The perpetually controversial Justin Bieber is apologizing for posting two pictures of a Japanese war shrine to Instagram. His photos of his visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine angered many Chinese and South Korean Beliebers, who view the shrine as a brutal reminder of Japan's World War II atrocities.
The monument, which has been a constant source of international controversy, enshrines more than 2 million Japanese who died in war, including 14 of Japan's convicted class A war criminals. It also includes a museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. The Instagram photos elicited a comment from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, who helpfully reminded the pop star of the lasting tensions between China and Japan.
"I hope this Canadian singer, after his visit, can have some knowledge of the Japanese militaristic history of external aggression and their militaristic thinking," he said.
Bieber deleted the pictures and apologized. "I was mislead [sic] to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry," he said in a post on Instagram. "I love you China and I love you Japan." Jordan Valinsky
Ex-labor secretary urges Donald Trump to stop being 'petty, thin-skinned, and vindictive' on Twitter
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted out some criticism of United Steelworkers Local 1999 president Chuck Jones less than a minute after Jones, who represents Carrier factory workers in Indianapolis, appeared on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront to talk about how Trump had inflated the number of jobs being retained in Indiana. The chyron underneath him referenced a quote Jones gave to The Washington Post: "Trump 'lied his a** off'"
After Trump tweeted out that Jones "has done a terrible job," Burnett got Jones back on the phone. "That wasn't very damned nice, but with Donald Trump saying that, that must mean I'm doing a good job," he said, noting that Trump has tried to keep unions out of his hotels and casinos. "I don't put a whole hell of a lot of faith in whatever he says, because I just don't pay a hell of a lot of attention to him."
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 an hour later, and he wasn't just being cute when he alluded to Donald Trump's steady diet of cable news: "Because Donald Trump is probably watching right now, let me just say, with all due respect, Mr. Trump, you are president-elect of the United States. You are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned, and vindictive. Stop this. This is not a fireside chat, this is not what FDR did, this isn't lifting people up. This is actually penalizing people for speaking their minds."
Reich brought up not just the Jones tweet but also Trump's tweet-criticizing Boeing (right after its CEO said Trump was wrong about foreign trade), SNL, and individual journalists. "What you would like, Mr. Trump, is for no one — not a CEO, nobody on television, no journalist, nobody — to criticize you," he said — which to be fair, is probably a pretty universal sentiment. But Reich also noted the Trump-specific stakes: "Well, you are going to be president very shortly. You are going to have at your command not just Twitter but also the CIA, the IRS, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness attitude toward anybody who criticizes you, we are in very deep trouble, and sir, so are you." Watch below. Peter Weber
The president-elect of the United States, it appears, does not take criticism well.
Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016
Jones, who represents the employees at the Carrier factory and other plants in Indiana, had said that Trump lied about the number of jobs being saved when he took credit for the deal — Trump said that 1,100 jobs slated to move to Mexico will be kept in Indiana, when the real number is about 800 — and pointed out that his union is still losing 550 jobs at the factory while Carrier gets $7 million in tax breaks.
When someone called Jones on his flip-phone to tell him that Trump was criticizing him on Twitter, "my first thought was, 'Well, that's not very nice,'" he told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. "Then, 'Well, I might not sleep much tonight.'" Then the threatening calls started coming in. Jones said his focus now is trying to keep the spirits of his workers up, since many of them are still getting laid off. As for Trump, "he needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled," Jones said, "and leave me the hell alone."
Trump followed up his first tweet with some unsolicited advice from management to labor: "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues." The New Yorker's James Surowiecki offers an alternate explanation for why United Steelworkers is losing union jobs:
I guess if American steelworkers just worked harder, Trump would have bought his steel from them. https://t.co/flT7f9FmEo
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) December 8, 2016
Appreciate the chance to meet w/ Chuck Jones & hardworking men of Local 1999 about our efforts to save Carrier jobs pic.twitter.com/jAzV4DO4PY
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 2, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Linda McMahon, co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and one-time Senate candidate, to head the Small Business Administration, transition team officials said Wednesday. "Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country's top female executives advising businesses around the globe," Trump said in an announcement, noting McMahon's success in growing WWE from 13 people to 800.
McMahon called small businesses "the largest source of job creation in our country" in a statement, and said her goal would be to ensure those businesses "grow and thrive," Reuters reported. Trump also mentioned she would be vital to his push to reduce federal regulations.
Aside from her failed 2010 bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, McMahon has not had extensive government experience. However, her ties to Trump go way back: She was a supporter of Trump's presidential campaign from the start, and her husband, Vince McMahon, once got his head shaved by the now president-elect at Wrestlemania XXIII — right after Trump bodyslammed him to the ground and pretended to punch him in the head. Becca Stanek
On Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers passed the "heartbeat bill," a piece of legislation that would ban abortions in the Buckeye State as soon as a fetus' heartbeat can be detected. The heartbeat is typically detectable around the sixth week of pregnancy, but many women are unaware they're pregnant until about the eighth week, when they have likely missed two periods.
If passed, the measure would "effectively be the nation's strictest time-based abortion law," CNN reported. The bill does not offer exceptions, even in instances of incest or rape. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — who has articulated a strong pro-life stance — will now have 10 days to either veto the bill or sign it into law.
Though the bill has been considered before and rejected by the Senate, Ohio legislators said this seemed like the right time to raise it again. "A new president [and] new Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and ... there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward," said Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, explaining the timing. He noted he thinks the bill "has a better chance than it did before."
The American Civil Liberties Union has already vowed to challenge the law if it is passed. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) said Wednesday he believes the bill has "been shown to be unconstitutional." Becca Stanek
Two juveniles have been charged with aggravated arson in connection with starting the East Tennessee fires that killed 14 last week, The Washington Post reports. "During the course of the investigation, information was developed that two juveniles allegedly started the fire," the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in their announcement.
The fire started in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and burned 10,000 acres due to a severe drought in the region. Additionally, more than 14,000 people had to evacuate the tourist town of Gatlinburg and an estimated 1,750 structures were damaged or destroyed. Nearly 150 people were additionally injured by the blaze.
The suspects are in custody at a local juvenile detention center, authorities reported. Jeva Lange
Last month, the U.S. exported more natural gas than it imported for the first time in almost 60 years. The country exported 7.4 billion cubic feet of liquefied gas a day in November, compared to the 7 billion cubic feet it imported daily, The Wall Street Journal reports.
American gas exports have jumped more than 50 percent since 2010, and the Department of Energy expects the U.S. to become the third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2020, behind Australia and Qatar. The two biggest U.S. customers are Canada and Mexico, who are partnered with the U.S. through the North American Free Trade Agreement. Plans to export to other partners, like South Korea and Singapore, are already in the works.
There's at least one thing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has remained faithful to throughout the presidential election: his love for cheese. While at a queso competition in Texas on Wednesday, Cruz spent nearly a minute professing his unwavering love for the delectable melted dairy beloved in the Lone Star State. "It speaks to the soul," Cruz said. "Good queso relaxes you."
While Cruz has previously said he loves cheese in general, he indicated Wednesday that queso ranks top cheese in his book. While your run-of-the mill cheese can be served on anything from a cracker to "one of those tiny Vienna sausages," Cruz argued that queso is something special. "Queso is made to be scooped up with tortilla chips, dribbling down your chin and onto your shirt," Cruz said.
Catch Cruz's entire queso monologue below. Becca Stanek
— Jordan Rudner (@jrud) December 7, 2016