Situational awareness: The stock market had another good day, with the Dow closing up nearly 400 points.
1 big thing: Xi joins authoritarian trend
Chinese President Xi Jinping solidified his grasp on power yesterday, with the country's Communist Party abandoning term limits to allow Xi to serve long past his 2023 expiration date.
The global picture: This is "the latest and arguably most significant sign of the world’s decisive tilt toward authoritarian governance, often built on the highly personalized exercise of power," Steven Lee Myers reports for the N.Y. Times.
- "The list includes Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey..."
- "Authoritarianism is also reappearing in places like Hungary and Poland that barely a quarter century ago shook loose the shackles of Soviet oppression."
Why it matters: Xi has set an incredibly ambitious foreign policy, and more firmly established China as a rival to U.S. influence around the world. At home, he has ruled as a strongman with no tolerance for dissent, and methodically removed nearly all checks on his power, Axios world editor Dave Lawler notes.
- Go deeper: Lawler maps out the timeline of Xi's rise
2. What you missed
- Trump claimed that he'd have run unarmed inside the Florida high school during the shooting: "I really believe I would have ... you never know until you’re tested.” More.
- The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's DACA injunction appeal, meaning Dreamers will get to renew their permits while the court case is being decided. The big picture.
- Updates from the Mobile World Congress: Sony debuted a pair of "open-ear" earbuds designed to help you hear sound from phones as well as the world around you. More.
- The next front of the NRA turf war: Georgia's lieutenant governor threatened to quash Delta's desired tax break on jet fuel if the company doesn't restore its discount program for NRA members. Details.
- Counterintuitive data point: Uber had a tumultuous year in 2017, but drivers' satisfaction with the service is at 58.2%, up 9% from a year ago.
3. Choose your own fun thing
Option 1: N.Y. Times photographer Doug Mills, 57, details the epic prep work he put in before the Olympic Games. This was his 14th round of the games.
- "[I] have to hike up the mountain to get into position — again carrying all my equipment..."
- "I started my Olympic training the day after Christmas by strapping on the same backpack I would carry here, but loaded up with a barbell that weighed 30 pounds or more, and walking hills and steps near my house for up to an hour every day.
- "I pasted toe warmers onto my smart shirt near my kidneys. (All your blood goes through your kidneys.)"
Option 2: "Dolce & Gabbana Sent Purses Down the Runway Via Drones Because the Future Is Now" — TIME