The Presidential Daily Brief


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    France Responds Fiercely to Deadly Terror

    The City of Lights has dimmed. We’re now fighting a “global war,” says former CIA chief John McLaughlin, following the ISIS-claimed attacks that killed 129. France’s leader, vowing to destroy the militant group, has come out swinging, launching attacks on Syria and proposing legislation to extend the country’s state of emergency for three months. So far, raids have lead to 23 arrests around France, and a manhunt is underway for key suspect, Belgian Salah Abdeslam. Flowers and memorials, meanwhile, are piling high on bullet-scarred Parisian streets.

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    Terrorism Pulls Obama, Putin Together at Turkey’s G20

    Can they set their differences aside? The Russian and American leaders had an “intense” unscheduled talk this weekend at the G20 conference in Turkey, following the Paris attacks. While the topic of their discussion hasn’t been made public, many are wondering whether the White House and the Kremlin’s approaches to the Syrian crisis will soon focus on dealing with ISIS first, and Assad later — but either way, Obama’s affirmed in a speech that he won’t be sending ground troops to Syria.

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    U.S. Governors Slam Doors on Syrian Refugees

    They’re hoping to keep terrorists out. Even though the bombers and gunmen who attacked Paris have been largely confirmed to be French citizens, U.S. governors from Louisiana, Michigan, Arkansas and other states are saying they’ll refuse to accept Syrian refugees, for fear that terrorists could slip in among their number. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio lauded the initiative, while Jeb Bush suggested that the U.S. focus only on Christian refugees. President Obama has absolutely condemned such comments, called religious tests for migrants “shameful” and saying he won’t “shut the door” on Syrians seeking refuge.

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    Hundreds of Mormons Resign Over New Policies

    They’re taking a leap of faith. After the Mormon church decided to bar children of same-sex couples from being baptized until they turn 18 — and denounce their parents as sinners — about 1,500 members resigned en masse this weekend. More than a thousand lined up at LDS church headquarters in Salt Lake City to formally submit their resignations. A church spokesman expressed concern over the mass departure, but the official Mormon policy on gay couples and their children appears to be staying in place.

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    Japan Slides Into Recession

    Abenomics has suffered another hit. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s three-pronged approach to boosting the economy through fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms has flatlined again. The Japanese economy contracted 0.8 percent in the third quarter, year on year, thanks to low consumer spending, market jitters and cutbacks in business investment. News of the recession reflects a hesitancy to heed calls for greater capital investment — a growing problem — and will likely increase demand for the $25 billion fiscal stimulus package Abe’s government has said it is mulling.

  6. Ban Ki-moon to Visit North Korea, UK Steps Up Security

    U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to visit North Korea. (BBC)

    U.K. boosts counterterrorism efforts. (WSJ) sub

    Two Palestinian refugees killed in clashes with Israeli troops. (Al Jazeera)

    Number of international students in U.S. surges 10 percent. (Washington Post)

    Analysts watching consumer price index, new IPOs, for economic cues. (NYT)

    U.S. Supreme Court rejects anti-abortion group appeal for information. (Reuters)


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    Firefighter Receives Record Facial Transplant

    He knows how to face difficulty. Mississippi firefighter Patrick Hardison nearly died 14 years ago when a horrific blaze disfigured his face. The 41-year-old has endured 71 operations, including the world’s most extensive facial transplant, donated by a former Brooklyn bike messenger, in August. Hardison’s facing long odds — five of the other 30 face transplant recipients have died after their operations — and doctors say there’s a 50 percent chance his body will reject it, likely killing him. But Hardison remains undeterred, confidently claiming his new look, saying, “It’s mine.”

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    Facebook to Expand Use of Safety Check

    It could’ve been a PR disaster. The tech giant launched Safety Check in 2011 for use during natural disasters, allowing residents in affected areas to check in and reassure loved ones. When the feature was activated for Parisians during Friday’s attacks — the first time it’s been used for a human disaster — many wondered why it hadn’t been available for the Beirut bombings a day earlier. “We care about all people equally,” Mark Zuckerberg said, vowing to enable the system in “as many of these situations as we can.”

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    Will We Recognize English in 100 Years?

    Language is evolutionary, and emojis may eventually speak louder than words. A century ago, British English was the norm, but as melded “interlanguages” like Spanglish (Spanish-English) and Singlish (Singaporean English) spread across the globe, they and the Internet are changing the way we write and speak. Some think this means that English will one day become unrecognizable, or take many forms. Sure, it may remain the world’s lingua franca, but as abbreviations, portmanteaus and acronyms grow, it could test the boundaries of speaking the same tongue.

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    Celebs Respond Emotionally to Paris Attacks

    Must the show go on? The Foo Fighters said no, canceling their tour, and U2 postponed two Parisian gigs, including a live HBO special, but paid respects at the Bataclan theater. In Stockholm Madonna did perform, noting she was torn but determined not to surrender to fear, because that’s “exactly what these people want.” SNL paid tribute to the victims, with Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert following suit. CBS, meanwhile, swapped out this week’s scheduled episodes of Supergirl and NCIS: LA over plots too similar to the attacks, opting instead for less incendiary fare.

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    Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger Set Records

    He would’ve preferred a win. Manning eclipsed Brett Favre’s all-time passing record yesterday during his first completion, but followed it up with four interceptions. Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak benched the legend, insisting he was just protecting Manning’s health. Many have bemoaned the New Orleans native’s rocky season, and it’s unclear if he’ll take the field next week. Meanwhile, injured veteran Ben Roethlisberger was subbed in for the Steelers and threw for 379 yards — a record performance for a relief QB — in Pittsburgh’s 30-9 win over the rival Browns.