Super Bowl ring secured. Should he stay, or should he go? Take our poll below.
What doesn’t kill them … Some parents are heeding psychologists’ advice and letting kids play in ways that make others cringe — in the hopes of stimulating creativity and giving them a mental and academic edge. Children, especially in upper-socioeconomic rungs, have long been limited to rubberized play to keep them safe. But that doesn’t provide the same learning experience as a rope swing over a pond or a rickety wooden fort. Trouble is, kids can and do get hurt, making it tough to convince western safety regulators to cry anything other than “foul play.”
Move over, whiskey snobs. Masters of the Japanese rice wine can alter its delicate taste simply by changing the shape of the cup. Some sake breweries ask that people not even sip coffee before visiting — such is the need to control the fermentation and sensory environment. Bartender Yusuke Shimoki pays minute attention to every detail at his bar in the tiny town of Yamanaka Onsen, where he teaches youthful Japanese and anyone else who’ll listen, and drink, in a bid to resurrect this ancient spirit from decades of declining popularity.
It’s one for the ages. Scientists at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic can now flush “retired” cells — those that have stopped dividing — from the bodies of mice. These senescent cells promote aging, and, once cleared, the test rodents live 25 percent longer. What’s more: The treatment actually reversed the effects of aging in middle-aged mice, leading to what one biotech venture capitalist called a “holy crap” moment. Trials in people may not be far off, but there are risks, and human life-spans mean we may grow old awaiting the results.
They’re writing the next chapter. Amazon has announced plans to open a chain of physical bookstores, conjuring the ghosts of shuttered Borders outlets. But it’s not so crazy, experts say, because online retailing is struggling with paper-thin profit margins and high shipping costs. Meanwhile, the number of brick-and-mortar booksellers has grown by 25 percent in the past six years. The e-commerce giant must now shop for prime locations for its modest move off-line … and a chance to finally meet customers face to face.
You can’t knock them off their game. NFL loyalty remains strong even as fans lose faith in religion, government and family. Under an ever-darkening cloud of traumatic brain injuries, declining youth participation and lawsuits, the league continues to enjoy record ratings for events like this weekend’s Super Bowl, while raking in a whopping $12.4 billion last year, nearly double that of a decade ago. Owners call the shots, but the buck stops with commissioner Roger Goodell, backed by high-powered Washington, D.C.-politicos and lobbyists. Despite being a magnet for criticism, Goodell is earning his ring.