The secret’s out. Details of offshore accounts linked to a dozen current and former world leaders, among others, were made public in what may be the biggest private data leak ever. Yesterday news broke of an investigation into 2.6 terabytes of data leaked from a powerful Panamanian law firm. They allegedly reveal $2 billion in murky funds linked to Putin and new details on the FIFA bribery scandal. Now politicos in Iceland are calling for a snap election after Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was implicated, and tax authorities around the world are launching investigations.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’ve been invited to leave. The first boatloads of migrants have been transferred from the two Greek islands to Turkey, and the controversial EU plan for stemming its refugee crisis is officially underway. Scores of refugees who reportedly hadn’t applied for asylum were piled onto ferries this morning and sailed to Dikili in western Turkey. Some believe the transferring plan is illegal, but the first returns were conducted peacefully — though aid groups say they’re concerned this is just the beginning of a program of unethical mass deportation.
The Big Cheese will be chosen tomorrow. That’s when Dairyland voters choose between the GOP front-runner — who’s been picking on their popular governor — and Ted Cruz. “We sent him packing like a little boy,” Trump said about Walker’s exit from the campaign trail early on, while claiming the Badger State “is doing very poorly.” Cruz, meanwhile, is trying to exploit the billionaire’s increasing unpopularity with women, and the ballots will prove whether he can retain the 10 percentage point lead he’s enjoying in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
There’s more blood on the tracks. A train bound for Savannah from New York City crashed into a backhoe just south of Philadelphia yesterday, killing two Amtrak employees aboard the digger and injuring 35 passengers. The crash follows last year’s speeding-train derailment in the City of Brotherly Love, which claimed eight lives and injured 200. Normal train service along the Northeast U.S. corridor is expected to resume today as federal investigators begin piecing together why the backhoe was on the tracks, and how its presence went unnoticed.
Weekend flooding kills at least 53 in Pakistan. (BBC)
Supreme Court rejects conservative challenge to drawing of legislative districts. (Reuters)
Joe Medicine Crow dies at age 102. (AP)
22 European terror suspects remain at large. WSJ (sub)
Lagarde dismisses notion that Greece is being pushed toward default. (FT) sub
Suicide bombings across Iraq kill about 25. (Reuters)
They weren’t even supposed to be there. Kris Jenkins hit a 3-pointer as time expired, giving his team a dramatic victory over North Carolina, 77-74. The 70,000 fans in attendance were treated to a great college hoops performance, with both squads trading leads until the very end. It’s the Wildcats’ first NCAA title since 1985, and comes on the heels of two disappointing seasons. Afterward coach Jay Wright said he couldn’t wait to see a replay of his own reaction to what’s being called an instant classic.
Hair today, gone tomorrow. As the airline restarts service to Tehran, it’s stirred controversy with an internal memo asking female flight attendants to wear head scarves and loose-fitting clothing in Iran as a nod to cultural norms. In France, full-face veils worn publicly for religious purposes are illegal. While flight attendants already don abayas on Saudi Arabian stopovers, crew members protested the latest request, leading to a union fight. Air France finally conceded that staff can opt out of the Paris-to-Tehran route when it launches April 17.
Did they think this wouldn’t make headlines? It’s the seven-million strong country’s turn to host global leaders for two meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year, where regional representatives will get to address some of Asia’s most pressing issues — like South China Sea disputes, trade deals and environmental concerns. But not everyone’s getting the royal treatment. Strict restrictions have been in place for journalists covering the summits, including a clause allowing government censors to vet all dispatches, ahead of the first summit later this month.
Two military intelligence analysts say they they will no longer be working at U.S. Central Command because they expressed skepticism of U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria. A $500-million plan to arm and train the rebels to fight ISIS failed. Military brass allegedly doctored intelligence to show the White House a sunnier view of the “moderate” opposition’s capabilities, and analysts claim there was internal pressure to say the war on ISIS was going well. Congress and the Pentagon are investigating, and the military has announced a new director of intelligence at CENTCOM.
These drivers have a lust for power. CEO Elon Musk says his electric car company has already received 276,000 orders for the latest model of its all-electric sports car, with some comparing the excitement to those who line up to buy the newest iPhones. Fueling demand is a $35,000 baseline price, improved driving capacity of 200 miles per charge, and an American $7,500 EV tax credit. But more folks are hitting the e-pedal than Musk anticipated, and orders could exceed $20 billion before the vehicle ships next year.
They’re living in limbo. Some 150,000 Saharawi refugees fled to Algeria after losing a war to Morocco over the annexation of their homeland — and 40 years later, they’re still living in a desert settlement made of mud. Their camps have local elections, shops and a hospital, as well as rampant malnutrition and high infant mortality. Despite that, these refugees find themselves considered too well-off to warrant the help they need as the world’s eyes — and foreign aid — are being redirected to more recent crises in the Middle East.
She’s not changing her tune. “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors,” the singer posted in an Instagram caption, claiming Sony offered to release her from her contract — an outcome she’s been fighting for legally — if she took back her accusations of rape and abuse against former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. While Sony says the pop star is already free to record without Gottwald, many other musicians have publicly supported her fight. Kesha says she won’t recant or apologize, even if it ruins her career.
She’s kicking herself. The retired U.S. women’s soccer forward apologized after the weekend incident, in which police say the 35-year-old ran a red light and failed a sobriety test but was “polite and cooperative.” The all-time international scoring leader said she accepts “full responsibility” for her actions. But that didn’t stop a few people, namely USMNT player Alejandro Bedoya, from taking shots at her via Twitter. More importantly, the news could impact Wambach’s corporate endorsements and political activism, not to mention her sport’s fight for equal pay.