REMEMBERING: 30 years ago today, the Challenger disaster happened, killing all seven souls on board – a moment many of us will never forget.
TODAY: Italy considers a civil unions bill. “The outcome remains uncertain, as lawmakers confront an issue that has challenged traditional social mores, jumbled ideological lines and is being debated as the politics of the Catholic Church are in upheaval.”
TONIGHT: The Republicans, minus Donald Trump, face off in Iowa.
2016 ELECTION: Carly Fiorina benefited from company using aborted fetal stem cells: “Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, a staunch opponent of abortion, made at least $83,000 serving on the board of directors of Merck & Co. at a time when the pharmaceutical company was producing vaccines using fetal stem cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, according to corporate documents reviewed by Al Jazeera America.”
OUTBREAKS: The World Health Organization says the mosquito-borne Zika virus is spreading explosively: “‘Last year the disease was detected in the Americas, where it is spreading explosively,’ Margaret Chan, the WHO director general, said at a special briefing in Geneva. It was “deeply concerning” that the virus has now been detected in more than 20 countries in the Americas, she added. The spread of the virus has prompted governments across the world to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected. There is no vaccine or cure for Zika, which has been linked to microcephaly, a serious condition that can cause lifelong developmental problems.”
OREGON STANDOFF: Remaining militants told to go home by Ammon Bundy, who was arrested earlier this week: “To those remaining at the refuge, I love you,” Bundy said in the statement. “Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families.”
CAYMANS: Billionaire Paul Allen’s yacht destroys coral reef: “An anchor chain on the 300-foot mega-yacht, the MV Tatoosh, owned by billionaire Paul Allen, has destroyed almost 14,000 sq.ft of reef in the West Bay replenishment zone, the Department of Environment confirmed following a survey of the area. DoE officials said more than 80% of the coral in the area has been damaged by the luxury boat’s chain. Local divers conducted an in-water survey of the coral reef damage last week and the DoE expects to publish the detail findings next week.”
HIV/AIDS: The effect of PrEP on the AIDS epidemic: “As many as 10,000 San Franciscans could now be on PrEP, according to one city official’s estimate. The treatment has been transformative here, not just in medical terms but in how it has changed the nature of dating, love and relationships between those who are HIV-positive and those who aren’t. And it has prompted some AIDS experts to consider something that would have been unfathomable during the dark days of the 1980s: Could the nation’s onetime epicenter of HIV/AIDS be the place where the epidemic that has so haunted Americans begins to come to an end?”
CLOSE CALLS: Singer Ellie Goulding and her friend Conor McDonnell nearly died when the jeep she was in fell into a frozen lake in Norway:
MUSIC: Here’s another track from Sia’s new album This is Acting, called “Broken Glass”.
VIDEO GAMES: Atari has launched a PrideFest video game, but it has one big flaw: “There is no way to actually defeat these protesters, they will always damage you if they touch you. Yes, this is a game in which the city devoted to Pride Parades is still hurt if they interact with a protester, basically making the protesters stronger than the paraders. Probably not the intention, but that’s the outcome that I felt when I realized I was powerless to stop them and had to run away. The game says that we need to show them the ‘meaning of Pride’ but according to the game that’s just ‘fun and rainbows’ in the first place.”
TV: Next season’s American Horror Story will reportedly focus on Slender Man: “Someone else wrote the script, and AHSwants to adapt it to fit the show,” says the insider. “They have to buy the rights. Then they’re going to figure out the cast from there.”
PAST LIVES: Vin Diesel was once a shark salesman before he became famous:
THURSDAY PAINT JOB: Inked Colombian Yeferson Cossio.