The Presidential Daily Brief

important

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    Congress Reels as Conyers Harassment Settlement Outed

    He’s just the latest. Respected Detroit-area Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, is facing an ethics investigation after a $27,000 harassment settlement to a former aide came to light. Congress is under increasing pressure to release complaints that are currently confidential under a 1995 law. Conyers, who’s served for half a century, has relinquished his post as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, another Democrat, Sen. Al Franken, said he felt “embarrassed and ashamed” about allegations against him, but would return to work today.

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    Thousands Evacuated as Bali Volcano Threatens

    It’s not a vacation paradise at the moment. Bali’s largest volcano is becoming increasingly active, with eruptions this weekend spewing ash 3.7 miles high and forcing the Indonesian island’s main airport to close. Thousands of travelers have been stranded, while mass evacuations are underway for the area surrounding the mountain. Authorities warn that Mount Agung, which killed more than 1,000 during a 1963 eruption, is now causing regular tremors and beginning to release molten rock. They’re urging 60,000 more residents to immediately join the 40,000 who have already evacuated.

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    Pakistani Minister Resigns After Weeks of Violent Protests

    They blinked. A hard-line Islamist party that clashed with Islamabad police and blocked streets in the capital has agreed to disperse after the government met its demand to remove Law Minister Zahid Hamid. He was accused of blasphemy — a capital offense — for not referring to Muhammad as God’s final prophet in a new oath of office for legislators. Fundamentalist leaders agreed not to issue an edict against Hamid in exchange for his resignation. One Pakistani journalist tweeted that it’s “a sad day when the state surrendered to the extremists.”

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    Koch Brothers Help Buy Time Inc.

    They’ve got it covered. The Meredith Corporation — backed by $650 million in private equity from billionaire conservative power brokers Charles and David Koch — has bought Time Inc. for about $2.8 billion in cash. Along with its eponymous magazine, the company publishes People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and InStyle. The sale appears unrelated to President Donald Trump’s seeming fixation on being named Time’s “Person of the Year.” There’s speculation that the deal could advance the Kochs’ conservative agenda, but Meredith said the brothers would have “no influence” on editorial operations.

  5. Consumer Struggle, Pope Francis in Myanmar and North Korea’s Time Out

    Know This: Leandra English, deputy director of the financial industry watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has filed suit to block President Trump from replacing the group’s director. Pope Francis has arrived in Myanmar, where he’s expected to address the persecution of the country’s Rohingya Muslims. And Britain’s Prince Harry has announced he’ll marry his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle.

    Remember This Number: 73. That’s the number of days it’s been since North Korea fired a missile over Japan, a break in provocation so notable that Russian officials say it’s a step toward the Hermit Kingdom’s denuclearization. Meanwhile, the U.S. has rejected a Russian-Chinese proposal to freeze large U.S.-South Korean military exercises in exchange for the North’s continued restraint.

    Talk to Us: What would you like to know? Here at OZY, we’ve been compiling dossiers on every week’s biggest news issue. Tell us what you’d like to find out all about this week by sending an email to pdbrief@ozy.com.

intriguing

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    US Spa Chain Faces 180 Sexual Assault Claims

    They touched too much. So said 180 Massage Envy clients who filed police reports, lawsuits and state board complaints alleging that the massage discounter’s therapists groped them or otherwise sexually violated them. One Pennsylvania massage therapist pleaded guilty to molesting nine customers in 2014 and 2015, and some complaints accuse franchise managers of mishandling or covering up assaults. Massage Envy responded that the allegations spanned 125 million spa appointments over 15 years, but noted that “even one incident is too many,” promising to improve company procedures for such cases.

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    A Presidential Curse Stalks West Coast Dems

    Can they break it? While California’s home to some up-and-coming liberal politicians, no Democrat from the land of wine and palm trees has ever earned the party’s presidential nomination, though Gov. Jerry Brown came close to the 1992 Democratic nod — and Golden State Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan made it to the Oval Office. Observers call the western drought just “an odd footnote” in American history. The party, however, might secretly nurture the curse, as swing-state voters probably find sun-and-fun liberals harder to love.

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    Malarial Mosquitoes? Send in the Drones

    They’re attacking from above. The East African nation of Tanzania and its archipelago of Zanzibar have long fought the global scourge of malaria, which kills approximately 500,000 people every year. Among the newest weapons in the fight are drones that fly over remote pools of water inhabited by disease-transmitting mosquitoes in an effort to track where they reproduce. Now epidemiologists are teaming up with nonprofits to expand operations, hoping to rig aerial robots for larvicide-spraying — while teaching local residents that these new buzzing pests are there to help.

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    ‘House of Cards’ Extends Production Hiatus

    Frank Underwood finally met a foe he can’t destroy. As showrunners determine how to write alleged serial harasser Kevin Spacey off the show’s final season, production of Netflix’s House of Cards will remain on hold a few weeks longer, according to a leaked statement that producers sent to the cast and crew. “These last two months have tested and tried all of us,” it said, but “this production is bigger than just one person.” Fans can take solace in reported plans for as many as three Spacey-free spinoffs.

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    Broncos, Raiders Players Ejected After Sideline Tussle

    Isn’t football violent enough? A grudge between Denver cornerback Aqib Talib and Oakland wide receiver Michael Crabtree erupted again in a sideline brawl during the Raiders’ 21-14 home victory Sunday. Crabtree shoved Talib out of bounds after a play ended, and Talib responded by ripping off Crabtree’s necklace — something he’d also done last season. Both were booted from the game, bringing the season’s total league ejections to 13, tying a 2001 record. All sportsmanship wasn’t lost, though: Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch escorted Talib through the Raiders’ sideline after the brawl.