Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 13, 2017

Nearly 200,000 people flee homes near a California dam, Adele sweeps top Grammy awards, and more


Nearly 200,000 evacuated near California dam

California authorities on Sunday ordered 188,000 people to evacuate their homes after an emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest dam, threatened to fail and cause massive flooding downstream. "This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill," the National Weather Service said. The evacuation was ordered after engineers spotted a hole in the secondary spillway for the 770-foot-tall dam and warned it could fail within an hour. The water level in Lake Oroville, about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, dropped overnight under the level where it flows over the auxiliary spillway, but officials left the evacuation order in place early Monday.


Adele sweeps top Grammys

Adele swept the Grammys' top categories on Sunday night, winning Album of the Year for 25 and Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Hello." Beyonce, who went into the ceremony with a leading nine nominations, won Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade, and her sister, Solange, won Best R&B Performance for "Cranes in the Sky." Chance the Rapper won his first Grammy, for Best Rap Performance, and picked up two more for Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. David Bowie won four posthumous Grammys for his last album, Blackstar, which was released just days before he died of cancer in January 2016. Bowie never won a Grammy for an individual album or song while he was alive. Band-mate Donny McCaslin accepted the rock performance award on Bowie's behalf, calling him "an artistic genius and a funny-as-hell guy."


Top White House aide accuses judges of usurping Trump's power on immigration

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said on Sunday news talk shows that the blocking of President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees amounted to a "judicial usurpation of power." Miller, the author of the controversial order to temporarily suspend a refugee program and travel from seven majority-Muslim nations, said the White House is considering a broad menu of options, from appealing last week's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision rejecting a request to reinstate the ban, to writing a new executive order. Cornell University law professor Jens David Ohlin said that accusing judges of usurping presidential authority shows "an absurd lack of appreciation for the separation of powers."


North Korea missile test prompts emergency U.N. Security Council meeting

The U.S., Japan, and South Korea have requested a United Nations Security Council meeting, expected to take place Monday, on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch. South Korea says it expects more such tests, which it calls "serious military and security threats." North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, was on site to supervise the test, which his government declared a success. The banned missile launch, conducted early Sunday, was interpreted as an early test of President Trump, who has vowed to be tough on Pyongyang. Trump had a restrained reaction, appearing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Palm Beach and reaffirming America's commitment to stand by Japan, without mentioning North Korea. Abe called the launch "absolutely intolerable."


Flynn apologizes under mounting pressure over Russia contact

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reportedly is under pressure that could jeopardize his job due to his pre-inaugural conversations with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, administration officials said Sunday. Flynn had said he and Kislyak never discussed sanctions imposed over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials backed him up on that. Flynn now admits he did speak with the ambassador about sanctions, multiple times, and there are transcripts of his phone calls, officials say. Flynn reportedly has apologized to Pence. Trump has not commented on the matter, but he told reporters he would look into it.


Anti-Trump protests break out in Mexico

Thousands of people in more than a dozen Mexican cities on Sunday protested against President Trump, criticizing the U.S. leader for insulting Mexican immigrants and accusing their own president, Enrique Pena Nieto, of failing to stand up to him. In an extraordinary show of unity, people from across the country turned out waving Mexican flags, carrying signs in English and Spanish, and hoisting pinatas resembling Trump bearing pro-Mexico slogans. "He's such a bad man and he shouldn't act the way he does," said one marcher, 62-year-old Jorge Ruiz.


Trump ally says Reince Priebus 'in way over his head'

A longtime friend of President Trump, Newsmax Media chief executive Christopher Ruddy, said on Sunday that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was "in way over his head." Two days earlier, Ruddy had spoken privately with Trump over drinks. Ruddy said Trump should replace Priebus. "A lot of people have been saying, 'Look, Donald has some problems,' and I think he realizes that he's got to make some changes going forward," Ruddy told The Washington Post. Ruddy said "Reince is the problem," because the former Republican National Committee chairman is "not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work. He botched this whole immigration rollout. This should've been a win for Donald, not two or three weeks of negative publicity." Ruddy said he was speaking for himself, not Trump.


Missouri KKK leader found dead

Frank Ancona, an outspoken Missouri Ku Klux Klan leader, was found dead on a river bank over the weekend. An autopsy reportedly determined he had been shot in the head. Ancona, 51, was found near the Big River by a family on a fishing outing. He was last seen by his family on Wednesday, and a Forestry Service employee found his vehicle on a service road. Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said on Sunday that nobody had been arrested in connection with Ancona's death yet, "but that may change tomorrow."


Germany rules out terrorism after dozens sickened at airport

Authorities evacuated hundreds of people from Germany's Hamburg Airport on Sunday after dozens of people were affected by an airborne irritant. A spokesman for the federal police in the northern German city said 68 people had suffered eye pain and coughing, but investigators had found "no evidence" the incident was a terrorist attack. He said it was probably caused by a cartridge of pepper spray found in a bin in which travelers discard liquids before boarding.


Jazz singer Al Jarreau dies at 76

Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau died Sunday, after canceling the rest of his 2017 concert dates and retiring from touring due to exhaustion. He was 76. A Feb. 8 post to his official Twitter account said it was with "complete sorrow" that Jarreau had decided to stop traveling to perform on orders from his doctors. A post on his website last week said he was receiving treatment for exhaustion in a Los Angeles hospital and "improving slowly." The Milwaukee native won seven Grammys over a half-century career. His biggest hit was "We're in This Love Together" from the 1981 album Breakin' Away.


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