- A domestic terrorist* and alleged white supremacist killed 17 people and injured 15 more at a Florida high school this week. The 19-year-old man survived his arrest and is in police custody facing multiple counts of murder. [NPR]
- Former adviser to the President Steve Bannon refused to answer more than 25 pre-approved questions before the House intelligence committee on Thursday. The committee is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, and is reportedly considering holding Bannon in contempt. [BBC]
- A woman in El Salvador who had served 10 years of a 30-year prison sentence for allegedly aborting her fetus was released on Tuesday after the country’s Supreme Court reduced her sentence. Though prosecutors continue to maintain that the now-free woman strangled her child to death, Carmen Vasquez and her lawyers have always insisted that she had given birth to a stillborn baby. [Al Jazeera]
South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was sworn into office on Thursday. Ramaphosa is a former labor leader favored by Nelson Mandela, as well as one of the nation’s wealthiest men. [New York Times]
- The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia ruled this week that the most recent iteration of President Trump’s travel ban is likely unconstitutional. The en banc court voted 9-4 to uphold an injunction put in place by a lower court in Maryland that had blocked the implementation of the ban. That injunction now awaits a final ruling at the Supreme Court. [Slate]
FACT OF THE WEEK: Today is Chinese New Year, marking the start of year 4716 of the Chinese calendar. 2018 is the year of the dog, which will last until February 4, 2019, marking the beginning of the year of the pig. [CNN]
*Note: the use of this term is controversial among the staff of The Sidebar. It is addressed further in our Thunk Piece, When Is Terror Terrorism?.