HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
Multiple explosions and gunfire rocked Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, on Thursday.
At least seven people were killed, including five gunmen, after a series of explosions and gun battles, the Associated Press reports. Indonesian President Joko Widodo called the attacks an “act of terror.” ISIS has claimed responsibility.
At least one of the blasts occurred near the Sarinah shopping mall, the oldest in Jakarta. At least one other explosion was said to have taken place at a Starbucks cafe, according to the Associated Press.
And a little extra.
Indonesia has experienced several terrorist attacks by Islamist militants in the last decade. A 2014 report found that approximately 50 Indonesians had traveled to Syria to join ISIS, inducing fears of a strengthening of the Jihadi movement in Indonesia.
To follow the story and more of the latest news, download the BuzzFeed News app for iOS and Android (in U.S. app stores only).
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
At least six people died after a car bomb hit a police headquarters in southeastern Turkey.
At least 39 people have been wounded. Rescuers searched for people who were believed to be trapped under the rubble at the scene in Diyarbakir province’s Cinar district on Thursday, BBC News reports.
The blast follows an attack in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, on Tuesday that killed 10 people.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the Diyarbakir bombing, officials blamed the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants, who are active in the mainly Kurdish province. The PKK is considered a terror organization by Turkey and its Western allies. Its militants have “mounted barricades, dug trenches, and set up explosives to keep authorities away,” the New York Times reports.
A bit of background.
Diyarbakir is no stranger to violence. Last year, two blasts at a Kurdish rally killed two people and injured more than a hundred others. And several areas in southeastern Turkey were put under curfew last year as part of a security crackdown “amid political turmoil over PKK Kurdish rebel attacks,” BBC News writes.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
A professor fell in love with his graduate student. Then he fired her for it.
Christian Ott, a 38-year-old astrophysics professor at the California Institute of Technology, fell in love with one of his graduate students and then fired her because of his feelings, according to a recent university investigation, BuzzFeed News’ Azeen Ghorayshi reports.
Twenty-one months of intimate online chats, obtained by BuzzFeed News, confirm that Ott also confessed his feelings and actions to another female graduate student. The two women filed a harassment complaint.
The university investigation, which concluded in September, found that Ott violated the school’s harassment policies with both women.
Ott was suspended on unpaid leave for nine months, during which he isn’t allowed on campus. Many scientists are asking why Ott was not fired, pointing to widespread sexism in science and a tenure system that protects professors despite bad behavior.
Ott told BuzzFeed News he was “constrained from commenting on the situation at this time,” but challenged the idea that he was to blame for anyone's firing.
Ott's case coincides with high-profile incidents of sexual harassment in university science departments. In October, BuzzFeed News revealed that Berkeley had found that the famous astronomer Geoff Marcy had sexually harassed students. On Tuesday, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier said a 2004 report from the University of Arizona found that the astronomer Tim Slater had violated sexual harassment policies.
One hell of a job: NASA’s planetary defense officer is tasked with protecting Earth from asteroids.
The job description for the planetary defense officer, who will lead NASA’s new Planetary Defense Coordination Office, is basically to “protect the planet from collisions with a near-Earth object such as an asteroid or comet,” the Washington Post writes.
Quick things to know:
Liberia is Ebola-free, the World Health Organization said. It’s the first time West Africa has been free of the virus since 2013. (BuzzFeed News)
British actor Alan Rickman, known for movies including Harry Potter and Die Hard, has died. He was 69. (The Guardian)
Three Russian nationals were among 10 people arrested in Turkey yesterday on suspicion of having links to ISIS following Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 10 people. (BuzzFeed News)
Sydney’s Opera House was reopened after a large police operation shut it down at lunchtime on Thursday. It’s still unclear why the landmark and other parts of the harbor where it’s located were evacuated. (BuzzFeed News)
At least three people died Wednesday after an avalanche struck a group of schoolchildren skiing in a French Alps resort. (BuzzFeed News)
Six years after launching its advertising platform, iAd, Apple is getting out of the advertising-sales business and shifting to a more automated platform. (BuzzFeed News)
Neighbors near Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $10 million San Francisco pied-à-terre say the billionaire’s security detail is parking illegally. (BuzzFeed News)
Cable news channel Al Jazeera America will shut down at the end of April. It launched in 2013. (BuzzFeed News)
Yesterday’s record-setting $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot will be shared by three winners. Lucky winning tickets were purchased in California, Tennessee, and Florida. (BuzzFeed News) A group of co-workers in New Jersey briefly thought they won the Powerball, but then realized their numbers were outdated. (BuzzFeed News)
Have you missed Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe? The Friends stars will appear in an upcoming NBC special, set to air on Feb. 21. (BuzzFeed News)
Dog’s best friend: presidents. The White House has been home to many dogs over the years, from Barack Obama’s Portuguese water dog, Bo, to Lyndon Johnson’s beagle, Freckles, in the 1960s. And let’s not forget about other animals: Bill Clinton also had a pet cat, in addition to his dog Buddy. BuzzFeed News’ Gabriel Sanchez rounded up 25 pictures of the most adorable presidential pets. All hail the First Pooch.
This letter was edited and brought to you by Natasha Japanwala, Claire Moses, and Brianne O’Brien. You can always reach us here.