“No one has survived this crash.” That’s what Russia’s transportation minister said of the crash of a Saratov Airlines An-148, carrying 65 passengers and six crew, heading from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Orsk near the Kazakhstan border. After disappearing from radar shortly after takeoff, it fell about 25 miles from the airport, near the town of Argunovo, where authorities found wreckage and bodies while witnesses reported seeing the aircraft descending on fire. It’s unclear what brought the jet down, but a flight recorder has been recovered to aid aviation authorities’ investigation.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s recovered. Seventeen-year-old Coloradan Redmond “Red” Gerard broke 17 bones, collapsed a lung and ruptured his spleen shredding last year, so it was all the more phenomenal when he scored Olympic gold today in slopestyle snowboarding after falling during two of three runs. While “really excited” after winning with a backside triple cork 1440 trick (four rotations), the teenager questioned the judges, saying Canadian silver medalist Max Parrot “had a pretty good run.” The youngest competitor, Gerard began boarding as a toddler and could have another four Winter Games ahead of him.
There’s a new front. Israeli warplanes on Saturday reportedly killed six Syrian and allied soldiers what an Israeli general called the “most significant attack” inside Syria since 1982. Israel said an Iranian drone first penetrated its airspace, prompting a retaliatory strike that ended with Syrian fire hitting an F-16, which crashed in northern Israel after its pilots bailed out. A wave of Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets and Syrian antiaircraft batteries followed. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose forces back the Syrian regime, urged restraint, which analysts believe is in all sides’ best interest.
“This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.” That’s how Johnson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Dwayne Price reacted to a rampage that left four people and their suspected shooter dead. Authorities were first alerted Saturday afternoon, finding two victims shot to death in a kitchen near Paintsville in eastern Kentucky. That lead them to pursue a suspect, described as a local hairstylist, to a Paintsville apartment complex, where they found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and two other victims, fatally shot. Local and state law enforcement agencies are investigating.
It was a frantic Friday. President Donald Trump refused to declassify a Democratic rebuttal to Republicans’ memo impugning the FBI’s handling of the Russiagate investigation — the same day a second White House staffer resigned amid spousal abuse allegations and the Justice Department’s third-in-charge quit. Declassifying the second memo would compromise national security, Trump explained. He’s reportedly angry that Chief of Staff John Kelly, who’s denied reports he offered to resign, knew of abuse claims that accompanied staff secretary Rob Porter’s resignation — three days before speechwriter David Sorensen similarly departed.
What a show. North and South Korean athletes marched together under a “unification” flag for Friday night’s Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, appearing to have annoyed Seoul’s U.S. ally. After a week of anticipation that he’d encounter America’s nuclear-armed enemy at the competitions in Pyeongchang, South Korea, American Vice President Mike Pence skipped a Friday dinner that placed him next to Pyongyang’s ceremonial head of state. And Saturday, despite U.S. objections, the North’s high-level delegation met with South Korea’s president, with officials expressing hope that the rapprochement might outlast the games.
They’re adding up. Ending a brief government shutdown on Friday, President Donald Trump can move forward with a legislative victory and the knowledge that Democrats have used up most of their leverage. On Monday, he’ll introduce his 2019 fiscal year budget proposal, but this time with a better chance of getting money for his border wall, which Democrats may have to accept in return for protecting “Dreamer” immigrants. Barrier funding chances are helped by increased spending limits in Friday’s bill, which could also fulfill Trump’s vow to boost military outlays.
“Shooting the messenger” isn’t just a metaphor in Mexico. In 2017, journalist murders there averaged one per month. That’s driven some into a federal protection program, but others fear the government even more than drug cartels. So they’ve fled north, where U.S. judges appear reluctant to grant asylum. The National Press Club gave one of them, Emilio Gutierrez Soto, its Press Freedom Award last year — before he and his son were whisked away to a Texas immigration jail. His asylum plea denied, he faces deportation, to become, he says, “another dead journalist.”
We can all get along. Friday’s bipartisan budget bill averted a lengthy shutdown threat and was part of a growing willingness to engage with President Trump, rather than treat him as a threat to the republic. That could be explained, argues policy researcher Will Stancil, by society’s disdain for the abnormal, along with a desire to accomplish something, like passing an infrastructure bill that’s both touted by the president and dovetailed with Democratic aims. But in doing so, Trump’s pariah status diminishes, and with it, Democrats’ chances of victory in November’s midterm elections.
The Week Ahead: Today Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a difficult 6-day Mideast trip, during which he will attempt to convince Turkey to scale back its offensive against U.S. allies in Syria. Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected on Thursday to announce his candidacy for U.S. senator representing Utah. And on Friday, the Chinese begin welcoming the Year of the Dog.
Know This: Three people died in the Saturday crash of a Grand Canyon sightseeing helicopter, run by the same company involved in 2001 fatal crash. President Trump has seized upon a report of a shadowy Russian reportedly bilking American spies out of $100,000 in September, providing possibly fabricated information about Trump’s Russia ties, instead of promised cyberespionage tools. Two police officers near Columbus, Ohio, were killed Saturday responding to a 911 hang-up call during a domestic incident. And it rained Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, but the city’s water crisis continues.
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It’s reality, right? That’s what a survey indicates half of teenage boys believe about sex acts they see online, which often influence real-life encounters. Most parents, meanwhile, remain ignorant of what their kids are watching and learning. But a new “porn literacy” program in Boston is teaching students to view digital smut critically, busting stereotypes while learning healthy and nonabusive interaction. Experts say talking openly about perceptions helps youths understand others’ boundaries, while dispelling the notion that they’ve “gotta do” what porn-emulating partners demand.
He had it all — until he didn’t. Discovered living under a New Orleans bridge in 1990, two-time Super Bowl competitor Jackie Wallace, through his journey, offers a glimpse into the “vortex of darkness” that can follow fame. Wallace’s life has been marked by a roller coaster of highs and lows, battling addiction as he’s bounced from rehab to redemption, securing jobs and relationships before relapsing. His longtime friendship with photojournalist Ted Jackson, meanwhile, has provided a constant in this bittersweet struggle, which Wallace was losing when Jackson last sought him out.
Don’t ever leave them. A disturbing offshoot of the autonomous sensory meridian response YouTube genre has women listening to possessive and abusive digital “boyfriends” to wind down. Like other ASMR videos, their soft voices aim to relax and even provide pleasing goose-bump-type tingles for some. But some have taken a dark turn from caring to possessive, whispered psychological abuse. Listeners likely enjoy the feeling of being wanted while being “kidnapped” or grilled by their “psycho boyfriends,” leaving little doubt of where to go for some “sick” clips.
They’re more “Pretty Vacant” than “White Riot.” An underground punk music scene has swelled within the capital of Myanmar — and there’s much to rebel against. Citizens faced strict censorship and political oppression for decades under the military dictatorship, and under the new quasi-democratic government, the censorship’s voluntary, but expected. In the West, punks rebelled against societal norms. But in Myanmar, these rockers’ dissatisfaction is mainstream, finding allies — or at least sympathy — across a wide range of groups. With real change uncertain, all they can do is keep rocking.
Everyone wants it. But is it possible to reconcile the awesomeness of getting Whole Foods groceries delivered to one’s doorstep, as Amazon announced Thursday it would do for its Prime members, knowing its economic implications? That’s the conundrum economics writer Jordan Weissmann confronts while fantasizing about when the service will spread from its pilot cities of Austin, Dallas, Virginia Beach and Cincinnati, to where he lives in New York. The problem, he writes, is that American business is being dominated by a few huge innovators that may paradoxically squelch innovation while disempowering workers.