The 89-year-old mob boss of South Boston’s Winter Hill gang was reportedly killed the same day he was moved to Hazelton Penitentiary in West Virginia from a Florida jail. Convicted in 2013, after 16 years on the run, his life inspired several films. Bulger was serving time on a sweeping racketeering indictment including counts of murder and was an FBI informer on his gang’s main rival. Officials didn’t comment on why he was being moved but correctional workers reportedly told a CBS affiliate a homicide had occurred overnight.
The Presidential Daily Brief
As President Donald Trump prepares to visit the site of Saturday’s deadly synagogue attack — against some residents’ wishes — observers are increasingly pondering the dark side of social media: Online anonymity has fueled hate speech, while platforms have proven largely unable to keep it in check. “The problem is clearly expanding,” says one researcher. Worse, some experts also believe that reprimanding extremists like suspected Pittsburgh attacker Robert Bower, who posted anti-Semitic messages on right-wing social network Gab, boosts their radicalism and drives them to fringe platforms.
In response to the Central American migrant caravan heading toward the U.S., President Trump will deploy five times more soldiers than originally expected — a contingent similar in size to the country’s current military force in Iraq. “Operation Faithful Patriot,” which also includes Black Hawk helicopters and military police units, is the largest active-duty mobilization along the border in decades. Describing the caravan as “an invasion,” Trump vowed to turn away most of the several thousand migrants. “If they don’t get asylum, they get out,” he told Fox News yesterday.
Rescue personnel have sent 26 body bags to medical examiners for identification as divers continue searching for debris and human remains following yesterday’s crash of Lion Air Flight 610 into the Java Sea with 189 people aboard. The Boeing 737 Max 8’s fuselage and data recorders may provide some answers when they’re recovered, but for now officials say the crash remains a mystery. The plane reportedly encountered problems on its previous flight, as passengers described erratic movements shortly after take-off. One said, “Some passengers began to panic and vomit.”
Germans are entering a “pre-post-Merkel era” following the chancellor’s announcement yesterday that she won’t seek office after her current term expires in 2021. The celebrated crisis manager sought to quell intraparty criticism by vowing to step down as head of her Christian Democratic Union this year — though some analysts believe it was an attempt to exit gracefully before a potentially embarrassing leadership challenge in December. Either way, all eyes will be trained on her CDU replacement, who could contend for the top job after Merkel’s exit.
Know This: In his first television interview since Sunday’s election, Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro vowed to relax his country’s gun laws. According to a new World Wildlife Fund report, human activity has reduced global species counts by around 60 percent over the past four decades. And much of Venice has been overwhelmed by water amid the city’s worst flooding in at least 10 years.
Listen to This: Carbon pollution is thawing permafrost in the Arctic containing natural greenhouse gases — fueling a vicious cycle that further contaminates the environment with even more carbon.
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Princess Ayako, the youngest daughter of the late Prince Takamado, Emperor Akihito’s cousin, has forfeited her imperial title by marrying 32-year-old Kei Moriya, a shipping company employee. The pair was introduced by Ayako’s mother in December. After the ceremony at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine yesterday, the 28-year-old university researcher and former princess will reportedly receive a one-time payment of around $950,000 to cover living expenses. But despite the royal family’s dwindling numbers, Japanese imperial law dictates that female royals must surrender their titles when marrying commoners.
During the first six months of 2017, nearly 2 billion data records were compromised in cyberattacks, and ransomware payments increased more than 350 percent between 2016 and 2017. But companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence and machine learning in the arms race against hackers: AI cyberdefenses are blocking malware messages, machine learning tracks patterns to detect abnormal behavior, and IBM’s Watson supercomputer can now identify threats 60 times faster than a human. As hackers shift their strategies, these machines are teaching themselves to keep up.
It’s a close call. Yesterday the Parker Solar Probe broke the previous record, set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976, of 26.55 million miles from the sun’s surface. Launched in August and tasked with studying solar structure, composition and activity over seven years, the $1.5 billion probe will eventually get as close as 3.83 million miles, while the sun’s gravitational force will catapult it to a top speed of 430,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft is expected to begin the first of its 24 scheduled flybys tomorrow.
The Motion Picture Association of America marked the 50th anniversary of its classification system by releasing data on the nearly 30,000 titles it’s rated since 1968. More than 17,200 received the mature rating, which requires viewers under 17 to be accompanied by an adult, while the year 2003 alone saw 68 percent of all productions rated R. Since the establishment of MPAA’s rating system, created in response to threats of censorship, only 524 movies have been rated X or NC-17, and just 165 titles have successfully appealed their classification.
He shoots, he scores! Hitting 14 shots from the 3-point line in just 27 minutes against the Chicago Bulls, the Golden State Warriors guard topped the NBA record of 13 3-pointers in one game, previously held by teammate Steph Curry. Thompson also tied Chandler Parsons’ record for triples scored in a single half, making 10 out of 14 attempts. In the end, the Warriors won 149-124 — with Thompson posting more 3-pointers in one night than NBA legend Larry Bird made in the entire 1981-82 season.