He’s tried and tested. A week after Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser, President Donald Trump has named Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as Flynn’s replacement. McMaster — who Trump described as “a man of tremendous talent” — served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been known throughout his Army career for searingly honest critiques of his commanders. He was the choice of several congressional Republicans — who may see Trump’s decision as a sign that the president could be willing to be counseled when making appointments and decisions.
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There are no secrets in the video age. Hate speech proponent Milo Yiannopoulos has had his invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded after audio surfaced of Yiannopoulos seeming to condone pedophilia. The Breitbart News editor apparently also cracked a joke about a sexual incident he had with a Catholic priest as a child in the audio clip. American Conservative Union president, Matt Schlapp, said that while CPAC invited constructive disagreements between conservatives, ”there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”
Uber isn’t messing around anymore. After former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti wrote a blog post about her experience with sexual harassment during her time under the employ of the ride-share giant, CEO Travis Kalanick has called for a full investigation. Kalanick took to Twitter to condemn what happened to Rigetti, calling it “abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in”. He has asked for Chief Human Resources Officer, Liane Hornsey, to launch an inquiry that will result in heads rolling, if the allegations are proved true.
For many Americans, today is opposites day. Renaming Presidents Day “Not My Presidents Day”, protesters will march on Trump International Hotel today in New York City. Large crowds are expected in Columbus Circle at noon today, culminating at 4 p.m. on Central Park West and 61st Street. The event’s Facebook page explains, “Donald Trump is literally our President, but figuratively, he has attacked every value New Yorkers embody and does not represent our interests.” Not My Presidents Day marches will also occur in other cities across the U.S., including Chicago, D.C. and L.A.
Someone’s got to take the blame. After North Korea bristled at insinuations that it was behind the Kuala Lumpur assassination of Kim Jong Un’s exiled half-brother, it shot back that Malaysia may be conspiring with “hostile forces.” Malaysia promptly recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang, even as CCTV footage was released today revealing the attack by at least one woman. Four people have been detained in Malaysia over the killing, and more are being sought. Meanwhile, Washington’s reportedly planning to bring North Korean diplomats to the U.S. for talks.
Once more unto the breach. Iraqi forces have launched a long-awaited offensive to retake the western part of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. Within 24 hours of Sunday’s dawn assault, troops have made headway from the south, as hundreds of Iraqi military vehicles, backed by coalition airstrikes, rolled into one of the last remaining ISIS strongholds. It could be a turning point in the fight against the militants, but U.N. agencies are voicing concern for the estimated 650,000 civilians put at “extreme risk” by the fighting.
Actions speak louder than words. Vice President Mike Pence told European leaders that President Donald Trump supports them, but many remain nervous — especially after Trump’s comments at a Saturday rally about a terror attack “last night in Sweden” that never happened. The president later clarified he’d been referring to a Fox News report about immigration, but some Trump supporters are now alleging an international cover-up of attacks. Meanwhile, some Trump associates are reportedly quietly pushing a peace plan in Ukraine that would offer heightened control to Russia.
It’s good to know when you’re not wanted. Kraft Heinz went public with a bid for its European rival Friday — reportedly despite being told that Unilever didn’t want a takeover. Now the American company’s dream of creating the world’s second-largest consumer goods group is no more, and Unilever’s stock dropped 8 percent Monday morning on the news. It’s still seen as a victory for Unilever’s CEO, however, for fighting back against the takeover, and as a defeat for Kraft Heinz, which many believe acted too hastily.
Know This: Uber has opened an internal investigation into sexual harassment in response to a viral blog post by a female engineer detailing her treatment there. Ecuador’s election is likely to see a runoff vote as former Vice President Lenín Moreno came just short of the 40 percent required to win outright. And a court has ruled that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the U.S. to face fraud and copyright violation charges.
Read This: Britain’s Parliament will begin a debate today on whether to cancel President Trump’s planned state visit, after 1.8 million people signed a petition urging that he be disinvited despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s hasty invitation just a week after his inauguration.
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That’s one road to glory. The City of Angels has kept first place in the latest Global Traffic Scorecard, beating out 1,063 other cities across five continents and 38 countries to be named the most congested city on Earth. The average L.A. commuter spent over 104 hours of 2016 in traffic jams. The U.S. also ranks as the world’s most congested developed country. Globally, gridlock cost about $300 billion last year, and the human costs are rising too, with 40,000 American traffic deaths in 2016, a 14 percent increase from 2014.
Here’s looking at you. While many worry Big Brother already knows far too much about our lives — what we watch, who we know, what we eat — others say we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Blippar, an app that scans and recognizes images and faces, is merging machine learning and augmented reality into a “facial network.” As the marketing world dreams of future technology, some think consumers will reject phone-based facial recognition as going too far, while others contend that we’ll accept anything in exchange for micro-targeted advertising.
They’re within their rights. Indonesia is the only country in Asia that hasn’t banned tobacco advertising, and the Marlboro Man is still going strong there, even as 400,000 citizens per year die of smoking-related illnesses. The country’s signature clove cigarette, the kretek, is banned in the U.S. but used by almost 90 percent of Indonesia’s 70 million smokers. Now some smokers’ rights groups, backed by the tobacco industry, have sprung up to defend the “human right” to light up, even as 170 cities have instituted restrictions on smoking in public.
It’s a new state for the art. LaBeouf and collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner have relocated He Will Not Divide Us, a four-year livestream of people repeating the exhibit’s title to protest against President Trump. After pro-Trump forces rallied to derail the project, leading to LaBeouf’s arrest for allegedly assaulting a neo-Nazi, New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image shut the exhibit Feb. 10 for safety reasons. Now the artists say they’ll continue the protest at the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Welcome to the dunk tank. The Western Conference triumphed over their eastern counterparts 192-182 in this year’s NBA All-Star Game last night in New Orleans, throwing defense out the window as the exhibition turned into a freewheeling dunkfest. The individual scoring record for an All-Star game — previously Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points in 1962 — was shattered by Pelicans forward MVP Anthony Davis, 23, who notched a stunning 52 points. And the total tally from both teams, 374, surpassed last year’s 369, the previous record.