Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and profligate Republican bankroller, would like to spend his fortune on a winning candidate in 2016. That's because Adelson and his wife dumped almost $93 million on the 2012 elections — nearly four times more than any other individual — most of it on losing candidates. And while that sum included $30 million for eventual GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, much of it was also wasted propping up Newt Gingrich's shaky primary campaign, and on various losing candidates around the country.
So this time around, Adelson is already looking for a more mainstream GOP presidential candidate to shower with donations, according to The Washington Post, which reports that the Adelsons are "plotting their investments based not on personal loyalty, but on a much more strategic aim" of putting a Republican in the White House. As the The Post noted, that would seem to favor establishment candidates — the Jeb Bushes of the GOP field — over potential insurgents like Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.) And wouldn't you know it, four potential mainstream candidates — Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — will meet with Adelson later this week when they address the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. Jon Terbush
When Tuesday's edition of the International New York Times hit newsstands in Thailand, a front-page story on the country's economy was nowhere to be seen. In place of the article "Thai economy and spirits are sagging" was a blank white space. Page six — where the article was intended to continue — bore this message: "The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal."
Spot the difference — today's International New York Times, with the censored Thai version on the right pic.twitter.com/U8MVnmQi8r
— Andrew MacG Marshall (@zenjournalist) December 1, 2015
The cover story reported that "Thailand is in a rut," with its households "among the most indebted in Asia," property crimes up 60 percent in the last year, and the public dissatisfied with the unelected leaders ruling the military junta-led country. "No one feels like smiling anymore," one merchant told The New York Times. "Life is so stressful. I don't know how to explain it, but it feels like nothing is working in Thailand anymore."
In Thailand, it is against the law to "criticize, defame, or insult members of the royal family," and dissenters can face jail sentences of up to 15 years on each count, The Guardian reports. The article's removal marks the second time this fall that the paper's local Thai printer blocked an article. The Sept. 22 Asia edition of the International New York Times was only partially published because it featured an article about Thailand's king's declining health. Becca Stanek
In a Monday interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt, Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz doubled down on his claims that Planned Parenthood shooting suspect Robert Dear is not part of the anti-abortion movement. "Now, listen, here's the simple and undeniable fact: the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. The media doesn't report that," Cruz said, after agreeing with Hewitt that he had never met a "single pro-life activist who is in favor of violence of any sort."
"And I would note that this whole episode has really displayed the ugly underbelly of the media," Cruz continued. "You know, every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing, you can almost see the media salivating hoping, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so they can use it to try to paint their political enemies." At a Sunday campaign stop, Cruz said Dear might be "a transgendered leftist activist."
A 2014 AirAsia plane crash resulted from a pilot resetting a circuit breaker connected to the aircraft's computer system, according to Indonesian investigators who announced their findings on Tuesday. "Someone" in the cockpit pulled out and reinserted the circuit breaker in an apparent attempt to reset the flight augmentation computer, which regulated the plane's rudder functions. The attempt caused a series of electronic failures, including disengaging autopilot and the auto-thrust of the plane, and left the pilots without control of the aircraft, The New York Times reports. Investigators discovered the cause by analyzing the plane's recovered flight data.
Flight 8501 crashed on December 28, 2014, en route to Singapore, less than an hour after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia. The pilots were alerted by four separate alarms in the cockpit that a system controlling the airplane's rudder movement had failed. Removing and reinserting the circuit breaker is thought to have been an attempt to fix the problem. All 162 people onboard died in the crash.
The year 2014 was among the deadliest in recent aviation history. In addition to the AirAsia incident, small commercial and private plane crashes, two Malaysian Airlines crashes, an Air Algerie crash, and a TransAsia crash resulted in the loss of over 1,000 lives. Jeva Lange
World leaders arrived in Paris on Monday promising to come up with an accord to stem greenhouse-gas emissions and rescue the planet from climate change. On Tuesday, they got down to brass tacks, beginning negotiations over who will bear the financial and logistical costs of helping developing nations adopt renewable energy sources and protecting them from the worst effects of climate change. French President Francois Hollande, after meeting with 12 African leaders, pledged billions of euros to help Africa adapt, while President Obama is scheduled to hear from island nations facing rising sea levels and increasingly destructive storms.
"You have now started the fundamental work," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. "I implore you to advance on the substance in a way that allows us to respect the strong mandate given by the diverse heads of state and government yesterday." Peter Weber
After 25 years of rising steadily, the number of new U.S. diabetes cases dropped by about 20 percent over six years, from 1.7 million new cases in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2014, according to a new analysis by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop," CDC diabetes expert Edward Gregg tells The New York Times. "Initially it was a little surprising because I had become so used to seeing increases everywhere we looked."
Health officials aren't sure if the drop in new cases is the result of programs aimed at fighting diabetes — which still afflicts about 10 percent of U.S. adults — or if the diabetes epidemic has naturally peaked, or if people are changing their diets and exercising after watching friends and relatives go blind or have limbs amputated because of the disease. Whatever the cause, the success isn't evenly spread among Americas. The new diabetes rate is still flat among the less-educated as well as black and Latino populations, while it is dropping among whites and those with more education. Read more about the diabetes findings at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Stephen "Greg" Fisk, 70, was elected mayor of Juneau, Alaska, in October, easily beating incumbent Merrill Sanford. On Monday afternoon, the Juneau Police Department said, Fisk's adult son, Ian Fisk, called 911 to report that he had found his father dead at his home. Mayor Fisk was pronounced dead at the scene. The Juneau Police Department "is aware of rumors that an assault occurred in connection with Fisk's death," the department said Monday night. "Those rumors are speculation." Fisk's body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.
City Assemblywoman and Deputy Mayor Mary Becker will step in as mayor on at least a temporary basis, she told KTVA CBS 11 News, and she's working with the city attorney to figure out what happens next. The autopsy results "are expected within several days and will be used to determine the cause of death," according to the Juneau Police Department. Peter Weber
Jimmy Kimmel marks 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas with reel of Trump yelling 'peanuts'
Monday night was the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, calling it "probably the greatest Christmas special of all-time." But you don't have to take Kimmel's word for it. "We asked a person who knows a lot about the greatest things of all time, we asked him: 'What is the greatest Christmas special of all-time?'" Kimmel said, and in case you didn't get the joke from the headline, Kimmel Live rolled a supercut of Donald Trump saying "peanuts." It's a little silly, but Kimmel is right: Trump does like to say "peanuts. Watch below, or go watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. It really is a classic. Peter Weber