He’s heading north. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán made two high-profile escapes from Mexican prisons, but could now face life behind bars in the United States. He was recaptured a year ago and fought extradition, but lost his final appeal yesterday. Mexican authorities had insisted that Guzmán, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, should serve his sentence at home first, but they’ve relented. He was put on a plane to New York, one of the jurisdictions where he faces charges, and he’ll go before a federal court in Brooklyn today.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The deadline has passed. A Senegalese army spokesman confirmed that forces have entered Gambia to back Adama Barrow, who won December’s presidential election and was inaugurated today. But President Yahya Jammeh, who’s ruled since a 1994 coup, maintains that he isn’t going anywhere. West African leaders from Mauritania and Senegal attempted to persuade him to leave office and avert war, but their efforts appear to have failed. Gambians and tourists are scrambling to escape the country as Senegal follows through on its threat to step in if Jammeh stayed past midnight.
After an avalanche blocked roads and reduced the four-star Hotel Rigopiano to rubble, rescuers — who reached the site on skis at 4 a.m. local time — say up to 30 people are unaccounted for. Local media initially reported “many deaths,” but officials say only one body has been recovered. The disaster was apparently triggered by a series of earthquakes that struck Italy’s tremor-prone central region yesterday, after days of snowy weather. Now emergency teams are starting to dig, hoping to rescue anyone still trapped beneath the nearly 17 feet of snow.
We have a full roster. Donald Trump tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary, completing his Cabinet — the first since 1988 without a single Latino member. Meanwhile, nominees distanced themselves from some of Trump’s positions in confirmation hearings: Gov. Nikki Haley, up for ambassador to the U.N., was tougher on Russia than her prospective boss, while would-be EPA chief Scott Pruitt said he doesn’t think climate change is a “hoax.” But potential health secretary Tom Price, questioned about Trump’s promised Obamacare replacement, kept answers vague.
It’s a cutthroat market. Late last year, following a multi-year oil price slump, OPEC agreed to cut production by nearly 4 percent. Prices are higher now, but that’s luring increased production from outside the 13-member cartel and the 11 other nations that agreed to join its production cuts. In a new report, the International Energy Agency estimates production from non-OPEC countries — mostly the U.S. — is up by 175,000 barrels per day, and new projects in Brazil and Canada will boost that even more in 2017.
Know This: The FBI is probing a wave of bomb threats made on Jewish community centers across America. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin an environmental study, which could take two years, on the effects of disputed sections of the Dakota Access Pipeline. And Beijing is urging President-elect Donald Trump to not allow a Taiwanese delegation to attend his inauguration tomorrow.
Look at This: Shepard Fairey, who designed the iconic “Hope” poster of President Obama, has created a new line of prints ahead of the inauguration, featuring Americans of different ethnic backgrounds captioned “We the People.”
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It’s not a mark to celebrate. Data released yesterday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed 2016 was the hottest year since record-keeping began in 1879. It’s the third consecutive record-breaker, continuing a 40-year rising trend, and data shows the Arctic is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe. While El Niño was a factor, researchers say it only accounts for a fraction of the increase. A cooling La Niña system this year may prevent another heat record, but won’t reverse the disastrous trend.
It’s a matter of degrees. From the Italian engineer who launched a fast food business to the Greek insurance manager now guiding tourists, young Southern Europeans are battling sky-high youth unemployment rates with entrepreneurship and career flexibility. Italy’s triple-dip recession undermined many traditional paths, but new doors are still opening in environmentally friendly construction and hospitality. Meanwhile, in Northern Europe, the EU’s Youth Guarantee program is helping chip away at the number of jobless, while students are pivoting toward technical training and away from the liberal arts.
It’s gone in the blink of an eye. A new study suggests that fake news couldn’t have significantly affected the 2016 election because people barely remember most fabricated stories. A joint Stanford and NYU study of 1,028 Americans who’d followed the election on social media tested their familiarity with various fake and real stories from the past few months. The results — that most people remembered less than one percent of even the most virulent hoax headlines — could allay fears over the so-called pervasiveness of fake news.
Who decides what’s a slur? Controversies over the racially charged names of Washington’s football team and Cleveland’s baseball team could be resolved — legally, at least — via an unlikely ally. The Slants, an Oregon-based Asian-American dance-rock band, want to trademark their name. But that’s proving complicated because it arises from a racial slur, which they argue they’ve reclaimed. If the band wins their Supreme Court case, it could benefit the Redskins, who are appealing the 2014 cancellation of their “disparaging” trademark.
Three’s good company. An Astros slugger, a speedy Expo and a 14-time All-Star catcher topped writers’ ballots to be inducted into Cooperstown this year. Tim Raines, Montreal’s superstar leadoff hitter, ranks fifth in history with 808 stolen bases. Jeff Bagwell twice notched 30-homer, 30-steal seasons for Houston. And Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez won 13 Gold Gloves in his 21-year career. While voters overlooked steroid speculation about Bagwell and Rodriguez, tarnished stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens fell short again and their future chances look murky.