On Tuesday, President Obama is going to issue some modest executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence, mainly by broadening the pool of U.S. gun dealers that need to perform federal background checks. "In America, where the right to bear arms is engrained in the Constitution, any moves by the president to tighten the rules will be fiercely resisted," says BBC News correspondent Jon Sopel, reporting from a big gun show in Maryland. Sopel talks with a Burberry scarf–wearing mother buying a laser sight for her gun, a member of the "Virginia Citizens Defense League," and an unlicensed gun seller who actually agrees with Obama that the "gun hole loophole" is ludicrous.
"In America, guns are seen as a symbol of freedom and liberty, an intrinsic component to national identity," Sopel says with dramatic flair, "and it's part of the national psyche from an early age." You can watch this British perspective on American gun culture below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert warns of a Canada trade war: 'Trump is now a friend of Putin and an enemy of poutine'
The Late Show doesn't always cover global events, "but you see the news, it's a dangerous world," Stephen Colbert said Tuesday night. "Every day, tensions are rising between the United States and our sworn enemy, Canada: Cold Mexico, the Great White North Korea." On Monday night, Trump announced that he was slapping a 20 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. "As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has rejected Justin Trudeau's wood," Colbert joked, noting Canada's relatively fiery response. "For those keeping score at home, Trump is now a friend of Putin and an enemy of poutine."
"That's Donald Trump on the international stage — rare, because since becoming president, Donald Trump has not left the country; he's barely left the country club," Colbert said. But he did send daughter Ivanka to Berlin on Tuesday to attend a women's conference, "making her the first Trump to attend a women's conference that didn't include a swimsuit competition." She was not greeted warmly, at least when she mentioned her father. But things aren't going great for Ivanka back home, either, he said. "They've had trouble moving Ivanka's line of clothing, so they secretly relabeled it as Adrianne Vittadini. That's how unpopular the Trump name is right now: her clothing has been put in the witness protection program." He suggested the entire Trump White House could undergo a similar rebranding. Meet President Enrico Vittadini below. Peter Weber
President Trump's White House is a flurry of activity as it pushes to chalk up tangible achievements before Trump hits 100 days in office on Saturday, and on Wednesday, Trump will sign executive orders on education and public lands. One of the orders will instigate an Interior Department review of all national monuments designated by his predecessors since 1996, with a perceived goal of opening more protected public lands to drilling, logging, and mining; the other will order Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study how the federal government "has unlawfully overstepped state and local control," a White House official tells The Washington Post.
On Friday, Trump will sign yet another executive order, this one seeking to lift bans on offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans put in place by former President Barack Obama, The New York Times reports. It will order Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to study an Obama mandate to block offshore drilling in those waters through 2022, and call for a repeal of a permanent ban on drilling in Arctic and Atlantic areas Obama enacted in December 2016, using a provision of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. It isn't clear how much any of Trump's orders will accomplish.
DeVos already has the necessary authority to reverse Obama-era guidance to public schools and universities on a range of issues, as she has already done by pulling back protections for transgender students. Likewise, Trump is able to cancel Obama's temporary ban on drilling in the Arctic and southern Atlantic Coast, pending litigation. But since Teddy Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, no president has reversed the designation of a national monument. "The Antiquities Act language does not include any authority for presidents to rescind or modify a national monument created by predecessors," Mark Squillace, an expert on natural resources law at the University of Colorado Law School, tells The New York Times. "That authority is limited to Congress." And Trump faces similarly uncharted waters with Obama's permanent ban on drilling.
The eventual outcomes may not be the most important thing to Trump this week, The Washington Post suggests. "In many ways, Trump, more than any modern president before him, runs his White House like a television drama, believing that sometimes projecting an image of energy and progress is as important, if not more so, than the reality," and this week, "doing something, anything, is better than the perception of stagnation." Peter Weber
The Late Show has been following the custody battle between Alex Jones and his ex-wife in an Austin courtroom, and on Tuesday's show, Stephen Colbert caught viewers up on the latest developments. But the battle for his children isn't the only fight Jones is waging. "Alex Jones' brand of fact-free truth-telling has been making him some enemies, like the powerful cabal known as Chobani yogurt," which is suing Jones for claiming that their plant in Idaho has been spreading "crime and tuberculosis" in Twin Falls, Colbert noted. "To be fair, Crime & Tuberculosis is one of Chobani's least favorite flavors — still better than pomegranate."
Jones is angry about the suit, and threatened Chobani on-air. "Take note, Alex Jones listeners — he just volunteered for you to fistfight a yogurt factory," Colbert said. But still, he feigned sympathy for Jones, due to his similar right-wing radio persona, Tuck Buckford, having faced some of the same problems. He played a clip, and The Late Show writers have been doing their homework. "George Soros doesn't want you to know the real value of yogurt, okay?" Tuck Buckford yelled. "That it's a natural protein-rich gamma ray shield to keep the Clinton Foundation from reading your dreams." Then things got messy: "You can't get in here, John Podesta, okay? You can't put yogurt on a pizza." Watch below. Peter Weber
On Sunday, a herd of wild boars overran an Islamic State position about 50 miles southwest of Kirkuk, killing three ISIS militants likely preparing to ambush local anti-ISIS tribes, according to tribal leaders and Kurdish military officials. Five other ISIS militants were injured, Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe, told The Times of London. "It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields."
