Has the CIA sprung a leak? Yesterday, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents reportedly from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence — and some in Washington say they appear to be genuine. If so, the leak exposes the existence of several advanced cyberspying tools, including some that hack smart TVs and phones — though WikiLeaks hasn’t yet released the code needed to recreate the cyberweapons. It’s not clear who might have leaked the documents, but some experts suspect it may have been a foreign state rather than an Edward Snowden-type insider.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re trying to avert catastrophe. China’s called on North Korea to “defuse a looming crisis” by stopping its aggressive missile launches, while also suggesting that joint U.S.-South Korean military drills are a provocation to Pyongyang. China has likewise condemned the new U.S. missile defense system deployed in South Korea this week, saying American power is encroaching unnecessarily in Asia. Meanwhile, key financial messaging service Swift has banned three North Korean state banks, which were already officially blacklisted from the service — further isolating the Hermit Kingdom from international commerce.
Officials have said more than 30 people are dead and more than 50 wounded after attackers stormed Afghanistan’s 400-bed Sardar Daud military hospital. In an assault already claimed by ISIS, gunmen reportedly dressed as doctors in white lab coats rampaged through the hospital with hand grenades and guns. While all patients were evacuated, special forces descended on the hospital via helicopter for several hours of battle that reportedly ended with all the militants dead. President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying it “trampled on all human values.”
“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for.” So said Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, one of several conservatives who railed against their own party’s long-awaited Obamacare replacement. Many say it’s too liberal, while Democrats have united from the left, branding it “Trumpcare” and arguing that millions of Americans could lose coverage or see their premiums soar. Health Secretary Tom Price, meanwhile, called the bill a “work in progress.” More than two party defections in the Senate or 21 in the House could threaten the bill’s passage.
Know This: Today, rallies around the U.S. and the world are planned for a general women’s strike coinciding with International Women’s Day. Poachers shot and killed Vince, a white rhino living in a zoo near Paris, and sawed off his valuable horn. And a Canadian town’s tap water turned bright pink after a water treatment chemical leaked into the community supply.
Watch This: A mysterious video of a man who appears to be the son of Kim Jong Nam, slain half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has emerged, confirming his father’s death and indicating that the rest of the family are in hiding.
Talk to Us: We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bull has met his match. A 4-foot-tall bronze statue of a small girl — hands defiantly on her hips, head held high as she stares down the lumbering beast — was installed early Tuesday morning. Sculptor Kristen Visbal explained her work as a testament to women’s power, regardless of physical stature. The addition was funded by investment company State Street Global Advisors to advocate for companies hiring more women. She’ll stand her ground opposite the iconic Charging Bull for the next month.
Ask and you shall receive. A BBC investigation into Facebook’s moderating practices recently flagged 100 sexualized images of children on the site, using Facebook’s own reporting tools, but found that only 18 were eventually removed. Facebook reportedly agreed to an interview, asking journalists to send them the controversial material in question — then canceled the meeting and reported the BBC to authorities for sharing the images. Now British lawmakers are promising that Facebook will have to answer to Parliament’s culture committee for its lack of moderation.
Sometimes you don’t want to let nature take its course. Lab-designed enzyme KumaMax, which digests gluten, could change the lives of celiac disease sufferers by letting them consume wheat without side effects. It’s also acting as a bioengineering standard-bearer for what promises to be a whole new class of protein-based medicines built from scratch. Unlike their naturally occurring cousins, synthetic proteins can be engineered to directly target illnesses without many of the side effects — or so scientists hope, in advance of clinical trials.
This is the new normal. Scientists have nicknamed Australia’s 2016-2017 season “the angry summer” after 205 weather records were broken across the country in just 90 days. Adelaide saw a 106-degree Christmas Day, Perth broke rainfall records, and it was the hottest summer ever in Brisbane, Canberra, and for 45 percent of New South Wales, including Sydney. Australia’s independent Climate Council warned that the country’s inefficient, aging energy system isn’t capable of handling an even more extreme future, but that rapid reduction in emissions could still make a difference.
Inclusion: Just do it. Nike has announced it will release a breathable mesh hijab next spring aimed at female Muslim athletes — the next step in what the company calls a “cultural shift” that saw the first hijab-wearing American competitor, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, compete in the Olympics last year. FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, lifted its ban on players wearing religious headgear in 2014, and many hope that Nike’s new commercial venture will spur other athletic authorities, like the company’s partner FIBA, which governs basketball, to do the same.