To get this newsletter every morning, sign up right here.
UK ministers think a permanent customs union is the price for solving the backstop problem
The background you need here is this: The “backstop” refers to the policy that will prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if the UK leaves the European Union without a securing a deal.
Right now, the backstop stands in the way of a Brexit deal. But senior ministers in Theresa May’s government are suggesting the problem can be solved by entering a permanent customs union with the EU.
That kind of agreement would be a major political problem for Conservatives — those who want a hard Brexit say that a customs union would severely limit the UK.
The polar vortex has hit the Midwest and the upper Plains hard
For one thing, it’s so cold in Chicago that they’re setting fires to keep the trains going. Don’t worry, the fires aren’t on the tracks; they run adjacent to the rails. It’s routine practice for the city’s transit system when the weather gets this cold.
When people are homebound and frozen, they do weird, fun things to entertain themselves. Like throwing boiling water and watching it freeze mid-air. It looks spectacular.
We collected some stunning photos that show how cold it is in the Midwest. All of them make me shiver. Here’s one:
Chicago police have released surveillance images of possible suspects in Jussie Smollett’s alleged assault. Police said the Empire actor reported that two people yelled anti-gay and racist slurs as they beat him early Tuesday in what investigators are treating as a potential hate crime.
A mom allegedly poured water on her sleeping baby’s face for keeping her up at night and posted it on Facebook. Caitlin Hardy was charged with cruelty to children after she apparently filmed herself waking her infant daughter up by tipping a water bottle onto her nose and mouth.
A man was ordered to pay $21,000 in fuel costs after being so drunk that his flight was forced to land. The London-bound plane had to turn back to Calgary, Alberta, because passenger David Stephen Young was acting drunk and unruly. Prosecutors said the pilot had to burn off and dump 20,000 pounds of fuel in order to land safely.
Gigi Hadid is being sued by a photo agency for posting a copyrighted image of herself to Instagram. New York-based Xclusive-Lee claims the supermodel posted the photo, which has now been deleted, to her 44 million followers without its permission. This is part of a growing trend of celebrities being sued for sharing copyrighted images of themselves.
The full transcript of Lady Gaga’s deposition from the Kesha and Dr. Luke case has been released. On the record, Gaga tells Dr. Luke’s lawyer: “I have factual knowledge of trauma. I am informed and intelligent about this issue. That girl has experienced serious trauma and she is in the middle of it right now. And you are all a party to it.”
This woman found revenge porn on Google Drive — and now she’s fighting back
When A. was 17, she found her nude photographs on a Google Drive. The drive also contained folders labeled with the real names of nearly 5,000 women and girls.
Each folder was filled with dozens of images. Some were clothed, several were naked, most of them were stolen.
In Pakistan, where A. lives, her story could be seen as a cautionary tale. But instead of being fearful, she began reaching out to the other women affected.
When we first spoke to A., she was determined to become one of the only Pakistani women to speak openly about her nudes being leaked. What followed revealed the crossroads at which women find themselves when they want to “do the right thing” but must be cautioned against being too brave.
Read Nishita Jha’s report on A.’s fight against revenge porn.
This guy accidentally fell asleep on Twitch and woke up to hundreds of people watching
Two things: 1) I don’t control what goes viral; 2) This is one of those things that sound weird but are actually quite nice.
Jesse Daugherty started streaming on Twitch last year. He had a few followers, but for the most part he just enjoys hanging out on the platform.
Last week, while streaming live, he nodded off. No one was even watching when he fell asleep.
During his nap, his channel blew up with hundreds of people watching him doze. The chat was reacting to his every move — and this went on for three hours.
You should watch the endearing and wholesome clip of him waking up and realizing just how many people were watching his stream.