Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 6, 2017

Patriots win Super Bowl in historic comeback, Pence defends Trump's criticism of travel ban judge, and more


Patriots defeat Falcons in first-ever Super Bowl overtime game

The New England Patriots came from behind to beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night in Super Bowl LI, the first Super Bowl ever to go into overtime. The Falcons burst to a 28-3 lead in what appeared destined to be a one-sided championship game — until New England quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to score 25 unanswered points to tie the game before the end of regulation. In overtime, the Patriots won the coin toss, got the ball first, and marched 75 yards to the end zone in eight plays. The Patriots won the game 34-28, while Brady completed 43 of his 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns. He is the first quarterback in National Football League history to win five Super Bowls.


Mike Pence defends Trump's criticism of travel ban judge

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended President Trump's criticism of the "so-called judge" who blocked his executive order temporarily banning travel from seven predominately Muslim countries, saying on NBC's Meet the Press that the president "has every right to criticize the other two branches of government." Pence said that U.S. District Judge James Robart was imposing his own decisions on foreign policy and national security, frustrating "millions of Americans" who want the courts to let Trump exercise his constitutional authority to "manage who comes into this country." An appeals court declined Sunday to immediately reinstate Trump's order. Democrats accused Trump of inviting a constitutional crisis by questioning the authority of the judiciary. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was "best not to single out judges."


Some conservatives push back against Trump's latest defense of Putin

Several leading Republicans and other conservatives criticized President Trump for his defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin's record as a "killer" in a Fox News interview that aired Sunday. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asked Trump to explain his desire for improving relations with Putin, citing Putin's history, and Trump replied: "What, you think our country's so innocent?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CNN's State of the Union that it was wrong to suggest any equivalency between Russia's conduct and America's. "The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine, and messed around in our elections," said McConnell, who branded Putin as a "thug."


French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen launches presidential run

Vladimir Putin.


Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front party, officially launched her campaign for the country's presidency on Sunday, calling for focusing on putting France first, and ending globalism. Le Pen, who is expected to make it to the spring election's runoff as the underdog, struck themes that helped fuel the Brexit campaign in the U.K. and Donald Trump's election victory in the U.S. She called for ending "mass migration" and curbing "Islamic fundamentalism," urging French voters to "put their own national interests first." "The impossible is becoming possible," she said to a crowd of 3,000 in Lyon, "just as it's possible for presidents like Donald Trump to not only be elected in the face of a system rigged against them, but also that they keep their promises."


Tech giants file opposition brief against Trump immigration order

Ninety-seven companies, including tech giants Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, filed an amicus brief on Sunday opposing President Trump's executive order on immigration, saying it was discriminatory and hurt businesses. "Immigrants make many of the nation's greatest discoveries, and create some of the country's most innovative and iconic companies," the companies said in the brief, which was filed in a case brought by Minnesota and Washington state. A federal judge in Seattle blocked the ban, and the Trump administration has filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump has responded with angry tweets, first saying that the "so-called judge" would be overturned, then saying that he had left the country vulnerable to a terror strike. "If something happens blame him and court system," Trump tweeted.


Trump says Pence will lead voter-fraud inquiry

President Trump said in an interview broadcast on Fox News that Vice President Mike Pence would lead a commission investigating Trump's claim of massive voter fraud in the November elections. State authorities and election experts say there is no evidence of significant fraud in this election or any other recent vote, but Trump has said several million illegal votes were cast. He says Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, only won the popular vote by nearly three million because the fraudulent ballots put her ahead of him. "We're going to look at it very, very carefully," Trump told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CNN's State of the Union that there was "no evidence" that there was enough fraud to have changed the election result, "and I don't think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that."


Commission: 7 percent of Australian Catholic priests accused of sex abuse

On Monday, the head lawyer for Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse said that 7 percent of Catholic priests in the country have been accused of sexually abusing minors between 1950 and 2010, with 4,444 cases of abuse reported at more than 1,000 Catholic institutions between 1980 and 2015. The royal commission has been investigating how religious and secular organizations have responded to the sexual and physical abuse of children, and Monday was the opening of what's expected to be three weeks of public hearings. Sixty percent of all sexual abuse survivors were abused at faith-based organizations, with nearly two-thirds of those cases tied to the Catholic Church. "As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame," said Francis Sullivan, the head of the Australian Catholic Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council.


More than 100 die as avalanches hit Afghanistan and Pakistan

Heavy snow and avalanches killed more than 100 people on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border on Sunday. Most of the deaths occurred in Afghanistan, where at least 45 people were killed in the northeastern Barg-e-Matal district, about 150 miles from the capital city of Kabul. Nuristan Province Governor Hafiz Abdul Qayum said the death toll could rise. Two entire villages reportedly were buried. In northwest Pakistan, a wave of snow and rocks smashed five houses in the mountain village of Sher Shal, killing 14 people, including six children. Some of the other victims froze to death, trapped in their cars.


Queen Elizabeth marks record 65-year reign

Queen Elizabeth II on Monday marks her 65th anniversary on the throne, becoming the first British monarch in history to celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee. In central London, authorities will recognize the occasion with a 41-gun royal salute. The queen, who still performs official duties in the U.K. but has cut back on foreign visits, will spend the day at her residence in Sandringham, about 110 miles north of London. In preparation for the celebration, her office distributed a 2014 portrait in which Queen Elizabeth wore sapphire jewelry her father, King George VI, gave her when she married Prince Philip in 1947.


Lady Gaga wins praise for Super Bowl halftime act

Lady Gaga's closely watched Super Bowl halftime performance featured a medley of some of her biggest hits, and was widely praised for steering clear of direct political references at a tense time. In a classic Gaga performance, she made a high-wire entrance, wore several sparkly costumes, and surrounded herself with energetic dancers. Still, Lady Gaga, who supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, did slip in veiled messages on where she stands with some of her song choices, including "Born This Way," which promotes inclusiveness, and "This Land is Your Land," an iconic protest song.


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Great Britain has its 1st Catholic prime minister. Surprise!
Boris Johnson, Carrie Symonds
Things that make you go hmmmmm...

Great Britain has its 1st Catholic prime minister. Surprise!

Biden suspends Trump's 25 percent tariff on Scotch whisky
Slàinte mhath

Biden suspends Trump's 25 percent tariff on Scotch whisky

Almost all operations shut down as COVID-19 outbreak hits U.S. Embassy in Kabul
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
coronavirus crisis

Almost all operations shut down as COVID-19 outbreak hits U.S. Embassy in Kabul

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RNC slams Biden for meeting with Putin
Vladimir Putin
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Bernie Sanders.
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