They’re not having it. More than 125 countries have backed a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It’s non-binding, which means there’s no way for the UN to enforce its criticism, but the vote sends a clear message — one that’s been widely repeated since Trump’s controversial announcement earlier this month, which sparked protests in the Middle East and could produce further unrest. Many U.S. allies supported the resolution, even though Trump pledged to cut financial aid to countries that voted in favor of it.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They did it. The most sweeping tax restructuring since 1986 has cleared the House and Senate and landed on the desk of President Trump. He’s happy to sign it, as it’s the first big Republican accomplishment after a year of executive and legislative control. But experts and precedent disagree with GOP arguments that the economic “rocket fuel” of corporate tax cuts will offset the plan’s $1 trillion of borrowing, while only 24 percent of Americans polled like the bill. Now the GOP will try to sell its achievement to 2018 midterm voters.
“It was just one after the other.” So said a witness to today’s car attack in Melbourne, where a white SUV drove directly into a busy crosswalk and injured 19, including at least one child. It’s the second car attack of 2017 for Melbourne, after one in January that killed six people. Police say it’s too soon to determine a motive or say whether terrorism was a factor, but two people, the driver and another man, are in police custody. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted his “thoughts & prayers” for the victims and rescuers.
Do they still want out? Spain’s central government rescinded the region’s autonomy in October after Catalans voted to secede from Spain in a disputed referendum. Today, the region will vote for new representation, but polls are too close to call on whether they’ll still favor pro-independence politicians after the collapse of separatist President Carles Puigdemont’s power. Catalonia, torn between the stability of unionists and resentment of Spain’s central government, may end up with a hung parliament. Meanwhile, Puigdemont is campaigning from exile in Belgium — sometimes by hologram — for his old job.
He’s crossed the line. The fourth North Korean soldier this year has defected to South Korea, reportedly walking through a thick fog to arrive at a checkpoint in the demilitarized zone. The South Korean army later fired warning shots as North Korean personnel searched for their AWOL comrade. Only weeks ago, another North Korean soldier was shot multiple times, but survived, in a wild defection dash. Tensions are high on the peninsula as the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang approach, leading South Korea to propose canceling upcoming joint military drills with the U.S.
Know This: British Prime Minister Theresa May has forced her deputy Damian Green, 61, to resign over a pornography scandal. A ferry off the coast of the Philippines has capsized with 251 people aboard, at least four of whose bodies have been recovered. And celebrated artist Chuck Close has apologized after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
Remember This Number: $56 billion. That’s the estimated value of Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing in its latest funding round, as it gears up to take on its rivals around the world.
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They’re fit to be tied. Democrat Shelley Simonds appeared to have won her race for the Virginia House of Delegates by a single vote in a recount earlier this week, but a three-judge panel reinstated a previously discarded ballot Wednesday, counting it for Republican incumbent David Yancey. Both candidates are marked, but Simonds’ mark is reportedly slashed. With the two candidates now tied, state law dictates a decision “by lot,” perhaps something as simple as a coin toss. After that determination, the loser will be able to demand another recount.
They’re pinching their pesos. Frustrated with soaring inflation and a financial system that excludes 49 percent of the population, Latin Americans are turning to fintech firms to manage their money. Some 700 startups have cropped up in recent years, offering loans and venture capital that skirt typically high rates of inflation — from 8.7 percent in Brazil last year to 627 percent in Venezuela — and claim to be more equitable than traditional banks. While financial innovation has a rocky history, many see it as a way to fight the system.
It was a deep secret. But now the mystery of Australia’s first submarine, which vanished in 1914 with 35 people on board, is one step closer to being solved. After 12 unsuccessful missions to find the HMAS AE1, the latest attempt struck gold, discovering the ship’s wreckage off Papua New Guinea. Now authorities will investigate the vessel’s remains to explain its demise — it may have hit a reef before apparently sinking intact — while contacting descendants of those on board and arranging to preserve the site as a memorial.
No moss gathered here. The Penske Media Corporation, which already owns entertainment stalwarts Variety and Deadline, has purchased a majority stake in Rolling Stone publisher Wenner Media, reportedly for more than $100 million. That gives it control of 51 percent of the company, while the other 49 percent belongs to Singapore-based “social” music-making platform owner BandLab Technologies. In recent years, the magazine’s suffered audience and revenue losses, but 71-year-old Jann Wenner, who founded Rolling Stone in San Francisco in 1967, will stay on as its editorial director.
“Someone has to pay these kids.” That’s how LaVar Ball, father of Lakers star rookie Lonzo and Lithuania-bound LiAngelo and LaMelo, explains his new brainchild: a league for high school graduates who want to go pro, but without playing unsalaried at a university first. Funded by Ball’s Big Baller shoe and apparel brand, the Junior Basketball Association is now looking for venues in L.A., Dallas, Brooklyn and Atlanta, along with 80 players — albeit none of Ball’s progeny — to skip higher education for $3,000 to $10,000 per month.