He’s a man of twists and turns. Though he’d previously said “we’ll see” when asked about testifying to Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump yesterday told reporters he’s “looking forward to it.” Some members of his legal team are reportedly unsure whether Trump testifying under oath, which he says could happen within weeks, is advisable. The president also cleared up his formerly hazy position on DACA, saying he favors a path to citizenship for the undocumented — a position opposed by many congressional Republicans.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“I’ve just signed your death warrant.” That’s what Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, sentencing him to up to 175 years in prison for molesting dozens of girls, including some of the country’s leading gymnasts. Nassar’s week-long hearing saw testimony from 156 victims — most of whom were young girls when they fell prey to his abuse, which occurred under the guise of treatment. The president of Michigan State University also resigned under pressure for her handling of the scandal.
They were on their way to work. A commuter train en route from Cremona to Milan in Northern Italy jumped the tracks this morning just before 7 a.m. with hundreds aboard. Three people are confirmed dead, and 100 more reportedly injured, 10 of them critically. Photos of the scene show rescue workers trying to free still-trapped passengers from twisted carriages. Italy’s rail system has seen several crashes in recent years, including one in 2016 that killed 23 people, but authorities don’t yet know what caused today’s derailment.
Are they Big Brother’s keeper? EU countries have tried restricting the power of the social network and other big technology companies, but now Germany’s antitrust agency is striking at the heart of Facebook’s business model, saying the company may be banned from collecting third-party user data. Facebook currently merges its 2 billion users’ profiles with information about their browsing habits on other sites, allowing increased targeting for advertisers. Facebook says it’s cooperating with German regulators, but some question whether governments are overstepping their bounds.
They’re tapped out. After three years of extreme drought, South Africa’s second-biggest city will be the first metropolis in the world to run out of water on April 12. Though city officials have encouraged conservation, it wasn’t enough: The mayor now says Cape Town has reached a “point of no return.” As of Feb. 1, each citizen will be fined for using more than 14 gallons of water per day, and once Day Zero hits, water will only be allocated at 200 distribution points around the city.
He’s gotta have faith. A senior member of Germany’s xenophobic far-right party has stepped down from a leadership committee after becoming a Muslim. Arthur Wagner, an Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) leader in the state of Brandenburg, claimed his conversion was a “private matter” — though his party rose to prominence by opposing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s accommodation of predominantly Muslim refugees. AfD “has no problem” with Wagner’s conversion, a spokesman said, adding that it also advocates for the interests of Muslim and LGBT Germans, alongside its traditionally Christian base.
They’ve created a double standard. Using the same technology that cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996, Chinese researchers have engineered genetically identical Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two healthy long-tailed macaques born about two months ago. They’re the first primates cloned by reprogramming cells, though an embryo was split to make artificial monkey twins in 1999. While some worry the process could be used to clone humans, the researchers say they have no intention of doing so. Instead, the monkey clones — which can’t yet be mass-produced — will expedite biomedical research.
It’s time to face the music. Filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik is the latest woman to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the hip-hop mogul, who she claims raped her at his home in 2016 after the two became friends over their shared love of yoga and veganism. More than ten other women have accused Simmons of rape or attempted rape, and the NYPD is investigating some of those claims. Simmons has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct, saying, “I look forward to having my day in court.”
It’s not just thumbs getting a workout. With esports drawing millions of online viewers and filling arenas for major events, competitions like the Cycligent CVR World Cup — which puts actual champion cyclists on stationary bikes to race in a virtual world — hope that spectators still want to see physical prowess and grit. Over 1 million people watched a Facebook livestream of the 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder race, and with the Olympics planning an esports competition for the lead-up to Pyeongchang, this could go all the way to the top.