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The World’s Most Powerful Women: February 2

One of the four women President Donald Trump nominated for his cabinet could see her confirmation held up by—interestingly enough—two of the 21 women in the Senate. Veteran Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both Republicans, issued a stunning rebuke of their party’s new leader yesterday when they announced that they would not support Betsy DeVos, his pick for education secretary. Their no votes put DeVos’ confirmation on shaky ground. Senate Republican leadership and the White House must keep any other Republican from defecting. If they can maintain 50 votes in support of DeVos, the tiebreak would go to Vice President Mike Pence, who’s expected to vote for her confirmation.

Murkowski said messages from her constituents shaped her decision. “I have heard from thousands, truly, thousands of Alaskans who have shared their concerns about Mrs. DeVos,” she said. “This is not a decision I make lightly. I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. DeVos,” Collins said. “I will not, cannot vote to confirm her.”

This isn’t new territory for Collins. In August, the Republican published an op-ed in the Washington Post that led with the line: “I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Selling for SyriansIkea has announced plans to sell a line of rugs and textiles made by Syrian refugees in 2019. The limited-run production will create jobs for 200 refugees, most of them women, currently living in Jordan. Ikea managing director Jesper Brodin said the situation in Syria “is a major tragedy of our time” and Ikea “decided to look into how [it] can contribute.”Fortune

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Paper trail
U.K. PM Theresa May will publish a white paper today that sets out her Brexit negotiating plans. May promised the paper to head off a modest rebellion by pro-Europe MPs in her own Conservative party in a vote yesterday on a bill enabling the government to trigger Brexit. The paper is not expected to feature any new details, but it will provide additional assurance to MPs who oppose Brexit but who didn’t want to vote against the will of the people.
Financial Times
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Out-of-line in-laws
In Zimbabwe, widows often find themselves destitute, stripped of their property by the government and in-laws after their husbands die. The practice is common in many countries, but it’s particularly widespread in Zimbabwe despite laws against it because of the nation’s short lifespans and the tendency of men to marry much younger women. Half of women over 60 have buried at least one husband. Solving the problem is not a question of passing new legislation but of extending the rule of written laws.
Economist

THE AMERICAS

A super message
Companies are using the Super Bowl’s advertising bonanza as a chance to advocate for gender equality. GoDaddy—known for its spots featuring scantily clad women—has a new ad that references the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world’s largest gathering of female technologists. Volkswagen Audi, meanwhile, will run an ad that promotes equal pay.
Fortune
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Read all about it
Hillary Clinton is working on a new book. If you’re hoping for a juicy tell-all, prepare to be disappointed—probably. Her publisher Simon & Schuster described the project as a collection “of personal essays” inspired by “the hundreds of quotations [Clinton] has been collecting for decades.” It’s due out in the fall.
Fortune
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Sheryl speaks
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had been less vocal than expected about the new administration, but she sent a clear message yesterday. First, she donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood, the largest women’s health provider in the U.S. Then, speaking at the Watermark Conference for Women in California, she told the crowd that her decision not to post on social media about the Women’s March on Washington “was a mistake” and that “if [she] had to do it again, [she] certainly would post.”
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Show them the money
India is increasing its spending on women and children by 25%, according to a budget introduced yesterday. The money will be earmarked for programs such as funds for pregnant women and the construction of 1.4 million village centers to empower women. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also said he plans to double spending on a microfinance scheme, with priority given to marginalized groups such as women, lower castes, and minorities.
Reuters
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Ki-moon craters
The contest to succeed South Korean President Park Geun-hye grew more uncertain yesterday when former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon abruptly dropped out of the race. Ever since Park became engulfed in scandal, conservatives had looked to Ban as a potential flag bearer, but his candidacy lost steam as he made awkward public appearances and as rival politicians painted him as a continuation of Park’s rule.
Wall Street Journal

IN BRIEF

Gabrielle Union launches ‘flawless’ hair product line
People

This woman is an abortion travel agent
Refinery29

You need to see J.K. Rowling’s incredible responses to these Twitter trolls
Buzzfeed

What it’s like to be a professional bridesmaid
Bustle

France’s Marine Le Pen applauds Trump’s travel ban
CNN

PARTING WORDS

“My son, who is 22 and has three ‘tats, thinks this is hysterical.”
--Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post, on getting a tattoo to fulfill a bet she lost to her chain's managers.