The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Conflicting Reports Over EgyptAir MS804 Debris

    A flight from Paris to Cairo vanished from radar early Thursday morning. The plane, according to Greek officials, made two sharp turns before plunging more than 25,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian authorities say terrorism is more likely to blame than a technical failure, but the exact cause of the crash, which imperiled 66 passengers and crew — mostly Greek and French citizens — remains unknown. It’s also unclear whether wreckage as been found; authorities now say the debris findings “do not belong to an aircraft.”

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    First of Missing Chibok Girls Discovered in Nigeria

    Her name is Amina Ali Nkek. One of 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Nigeria more than two years ago, Amina is the first to be found of the 219 who weren’t able to escape within a day of being taken. She was reportedly discovered near the Cameroonian border in the Sambisa Forest and has been subsequently reunited with her family in Chibok. Some sources have reported that the girl was found with a baby, and that she’ll soon be relocated to the regional capital.

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    Trump Says He’d ‘Negotiate’ With North Korea

    His plan: Harangue Pyongyang. Neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama met face-to-face with North Korean leaders as a matter of policy, but Donald Trump says that’s exactly how he’d proceed as president. He’d also put economic pressure on China to handle the neighboring nuclear threat with “one phone call.” Meanwhile, the mogul struck a fundraising deal with the RNC to allow individual donors to give up to $449,400 — a key move as he shifts into a general election campaign that’s expected to cost upwards of $1 billion.

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    Venezuelan Politicos Battle Over State of Emergency

    Don’t have a coup, man. After President Nicolas Maduro ordered a 60-day state of emergency in response to Venezuela’s worsening economic crisis, the opposition put the question to the country’s military: Do you side with Maduro, or the constitution? They allege that the new orders, which were rejected by the governing National Assembly, give the president unconstitutional powers. Maduro says they’re trying to stage a takeover and may be backed by foreign governments looking to sow division. The opposition is now calling for a recall referendum to oust Maduro.

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    Japan’s Economy Rebounds, But Cracks Remain

    They’ve got a yen for recovery. Government data released today showed a 1.7 percent GDP increase from the previous quarter, a jump that trumped all expectations. But economists say the positive news isn’t likely to continue: Recent earthquakes and a slowdown in China’s economy will likely pull the numbers back next quarter, meaning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be forced to go ahead with a dreaded sales tax increase planned for 2017. He’s also expected to roll out a fiscal stimulus package, hoping to keep the nation from a second recession.

  6. Tear Gas Fired at Venezuelan Protesters, Scores Missing in Sri Lankan Mudslides

    Tear gas fired at anti-Maduro protesters in Venezuela. (BBC)

    Scores are missing after Sri Lankan mudslides. (BBC)

    White House extends overtime eligibility to millions more workers. (NYT)

    Ecuador reports magnitude-6.7 quake, but no damage. (Reuters)

    Senate confirms first openly gay Army secretary. (NBC)

    J.K. Rowling: Don’t ban Trump from the U.K. (CNN)


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    Magic Mushrooms Could Be Used to Treat Depression

    Will this cause a morel panic? A small but unprecedented U.K. trial of psychedelic fungi to treat depression has turned up promising results: More than half of subjects using psilocybin saw their symptoms improve. The drug is the active compound in magic mushrooms, which have been used for centuries for their hallucinogenic properties. While researchers say this is encouraging when it comes to treatment-resistant depression, they caution that much larger, more controlled studies are needed before the medical profession can move forward with trippy prescriptions.

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    Hawaii’s Coffee Growers Push Back Against Big Business

    Wake up and smell the capitalism. Hawaii’s mom-and-pop coffee plantations make their living off the famous Kona beans — but they say $40-per-pound bags of the authentic stuff look nearly identical to cheaper blends that include barely any true Hawaiian flavor. They’re hoping to level the playing field with a new law that would force blends to be at least 51 percent Hawaiian coffee to call themselves Kona. While some advise more trust in the free market, these farmers are hoping that change is brewing.

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    30 Percent of Female Doctors Have Been Harassed at Work

    You can’t just write a prescription for this. A new report surveying 1,066 successful mid-career doctors of both genders found that sex discrimination knows no professional boundaries: Nearly a third of the female physicians reported having experienced sexual harassment. For men, that number was 4 percent. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the women said they perceived gender bias at work. Given that nearly half of med students are women, study authors say shining a light on sexism will be key to ensuring the health of the medical profession.

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    Paramedic Charged With Stealing Dead ‘Sopranos’ Star’s Rolex

    Italy is not going to fuggedaboutit. Three years after James Gandolfini’s death, a health worker in Rome has been put on trial for swiping the actor’s $3,000 watch. Best known for his role as mobster Tony Soprano, Gandolfini, 51, suffered a massive heart attack on a 2013 trip to an Italian film festival, and his Rolex Submariner subsequently went missing. The suspected thief, Claudio Bevilacqua, one of the attending paramedics, did not appear at the first hearing, and a judge has postponed the trial until November.

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    Philly Hits NBA Draft Jackpot After Mysterious Tweet

    It was a premature congratulation. Tuesday afternoon, former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo tweeted congratulations to the 76ers for winning the lottery to pick first in next month’s draft — hours before Philadelphia actually won the top pick. Mutombo later said the Sixers had recommended he tweet if they won, and he jumped the gun. Now Philly, which has had an abysmal season, must decide whether to bring LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram into its massive rebuilding project. The Los Angeles Lakers get the leftovers with pick No. 2.