They’re hoping it won’t make waves. A 6.9 magnitude temblor struck off the eastern coast of Japan, near Fukushima, today, prompting a tsunami warning of up to 10 feet. Five years ago, the region was plagued by a large tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Today’s quake had an estimated depth of around 7 miles, and while tremors were felt as far away as Tokyo, there have been no reported injuries.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s not backing down. In a video released today, Donald Trump said he would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office, the final nail in the coffin for the world’s largest trade deal. But other global deals are faring better: Trump met with Indian business partners who say his election boosts “president-elect branded” developments, while his children simultaneously run the family business and help their father staff the government. It’s an unprecedented situation, since the mogul has projects around the world, but legal experts say he’s exempt from conflict of interest laws, despite the appearance of using his election for profit.
Au revoir, Sarko. The former president had hoped to make a comeback, but yesterday’s primary saw those hopes dashed by François Fillon and Alain Juppé, both former prime ministers, who’ll continue into the runoff. Whoever wins is expected to face ultranationalist Marine Le Pen in April’s general election. She’s buoyed by anti-immigrant wins in the U.S. and U.K., but polls show her losing in head-to-head matchups with either Fillon or Juppé. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel announced she’ll run for a fourth term as German chancellor next year.
This could be the new normal. A suicide bomber entered Baqir ul Olum mosque in the Afghan capital during a crowded ceremony, killing 27 and wounding at least 35. Recently Afghanistan’s been spared much of the sectarian violence epidemic in Pakistan and Iraq, but that trend could be ending: This attack on the Shiite community, as yet unclaimed, follows an ISIS attack on a Shiite parade in July that killed more than 80 people. Now police are transporting the wounded to hospitals and many fear the death toll may rise.
What’ll be left in 2020? On the final foreign trip of his presidency, Barack Obama cautioned people to “wait and see” whether Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric would soften, and he signaled his willingness to “defend” American ideals once he’s a private citizen again. The Obama administration is reportedly considering lifting additional sanctions on Iran and allowing more U.S. businesses into the Iranian market to strengthen the nuclear deal. Officials hope to shore up a business argument that could keep President-elect Donald Trump from dismantling the hard-won agreement.
Know This: Several children are dead and dozens injured after a school bus crashed into a tree in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Pope has granted priests the right to forgive abortions, though priests in the United States and some other regions already had the power to do so. Some so-called currency vigilantes are betting that Italy’s December referendum will reflect the rising global tide of populism. Australian researchers are emergency crowdfunding to save the orange-bellied parrot from extinction. And an alt-right gathering this weekend included repeated shouts of “Heil the people! Heil victory!” as many worry Donald Trump’s election has empowered the neo-Nazi movement.
Read This: American cities are declaring themselves opposed to mass deportations as Trump’s administration appears to be steaming ahead with its hardline immigration policy.
Beware of Monkey: Four days of violent tribal clashes in Libya that killed at least 16 were apparently sparked when a monkey pulled off a girl’s headscarf.
It’s worship on the move. A growing number of spiritual seekers are taking their church into the mountains, using endurance sports to connect with God far from the confines of any consecrated structure. The number of Americans identifying as Christian is on the decline — down to around 70 percent — but some millennials are finding religion in the endorphin high of a long run or in hybrid gym-churches. As more people join SoulCycle, CrossFit and other movements combining fitness and spiritual enlightenment, their influence will grow.
Forget Google Glass. Wearable camera technology has been slow to catch on for many reasons, not least the unsettling feeling of being spied on. But Snapchat’s Spectacles, which can only be snagged from randomly placed vending machines, are trying to escape that trap, making sharing one’s surroundings the focus rather than the gadget itself. By branding Spectacles as a toy, Snapchat may be able to avoid the hordes of so-called Glassholes who gave Google’s product its creepy image, though they’ll have to wait and see what happens when the hype settles.
Call out the tiny winged army. Florida Keys officials have authorized a trial of Zika-fighting mosquitoes after it was approved on Election Day by voters in Monroe County — which hasn’t yet seen any locally transmitted Zika cases but has struggled with mosquito-borne dengue fever. The trial, which is expected to reduce Aedes aegypti mosquito populations by as much as 90 percent, has been hotly protested (and in one case voted down) by neighboring communities. If it succeeds it could expand to Miami as early as next year.
Enjoy the show. Hamilton theatergoers on Friday booed attending VP-elect Mike Pence, and actor Brandon Victor Dixon asked him to “work on behalf of all of us.” Pence said he wasn’t offended, but Donald Trump, tweeting multiple times over several days, called it harassment and demanded an apology. When he was later lampooned as unprepared on Saturday Night Live, Trump and his impersonator Alec Baldwin traded angry tweets over what Trump saw as “biased” satire. And Kanye West revealed he would have voted Trump — had he bothered to vote.
He could still surpass his heroes. Jimmie Johnson, 41, tied greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with his win yesterday, clinching his seventh Sprint Cup championship. Driving for Hendrick Motorsports, one of NASCAR’s heavy hitters, Johnson hasn’t always been beloved in the grandstands, but neither were Petty and Earnhardt for much of their careers. The Homestead-Miami Speedway fans storming the track and holding up seven fingers showed Johnson finally getting his due — and as the only active driver with seven titles, he has a chance to go further still.