The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. aleppo map shutterstock 365702177

    Air Strikes Pause for Three Hours as Aleppo Doctors Call for Help

    Is 180 minutes enough time to get out alive? There are 35 doctors left in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, and 15 of them have written a letter to President Obama begging for intervention. Their request came as Russian forces, who’ve been aiding the Syrian government in bombarding Aleppo, announced a daily three-hour pause in the offensive that would allow aid convoys to enter the city and help civilians trapped there. The U.N., which had called for 48-hour ceasefires, is holding talks on relief measures today.

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    Trump Calls Obama ‘Founder of ISIS’ at Rally

    It’s familiar territory. Donald Trump has questioned President Obama’s loyalties before, notably after a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June. But he was more explicit yesterday, using Obama’s Arabic middle name while telling Florida supporters that members of ISIS “honor” the president — and adding that “crooked Hillary Clinton” was a “co-founder” by supporting policies he says allowed the group to arise. Meanwhile, Clinton’s polling lead widened in key states like Wisconsin, where she’s ahead 15 points, as she continues to court conflicted Republicans.

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    Australian Immigration Minister Dismisses Abuse Reports

    “People have self-immolated in an effort to get to Australia,” Peter Dutton said in response to leaked reports of thousands of abuses against would-be refugees confined in reportedly prison-like conditions in camps on the nearby island of Nauru. He explained that many of the reports, which include sexual assault, child abuse and self-harm, may be false accusations by people hoping to secure residency. While Australia’s two major political parties haven’t moved to close the camps, the U.N.’s calling for an end to the offshore detention program.

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    Feds Open Criminal Probe Into Valeant

    Does a spoonful of collusion help the medicine go down? Federal prosecutors are investigating whether the pharmaceutical giant defrauded insurers through concealed ties with mail-order drug company Philidor. The question is whether now-defunct Philidor misled insurance companies about its connection to Valeant while securing coverage for pricey brand-name drugs. And while Philidor maintains its ethics were aboveboard, the investigation, which could be finished before 2017, could lead to criminal charges for both companies. Meanwhile, Valeant says it’s no longer associated with Philidor and will cooperate with the probe.

  5. The Best Meteor Shower of the Year, Snapchat’s Diversity Problem and Trump’s Tweets

    Know This: The Perseid meteor shower is expected to be supercharged this year — thanks, Jupiter! — and tonight’s the best night to see shooting stars. Ocean’s Eleven is getting an all-female reboot with Rihanna, Cate Blanchett and Mindy Kaling. More than 21 people died in an industrial accident in China, even though the country’s racing to make industrial safety upgrades. And Indonesia’s leadership says there’s “no room” for gay rights there. 

    Read This: Is Snapchat racist? #DeleteSnapchat is trending over yet another problematic filter that adds slanted eyes and buck teeth to people’s faces.

    Analyze This: An explanation and investigation of Donald Trump’s tweets — and evidence that his campaign sends them from an iPhone while more vitriolic Tweets from an Android originate with Trump himself.


  1. ariana huffington shutterstock 190946840

    Arianna Huffington Is Leaving the Huffington Post

    ”It’s you who make HuffPost what it is,” the media mogul tweeted to her erstwhile colleagues after announcing her departure. Huffington co-founded the news site that bears her name and has been with it for all 11 years of its existence, including its 2011 acquisition by AOL. She’d even signed a contract to stick around through 2019 — but after launching wellness-focused company Thrive Global, she opted to head for the door. Huffington will continue with the site for another few weeks, but says once transitional arrangements are in place she’ll make her exit.

  2. Pile of gold medals olympics shutterstock 4516078

    Americans Go Gold in the Pool and on the Mat

    It was a red, white, and blue night. American swimmers cleaned up across the board. Michael Phelps collected the 22nd gold medal of his career for the 200-meter individual medley, Ryan Murphy won the 200-meter backstroke and Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to take an individual swim gold with her 100-meter freestyle tie. On the mat, Simone Biles, 19, routed the all-around as U.S. teammate Aly Raisman grabbed silver. Winning by astonishing margins, Biles is vaulting her way to serious “greatest of all time” consideration.

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    First Space Mining Mission Announced for 2020

    It’ll explore strange new worlds … then dig into them and sell whatever it finds. California-based startup Deep Space Industries says it’ll be searching for usable resources on an asteroid by the end of this decade with its ship, Prospector-1. The ship’s water-based propulsion mechanism means, founders hope, that it can refuel using ice from the asteroids. For now the missions, whose targets are still being chosen, will be exploratory — but eventually they plan to mine for water, metal and carbon.

  4. Anti police brutality

    Freddie Gray Inquiry Shows Just How Little Data We Have on Cops

    The numbers don’t lie. The Department of Justice’s new report on the Baltimore Police Department has exposed statistical racial biases in policing — for example, that Black people get arrested for drug possession five times more than whites and comprise 82 percent of traffic stops in a city that’s 60 percent Black. For some, the data was a shock, because very few numbers on officer behavior have been collected. Baltimore activist Deray McKesson said data’s “incredibly important,” but won’t by itself correct authorities’ “deep lack of accountability.”

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    China’s Last Liberal Magazine Battles Government Crackdown

    Is the pen mightier? Editors of Annals of the Chinese Nation shut down the magazine last month, silencing the last permitted publication aligned with the liberal wing of the Chinese Communist Party. The history journal has long challenged the prevailing Communist Party line — until President Xi Jinping demanded obedience from state media in March. The government set about shutting down critical voices, eventually taking over the magazine and hacking into its computers, says its deputy editor. Seen by Beijing intelligentsia as a last hope, Annals now faces an uncertain fate.

  6. Martial arts

    Get Ready to Be Humbled, Kerala-Style

    Is this the next kick-butt Olympic sport? Fans of kalari, a martial art form popular in India’s Kerala State, think so. It’s healthy and badass, starting with intensive body training, then incorporating bamboo sticks and swords. Practitioners say it also has a special ingredient: Marketability to Westerners. Kalari is heavily based in Hindu spiritual practices, which could be a big plus for Western yoga fanatics. Now, kalari’s make-or-break success on an international level might be up to Hollywood: Martial arts forms usually go global after big blockbusters like Karate Kid.