It wasn’t even close. The real estate mogul declared he’s “winning the country” after taking 45 percent of the vote in the casino-friendly state, his best showing yet. OZY’s national politics reporter Nick Fouriezos notes that the rout is particularly devastating to the ABT — “Anybody But Trump” — crowd. They’ve rallied around Marco Rubio, who’s still battling for second place. But the night and its record Republican turnout belonged to Trump, with just a week left before a Super Tuesday that could crown him the next GOP nominee for president.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s planning to make good on his campaign promise. The President’s setting up a battle with Congress over shutting down the controversial offshore prison, which currently holds 91 detainees. A Pentagon report has identified over a dozen potential sites in the U.S. that could be renovated to hold them — at a potential cost of $475 million — and estimate closing Guantanamo Bay would save taxpayers $85 million per year. Officials say this is just a starting point for discussion, but Congresspeople are likely to oppose the prospect of housing potential terrorists in their states.
It’s not quite water under the bridge. After a week of rioting and violence, the Indian army has regained control of a key canal seized by Jat protesters, partially restoring water to India’s capital. The protests — stemming from anger over caste job quotas — sparked a water shortage affecting more than 10 million residents. While it’s begun flowing for many, officials say the crisis isn’t over and are urging folks to consume sparingly. They’re also warning that damages to the sabotaged system could take two weeks to fix.
They’re giving it a shot. Washington and Moscow say the truce begins on Saturday, and they’re giving opposition groups until Friday to get on board. The agreement excludes ISIS, al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front and other U.N.-designated terrorist groups, which Syrian, Russian and U.S.-led coalition forces will continue to bombard. There’s plenty of pessimism, and it remains unclear how Kurdish fighters will react. But some rebel groups have tentatively signed on, Bashar Assad has reportedly accepted the deal, and if the ceasefire holds, peace talks could resume within days.
He’s finally gone too far — no, not Donald Trump. Previously accused of dirty tactics in Iowa and South Carolina, Ted Cruz saw those charges resurface in an ugly way yesterday after his communications director, Rick Tyler, posted a link to a video that twisted Marco Rubio’s words about the Bible. Cruz asked for Tyler’s resignation in response, but OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says the misstep highlights a campaign that has repeatedly hovered over the line of fair play. If that perception sticks, it could sully Cruz’s crucial evangelical support.
Should they stay, or should they go? An awful lot is riding on the June 23 public referendum, says OZY contributor Simon Constable. Debate is raging over whether Britain — the bloc’s second-largest economy — or Europe need one another more. The pound is weakening in response, and more volatility is expected. But there’s also the geopolitical impact of a weakened EU facing an ever-aggressive Russia to consider, plus Scotland’s likely rethink on independence should the U.K. decide to go it alone.
Passenger train derails in the Netherlands, killing one. (BBC)
Nevada Republicans hold their caucuses today. (USA Today)
Mars recalls Mars and Snickers bars in Germany. (BBC)
Michigan suspect admits to shootings, family devastated. (Detroit News)
Cyclone death toll rises to 29 in Fiji as cleanup gets underway. (AFP)
Standard Chartered bank reports annual net loss, pushing shares down. (FT) sub
Slovenia deploys army to deal with refugee influx. (DW)
It’s getting personal, and both sides have taken their case to the court of public opinion. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to employees labeling the government’s order to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s phone a “dangerous precedent” to civil liberties. And FBI Director James Comey issued his own online commentary, asking critics to “take a deep breath.” So far, the government is ahead in a Pew poll, with 51 percent saying Apple should comply, and the company has until the court’s deadline of Friday to formally respond.
They didn’t pull this out of thin air. The Chinese government has helped fund a Duke University study to understand exactly how polluted Beijing’s air is. Rats kept in a chamber filled with the capital’s air for just 19 days suffered cholesterol levels 97 percent higher than those kept in clean air, plus lung inflammation and early warning signs for diabetes — conditions related to obesity. The effects worsened with prolonged exposure, and researchers now say a human study needs to be done to build support for environmental reform.
No friends with Zenefits in the office. Staff at the $4.5 billion HR software maker were reportedly told last summer that their partying had gone too far after used condoms were found on site. An email warned them to tone it down, and “not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat or have sex.” The troubled startup has also suffered missed revenue targets and regulatory violations, prompting founder Parker Conrad to step down as CEO. David Sacks has now taken the helm and aims to clean up the firm’s image.
Why are the #OscarsSoWhite? Because Hollywood is. Researchers at USC found that of 11,306 speaking roles in more than 400 movies and TV shows, only a third were female, 28 percent were minorities and just 2 percent were identified as LGBT. While most major media firms earned depressingly failing grades, the study’s authors say companies like Hulu, Amazon and the CW showed some promise when it came to inclusivity. Meanwhile, the entire entertainment industry is preparing to be skewered by Chris Rock when he hosts the Oscars this Sunday.
They’re in uncharted territory. Gasoline cost $1.05 a gallon the last time the heralded women’s college basketball squad fell out of the AP Top 25 poll. The streak of 565 consecutive weeks went back to February 17, 1985, and included 103 No. 1 rankings. Tennessee has slipped to just 16-11 this year, a result coach Holly Warlick acknowledged was disappointing. The current longest-ranking streak now belongs to UConn, but even with 428 weeks under their belt, they’d need another seven years to beat the record.