The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Doctors Without Borders Seeks War Crimes Probe

    They’re demanding answers. The aid agency says investigations by the U.S., NATO or Afghan officials are not enough. Instead, they want the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, established in 1991, to probe the bombing of its hospital in Kunduz that killed 22. A U.S. commander says the airstrike was requested by Afghan forces in communication with U.S. troops, and the Americans reportedly broke their own rules in launching the attack. President Obama has personally phoned Doctors Without Borders to apologize, despite earlier hedging due to the ongoing investigation — but that may not be enough. 

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    Russia: We’ve Hit ISIS Targets From Caspian Sea

    Has their aim improved? Russian defense officials say their jets have struck ISIS targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea. The airstrikes reportedly involved 26 sea-based cruise missiles destroying 11 targets. The move comes on the heels of overnight strikes on the western Syrian provinces against four rebel positions — in coordination, according to the British-base Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with ground attacks by Assad’s forces. If confirmed, these maneuvers signal a coordinated effort with the Syrian regime to root out anti-government militants.



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    EU Launches Anti-Smuggling Effort in Mediterranean

    They’re diving in deep to halt smugglers at sea. A step above search and rescue, Operation Sophia will let naval staff on six dedicated EU ships intercept, board and divert vessels carrying Europe-bound migrants. They’re restricted to operating 12 miles off the Libyan coast in international waters, so they won’t have much impact on the number of migrants setting sail — nor will they stop the thousands fleeing overland via Turkey. But EU leaders hope to bolster efforts soon with more ships and permission to operate inside Libyan waters.

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    US Prepares to Release 6,000 Federal Prisoners

    Feel free to leave. That’s the message to inmates benefiting from a retroactive lowering of maximum sentences for drug charges. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons hopes to ease prison overcrowding with the plan to start releasing 6,000 federal inmates, mostly nonviolent drug offenders, later this month. The sentence reductions aren’t automatic: Judges must still weigh threats to public safety. But this first wave — a third of whom are undocumented immigrants heading for deportation — is likely to lead to tens of thousands more being released.

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    Volkswagen Sets Out Plan for Car Repairs

    A new year, a new start. That seems to be the German automotive giant’s approach as it plans to recall cars affected by the emissions scandal beginning in January. New CEO Matthias Mueller says “only” 9.5 million vehicles, as opposed to the estimated 11 million worldwide, should need to be recalled and that the repairs should be finished by the end of 2016. The firm, which says the cheating was the “misconduct of a few individuals,” will face tough questions from U.S. lawmakers this week in Washington.

  6. Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded  to Three, New Debris Found in Cargo Ship Search

    Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to three DNA repair scientists. (NYT)

    New debris found in search for El Faro cargo ship. (ABC)

    Hillary comes out against Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Bloomberg)

    RBI chief recommends World Bank and IMF reforms. (FT) sub

    Terror raids in Sydney lead to several arrests after shooting. (SMH)

    United flight diverted after co-pilot passes out. (CNN)


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    Blatter Reportedly Suspended for 90 Days

    They’re taking him off the field. Reports of a provisional suspension, which is the maximum FIFA’s ethics committee can currently recommend for the organization’s disgraced boss, followed the announcement of an investigation into alleged bribery payments Blatter may have made. Blatter’s camp says he’s not been notified of any suspension, and ethics committee procedures mean the decision may not be approved for another day. No moves toward suspension have been made again Blatter’s presumed successor (and alleged conspirator) Michael Platini, but many believe it could happen at any time.

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    Poles Are Increasingly Possessed by Exorcisms

    It’s a devil of a job. The Roman Catholic Church in Poland is responding to growing demand for exorcists — in the 1970s, they had just one; now there are 130, roughly three per diocese. A glossy magazine about banishing demons, Egzorcysta, has a monthly print run of 40,000. And one diocese distributed a questionnaire for the potentially possessed, warning fans of yoga, martial arts and Halloween that they’re “in peril.” While exorcists often recommend that clients seek counseling, they’re not backing down on the notion that Satan can possess humans.

  3. IUD

    IUD Popularity Skyrockets Among Post-Natal Moms

    If you cover it, they will come. Numbers of American women getting intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants immediately after they give birth are soaring — 83 percent higher from 2011-2013 compared to 2006-2010. A new study credits the fact that Medicaid coverage for the procedure has increased, with 19 states now footing the bill for postpartum IUDs or implants. The researchers hope to convince the remaining 31 states to adopt similar policies based on the long-term contraceptive devices’ clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness.

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    Microsoft Debuts Its Very First Laptop

    Will they top off the competition? The computing giant has unveiled the Surface Book, boasting 12-hour battery life, a glass trackpad and an Nvidia GPU so powerful that it claims to be the fastest 13-inch laptop ever. With a slick, detachable screen on an innovative hinge, it also aims to take a bite out of Apple’s MacBook Pro and Lenovo sales. But with prices ranging from $1,499 to $2,699, it’s tough to say whether it will hurt competitors with its October 26 release.

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    ’Twilight’ Author Releases Gender-Swapped Rethink

    Stephenie Meyer is offering fans something new to dig their teeth into, but it’s not a reinvention of Twilight from Edward’s perspective like many had hoped — that exists, but apparently won’t hit shelves anytime soon. Instead, she’s presenting the surprising Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, a 442-page retelling of her successful vampire novel with the genders switched. Beau and Edythe are meant to address the controversial gender issues of Bella and Edward, the author says, and their story is being released to celebrate the original book’s 10th anniversary.

  6. Dallas Keuchel

    Astros Eliminate Yankees to Make Playoffs

    New York City has gone quiet. The home crowd had little to cheer about after suffering six shutout innings and watching their playoff dreams fade in yesterday’s AL wild-card loss. Houston’s southpaw pitcher Dallas Keuchel upheld his stellar form, building upon 22 scoreless innings against the Yankees this year and buoyed by teammates Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez chipping in home runs. With their 3-0 win, the Astros now advance to face the league’s top-seeded Royals in Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday in Kansas City.