The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Bergdahl Booted From Military, But Avoids Prison 

    He’s out. A military judge has ruled that Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl won’t serve prison time — but will be dishonorably discharged — for leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009, after which he was captured by the Taliban and held for five years. The case has been a political flashpoint, with conservatives angry over President Barack Obama’s exchange in 2014 of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl. Several soldiers were injured searching for him. President Donald Trump called the ruling “a complete and total disgrace.”

    Dishonorable Discharge

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    GOP Unveils Sweeping Tax Reform Plan

    It’s been a long time coming. House Republicans have revealed their plan for the most comprehensive tax reform in decades with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It would slash corporate tax to 20 percent — a move analysts say would disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans — and would consolidate family and individual tax brackets. GOP lawmakers hope their bill, which faces a major political battle as Democrats are expected to fight the deletion of popular tax credits, will prove the party is capable of getting things done ahead of 2018 midterm elections.

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    Spain Cracks Down on Catalan Leaders

    The cure may be worse than the disease. A Spanish judge has ordered eight former Catalan ministers — accused of rebellion and sedition in the wake of Catalonia’s declaration of independence — jailed until their Nov. 9 hearing. Ousted leader Carles Puigdemont and another four deposed politicians were also summoned to court, but opted not to appear. Now, a Spanish court has issued arrest warrants for all five, who are currently in Belgium. Thousands of Catalans are protesting the move, with one far-left Catalan MP declaring, “The legitimate government is in prison.”

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    UN: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Civilians in Battle of Mosul

    The fog of war is lifting. A new U.N. report reveals ISIS executed 741 civilians, including children, during the nine-month battle for Mosul that ended in July. The militants also reportedly used civilians as human shields and unwilling suicide bombers. Another 461 were killed by Iraqi and U.S.-led airstrikes, taking the civilian death toll over 2,500. The “shocking human rights abuses” in the report could aid future war crime prosecutions. Meanwhile, the Syrian army says it’s retaken Deir al-Zour, ISIS’ last major stronghold in Syria.

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    Former DNC Chair Details Agreement Between Party, Clinton

    Sanders supporters are feeling burned. Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee chair, has revealed the details of an agreement, forged months before the 2016 primary, between the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The committee allegedly agreed that Clinton could have some control over fundraising, strategy and staff decisions in exchange for raising money to fund the organization. The party now hopes to make amends with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters, many of whom already felt at odds with the Democratic establishment after Sanders was knocked out of the race.

  6. A New Fed Chair, Bubonic Plague and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: President Donald Trump announced he’ll replace current Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen with another board member — multimillionaire Jerome Powell. Madagascar is facing the worst outbreak of bubonic plague in 50 years, with more than 1,800 cases and 127 deaths reported since August. And male rape is being used as a weapon of war in Libya to humiliate and neutralize opponents, according to a new investigation.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.

    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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    Trump’s Account Downed Briefly by Rogue Twitter Employee

    It was a race against his timeline. President Trump’s bellicose personal Twitter account was taken offline for 11 minutes Thursday by a customer support agent on their last day, according to the company. In the last 24 hours, Trump — with more than 41 million followers — has used Twitter to rail against a diversity visa program, advocate for the death penalty and denigrate former FBI Director James Comey’s leadership as a “disaster.” The company promised a full internal review of employees’ ability to deactivate even high-profile accounts.

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    Community Colleges More Effective Than Previously Thought

    They make the grade after all. America’s community colleges have long had a substandard reputation, with critics observing that only a fifth of students graduate, compared to 90 percent or more for elite four-year institutions. But now the U.S. Department of Education has changed its metric: It now includes part-time and recurring students, and counts those graduating within eight years rather than six. By the new standards, 60 percent of community college students graduate — underlining the schools’ value as a resource for older or financially struggling students.

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    Huge Secret Space Discovered in Great Pyramid

    But is there an ace in the hole? Archaeologists have identified a massive, mysterious void inside Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, the first inner structure found since the 1800s. Researchers, forbidden from drilling, located the cavity from outside using muon radiography, but they still don’t know what’s inside the space, which is almost as big as the pyramid’s Grand Gallery. Now, with physical excavation practically off-limits, the scientific community is discussing how to investigate the chamber, which could mean other non-invasive techniques or exploration with tiny drones.

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    Gothamist Network Sites Closed After Employees Unionize

    They’re stricken from the record. Popular local news sites DNAinfo and the Gothamist network were shuttered by billionaire owner Joe Ricketts a week after the reporters and editors in the New York newsrooms voted to unionize. The move left 115 journalists suddenly jobless and deleted the sites’ archives, instead redirecting visitors to a letter from Ricketts explaining that “businesses need to be economically successful.” Workers say they weren’t warned and the Writers Guild said in a statement that it will “aggressively pursue [its] new members’ rights.”

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    Texans Rookie Watson Sidelined With ACL Injury

    And Houston hadn’t even finished celebrating. Superstar rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson is out for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL during practice. The 22-year-old was thought to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year after tying the league’s lead in touchdown passes (19) and was on course to beat the rookie record. Backup quarterback Tom Savage, who has never thrown a touchdown in the NFL, will try to keep the Texans at the top of their division to have a chance at making the playoffs.