Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 12, 2016

Harold Maass
AP Photo/ Tom Lynn
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Clinton and Sanders spar in Democratic debate

Hillary Clinton tried to disrupt Bernie Sanders' momentum in Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate after his decisive win in the New Hampshire primary. Clinton called Sanders' expansive proposals impractical, saying, for example, that "the numbers just don't add up" for his plan to deliver Medicare for all. Sanders said Clinton was "absolutely inaccurate." Clinton also accused Sanders of attacking President Obama the way Republicans do. "That is a low blow," Sanders said. [The Washington Post]


Occupation of Oregon wildlife refuge ends after 41 days

The last four armed anti-government protesters who were occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon surrendered to authorities on Thursday, ending a 41-day standoff. Three of the occupiers — Jeff Banta, 46, Sean Anderson, 47, and Anderson's wife, Sandy, 48 — gave up without incident. The fourth — David Fry, 27 — balked, saying he was having suicidal thoughts and demanding to speak to a negotiator, before being taken into custody. All four face federal conspiracy charges, as do 12 others already arraigned. [The Oregonian]


U.S., Russia announce plan to halt fighting and get humanitarian aid to Syrians

The U.S. and Russia early Friday announced that humanitarian aid would be delivered to besieged Syrian cities over the next few days. The U.S., Russia, and other world powers also agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" within a week. The announcement came after all-day meetings in Germany where world leaders worked on restarting peace talks derailed by a Syrian government offensive aided by Russian airstrikes, which Russia said it would begin curbing next Friday. [The New York Times]


Trump and Univision settle lawsuit

Donald Trump and Univision have settled a lawsuit over the Spanish-language network's 2015 decision to drop the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. Univision decided not to broadcast the pageants, which were then owned by Trump, after the billionaire businessman made disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants when he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump sued, accusing Univision of breach of contract and demanding $500 million. The settlement's terms were not disclosed. [USA Today]


NATO sends ships to crack down on migrant smugglers

NATO announced Thursday that it was deploying warships to the Aegean Sea to crack down on people smuggling migrants from Turkey to Greece. NATO's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said the goal was disrupting smugglers, not "stopping or pushing back refugee boats." The move marked the Western military alliance's first attempt to address the wave of migrants leaving the region for Europe. Stoltenberg said NATO was trying to help Turkey and Greece "manage a human tragedy in a better way than we have managed to do so far." [BBC News]


Obama creates 3 national monuments in California

President Obama is designating three new national monuments in California, expanding federal protection to 1.8 million acres of volcanic spires, sand dunes, wetlands, and mountain ranges. The new monuments will protect land that wasn't included in the 1994 California Desert Protection Act, which covered nearly 7.6 million acres, and elevated Death Valley and Joshua Tree to national park status. The move will nearly double the amount of land Obama has protected during his presidency. [Los Angeles Times]


Dozens of inmates killed in Mexico prison riot

Forty-nine inmates were killed in a battle between members of the Zeta drug cartel and rivals in a prison in the northeastern Mexico city of Monterrey, authorities said Thursday. It was one of the deadliest riots in years at one of the country's overcrowded prisons. The violence occurred at the Topo Prison, an aging facility that was faulted in a 2014 human rights report because of the failure of staff to prevent violent clashes among inmates. [Reuters]


California natural gas leak plugged after 4 months

Southern California Gas Company announced Thursday that it had "temporarily controlled" a natural gas leak that has released more than 80,000 tons of gas just north of Los Angeles since Oct. 23. Crews drilled down almost 8,500 feet to inject the leak with a mud-like compound. The next step is pumping in concrete, which will begin as early as Friday. Nearly 5,000 households had to move out of the Porter Ranch area due to health concerns. The leak has cost $300 million, and the company faces 67 pending lawsuits. [Ars Technica, Los Angeles Times]


Scientists prove Einstein right with first detection of gravitational waves

Researchers have observed a warp of space-time generated through the collision of two black holes, confirming Albert Einstein's 100-year-old theory of general relativity, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics reported Thursday. The observation marked the first time scientists have detected gravitational waves. The finding could change the way we understand astronomy and the universe. The Institute's Professor Karsten Danzmann likened the finding to the discovery of the Higgs particle or the determination of the structure of DNA. [The New York Times, BBC News]


Judge rules Bill Cosby's wife, Camille, must give deposition in civil case

A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Thursday that Camille Cosby will have to give a sworn deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who claim her husband, comedian Bill Cosby, sexually assaulted them decades ago. The Cosbys' lawyers had argued that Camille Cosby should not have to provide details about their marriage. The ruling was a partial victory for them, as the judge said she could refuse to answer some of the questions under the state's marital disqualification rule. [CBS News, USA Today]