Inauguration – In today’s Washington Post, Jake & I argue that Obama needs to engage millennials to be successful in his second term. “While the President mastered platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr during his campaigns, he now needs to harness social media to govern effectively. Getting millennials to participate requires treating social media as a mechanism for sparking honest conversation, not as a method to win followers."
What happened this week – 1) France’s President François Hollande ordered military action to stop a rebel uprising in Mali. As rebels with ties to al-Qaeda closed in on the capital Bamako, Hollande ordered air strikes and then deployed 2,500 soldiers to fight alongside Malian troops. The response halted the rebels forward progress, but the next steps are unclear.
2) In Algeria (Mali’s neighbor to the North), Islamists attacked an energy plant and held its workers hostage – including American, British and French nationals – in response to France’s attack on the rebels in Mali. The hostage situation ended violently when the Algerian military raided the compound – without giving warning to foreign governments – and engaged the militants in a firefight. All 32 militants and as many as 30 hostages were killed.
3) In the U.S., Barack Obama unveiled his gun control proposal. The proposal is a mix of both executive actions and congressional bills. The congressional bills (which don’t go into effect unless they are passed by Congress) include requiring background checks for all gun sales, an assault weapon ban, and providing financing for mental health programs. The executive actions include making background check data available to federal government and forcing federal law enforcement to trace weapons recovered in criminal investigations.
4) In Pakistan, Tahir ul Qadri, a Muslim cleric, lead the biggest march on the capital in several years. He pushed for the removal of Pakistan’s corrupt political class.
5) In China, the official measure of air pollution in Beijing went from “hazardous” to literally off the charts. A thick smog has overtaken the city and much of the country. Chinese citizens and the state-control media have become more critical of the government’s inaction on the issue.
Top PolicyMic stories – Obama's Inauguration on MLK Day is a Fitting Tribute to Dr. King (Matt MacBradaigh) – The reelection of President Barack Obama is a fitting tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy whether you're a Democrat, Republican or Independent.
7 Ways in Which President Obama Continues to Break His Presidential Oath (Christian Rice) – President Obama is about to take the presidential oath for a second time. What's the point?
Watch George W. Bush and Bill Clinton's Inauguration Speeches (Matthew Rozsa) – How will President Obama's speech compare to those of the two past presidents: George W. Bush and Bill Clinton?
Can iPhones Help Millennials Practice Safer Sex? (Whitney Sher) – Two new smartphone apps, MedXCom Patient and iCondom, claim to help millennials practice safer sex. Do they succeed?
Bulgarian Party Leader Botched Assassination Attempt is Just a PR Stunt (Georgi Ivanov) – World news agencies are awash with the attempted attack in Bulgaria on Ahmed Dogan, the party leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Here's why this is just a PR stunt.
3 Movies You Have to See Before the Oscars (William Kang) – Watch this. Skip that. Find out which three movies made the must-see list before this year's Academy Awards.
Hillary Clinton Benghazi Testimony Set For Wednesday in House and Senate (Areej Elahi-Siddiqui) – On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify in front of both congressional foreign relations committees to answer questions about last year's Benghazi consulate attack.
75% Of Millennials Are Pro-Choice, And 65% Are Pro-Life. Wait. What? (Sam Meier) – A study by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that millennials simultaneously identify as pro-life and pro-choice, reflecting America's age-old ambivalence over abortion rights.
What we’re reading – Fed official alleges Geithner may have alerted banks to rate cut(Reuters); Find the perfect sleep position (WSJ); Obama 2.0: Smarter, tougher -- but wiser? (David Gergen); Jack Lew’s questionable days at Citigroup (Forbes); Obama abandons logic in gun control policy (DC Examiner); Frightening math for GOP: It needs to appeal to youth and minorities to win (National Journal); Change comes: After 4 years, friends see shifts in the Obamas (NYT).
Dessert – SNL video: Piers Morgan interview with Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o, and Jodie Foster.