That was quick. House Republicans yesterday yanked a proposal to neuter their independent ethics watchdog, a plan that had been pitched and passed behind closed doors the night before. Activists on the left and right protested, Donald Trump tweeted a rebuke over the initiative’s timing, and representatives were flooded with angry calls. The House did approve another controversial rule to fine members who violate decorum, after last year’s gun control sit-in. Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with George W. and Laura Bush, say they’ll attend Trump’s inauguration.
The Presidential Daily Brief
That’s oil, folks. Rex Tillerson ran Exxon Mobil for a decade, and his 2 million shares of company stock are set to pay out about $182 million over the next ten years. But since he’s been nominated to be Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Exxon announced it’ll cut ties with Tillerson if he’s confirmed, paying him about $180 million cash in installments. Tillerson’s confirmation hearing is expected to begin next week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will likely question his business ties and relationship to Russia’s political elite.
He’s taking his exit early. With three months to go before the U.K. plans to trigger Article 50 and begin the Brexit process, its ambassador in Brussels, Sir Ivan Rogers, has unexpectedly quit. In leaving, he penned an explosive memo to his staff emphasizing that they must challenge “muddled thinking” and “speak truth to power.” He also criticized the U.K. establishment’s lack of negotiating experience and its understanding of Brexit’s difficulties. Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to see pressure to appoint a staunchly pro-Brexit successor.
It was a “rescue operation.” So said the warden of North Cotabato District Jail, where gunmen thought to be Muslim rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attacked at about 1 a.m. local time, possibly to free incarcerated compatriots. At least 150 prisoners are thought to be at large after escaping in the chaos, while six inmates and a guard were killed. MILF is one of several groups struggling through a peace process with President Rodrigo Duterte, but accelerated splintering of the opposition has hampered negotiations.
Know This: Turkish authorities say they’ve established the identity of the gunman who killed 39 people at an Istanbul New Year’s nightclub party. Ford says it’ll be making self-driving and electric cars in Michigan as it cancels plans for a new factory in Mexico. And a North Carolina school security officer has been placed on leave after video surfaced of him slamming a Black female student to the ground.
Political Future? Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg has announced an ambition to have visited all 50 states by the end of 2017, spurring talk that he may be planning a career in politics down the line.
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She’s jumped ship. Kelly, one of Fox News’ biggest names, has announced she’s moving to NBC. If she succeeds there, she’ll be the first star from the conservative network to jump into true mainstream fame. Kelly’s relationship with Fox frayed after she publicly sparred with Donald Trump and testified about sexual harassment by then-CEO Roger Ailes, who was later fired from the Murdoch-owned network. This likely signals a rightward shift for NBC, but also for Fox, which is expected to pick a pro-Trump newscaster to replace Kelly.
We’re never going to let go, are we? A new documentary claims the iceberg wasn’t the only factor in the ship’s 1912 sinking, arguing that it was weakened by a massive coal fire that was purposefully concealed from passengers. Decades of research unearthed photographs showing a dark streak on the Titanic’s exterior before it left port — possibly evidence of a fire that made its hull tear more easily when it slammed into an iceberg. Experts are divided on the theory, one of many conspiracies that have dogged Titanic lore.
It’s more than luck. With lower taxes and a cheaper cost of living than London, the Irish capital is chipping away at the Big Smoke’s fintech dominance. The first three quarters of 2016 saw small Dublin finance companies raise $106 million — that’s 50 percent more than all of 2015 — and the post-recession field of regulatory compliance technology is taking off, too. With European headquarters for Google, Facebook and Airbnb all located there, finance and technology are in close quarters to collaborate on the next big thing.
Sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut. Science had previously classified the mesentery, which connects the intestine to the abdomen, as a series of fragmented structures. But a team of Irish researchers has determined that it’s actually one continuous organ, and it’s been reclassified in heavy-hitting medical textbooks like Gray’s Anatomy. Little’s known about the mesentery, which was sketched by Leonardo da Vinci, including exactly what it does inside the body — but researchers say it could mean a rethink of how we approach abdominal maladies and surgeries.
It wasn’t about wins and losses. When the University of Minnesota suspended 10 football players Dec. 13 in connection with an alleged September sexual assault, the team responded with a two-day boycott, which coach Tracy Claeys publicly supported. Now Claeys has been dismissed, along with seven of his assistant coaches, despite taking the Gophers through their best season since 2003. The school says an overhaul of locker room culture is key to its future, and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck is the top candidate to take over Claeys’ job.