Local tribes, Kurdish peshmerga fighters, Iraqi army troops, and some Shiite militias from Iran are fighting ISIS south of Kirkuk, as Iraqi and U.S. forces are focusing most of their energy on pushing ISIS out of Mosul. Three days before the boars attacked ISIS, al-Assi said, ISIS militants massacred 25 people fleeing to Kirkuk from ISIS-held Hawija, on the road from Mosul to Baghdad.
Brigadier Azad Jelal, deputy chief of Kurdish intelligence in Kirkuk, confirmed the boar attack, telling Britain's Telegraph, "three fighters from ISIL were near the peshmerga checkpoint in al-Rashad. They met some feral boars and the boars killed the three fighters. ... Some refugees saw the bodies on the edge of a farm when they were fleeing and they told us." Assuming you are rooting for the boars and not ISIS, this doesn't have a happy ending. "A few days later ISIL started to kill pigs around the area," Jelal said.
Boars don't normally attack people, but they are ferocious when they do, Newsweek says, quoting a 2006 article on boar attacks in the Journal of Forensic Medicine: "The boar has a typical method of attack wherein it steadily rushes forward, pointing the tusks toward the animal to be attacked and inflicts the injuries. It goes back, takes position, and attacks the victim again. This repeated nature of attack continues till the victim is completely incapacitated due to multiple penetrating injuries, which can have a fatal consequence." Peter Weber
Seth Meyers has questions that just aren't being asked by reporters during the daily White House press briefings — like "How long until President Trump causes the end of the world?" — so he brought Sean Spicer on his show to face a barrage of inquiries from the Late Night press corps.
Well, kind of. Thanks to the magic of editing, Meyers fired off such important questions as "Where did you guys find Steve Bannon?" with responses carefully culled from remarks Spicer has made at past briefings. (The answer, by the way, is "a system of tunnels and caves.") What really makes the video are the faces Spicer makes when Meyers "asks" certain questions and sets up dorky dad jokes for him ("How easy is it to buy lettuce in Washington?" "I think getting ahead of that could be an issue."). Watch the video — complete with Spicer's shout out to His Holiness Vladimir Putin — below. Catherine Garcia
He didn't stand on a stage or display any visual aids, but Pope Francis just gave the first papal TED Talk. Released Tuesday night, the talk, "Why the only future worth building includes everyone," is delivered in Italian, though TED provides an English translation. And while the pope doesn't mention religion until halfway through, it is essentially a sermon to the "creative minds" who watch TED Talks about the need for love and human solidarity in a world where "techno-economic systems" and human indifference leave many people discarded in a "culture of waste," and where hope is not just possible but crucial. "Life is not time merely passing by," he says, "life is about interactions."
Pope Francis structured the talk around three messages: A reminder that "we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent 'I,' separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together"; a hope that technology and scientific innovation lead to "more equality and social inclusion," not alienation and greed; and the need for a "revolution of tenderness." He explains the coming revolution in Christian terms:
For us Christians, the future does have a name, and this name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naive and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn't lock itself into darkness, that doesn't dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. ... A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another "you," and another "you," and it turns into an "us." And so, does hope begin when we have an "us?" No. Hope began with one "you." When there is an "us," there begins a revolution. [Pope Francis, TED Talk]
"The future of humankind isn't exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies," the pope concludes, though "they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a 'you' and themselves as part of an 'us.'" You can read his talk in English, or, watch Pope Francis deliver his TED Talk in Italian below. Peter Weber
The stray cats of Hartford, Connecticut, have a hero in Willie Ortiz.
The 76-year-old grandfather and retired welder has spent the last two decades feeding and taking care of feral and stray cats who call the streets home. He drives 22 miles a day in his 1988 Silverado to drop off food at 16 locations in Hartford and East Hartford, feeding about 68 cats. "The cats come out when they hear the sound of my engine," Ortiz told People. "They know my voice and they know the sound of my engine." He pays for all of the food, plus spaying and neutering cats and medication, by selling scrap metal that he collects.
Ortiz — who has never let sickness or weather stop him from helping the cats — wants to see the feral cat population drop, which is why spaying and neutering is so important to him. A friend set up a GoFundMe page to assist Ortiz with his costs, and after the story spread around the world, donations came pouring in from as far away as India and Portugal. As of Tuesday night, more than $31,000 has been raised for Ortiz, who will use the money to further his mission of feeding the cats and getting them fixed. "I was praying for some help, and the help came, and I was so glad that it came," he said. Catherine Garcia