Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 11, 2016

Harold Maass
Trump and Rubio at the debate.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Republican candidates debate policy, setting aside insults

The Republican presidential candidates avoided the attacks and insults of previous debates, and used Thursday's forum in Miami to spell out differences in their policies on everything from Social Security to Islam. It was the last meeting for Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas before next Tuesday's critical primaries in Florida and Ohio. It will be a make-or-break day for Rubio and Kasich, who face must-win contests in their home states as they try to gain traction and catch up with Cruz and Trump, the frontrunner. [CNN]


Carson to endorse Trump today

Dr. Ben Carson, who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, is expected to endorse frontrunner Donald Trump on Friday. Trump confirmed the news in Thursday's debate. Carson reportedly plans to make the announcement in a news conference at Mar-A-Lago, Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Florida. Carson said in an interview on Fox News Radio that Trump is not just the "entertainer" people know from TV, he's "actually a thinking individual." Carson also said Trump would be "a lot better than Hillary." [The Washington Post]


Obama and Trudeau celebrate 'shared values' at state dinner

President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House for a state dinner on Thursday night to mark the first official visit to the U.S. by a Canadian leader in nearly two decades. In a toast, Obama said the visit was "a celebration of the values that we share," and he touted "the great alliance between the United States and Canada." The dinner was attended by several business and political leaders, as well as Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds, Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers, and Sandra Oh. Earlier in the day, Obama and Trudeau announced plans to reduce methane emissions and lead the fight against climate change. [The New York Times]


Japan honors victims on 5th anniversary of devastating earthquake and tsunami

Japan marked the fifth anniversary of 2011's devastating earthquake and tsunami on Friday with a national moment of silence at the exact moment the quake hit. The magnitude-9.0 quake also triggered a tsunami that ravaged the nation's northeast coast, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. More than 18,000 people were left dead or missing; at least 180,000 have still not returned to their homes. "Infrastructure is recovering, hearts are not. I thought time would take care of things," volunteer fireman Eiki Kumagai said. [BBC]


Cruz gets his first endorsement from a fellow senator

Ted Cruz received his first endorsement from a sitting fellow senator on Thursday, when Sen. Mike Lee of Utah threw his support behind Cruz's bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Cruz has faced criticism, particularly from frontrunner Donald Trump, for his failure to line up backers among his colleagues in the Senate. Lee's decision to back Cruz also marked a setback for fellow Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is trying to catch up to Trump in his home state of Florida, which holds its primary on Tuesday. [The New York Times]


Wounded Warrior Project fires top two executives

The Wounded Warrior Project's board of directors fired CEO Steven Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano on Thursday in the wake of a CBS News investigation into the organization's lavish spending on parties and conferences. CBS found that the Wounded Warrior Project, which has raised more than $1 billion since 2003, spends 40 to 50 percent of donations on overhead, compared to overhead costs of 10 to 15 percent at other veterans charities. Former employees told CBS News the lavish spending started when Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009. [CBS News]


Trump supporter arrested for assault on rally protester

A Donald Trump supporter has been charged with sucker punching a protester, Rakeem Jones, at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina. A video of the incident appeared on social media on Thursday showing an African-American man being escorted out of the rally by uniformed men, turning and giving the booing crowd the finger. Then a man in a cowboy hat punches the protester in the face, and people in the crowd cheer. A Trump spokeswoman said the campaign is "not involved" in the incident. [The Washington Post]


Germany acquires list of ISIS followers

Germany said Thursday that it had obtained lists of foreigners who have traveled to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. The country's Interior Ministry said it believed the documents were authentic, and that they could help in the prosecution of Islamist militants who return home. German officials would not say where they got the documents, or who the people on the lists were. [The New York Times]


Aung San Suu Kyi loyalist nominated for Myanmar presidency

The party of Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday nominated one of the pro-democracy leader's closest advisers, Htin Kyaw, as its candidate for the presidency in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Suu Kyi had been trying to reach a deal with the military to allow her to take the job, despite a provision in the military-imposed constitution banning the Nobel peace laureate from holding the post. Htin Kyaw would be expected to serve as Suu Kyi's proxy. Another member of her party was selected as a candidate by the upper house of parliament, and the military will put forward a third contender. [The Associated Press]


Ex-Putin aide who was found dead in Washington killed by blow to head

A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who was found dead in a Washington, D.C., hotel room in November died from blunt force trauma to the head, not a heart attack as his family had said, the chief medical examiner in the capital city said on Thursday. Mikhail Lesin, 59, served as Putin's aide and information minister from 2004 to 2009, and ran Gazprom Media, one of Russia's biggest media operations, until December 2014. He was found dead in a Dupont Circle hotel. He had injuries to his neck, torso, arms, and legs, but investigators have not determined how he was injured. [Bloomberg, BBC News]