It’s out in the open. Despite the objections of the law enforcement community, House Republicans — with President Donald Trump’s backing — have released their memo alleging that the FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign while investigating Russian election meddling. Intelligence officials including Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray argued against its release, saying the memo, which claims there was “a troubling breakdown of legal processes,” contains inaccuracies and classified information. Even some Republicans were opposed, saying it risks “eroding confidence” in government. White House aides were reportedly worried that Wray would resign.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It can’t go on forever. Today Wall Street’s seemingly tireless bulls hit a wall, with a variety of falling indexes led by the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell 2.54 percent, to just under 22,521. The average dropped 4.1 percent for its worst week in two years, as Chinese stocks swooned and the 10-year Treasury note yield hit its highest level since 2014. Market jitters also grew out of better-than-expected wage growth, which sparked fears the bustling economy would spook the Federal Reserve into hiking borrowing costs even further than planned.
Police say it was probably a “mishandling.” A 12-year-old girl is under arrest as four students and an adult recover from injuries in the latest of America’s running tally of school shootings. Police aren’t saying what precipitated the Thursday incident at Sal Castro Middle School, where the seventh-grader shot two 15-year-olds, one in the head and the other in the wrist, while causing minor injuries to three others. The girl, held in juvenile detention, now faces a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm.
Fidelito is gone. Cuban state media reported Thursday that the former president’s son, Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, had killed himself at the age of 68 after months of treatment for depression. Known as Little Fidel because he resembled his father, he trained as a nuclear physicist in the Soviet Union, married a Russian and led Cuba’s nuclear power program until a dispute with his father in the early 1990s. Some cousins on his mother’s side, including Republican Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, remain staunch opponents of the Castro regime.
The sky’s the limit. Industry behemoths Apple, Amazon and Alphabet, with a combined market capitalization of over $2 trillion, were mostly smiles Thursday, reporting surging revenue for 2017’s final quarter. Apple’s profits topped $20 billion for the first time, selling fewer iPhones but at higher prices. Google’s parent Alphabet took a $10 billion hit under the new tax law, but recorded its 32nd consecutive quarter of revenue growth over 20 percent. And Amazon’s revenue jumped 38 percent, exceeding $1 billion in quarterly profits for the first time, despite continuing reinvestment.
The aliens will be angry. A trucker has damaged the mysterious Nazca Lines in Peru after he ignored cautionary signs and plowed across three of the images. The huge 2,000-year-old geoglyphs of animals and plants, spread over 280 square miles of desert, are best viewed from the air, leading some to believe they were created to signal extraterrestrials. The driver, who reportedly caused deep ruts on the site, claimed he’d experienced mechanical problems and didn’t know the area, so a judge ruled he wasn’t culpable. Authorities plan to appeal.
They require more bear necessities. New research suggests the Arctic predators are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than previously thought. Scientists strapped GPS trackers and cameras to nine Beaufort Sea bears north of Alaska and injected them with metabolism indicators to measure their activity and hunting success. The data they collected revealed the animals didn’t rest as much as biologists had assumed, and thus had higher daily energy demands. That could be a serious problem as sea ice retracts and polar bears must travel farther to find prey.
They smell something fishy. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, already known for its seafood sustainability ratings, has unveiled its new Seafood Slavery Risk Tool, a database to help retail buyers avoid fisheries associated with forced labor and human trafficking. The two-year project also identifies sellers with well-regulated labor practices. Human Rights Watch illustrated the need for transparency in the supply chain with a report last month showing that Thailand’s huge fishing industry, long accused of human rights abuses against Cambodian and Burmese workers, hasn’t cleaned up its act.
These waters run deep. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department isn’t dropping the West Side Story star’s mysterious 1981 drowning death. On CBS’s 48 Hours, which airs Saturday, investigators name Wood’s husband, actor Robert Wagner, as a “person of interest” in what was initially deemed an accident. The case was reopened in 2011 amid long-running rumors of foul play, and new witnesses have since emerged. Wagner has denied any involvement in Wood’s death and he’s never been a suspect. He has reportedly refused to talk to the new probe’s investigators.
“They’re not letting them play.” So says ESPN writer and former NFL player Matt Bowen, arguing that the sheer number of penalties is bogging down the game and pushing fans away: The average NFL season in the last four years had 265 more accepted penalties than the 2010-2013 average. Disrupting play to watch refs review calls may even contribute to football’s slumping TV ratings. But with the league wary of concussions — and bad PR over player safety — the flag frenzy isn’t likely to end anytime soon.