Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 29, 2016

Daniel Luzer
The Oscar winners
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Spotlight, Mad Max win at Oscars

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) won the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Brie Larson (The Room) won Best Actress, Spotlight won Best Picture, Alejandro Iñárritu (The Revenant) won Best Director, Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) won Best Supporting Actress, and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) won Best Supporting Actor Sunday night at the Oscars. Mad Max: Fury Road dominated in the technical categories, scoring trophies for Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing. [CNN]


Chris Rock at Oscars: 'You're damn right Hollywood is racist'

Chris Rock hosted the Academy Awards on Sunday, and he did not shy away from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. "It's not about boycotting anything," he said. "We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities." In the most memorable part of his opening monologue, Rock called the Oscars "The White People's Choice Awards" and tackled the big question of the night: "Is Hollywood racist?" His answer: Yes. "Is it burning cross racist? No. Is it 'Fetch me some lemonade' racist? No. It's a different type of racist," he said. "You're damn right Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is sorority racist. It's like, 'We like you, Rhonda. But you're not a Kappa.'" [The Week]


Marco Rubio ramps up taunting of Donald Trump before Super Tuesday

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has taken to insulting Republican presidential rival Donald Trump more in sorrow than in anger, he told a rally of about 3,000 supporters in northern Virginia on Sunday. "I had hoped that this would be a campaign only about ideas," Rubio said, before trying out a few new taunts about Trump's skin color, honesty, and hand size. Rubio advisers see the risks of crudely mocking Trump, but "we came to the conclusion that if being a part of the circus is the price you have to pay in order for us to ultimately be able to talk about substantive policy, then that's what we're going to do," said adviser Todd Harris. [The New York Times, RealClearPolitics]


American student detained in North Korea confesses to 'hostile act'

Otto Frederick Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, appeared at a press conference at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang on Monday to confess trying to steal a banner containing a political slogan from the walls of his Pyongyang hotel. "I committed the crime of taking down a political slogan from the staff holding area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel," Warmbier said in the televised press conference. "I apologize to each and every one of the millions of the Korean people and I beg that you see how I was used and manipulated." Warmbier was detained by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Jan. 2 as he attempted to board a plane to leave the country. [CNN, International Business Times]


Syrian ceasefire ends without an agreement, airstrikes resume

The negotiated ceasefire in Syria ended after talks between representatives of the Syrian army and an alliance of Syrian insurgent groups failed to reach an agreement to stop the fighting permanently. The ceasefire began last Wednesday. On Sunday, Russia resumed airstrikes on towns in the northern part of Syria. Countries involved in the Syrian peace process will meet Monday afternoon in Geneva to discuss how the ceasefire broke down. [The Washington Post, Reuters]


Macedonian police fire tear gas on refugees trying to enter Western Europe

Police attacked Iraqi and Syrian refugees with tear gas and stun guns on Monday after hundreds of the refugees broke down a gate to a rail crossing in an attempt to cross the Greek-Macedonian border. Thousands of refugees are stuck on Greece's northern border, waiting for Macedonian authorities to let them resume their journey. Migrants had earlier pushed past Greek police, shouting, "Open the border!" and "We want to go to Serbia!" Serbia is the next country on the journey though the Balkans into Western Europe. [Associated Press]


Sen. Jeff Sessions endorses Donald Trump

In front of thousands of Donald Trump supporters, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions announced his endorsement of the Republican frontrunner Sunday during a rally in Madison, Alabama. "At this time in American history, we need to make America great again," he said. "I am pleased to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States." Sessions is the first sitting senator to support Trump, and has advised him on immigration reform. Sessions also told the crowd that a "movement is afoot that must not fade away," and voters need to remember they are "the bosses," and the people in Washington are "public servants. They serve you and we haven't had enough of that."



John Kasich predicts Donald Trump will sweep Super Tuesday

On Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich predicted that Donald Trump will sweep all of the Super Tuesday states tomorrow. Kasich indicated that he would win his home state on March 15, and that could propel him to the GOP nomination. Kasich has not won any primary contests so far, and conceded that if he didn’t win Ohio, "then it's time to call it over." [CNN]


Leaving the EU would cause a decade of economic instability, UK report says

Leaving the European Union would lead to a decade of uncertainty, according to a new report by British civil servants. The difficulty would come from the complicated process of negotiating the terms of the exit. Future trade agreements with countries inside and outside of the 28-member EU would also be more complicated. "A vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process," the report said. "It could lead to up to a decade or more of uncertainty." On June 23, a national referendum in Great Britain will decide whether the country breaks off its relationship with the European Union. [Associated Press]


Tulsi Gabbard quits DNC post, endorses Bernie Sanders

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has quit her post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. Gabbard, one of five vice chairs, has clashed with the DNC in the past over the debate schedule preceding the presidential primaries. "There is a clear contrast between our two candidates with regard to my strong belief that we must end the interventionist, regime change policies that have cost us so much," Gabbard said on NBC's Meet the Press. [CNN, Reuters]