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Fresh Intelligence: Gunmen Attack Pakistan University, Palin Returns, and More

An army helicopter arrives at Bacha Khan University after the attack. Photo: AAMIR QURESHI

Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In today’s edition suspected Taliban gunmen attack a university in Pakistan, Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump, Gawker Media Hulks-up, and Martin Shkreli gets even worse. Here’s the rundown for Wednesday, January 20.

The East Coast is busy preparing for a weekend snowstorm, which was just dubbed Winter Storm Jonas, if you go in for such things. Meanwhile his little brother, Winter Storm Ilias, is headed for the Midwest and Mid-South. []

Pakistan University Attack Leaves at Least 21 Dead, Dozens Injured

Gunmen opened fire at Bacha Khan University in northwest Pakistan early this morning, killing at least 21 people, including students, guards, policemen, and a teacher, and wounding dozens. Security forces are still clearing the campus, and the death toll may rise as high as 40. The attack comes two years after Pakistani Taliban gunmen killed 141 people at a school in nearby Peshawar. Umar Mansoor, who masterminded the 2014 massacre, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, but the main spokesperson for the Pakistan Taliban denied the commander’s claim, calling the attack “un-Islamic.” [Reuters, BBC]

Late Night’s Favorite Candidate Backed by Living SNL Skit

Former Alaska governor, pundit, and moose-foe Sarah Palin has endorsed billionaire and one-time Sex and the City cameo Donald Trump for president. It’s unclear if the plug will boost Trump’s support in Iowa, but it should aid Palin in her effort to remain relevant.

Long Predicted Communist Takeover Arrives 60 Years Late
According to recent polls, Bernie Sanders now has a commanding lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. Sanders now boasts a full 27 points on Clinton, with 60 percent of respondents siding with the Vermont senator. [CNN]

Ben Carson Suspends Campaign After Fatal Crash
In terribly sad campaign news, Ben Carson has suspended his campaign activities following news that a van transporting four members of his team crashed after hitting a patch of ice. Volunteer Braden Joplin, 25, was killed, while the driver and two other passengers were briefly hospitalized. [AFP]

Supreme Court to Take Up Obama-Immigration Challenge
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will hear a case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which would allow about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation. The decision should come down in June, just in time to revive the immigration fight for the conventions.

Painfully Uncool Candidate Mixes Up World’s Coolest Teens
During an event at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, presidential less-hopeful-by-the-day Jeb Bush repeatedly referred to President Obama’s daughter Malia as Malala, the name of the young Pakistani activist. [Jezebel]

Microsoft Donates Thing That Confuses Your Mom
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith announced yesterday that the company will donate $3 billion of cloud services to nonprofit organizations over the next three years. This is the biggest news out of Microsoft Philanthropies since the organization was launched last month. [Bloomberg]

Plan to Stifle Global Productivity Succeeding
Netflix shares jumped more than 8 percent yesterday following reports that the streaming service added 5.59 million new subscribers, beating its forecast of 5.15 million. Most of the new subscribers were international, vindicating Netflix’s recent push into overseas markets. [USA Today]

Oil Plummets and With It, Asian Markets
Asian markets remain in decline today with most blame being put on oil, which dropped below $28 a barrel for the first time since 2003. The poor performance coincides with an announcement from the International Monetary Fund last night cutting its global-growth forecast from 3.6 percent to 3.4 percent. [CNBC]

IBM Crash No Surprise to IBM Users
IBM shares fell 3 percent yesterday following a disappointing earnings report. The company announced a 17 percent decrease in earnings in the report, which also showed services like cloud computing now make up more than a third of IBM’s revenue. Confirmed: Actually making things is terrible business. [WSJ]

Univision Botches Acquisition of English-Language Food Magazine
The Spanish-language media behemoth Univision Communications has purchased a controlling stake in the satirical media group the Onion. The group owns its eponymous online publication, the pop-culture site the A.V. Club, and the clickbait parody site ClickHole. This is exactly what Trump warned us about. [NPR]

Gawker Seeks More Money for Hulk Hogan Fight
Gawker Media has entered into a new round of fundraising in case a well-publicized lawsuit brought by American hero Hulk Hogan goes south. Hogan is suing the media company for $100 million over a sex tape that Gawker released in 2012. Now this is the kind of case Serial should be investigating. [TechCrunch]

Washington Post Reporter Lisa Rein Caught in Plagiarism Scandal
Accusations of plagiarism on the part of Washington Post reporter Lisa Rein continue to come in after the Post printed an acknowledgment stating that Rein had not properly credited information lifted from the business magazine Government Executive in Tuesday’s paper. Rein’s apology yesterday has not stopped more examples of alleged plagiarism from surfacing on Twitter. [Washington City Paper]

In a very confusing bit of public relations, Oregon militia men occupying a government wildlife refuge released a video of two members blowing shofars — the horns traditionally used during services on Jewish holidays. The obviously Game of Thrones–addled freedom fighters referred to the instruments as “battle trumpets” and, bizarrely, said their tooting was a signal for Christians to rise. We’re kind of glad nobody arrested them. This is getting so good.

If you don’t have time to watch Sarah Palin’s 20-minute Trump endorsement speech, this is pretty much all you need to know:

E-40 Achieves American Dream
Rapper, slang-pioneer, entrepreneur, and possibly stoned baseball-spectator E-40 has launched a new line of malt liquor called, you guessed it, E40, which comes in, you guessed it again, 40-ounce bottles, to be sold in the Bay Area. Props to this reporter for calling malt liquor “honey kissed.” [SFGate]

Theme Park Opportunity Squandered
Demolition began yesterday on a mansion owned by one-time notorious drug kingpin and modern-day Kimmy Schmidt ratings-competitor Pablo Escobar. The pink Miami Beach mansion was acquired in 2014 by another notorious vice peddler, Chicken Kitchen owner Christian de Berdouare. [WESH]

Trippy Space Doings Underway
This morning, for the first time in ten years, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter will all be visible to the naked eye about 45 minutes before sunrise. You’ll be able to see the planets align through the end of February, so you have plenty of time to pretend you’re actually going to get up early. [CBS]

Obama Now Playing Car Shows
President Obama is set to meet residents of a Detroit neighborhood today before visiting the North American International Auto Show to tout his accomplishments in turning around the city and rejuvenating the auto industry. Not sure how turned-around Detroiters feel, but we’re sure they’ll appreciate Obama coming through to take credit. [Detroit Free Press]

Pharma Bro’s Image Repair Takes Troubling Turn
Martin Shkreli — of gouging poor sick people, buying an overpriced Wu-Tang CD, and going to jail fame — is allegedly preparing for his most offensive stunt yet. Rumors are swirling that the toxic swindler (not a bad rap name, Marty!) will release a mixtape later today. [Twitter]

Fresh Intelligence: Pakistan University Attacked