The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Divided House Backs Trump Impeachment Probe

    In a starkly partisan 232 to 196 vote, legislators yesterday approved a blueprint for the public portion of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Hearings in the country's fourth-ever impeachment case could now be televised, while transcripts from earlier closed-door testimony will be released. Republicans will also have a chance to summon their own witnesses — with the approval of the Democratic leadership.

    Why does it matter? While ostensibly a formality, the vote indicates that the Democrats are confident they've got enough legal ammunition for a case against Trump, observers say.

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    ISIS Has Already Named a New Leader

    Just days after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. raid, the group announced Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi would take his place. But few other details emerged from the seven-minute audio announcement, which confirmed Baghdadi's death. His successor's title suggests lineage from the Prophet Mohammed's Quraysh tribe — considered a prerequisite for becoming a caliph.

    What's the current threat level? According to OZY analyst and former CIA official John McLaughlin, the extremist group's access to money and safe havens, as well as its ability to exploit persistent societal and economic troubles, provide plenty of reasons to remain vigilant.

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    North Korea Says It Tested 'Super Large' Rocket Launcher

    The Hermit Kingdom today confirmed that it successfully fired a new multiple rocket launcher Thursday — its first weapons test in nearly a month. Two projectiles flew more than 200 miles off the country's eastern coast. But South Korean officials appeared to downplay the negative effects on inter-Korean dialogue and security.

    Are more missiles coming? Analysts say Pyongyang will probably kick it up a notch ahead of its self-imposed, year's-end deadline for Washington to offer friendlier terms in their ongoing nuclear negotiations.

    Check out OZY's op-ed about why North Korea's keeping its nukes.

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    Protest-Ridden Hong Kong Plunges Into Recession

    Hit with a drop in retail sales and stifled tourism thanks to months of unrest, the semi-autonomous Chinese territory posted a 3.2 percent contraction during the third quarter. Effects from the U.S.-China trade war didn't help, either. Meanwhile, activists are planning shopping mall flash-mob protests this weekend after Halloween-themed demonstrations, featuring recently outlawed face masks, grew violent yesterday.

    What's next? Experts say Hong Kong's economy will probably continue suffering for the rest of the year as the territory faces "lasting damage" to its reputation as a stable financial hub.

  5. Also Important...

    Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for a civil, "non-sectarian" political system to replace his country's current system, which divides power between Christian and Muslim sects. Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has been accused of pregnancy discrimination by ex-chief of staff Medina Bardhi. And Japanese authorities have reluctantly agreed to move next summer's Olympic marathon to Sapporo over concerns about heat in Tokyo.

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

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded tech reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    America's Opioid Crisis Is Heading South to Mexico

    The Mexican government is taking aim at an escalating opioid crisis and focusing on anti-addiction efforts as drug-related deaths spike. But it's partly Washington's fault: As the White House tightens border security and cracks down on U.S. drug production, Mexican cartels are increasingly flooding their homeland instead with synthetic drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine, OZY reports. One expert says U.S. policy has also been "deportable," as immigrants addicted in the U.S. are pushed back across the border.

    What are the consequences? The ballooning abuse rates coincide with historic homicide numbers — some 90 murders a day.

  2. The Keystone Pipeline Springs a Leak — Again

    Regulators in North Dakota said Thursday that Canada-based TC Energy's pipeline, which transports oil from Alberta through seven states, released about 383,000 gallons, or 9,120 barrels, of environmentally harmful crude in their state this week. The company is investigating the source of the leak, which led to a pipeline shutdown, adding that it contaminated about a half-acre of wetland.

    Is the Keystone pipeline simply unsafe? That's what this week's repeat incident suggests: It sprang a leak two years ago, thanks to an apparent "fatigue crack" made during its construction.

  3. Can Deep Sleep Defeat Alzheimer's Disease?

    Falling into a deep sleep triggers cerebrospinal fluid to wash away Alzheimer's-causing chemicals in the brain, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The process occurs when a person slips into what's known as non-rapid-eye-movement sleep, allowing neurons to shut down in unison. Researchers recommend getting high quality sleep to mitigate the odds of developing the brain-wasting disease.

    Could this lead to new treatments? The authors say one possible strategy could be to artificially trigger the washing effect, thus detoxing the brain more effectively.

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    New Book Reveals Pictures of Banksy at Work

    Steve Lazarides, the mysterious street artist's former agent, has released behind-the-scenes photographs depicting Banksy creating some of his famous works. But keeping with tradition, the images — part of his book Banksy Captured — don't show the subject's face. Lazarides discuses working with the reclusive muralist for 11 years, "during which time we broke every rule in the rule book, along with a fair few laws.”

    How did the duo meet? Both are from Bristol, England, and first hooked up when Lazarides was reportedly hired to make Banksy's portrait.

    Don't miss this OZY piece on Portugal's answer to Banksy.

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    After Ban, Lionel Messi Is Back on Team Argentina

    With his three-month international soccer ban ending, the 32-year-old Argentine superstar will return to play for his national team in two games later this month. Messi earned the suspension, which lasted four games, by alleging official corruption at the Copa America tournament in Brazil this summer. But during his national prohibition, he has continued playing for FC Barcelona.

    Who's Argentina up against? The squad will face Brazil and Uruguay on Nov. 15 and Nov. 18, respectively, in exhibition matches that'll take place in Saudi Arabia and Israel.