The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Deputy AG Appoints Special Counsel for Russia Probe

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed Former FBI director Robert Mueller to probe Russian election meddling and alleged Trump administration collusion. The surprise announcement comes after a series of events that have shaken Washington: Last week’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, reports that the president blurted out sensitive intelligence — provided by Israel — to visiting Russian officials and further reports that Comey wrote a memo detailing Trump asking him to stop investigating then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Earlier, the Dow dropped 373 points, a 1.78 percent slide analysts blamed on the government’s turmoil.

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    FBI Memo Claims Trump Asked Comey to End Investigation

    “I hope you can let this go.” So said President Donald Trump to then-FBI Director James Comey regarding the investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn’s Russian connections. The detailed Feb. 14 memo was written by Comey immediately after meeting the president, and calls into question whether Trump was trying to impede or influence the investigation. The White House said it was “not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation,” but the House Oversight Committee has set a May 24 hearing date to ascertain if Trump meddled in the FBI probe, calling on Comey to testify.

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    Injuries, Arrests Ensue as Erdogan Visits US

    Here come the men in black. With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visiting Washington, D.C., protesters gathered outside the Turkish embassy — until men in dark suits, reported by witnesses to be members of Erdogan’s security detail, attacked them, injuring nine and resulting in two arrests. Meanwhile, Erdogan met with President Trump, promising to fight ISIS together, even as an American plan to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters has incensed Turkey, which equates them with banned separatist group PKK. Erdogan will likely be placated by Trump’s new vow to also fight the PKK.

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    DRC Jailbreak Frees Incarcerated Religious Leader

    His people let him go. Ne Muanda Nsemi is the self-styled prophet of a prominent Christian sect in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a plan to return the country to its pre-colonial past under the name Kongo. He’s been jailed since March after a series of deadly clashes between his followers and police. Members of his sect stormed the Kinshasa prison where he was incarcerated, freeing about 50 other inmates in the process. Soldiers are now making arrests in the vicinity of Nsemi’s house as they search for fugitives.

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    Pharma Firms Hope for Boost From Chinese Rule Reform

    They’re hoping a dose of deregulation does the trick. Public health insurance in China, rolled out in 2011, has meant greater government control over price negotiations — and weakening profits in the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market for companies like Merck and GlaxoSmithKline. Now multinationals are hoping relief comes in the form of proposed rule changes that would accelerate the drug approval process, granting China’s growing middle class access to newer and pricier products — even as the country’s health minister has promised to further reduce drug costs.

  6. Manning’s Freedom, the Fitness of Fatness and Cannes 2017

    Know This: Chelsea Manning, who leaked a massive cache of state secrets to WikiLeaks, was released from prison today. Attackers with AK-47s have stormed a TV station in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. A study of 3.5 million people in the U.K. has called into question the “fat but fit” idea that obesity doesn’t necessarily come with health risks.

    Remember This Number: Zero. That’s how many films produced by major U.S. studios are in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off in France today. A small crop of independent American films will make a showing.

    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.

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    Baby Mice Born From 3-D-Printed Ovaries

    First mice, then men. Scientists at Northwestern University have created bioprosthetic ovaries that let mice conceive and give birth to healthy babies. By implanting 3-D-printed gelatin scaffolds with follicles of ovarian tissue, scientists were able to boost hormone production required for fertility. The study so far has been mouse-centric, but researchers hope that in 10 to 15 years they’ll be able to use the technology on human subjects who have suffered ovarian damage from cancer treatment, or older women having difficulty conceiving due to aging eggs.

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    Instagram Stories Releases Snapchat-Style Face Filters

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattening your rival. The Facebook-owned photo sharing site has announced the addition of augmented reality filters to its Stories feature — obliterating one of the last remaining differences between the app and its biggest competitor, Snapchat. Meanwhile, Instagram is also testing location-specific stickers, another of its rival’s staples. With Stories only eight months old and already boasting 200 million daily users compared with Snapchat’s 161 million, it looks like the former is closing the gap and successfully snapping up market share.

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    Link Between Price and Healthiness Shapes Shopping Lists

    We put our money where our mouths are. In reality, healthier food isn’t always pricier, but a new study suggests that as shoppers we have an ingrained belief that it must be, and that influences the content of our shopping carts. Over a series of small experiments on groups of 100-200 subjects, researchers found that not only are we more likely to assume healthier foods cost more, but we’re skeptical of health claims if an item costs less than expected — allowing companies an excuse to charge more.

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    ‘Roseanne’ Returning to ABC

    “Are we telling the right stories? Are we reaching the right people?” By reviving the Emmy-winning multicamera sitcom about the working class Conner family, TV executives hope to answer those questions, particularly after the 2016 election, which they say “made the ground shake underneath media.” After nearly 20 years off the air, ABC has rounded up the original Roseanne cast for an eight-episode midseason debut. Its return comes amid a slew of revivals: The X-Files, Full House, Twin Peaks and Will & Grace are all seeing new life on-screen.

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    Returning Sharapova Snubbed by French Open

    Non, merci. Maria Sharapova, former world No. 1, has been denied a wild card entry into Roland Garros by the head of the French Tennis Federation — who said it was his “responsibility to protect the game.” It would have been the two-time French Open winner’s first major championship since returning from a 15-month doping ban that many thought was too lenient. Now the pressure falls on the All England Club, which controls the lineup at Wimbledon, to either offer Sharapova a wild card or follow France’s lead.