The Presidential Daily Brief

important

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    North Carolina Repeals ‘Bathroom Bill’

    It’s a royal flush. North Carolina has voted to repeal the state’s controversial “bathroom bill,” which critics say discriminates against LGBTQ citizens. The law was repealed with a 70-48 vote, and has been signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, despite backlash from the LGBTQ community. Concerns have been raised about the repeal, which has been enacted as part of a compromise that prohibits local councils and cities from developing and implementing their own anti-discrimination ordinances, effectively leaving trans rights at the mercy of the state.

     

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    UK Triggers Formal Brexit Proceedings

    Start the clock. British Prime Minister Theresa May has signed a letter of official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and it’s been delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk, meaning the U.K. is now formally beginning its departure from the EU. May has signalled a willingness to compromise in severing the 44-year relationship with Europe, which is granted two years of negotiations under the treaty. The letter comes just one day after Scottish MPs backed Nicola Sturgeon to negotiate a new independence vote before Brexit’s official end date.

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    Russia Investigation Stalls as Nunes Refuses to Recuse Himself

    He’s staying put. House Democrats and even one Republican are calling for Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes to quit the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The former Trump campaign adviser is under fire for reportedly receiving classified information on White House grounds, for briefing the president on intelligence that Nunes withheld from his committee, and for canceling a meeting where former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was expected to testify. Republicans are rallying around Nunes, but the stalemate has brought the investigation to a grinding halt.

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    Prominent French Socialist Jumps Ship to Back Macron

    Et tu, Manuel? Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who ran for the Socialist nomination in France’s upcoming election but lost to Benoît Hamon, says he won’t back his fellow Socialist in April. Rather, he’ll vote for centrist independent Emmanuel Macron, who’s expected to advance to the run-off round and defeat ultranationalist Marine Le Pen. While Valls’ defection is a bad sign for Hamon, it might not be a boost for Macron either: The ruling socialist government is widely disliked, particularly Valls’ rightward leanings, and liberal voters could turn away.

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    Toshiba’s Westinghouse Arm Files for Bankruptcy

    Please turn to Chapter 11. With the end of the fiscal year looming, Toshiba and Westinghouse Electric, its troubled subsidiary, reportedly held some tense negotiations that resulted in Westinghouse filing for bankruptcy and Toshiba announcing plans to get out of the nuclear construction game. It’s the downfall of a celebrated name in U.S. nuclear technology, and one that leaves half-finished reactors that Toshiba may try to get out of paying for. The company says it expects to report about $9 billion in losses for this fiscal year.

  6. Climate Change, Cyclone Debbie and Faces of Brexit

    Know This: Two anti-abortion activists have been charged with 15 felonies over covert videos they made of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood clinics. President Donald Trump signed an order repealing Obama-era climate policies. And authorities are optimistic about northeastern Australia’s ability to rebuild after Cyclone Debbie smashed through.

    Look at This: As Brexit kicks off, check out this photo essay on voters in the Brexit heartlands — and hear how they feel about their choices in hindsight.

    Talk to Us:  We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at pdbrief@ozy.com.

intriguing

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    Congress Repeals Internet Privacy Regulations

    They’re trading your cache for cash. The Republican-controlled House has followed the Senate in voting to strike down the FCC’s internet privacy stipulations requiring ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to actively gain consumers’ consent before selling or sharing their data history. On Tuesday, a slim majority pushed the measure through the House 215-205, arguing that free-market forces would keep things fair. Cybersecurity advocates have called the legislation “extremely disappointing,” but as the decision heads to the White House for approval, they’ve vowed to continue fighting.

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    Cost of US Home Ownership Reaches Two-Year High

    Home sweet eye-poppingly expensive home. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a year-on-year increase of 5.9 percent in January, meaning that American housing costs were the highest they’ve been in 31 months. Prices in Seattle, Portland and Denver hit all-time highs. Analysts put the growth down to strong demand and tepid interest rates, but even the Federal Reserve’s recent rate rise isn’t predicted to slow growth much — though wage stagnation might, if it can’t keep up with inflation.

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    Only Three EU Countries on Target for Paris Climate Goals

    Not everyone’s pulling their weight. A new report from Carbon Market Watch has found that Sweden, Germany and France are the only European countries actively implementing environmental policies set at the Paris climate accords. Europe’s collective pledge was to cut 40 percent of carbon emissions by 2030. But loopholes in climate laws, like receiving credits for planting trees, are allowing countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy to dodge responsibility for emissions as they struggle to enact changes that are more expensive … and necessary.

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    Anonymity Is the New Fashion Statement

    It’s an abrupt about-face. Some clothes are designed to look good in photos — but now tech-savvy designers are creating styles to preserve privacy, like a jacket coated in glass nanospheres that reflect the flash of a camera, putting the wearer’s face in eerie shade. With an estimated 50 percent of U.S. adults on file in law enforcement facial recognition databases, anonymizing fashion is gaining ground. But as designers face a rapidly evolving surveillance industry, it may be just as effective to simply keep your head down as you walk.

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    Women’s National Team Strikes Deal With USA Hockey

    “Our sport was the big winner today.” So said team captain Meghan Duggan following the resolution of 15 months of tense negotiations over wages and inequitable treatment within USA Hockey. Two weeks ago the team threatened to boycott the upcoming IIHF World Championships, even attracting support from U.S. senators. But yesterday the two sides announced they’ve agreed to new four-year contracts and the formation of an advisory group to advance women’s participation in hockey. The American women will defend their title on Friday as the world championships begin.