The Presidential Daily Brief


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    French Warplanes Strike at ISIS’s Heart

    Francois Hollande promised his nation would strike back, and two days after coordinated Paris attacks killed 129 people, it did. French jets reportedly hit Raqqa, which ISIS claims as its capital. It’s part of the “global war,” as OZY’s John McLaughlin assesses it, that the world woke up to on Friday. The former deputy CIA director notes progress, such as Kurdish forces’ taking the militants’ stronghold of Sinjar, but that’s just a start. In Europe, authorities continue to collect evidence while arresting suspects and searching for a man they fear is the terrorist who got away.

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    Sanders, O’Malley Pounce on Clinton in Debate

    Did she underestimate the threat? After Friday’s Paris attacks, host CBS shifted the focus of yesterday’s Democratic presidential forum to foreign policy, seemingly playing to the former Secretary of State’s strengths. But after Clinton said countering ISIS “cannot be America’s fight,” former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley scored points by insisting that the nation must “stand up to evil.” Even staunch liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders said Uncle Sam would “rid the world” of ISIS, making Clinton’s response sound uncharacteristically tame. But zingers aren’t votes, and a post-debate poll showed 62 percent of Democrats declaring Clinton the winner.

  3. Tayyip Erdogan

    Deadly Terror Shapes G20 Conference

    The two-day summit at the Mediterranean resort of Antalya was to focus on economics, but the Paris attacks have made ISIS a priority. Obama began today by vowing to eliminate ISIS. “The skies have been darkened,” he said, promising to help Syria achieve a “peaceful transition” to enable the fight against the terrorist “caliphate.”  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had promised “stronger steps” in the Middle East after broadening his party’s majority in recent elections, but now events have overshadowed his efforts to oust Bashar al-Assad. With major violence reaching Europe, his peers are making their own plans.

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    Barack and Bibi Suffer the Rockiest of Marriages

    They wanted it to work. But for all their handshaking, the bond between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama has deteriorated. There was bad blood years before Monday’s “fantastic” reconciliation in Washington, with Obama’s staff remembering diplomatic slights from administrations past, and the brashness of some Israeli aides making matters worse. Add unexpected settlement approvals, brutal calls from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bibi’s backer bankrolling Mitt Romney and the Iran fallout … and you get a sense for the Tolstoy-style drama and animosity that may linger well after 2016.

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    Protests Against Racism Spread to More Campuses

    They’re going national. Students at many U.S. colleges are echoing their disgruntled peers at the University of Missouri to protest racism — and the often lax response by campus authorities. They’re staging walkouts and rallies, and the recent success of Mizzou’s protesters in ousting their school’s top administrator has inspired demonstrators at Ithaca College and Vanderbilt University to demand the removal of a president and controversial professor. The growing unrest is giving many hope that they can change the racist culture they say is endemic at American universities.

  6. U.S. Warplanes Strike Libya’s IS Leader, Kurdish Forces Find Mass Grave

    U.S. airstrike ‘probably killed’ Islamic State leader in Libya. (BBC)

    Kurdish forces find mass grave after taking Sinjar from ISIS. (Al Jazeera)

    Myanmar’s president promises smooth handover to Suu Kyi’s party. (AFP)

    North Korea declares waters off-limits ahead of missile test. (Reuters)

    General Motors plants tense as auto workers delay contract approval. (USA Today)






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    Facing Death, Paris Victims Updated Status

    You can’t click “feeling terror” on Facebook. But victims of Friday night’s Parisian attacks took to social media to let loved ones know they were safe, or for some, under fire. One Facebook member posted descriptions of the massacre inside the Bataclan theater. He was injured, and “they are cutting down everyone, one by one.” Later, he posted thanks for his rescuers. There were also Instagram videos of the wounded and tweets offering homes as safe havens. And as events unfolded, users exposed them to a global audience while documenting history for generations to come.

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    Get Cyber-Smart or Become the Next Target

    Board members, listen up. Tech departments know how the cyberattack kill chain is done — but so do crooks — and it’s a threat to companies and their technically illiterate leaders everywhere. Employees are the greatest weakness, falling prey to increasingly sophisticated schemes to trick them into giving away their passwords, the first step in a series enabling thieves to steal from corporate data banks. There are solutions … that are neither cheap nor easy to understand. But they’re far less costly than a data breach, now averaging $6.53 million a pop.

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    TV Directors Still Overwhelmingly White, Male

    It’s an old-boy network. Broadcasters claim they’re committed to diversity, but figures from a new ACLU report on discrimination say otherwise: Zero episodes from Netflix’s 2014-2015 season, for example, were directed by women of color. Showrunners are far more likely to take a chance on first-time directors if they’re white and male, and even if shows like Grey’s Anatomy, created by a black woman, are much better at achieving diversity, it’s proving inadequate for combating systemic bias against women and people of color who have their eyes on the director’s chair.

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    Mole Appeal Cuts Both Ways

    Beauty mark or ugly spot? In the past year, the number of Britons seeking mole removal jumped 127 percent, motivated more often by cosmetic, rather than health, concerns. Moles have fallen in and out of fashion for centuries, but starlets like Marilyn Monroe helped popularize them as beautiful. For hundreds of years, mole-deprived women even glued dots to their faces in a bid to boost their sex appeal. While today fashion models’ natural spots are Photoshopped out, or excised with a scalpel, some predict that the appeal for these tiny imperfections will grow back.

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    Italian Breaks Down Borders in Piedmont Winemaking

    In 1963, Franco Martinetti donned his only suit and ate at Paris’ Tour d’Argent. But he hadn’t come for the famous pressed duck — instead he wanted to study the wine list. A half-century later, he’s creating some of the best Piedmont wines, worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant, even if his products defy tradition by using nonnative grapes, like the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in his sparkling wine. And as the first and only Italian member of France’s prestigious Académie du Vin, he might also soften his country’s aversion to fruitful cross-border collaboration.

  6. Stephen Curry

    Early NBA Season Already Ripe With Drama

    The ball’s in the air. Between Kobe Bryant’s probable swan song and hot starts for the Warriors and Hawks, the new season is rolling … but all is not well. Bryant’s performances have been statistically dreadful, and a number of coaches across the league have landed in the hot seat, including the Lakers’ Byron Scott and Memphis skipper Dave Joerger. It’s early, but Atlanta could once again find itself facing off against the Cavs for Eastern Conference supremacy, while a once-dominant Kobe will likely fade into the sunset.