“Flynn certainly has a story to tell.” So says the lawyer representing Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump who was forced to resign last month after misleading White House officials over his contacts with Russia. In exchange for immunity from prosecution, Flynn’s reached out to the FBI and congressional leaders, offering to cooperate with House and Senate investigators probing Trump-Russia ties. His offer has thus far been rebuffed, with officials unwilling to give Flynn a deal until they know more about what he might disclose.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s the end of the road. Ousted President Park Geun-hye, 65, denies that she allowed her friend Choi Soon-sil to trade political favors for money. But now Park is facing 13 bribery and corruption charges, and after being her country’s first democratically elected leader to be dismissed, she’s become the first to be jailed since the mid-1990s. Park can legally be detained for 20 days while prosecutors build their case. Meanwhile, South Korea’s government struggles to operate in a political vacuum before a May 9 snap election.
Everything’s going south. The rand plummeted 7 percent this week, declining sharply last night after South African President Jacob Zuma purged nine cabinet ministers critical of his administration. Among them was Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, without whom some analysts expect to see the country’s investment grade status swiftly slashed to “junk.” The president’s actions could also cause a governing crisis, as party allies objected to Gordhan’s ousting. Many are already calling for scandal-plagued Zuma to resign and are considering potential replacements ahead of December’s party conference.
What happened to checks and balances? Venezuela’s judicial branch, aligned with President Nicolas Maduro, has declared the opposition-led Congress in contempt of court, effectively seizing legislative power from the National Assembly. The opposition’s been swift to criticize what it sees as nascent dictatorship. The U.S. State Department condemned the move, while Peru recalled its ambassador in protest and the Organization of American States described it as a “self-coup” on Maduro’s part. Fourteen OAS members, including the U.S., have called for fresh elections as Maduro’s opposition encourages mass public demonstrations.
Know This: President Donald Trump sparked conflict within his party by tweeting “we must fight them” about the Freedom Caucus, a group of ultraconservative congressional Republicans. The EU has released an outline for Brexit negotiations. And Dutch investigators launched raids around the world as part of a crackdown on tax evasion.
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They’re thinking outside the box. The second annual OZY Genius Awards will be handing ten brilliant undergraduates up to $10,000 and the aid of a mentor to help turn inspired potential into reality. Whittling down hundreds of applications from dozens of universities — from state schools to Ivy Leagues — the judges were especially impressed by undergrads who showed that they weren’t “looking for seed money to become rich; they’re looking to solve problems.” OZY will host an event in New York City tonight to formally award the ten students.
There’s some beef over the changes. McDonald’s has announced that by mid-2018, the majority of their 14,000 U.S. restaurants will be serving quarter-pounder burgers with freshly made, cooked-to-order beef patties. While swapping out frozen patties may seem like a no-brainer, some McDonald’s franchisees worry that the new steps could slow service, upset quality control and create new vectors for cross-contamination. Nonetheless, the company hopes the change will mirror the “overwhelmingly positive results” it trumpeted following a trial run in Texas and Oklahoma restaurants.
In hindsight this might be a medical breakthrough. Tufts researchers grafted eyeballs to the tails of blind tadpoles, then used migraine medication to promote nerve growth, resulting in tadpoles that see with their tails. Even more remarkably, the scientists connected the eyes not to the brain, but to the spinal cord. The breakthrough suggests that existing drugs might help transplant patients integrate new organs or tissues into their systems. In its most far-out iteration, the discovery could be used to modify the human body for extreme conditions like space travel.
Well, this is a bust. Cristiano Ronaldo has one of the most recognizable, bankable faces in the world — except, it seems, to the artist tasked with sculpting it in bronze. The soccer superstar was honored Wednesday outside the newly renamed Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Portugal. Yet stealing the show was his twisted, goofy bust, which immediately sent the internet into a frenzy, quickly becoming one of the most shared images of the week. Not to be outdone, sculptor Emmanuel Santos responded to the mockery with, “Nor did Jesus please everyone.”
Was it enough? The NCAA vowed not to hold events in North Carolina until controversial “bathroom bill” HB2 was repealed. That repeal came yesterday, but the replacement hasn’t satisfied LGBT advocates: The new compromise prohibits passing new local anti-discrimination legislation until December 2020. The NCAA says it’ll wait until next week to make a decision — presumably after Monday’s championship game — but its verdict could be complicated by the fact that states like Texas, slated to host next year’s Final Four, are threatening to pass similar bills.