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Trump Emergency, GE HQ, Barr Confirmation: CEO Daily for February 15, 2019

Good morning.

Well that didn’t last long. Amazon said yesterday it was abandoning its “second headquarters” in New York because of opposition from politicians. Mayor Bill de Blasio fought back with a blustery Frank Sinatra allusion: “You have to be tough to make it in New York City.” But clearly, this is New York’s loss.

Meanwhile, Apple is becoming a health care company. Sort of. Monday night it launched an event series at its San Francisco store on heart health, and will do the same in Chicago and New York. CEO Tim Cook told CNBC recently that health will be the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind.”

The entry of Apple into the health care business is exactly the sort of border crossing that Fortune will be highlighting at its fourth Brainstorm Health, led by Fortune’s Editor-in-Chief Cliff Leaf, Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington, and physician and bestselling author David Agus. The two-day event at San Diego’s Grand Del Mar resort, April 2-3, is the ultimate gathering of decision-makers and thought leaders in health care, bringing together the CEOs of Pfizer, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, WW, the Mayo Clinic, and more than two dozen other leading companies—plus dozens of top VCs, scientists, policy makers, hell-raisers, and entrepreneurs. (That’s Cliff’s description of the crowd.)

The conference is invite-only, but if you’d like to come, you can apply here: Please note—we’ll be closing registration soon.

News below. And apologies yesterday for saying Hilton employs 62,403 people globally. That’s only the company’s U.S. employment.

Alan Murray

Top News

Trump Emergency

President Trump will sign the spending bill that prevents another government shutdown but doesn’t give him what he wants for his wall, and declare a national emergency in order to get what he wants for his wall. Senior Democrats see the emergency-powers stuff as a “lawless act” and some Republicans are also concerned. BBC


Amazon’s not the only company forgoing big local incentives packages. General Electric says it’s downsizing its headquarters in Boston and will therefore return $87 million in incentives it received from Massachusetts. Instead of building a new 12-storey office tower, the ailing conglomerate will sell the land.

Barr Confirmation

William Barr has been confirmed as attorney general by the Senate. Three Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for Barr, who will now oversee the special counsel’s Russia investigation, which Barr has criticized. Barr was also attorney general from 1991 to 1993, under George H.W. Bush. Wall Street Journal

Brexit Complication

The U.K. Conservative Party’s hard-right Brexiteer wing has somehow made Brexit even more shambolic by abstaining from a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to negotiating it. The vote therefore went against May, leaving her unable to tell her EU counterparts that she has her parliament’s backing. Now that it’s clear she won’t get the ultra-Brexiteers’ support, she’s reportedly preparing to accept compromises to get a deal that placates other lawmakers. Bloomberg

Around the Water Cooler

Spanish Elections

Spaniards will go to the polls on April 28, after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a snap election. The socialist, who came to power due to the collapse of the conservative government last year, has been propped up by an alliance of leftists and regional nationalists who turned against his minority government in a budget vote earlier this week. The last two elections (in 2015 and 2016) produced hung parliaments, and it is quite likely that this one will follow suit. Fortune

Facebook Elections

Ahead of Nigeria’s elections tomorrow, it seems Facebook has been allowing outsiders to buy political ads targeting the country—which it expressly said would be forbidden. Al Jazeera checked, and discovered it was very easy to slip ads past Facebook’s automated systems: one claiming the terrorist group Boko Haram was fielding a candidate; and one claiming Donald Trump was backing the opposition. Al Jazeera

Coke Conspiracy

A Chinese-born engineer has been charged by U.S. authorities with attempted theft of trade secrets from companies that were working with Coca-Cola on new coatings for the insides of drinks cans. You Xiaorong was apparently going to set up a rival venture in China with state backing. South China Morning Post

A.I. Design

What can Callaway’s $530 Epic Flash golf club tell us about algorithms? Quite a lot, as that’s how it was designed, creating what some see as a perfect driver. As Spencer Bailey writes: “Though still nascent, artificial intelligence and machine learning are starting to alter our built world, from spatulas to skyscrapers, helping designers solve technical problems with unprecedented speed.” Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.