In a speech from the White House, President Donald Trump offered a “common-sense compromise” to Democrats Saturday to end a five-week partial government shutdown, offering protection for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, or “dreamers,” in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Trump even minimized the wall project, saying “These are steel barriers in high-priority locations,” rather than a “concrete structure from sea to sea.” But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the offer a “nonstarter,” partly because it lacked a way for protected immigrants to become citizens.
The Presidential Daily Brief
A sudden conflagration killed at least 73 gasoline-soaked people trying to scoop up fuel gushing from a ruptured pipeline 75 miles north of Mexico City. Friday’s fire also severely burned 74 among some 800 gathered with buckets to collect the volatile commodity as it shot 20 feet into the air. The incident happened just as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is deploying thousands of troops to protect pipelines from rampant thefts by often violent huachicoleros. Despite expressing sympathy for impoverished villagers involved in such trade, the president said, “We are going to eradicate this.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between the Kremlin and President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign issued a rare statement Friday disputing a Buzzfeed report that Trump asked his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. The probe’s statement said the story’s “specific statements” and “characterizations” of its evidence were inaccurate. While the disputation didn’t say what points were wrong, Trump seized on the development, calling it a “very sad day for journalism,” and a pro-Trump media critic asserted that “media errors are always anti-Trump.” Buzzfeed, meanwhile, stood by its reporting.
Like a slow-motion train wreck, Prime Minister Theresa May guided her Brexit plan to certain parliamentary defeat Tuesday, failing even more spectacularly than predicted. Then she survived Wednesday’s equally unshocking no-confidence vote. Britain’s scheduled to leave the European Union March 29, but its parliamentarians “don’t know what they want,” said a Dutch member of the European Parliament. May has appealed unsuccessfully to opposition leaders for help crafting an alternative plan — which EU leaders have scoffed at — while many are pushing to extend the deadline or reprise the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Is the air getting thin? The Swiss mountain confab of leaders, intellectuals and corporate executives kicks off Tuesday for a week of elite elbow-rubbing dubbed “Globalization 4.0.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have a final chance to represent the old government-business paradigm — one likely to be excoriated by illiberal newcomers like Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Shutdown-paralyzed America won’t be represented, while British and French leaders will also tend crises back home. The forum’s new survey, showing climate and other impacts dragging global economies, will likely set the mood.
President Donald Trump met senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol Friday, emerging with news that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet again by the end of February. The former spy chief reportedly delivered a letter from Kim and discussed progress toward denuclearization, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. The meeting followed Chol’s latest disarmament negotiations with secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which stalled after U.S. demands for an inventory of nuclear and missile programs. Pyongyang, meanwhile, wants U.S. sanctions lifted.
It’s not just Trump’s trade war. China-U.S. relations are undergoing a seismic shift as the U.S. resets Beijing-friendly policy introduced by President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Signs first appeared during the latter half of the Obama administration as President Xi Jinping projected China’s military might in the South China Sea. Today that growing power, along with human rights backsliding and technology theft, might be the only thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on. Xi may have miscalculated America’s response, with even Beijing’s staunchest American defenders abandoning reform hopes.
The Week Ahead: Stock markets and other official entities will be closed Monday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. And on Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its Oscar nominations. Also that day, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce inductees, including Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, for its 80th anniversary.
Know This: Democratic Republic of Congo’s Constitutional Court has affirmed Felix Tshisekedi as winner of Dec. 30’s disputed presidential election, prompting runner-up Martin Fayulu to declare himself winner and urge supporters to protest peacefully. A Kentucky Catholic high school has apologized and threatened expulsions after youths wearing its insignia and MAGA hats appeared in a viral video mocking Native American marchers Friday in Washington, D.C. And severe snowstorms have killed at least one person and canceled hundreds of flights across the American Midwest and into the Deep South.
#OZYfact: People living in conflict zones are more optimistic about peace than those living in less violent nations.
In one sense, it’s a bright line. Northern Ireland’s late-20th-century sectarian warfare demonstrated the futility of maintaining its hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The European Union and its open-frontier Schengen Area eased that problem by erasing a border beset by smugglers and Irish Republican Army attacks. After two decades, Brexit — especially a “no-deal” divorce with Europe — may erect an even harder barrier, one demarcating the EU, prompting new tensions among severed communities that could revive Northern Ireland’s “troubles” so delicately concluded in 1998.
It’s a harmless meme — or maybe a big-tech conspiracy. The “10-Year Challenge” circulating on Facebook, which the social media giant denies initiating, features decade-apart photos that tech consultant Kate O’Neill warns provide ideal data to train age-adjusting facial recognition algorithms. That could help authorities find missing children or elusive suspects who’ve aged. But it could also aid crackdowns on protesters or discrimination by insurers against people who are aging more rapidly than their contemporaries. Either way, O’Neill writes, be aware before you play along.
Patrick Burleigh was everything you’d expect of a 14-year-old — rebellious with a pronounced libido — except that he was a decade younger. Burleigh suffered from a rare genetic condition that triggers early puberty in males, flooding their bodies with testosterone. He was 2 when puberty happened, and like his father and grandfather, he struggled through childhood. But, Burleigh writes, the disorder also shaped who he became, making for an agonizing choice when he faced the possibility of passing this burden on to a biological son.
Multiple strokes changed Beverly Hills Dr. Sherman Hershfield — he suddenly loved poetry. His incessant rhyming took him to the beating heart of Los Angeles’ Black culture. In 2000, Hershfield crashed the KAOS Network’s open-mic events. His first performance — a poem about the Holocaust — didn’t win raves, but it launched his education. A diet of his stepson’s NWA records and an unlikely friendship with hip-hop legend KRS-One helped evolve Hershfield into Dr. Rapp, who turned his symptom into a cure.
Gaming is the fantasy sport of the future, according to the burgeoning betting industry. In fact, at the world’s largest daily fantasy sports operator, DraftKings, the fastest-growing sport last year was esports. That’s just in time as fantasy sports revenue slows from its early days of fast growth. The esports industry is expected to surpass $1 billion in 2019. And while competitive gaming has been a small percentage of global sports betting — $5.5 billion in 2016 — by 2020 it’s projected to approach $13 billion.