They have a common foe. With time and delegates running out, Donald Trump was hit hard by his rivals and Fox News moderators over his past flip-flops. The billionaire wasn’t afraid to fire back, nicknaming his opponents “Little Marco” and “Lying Ted.” But with a base that’s mostly post-ideological — focused instead on change, no matter how ugly — OZY’s Nick Fouriezos predicts those attacks won’t sway Trump supporters. And when asked to put their differences aside, all four candidates reluctantly agreed to support the eventual nominee.
The Presidential Daily Brief
You can’t keep a megalomaniac down. Others might be cowed or depressed by the U.N.’s new sanctions intended to keep nuclear weapons out of reach, but not North Korea’s Supreme Leader. Instead, Kim decided to boost national morale by launching several short-range projectiles into the sea and announcing that the nation would need to increase its nuclear arsenal, putting its warheads on standby. China’s urging restraint, but the U.S. is going ahead with formal talks about deploying an advanced anti-missile system in South Korea.
They know they could be next. Even Apple’s rivals are going all-in, with Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others filing court briefs hoping to head off what they see as a potential government grab for the right to private data. It’s a bold move, calling public attention to Apple’s court battle against a judge’s order to help get past the encryption on a terrorist’s iPhone. Meanwhile, experts warn that a back door to bypass security measures, which does not currently exist, could grant both governments and criminals a way in.
But what will tech companies do without an endless well of money? They may have to find out, as trusty mutual funds, whose investment dollars have long stoked the boom in high-valued startups, are making fewer new bets and decreasing their old ones. Thirteen startups valued over $1 billion, including Snapchat, Zenefits and Evernote, have lost value for mutual funds: A year ago only three were underwater. The prospect of the well running dry could see Silicon Valley’s strategy of endless growth shift to a focus on the bottom line.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva detained in fraud probe. (BBC)
Rupert Murdoch marries Jerry Hall. (Reuters)
Two jailed in Turkey over Aylan Kurdi’s drowning death. (Reuters)
Slovakia’s prime minister focuses on migrants in re-election bid. (Bloomberg)
Florida revamps death penalty regulations. (NYT)
Honduran human rights activist Berta Cáceres reportedly murdered. (The Guardian)
Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)
The key to beating a tumor may have been inside it the whole time. A British study of melanoma patients tracked their neoantigens — molecules on the surface of cancer cells — and found that those with the most tended to live longest. By targeting neoantigen mutations that develop early and are on all the cancer cells, researchers use T-cells from the patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor. The team hopes this targeted treatment could be up and running in two years, reducing the need for toxic chemo and radiation.
It’s not all in their heads. While gun-related tragedies often prompt assumptions that the culprits were psychologically disturbed, a new study shows that mental health issues aren’t the best predictor of dangerous behavior. Researchers assessed more than 1,000 repeat offenders and found that only 12 percent of their violent acts were preceded by symptoms of psychosis. In fact, most murders stem from anger, revenge, jealousy or drunkenness. And one expert notes that while millions of people are angry, fearful and in despair, “most will never shoot anybody.”
Seeing is believing. This spring, the amusement park chain will equip thrill-seekers on some of its rides with Oculus VR goggles simulating action sequences that are synced to the coasters’ twists and turns. Six New Revolution rides will simulate a space battle with aliens, while three others let riders swoop through the skies with Superman. Parks in Germany and England are also experimenting with similar plans, hoping the virtual thrills will be a cost-effective way to breathe new life into aging attractions.
Best seats in the house? Take your pick. The $1.1 billion transaction approved by board members from AMC Theaters and Carmike Cinemas brings together 8,380 screens, creating what they say will be the largest chain in the world. The combined company will stay headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, and AMC’s CEO Adam Aron and CFO Craig Ramsey will keep their posts. Both companies’ shares rose on the news, making it a big payday for China’s Wanda Group, which acquired AMC for $2.6 billion in 2012.
It can be lonely on top. The soft-spoken 34-year-old MMA champ known as “The Preacher’s Daughter” said there’s not a lot of privacy in her life after defeating Ronda Rousey, and in advance of Saturday’s UFC 196 title defense. She said it’s sometimes hard to be patient when fans even want to take photos in bathrooms and other awkward locations. Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz nearly came to blows during their press conference Thursday, further hyping tomorrow’s confrontation.