Inside Daily Brief - February 26th, 2018

Inside Daily Brief (Feb 26th, 2018)

Trump's popularity slips / IRA rejects proposals / Galaxy S9 released / Michelle Obama's memoir

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The Supreme Court will allow a judge's order to stand, preventing the White House from ending the deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Around 700,000 immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children could have faced deportation, should the order to end DACA have gone through on March 5. Monday’s order by the Supreme Court means that DACA recipients can renew their status to stay in the U.S. It also gives Congress more time to pass immigration reform. Meanwhile, the appeal filed by the Trump administration against a decision by Federal District Judge William Alsup blocking the end of DACA will continue moving through the lower courts. – CNN

Faced with mounting lawsuits, The Weinstein Company plans to file for bankruptcy. The firm has been named as a co-defendant in several suits filed against its founder, Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of women. Some of the alleged victims claim that The Weinstein Company and some of its board members facilitated Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior for years. Six alleged victims sued the former producer and some of his former companies, including The Weinstein Company, for racketeering in December. After the New York Attorney General filed another lawsuit against The Weinstein Company earlier this month, several media outlets reported that plans to sell the company to a group of investors fell through. In a letter on Sunday, The Weinstein Company said that it plans to "pursue the Board’s only viable option to maximize the Company’s remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process." – FORTUNE

Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9. Its new features include an upgraded camera, stereo speakers and augmented reality emojis. "The camera will be an important component … It’s often the No. 1 feature people consider. What could be a real differentiator is the intelligence behind the camera," Samsung CMO David Lowes told Bloomberg. The dual-aperture camera has an f/1.5 aperture to take pictures in low-light conditions and an f/2.4 aperture for brighter settings. It can also take slow-motion pictures at 960 frames per second. The handset is similar in shape to the S8 but has slightly smaller bezels. Samsung has placed the device’s fingerprint reader next to the camera, to make it easier to reach. The S9, which has a 5.8-inch display, and the S9+, which comes with a 6.2-inch screen, will be available for pre-orders on March 2 and in stores on March 16. They will cost $720 and $840, respectively. – BUSINESSINSIDER

A CNN poll indicates that President Trump’s popularity has slipped five points from a month ago and now stands at 35 percent. Support for Trump went up in January, presumably due to positive economic data and rising stock prices, but his popularity rate is back to the level it had in December. Overall, 80 percent of respondents who identify themselves as Republicans said they approve of Trump’s performance, compared to 5 percent among those who describe themselves as Democrats. The poll indicates that Trump is unpopular among women, with 29 percent saying that they support the President; and among those under 35 years of age, with just around 20 percent supporting his policies. When it comes to gun policies, a third of respondents approve of Trump’s stance regarding gun control, while 54 percent disapprove, and about 12 percent are undecided. The phone poll was conducted Feb. 20-23 among 1,016 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. – CNN

Michelle Obama’s memoir will be called "Becoming" and will be released in November. Penguin Random House will publish it in 24 languages simultaneously. Obama said that writing the book has allowed her "for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life … how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others." In recent public appearances, Obama has hinted that the book will feature inspirational stories about her upbringing, as well as insight into her eight years as the U.S.’s first lady. Obama will engage in an international tour to promote the book. Former President Barack Obama is also writing a memoir slated for publication in 2019. – PEOPLE

An explosion in the English city of Leicester killed at least five people on Sunday. Five other people were injured. The building where the explosion happened was located in a residential area and hosted a convenience store and a two-story apartment. Most of the building collapsed after the blast and a subsequent fire, and other nearby structures suffered damage. Police said there was no indication that the explosion was related to terrorism and asked the media not to speculate about the possible cause. Search and rescue personnel were looking for survivors amid the rubble on Sunday. – REUTERS

Severe weather killed at least five people in the U.S. Midwest over the weekend. The extreme weather events that hit many midwestern states included severe thunderstorms, gale winds and around a dozen tornadoes. In Michigan, a body was found floating in flood waters. In Kentucky, two bodies were recovered from submerged cars and a woman died when her house collapsed on her. A fifth person was killed in Arkansas when a trailer home flew into a pond. A tornado destroyed at least four homes and damaged a dozen more in Tennessee, while strong winds downed power lines in Michigan, leaving thousands without electricity. The governors of Missouri, Indiana and Illinois declared disaster emergencies. – AP

The Syrian district of Eastern Ghouta was hit by airstrikes and artillery fire over the weekend despite a United Nations ceasefire. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the situation in the rebel-held enclave as "hell on earth." "I remind all parties of their absolute obligation [under] international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all times," he said. Syrian and Russian forces have been bombarding Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, since Feb. 18, and have launched ground attacks in recent days. Syria said it will continue its offensive against "terrorists" in Eastern Ghouta despite the UN ceasefire. "We practice a sovereign right of self-defense, and we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil," Syrian UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afri was reported as saying. Citing several sources, including health officials linked with the Syrian opposition, CNN reported that several people in Eastern Ghouta had been exposed to "toxic chlorine gas" in recent days. – ALJAZEERA

President Trump has recommended his personal pilot to potentially head up the Federal Aviation Administration. Trump has included John Dunkin in a shortlist of candidates to head the FAA, which overseas civil aviation. A source told Axios that Dunkin has been interviewed for the job. "He’s on the list because he's the president’s pilot, but if he gets the job it won't be because he's the president's pilot," the source said. Another unnamed federal administration source noted that Dunkin is qualified for the position because he has managed airlines and the flight departments of corporations, and he "oversaw the Trump presidential campaign’s air fleet, which included managing all aviation transportation for travel to 203 cities in 43 states." – AXIOS

The NRA has come out against a White House proposal to impose certain restrictions on gun ownership. In the wake of a high school shooting in South Florida in which 17 people were killed on Feb. 14, the Trump administration has proposed raising the age limit for the purchase of certain assault rifles, and a ban on bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire faster. NRA spokesman Dana Loesch told ABC’s "This Week" that the organization "does not back any ban," and opposes the idea of raising the age limit for buying rifles from 18 to 21. – REUTERS



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