The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    Supreme Court Voids Louisiana Abortion Limit

    Writing that he must abide by a 2016 High Court ruling he disagreed with, Chief Justice John Roberts stood with four liberal justices to strike down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law today. That statute effectively left only one provider in the state, a New Orleans doctor who met its requirement of having admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the procedures take place. Roberts' surprising turn is a stunning defeat for conservative evangelical Christians, who were counting on President Donald Trump's two appointees to validate strict red-state abortion laws.

  2. Trump Posts (And Deletes) 'White Power' Video

    President Donald Trump yesterday retweeted a video of a supporter saying "white power" while confronting anti-Trump protesters in Florida, then deleted it four hours later. In that time, it drew widespread condemnation, notably from South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican senator, who called it "indefensible." The White House said Trump missed the racist utterance in the video, and saw only the "tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters." The president's Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, tweeted that his rival had "picked a side" in "a battle for the soul of the nation."

  3. Global Pandemic Death Toll Reaches 500,000

    The pandemic crossed two grim thresholds this weekend — 10 million known infections and half a million deaths. It comes as American positive results are growing in every state except Rhode Island and Connecticut, with infection increases of 40,000 or more, led by states like Texas and Florida. The latter and other states have returned to closing bars, restaurants and beaches to curb the contagion's spread. Unlike President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, who's canceled upcoming campaign appearances, wore a mask as he visited a Texas medical center Sunday and urged other Americans to do the same.

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    Trump 'Unaware' of Russia's Taliban Scheme

    It's "fake news." That's President Trump's reaction to New York Times reports that Russian operatives offered Taliban insurgents cash for killing U.S. troops. Trump denied being aware of such a scheme, echoing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She has asked intelligence officials for an immediate report, calling it "totally outrageous" that a U.S. president would deny knowing of such a threat, also denied by the Kremlin. According to the Times, at least one U.S. service member was killed as a result of the alleged program, which resembles U.S. backing of militants fighting 1980s Soviet occupation.

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    Terrorists Attack Karachi Stock Exchange

    Gunmen attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi today, lobbing a grenade onto the trading floor and killing three security officers, authorities said. Reports indicate that six people were killed, including four attackers and a policeman, as brokers sheltered in offices. The Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the carnage, demanding independence for the country's restive province with abundant gas reserves. Authorities said the gunmen were carrying food, suggesting they planned a prolonged siege. Among the group's grievances is China's Belt and Road Initiative, which is spending billions to build a road that runs through Baluchistan.

  6. Also Important ...

    Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of America's top producers of fossil fuels via fracking, has filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors. A wave of demonstrations in Brazil is targeting President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. And some of President Trump's allies are seeking to replace campaign operatives in the wake of disappointing poll results.

    Coronavirus update: Beijing has reimposed a lockdown of some 400,000 people to prevent a second wave of infections after a surge in cases.

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Intriguing

  1. Mississippi Votes to Take Down Racist Flag

    Since its 1894 addition, the Confederate emblem on Mississippi's state flag has defied Black Americans' progress, from emancipation to voting rights to advancing protection from deadly police violence. But on Sunday, both legislative houses approved a bipartisan resolution to remove the offensive emblem. Economic pressure, notably from the loss of college sports tournaments, spurred the change, along with appeals from stars like country singer Faith Hill, a state native, plus a vow by running back Kylin Hill to leave Mississippi State if the Confederate symbol remained. Gov. Tate Reeves has said he'll sign the measure within days.

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    Starbucks Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

    They're steaming over it. Starbucks blogged Sunday that it's pausing its social media ads to stand "against hate speech" — joining corporate heavyweights like Coca-Cola, Honda and Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry's ice cream — inspired by the #StopHateForProfit campaign. The boycott's primary target has been Facebook, which on Friday agreed to regulate political posts when they violate the platform's hate speech policy. Campaign organizers said it wasn't enough to "make a dent in the problem" and vowed to expand the boycott.

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  3. She Saved 72,000 Trafficking Victims

    She hears their cries. Hasina Kharbhih has engineered a network across India, Bangladesh and Myanmar that might be compared to America's 19th century Underground Railroad, OZY reports. There, impoverished parents sometimes end up selling their kids and traffickers scam victims into everything from mining to prostitution without pay. Since 2000, Kharbhih's Impulse NGO Network has been promulgating the Meghalaya Model, after the eastern region of India she hails from. It helps other NGOs and governmental departments rescue, repatriate and reintegrate thousands of victims and even, on a good day, provide restitution.

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    Radiation Suspected at Russian Power Station

    You can't blame them for worrying. When the world's worst nuclear accident happened at Chernobyl in 1986, Moscow also said it was nothing. Hopefully the latest assertions by state-owned Rosatom — that its nuclear power stations in western Russia are operating normally — are true, despite Scandinavian authorities spotting elevated levels of radioactive isotopes. Public health officials in the Netherlands said they're man-made, which could indicate a damaged nuclear fuel element. The good news is that at the levels detected, the unstable cesium and ruthenium aren't dangerous to humans.

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    Patriots Lose Draft Pick and Gain Cam Newton

    Will this hurt enough? The New England Patriots will lose a third-round pick in next year's NFL draft and must pay a $1.1 million fine for recording Cincinnati Bengals coaches' signals a week before the two teams were to play each other in December 2019. The Pats maintain they were not stealing signals. Meanwhile, the team has filled the gaping hole left by superstar Tom Brady's departure, signing free agent quarterback Cam Newton. Released in March by the Carolina Panthers after a nine-year run, the 2015 MVP has recently been sidelined with injuries.