Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina are calling it quits. They’ve both announced that they’re ending their bids for the Republican nomination. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is riding high on his New Hampshire win with 35 percent of the vote, and John Kasich’s positive campaign earned a surprise second-place spot. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders also won by double-digits yesterday, sparking speculation that Hillary Clinton may shake up her staff. But OZY co-founder Carlos Watson says Clinton is still likely to win the nomination as all eyes turn to South Carolina.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Bavaria awoke with a jolt this morning when two regional commuter trains collided in the resort town of Bad Aibling, 37 miles southeast of Munich, killing at least nine and injuring scores. One train derailed in the head-on crash, which occurred shortly before 7 a.m. local time, and several cars were overturned. Emergency crews responded, freeing people from the wreckage, and airlifting serious casualties to hospitals. It’s unclear what caused the collision, but authorities expressed relief that due to this week’s local carnival celebrations, schoolchildren weren’t on board.
It’s a rough and tumble approach. The Hermit Kingdom’s satellite, which launched on Sunday and infuriated the world, is “tumbling in orbit” and may be too unstable to provide Pyongyang with any useful information, U.S. officials say. But the fact that the technology used could enable North Korea to launch long-range nuclear missiles remains a concern — and since they restarted the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, the U.S. says the Hermit Kingdom could soon have enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon, despite new economic sanctions from the U.N.
He never has to do this again. The next fiscal year begins in October, and if the bill passes as is it’ll see the deficit increase from $503 billion to $616 billion, partly due to new tax cuts. But many foresee that Congressional Republicans will make passing the budget difficult at best — they’ve vowed to completely ignore the bill. But it doesn’t herald conservative unity — Republican leaders have said passing spending bills is a priority, but ultra-conservative factions are threatening total rebellion over an agreed-upon $30 billion spending increase.
The Year of the Monkey is getting off to a shaky start. Hong Kong police cracked down on illegal food stalls erected for Lunar New Year festivities in the densely populated Mong Kok district, prompting overnight riots. Inspectors tried to remove vendors from the area, and some protesters responded by throwing bricks. Police pulled out their batons and pepper spray, eventually firing two warning shots and arresting 23. Dozens were injured, and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said authorities “will spare no effort to arrest the rioters.”
Call it a negative response. In what’s seen as a harsh consequence of last month’s introduction of negative interest on funds that banks deposit into Japan’s central bank, stocks in the country fell by more than 5 percent today. The Nikkei Stock Average closed down 5.4 percent and the government bond also fell into the red for the first time, further threatening the nation’s nascent recovery program under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. So far, European markets seem to be holding steady, and while the Dow fell at the open, stocks seem to be recovering.
Michael Bloomberg: I may run for president. (FT) sub
Police question developer of collapsed building after Taiwan quake. (BBC)
ISIS leader’s wife faces charges in Kayla Mueller’s death. (CSM)
Former Nepalese leader Sushil Koirala dies at age 78. (SCMP)
Unsafe lead levels not restricted to Flint. (NYT)
Kenya could opt out of Rio over Zika fears. (BBC)
South African president on trial over home upgrade scandal. (DW)
Is justice colorblind? An analysis by Harvard political science professor Maya Sen found that between 2000 and 2012, decisions by Black judges were 10 percent more likely to be overturned on appeal. The study, which controlled for jurisdiction, qualifications and partisanship, presents a worrisome trend because a pattern of overturned verdicts can damage the credibility of judges of color. While it might be a reflection of the slightly more liberal leanings of many Black judges, studies like this may awaken the legal profession to possible implicit racial bias.
They’re not feeling social. India’s government has just put a roadblock between Mark Zuckerberg and his quest to get the whole world online. Free Basics, which offers complimentary Internet access to sites like weather reports, Wikipedia and Facebook, has stalled on the subcontinent after the country banned it in a ruling supporting net neutrality and prohibiting “discriminatory tariffs” based on content. The social network says it’s disappointed by the ruling, but Zuckerberg’s vowing not to give up on connecting India and helping lift people out of poverty.
Temperatures are rising. Australia’s federal science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is cutting the majority of its climate research jobs, with 350 scientists moving to new divisions. Agency CEO Larry Marshall, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, says the debate over climate change is “settled” and doesn’t require more research. Australia is the world’s driest nation and provides the majority of global weather research focused on the Southern Hemisphere. Critics say the country’s climate study and modeling capability will be zapped, thus crippling its ability to battle the heat.
He didn’t need long to create a legacy. The screenwriter behind Monsters, Inc. and Big Hero 6, which won 2015’s Best Animated Feature Academy Award, passed away in his Los Angeles home on Saturday after battling brain cancer, his family announced. Gerson also provided voice work on several other Pixar films and assisted with movies like Cars and last year’s hit Inside Out. Along with the Oscar, the Cornell and NYU graduate’s films earned Disney more than $2 billion in his tragically short run.
He’s been benched. Just halfway into his second season, the former clutch point guard was fired by his one-time coach, current New York GM Phil Jackson. While the Knicks are doing better than this time last year, they’ve still let their season record slip to 23-31 with nine losses in 10 games — and they’re six games outside the NBA playoff race. Assistant Kurt Rambis will take over as interim coach, and rumors suggest that former Lakers Brian Shaw and Luke Walton are likely long-term replacement candidates.