The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Daylight New York Shooting Claims Muslim Cleric, Friend

    They’d been praying. Walking home from Saturday prayers in the New York borough of Queens, Bangladesh natives Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and friend Thara Uddin, 65, were both fatally shot in the back of the head by an unidentified gunman. Police say there’s no hate crime evidence, but demonstrators who gathered in the aftermath imagined no other motive, chanting “We want justice,” and one local resident blamed Islamophobia created by “Trump and his drama.” A city Muslim community liason said she understands the anger, “but it’s very important to mount a thorough investigation.” 

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    Shooting by Milwaukee Police Sparks Violence

    It’s getting hot. Milwaukee police say they fatally shot a fleeing, armed suspect — identified as 23-year-old Black man Sylville K. Smith — setting off demonstrations that degenerated into confrontations with officers over the weekend. A gas station was among six businesses set ablaze as firefighters stayed away, citing gunfire. Mayor Tom Barrett pleaded for calm while Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency and local volunteers cleaned up debris. Meanwhile Khalif Rainey, the alderman representing the Sherman Park area, said there are “racial problems here … that have to be rectified.”

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    Reports of ISIS’ Demise May Not Be Exaggerated

    Is the calligraphy on the wall? After big losses in Fallujah and now Manbij, the days of the group’s murderous reign in Iraq and Syria seem numbered. There are indications pointing to an imminent confrontation with Iraqi soldiers, militias and U.S. warplanes in the group’s Mosul birthplace, and its Afghanistan and Pakistan leader’s been killed. It’s not quite the ultimate battle the apocalyptic group foretold, and local ISIS fighters are said to crave refuge rather than martyrdom. Some reportedly want to surrender to forces — unlike Iraqi Shiites — who won’t immediately kill them.

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    Outrage Continues, But Actual Issues Emerge

    Are we talking about policy now? In the last week, Donald Trump disappointed no one expecting outrageous stump declarations, in particular accusing President Obama of being a “founder” of ISIS. But along the way, both he and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, laid out economic policy visions and actually agreed with each other on one major talking point. Both candidates oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would ease trade between the U.S. and East Asian nations, excluding China. It’s something America’s working-class voters believe: More foreign trade won’t keep them employed.

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    How Obama Moved the Judiciary to the Left

    It’s not simply about one justice. Republicans have done their best to slow the process — paging Merrick Garland — but President Barack Obama has spent eight years remaking a third of the federal judiciary, with more minority, female and openly gay judges than ever. It’s also more liberal, with nine of the nation’s 13 appellate courts now seating a majority of Democrat-appointed judges. Early results can be seen in the Fourth Circuit striking down North Carolina’s voter ID law as discriminatory, and the effects will be felt for decades to come.

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    The Real Nail-Biter of Olympic Gymnastics 

    Even Simone Biles won’t try it. But two medal-hungry gymnasts will go for it today in Rio — risking catastrophic injury with the notorious Produnova vault. It starts with a front handspring that catapults into a double somersault, meaning that competitors must reach truly impressive heights to avoid high-impact landings on their backs … or backsides. Dipa Karmakar, India’s first female Olympic gymnast, is slated to perform the move. She’s succeeded 1,000 times in recent months, acknowledging the maneuver is “very dangerous.” But she adds: “I like risk.”

  7. Phelps Wins 23rd and Final Gold, Three Die as Floodwaters Ravage Louisiana and Future Looks Promising

    Know This: Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold medal Saturday in the 4x100-meter medley relay after announcing that he’s retiring. Flooding has killed three and prompted mass evacuations in southeastern Louisiana. Nancy Pelosi said a new release of hacked Democratic Party documents led to her receiving “obscene and sick” phone calls. And authorities are searching for a gunman who killed a small-town police officer in central Georgia.  

    Hear This: We’ve come a long way from radio Fireside Chats. Clinton’s launched a podcast called With Her about what’s up with the campaign.

    Read This: Future is now. That’s Future, the rapper who’s crushed it with three No. 1 albums in seven months.


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    Ledecky Grabs Fourth Gold, Tying Phelps’ Curtailed Rio Haul

    The clock lost. Katie Ledecky continued her eye-popping Rio run Friday, breaking the world record in a crushing 800 freestyle win for her fourth gold. Fellow American swimmer Maya DiRado upset Hungary’s “Iron Lady” Katinka Hosszu to win gold in the 200-meter backstroke. Singapore’s Joseph Schooling won the 100-meter butterfly and his nation’s first ever gold — ahead of Michael Phelps (and his Olympic record), who amazingly silvered in a three-way tie. And 16 years after his first gold, Anthony Ervin, 35, won his second in the 50 free.

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    War Gives New Life to Ukrainian Shtetl

    The Jews of conflict-ravaged eastern Ukraine needed to escape, and Rabbi Moshe Azman wanted to help. He bought land near Kiev for a refuge — coincidentally in the middle of a patchwork of 19th century shtetls or Jewish villages. Thus began the Anatevka Jewish Refugee Community in the place immortalized by the author who inspired Fiddler on the Roof. It’s part of Ukraine’s tenuous reckoning with an anti-Semitic past that includes electing a Jewish premier and plans for a new monument at the site of the Nazis’ 1941 Babi Yar massacre.

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    Meet the ’Turbotax for Immigration’ Startup

    It should be easier. That’s what Sam Stoddard thought as he went through the costly, mind-numbing process of getting a green card for his South Korea-born wife. Some fellow students in international marriages at Brigham Young University had the same problem. So Stoddard launched SimpleCitizen, aiming to save applicants hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in lawyer fees. With 3 million potential clients going through the process each year, there’s a big market for the $249 service — which includes a legal review and translation, if necessary.

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    The Next Breakthrough for Preemies: Artificial Placentas

    Welcome to the world. Scientists from Michigan to Australia are developing an external placenta that could soon be put to work for ultra-premature births in the U.S. Half of extremely low gestational-age newborns die, and many others suffer permanent brain damage or other severe health problems. But survival rates could improve using a mechanical womb — if researchers can make it easier on babies’ delicate lungs. It could also upend a hot-button debate: If viability is pushed back below 24 weeks, could states move the needle on when they can ban abortions?

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    Are TV Serial Dramas in Decline?

    Many are offered; few are chosen. The new crop of serialized dramas is struggling to hold viewers’ attention. Seventeen years ago, The Sopranos pioneered long-form, open-ended narratives — tilling the soil for shows like Orange Is the New Black and The Americans. But shifting consumption modes have favored shows for the commitment-averse. Dramas with a predetermined end point, like Fargo, give obsessive viewers something to plan their lives around. But groundbreaking epics like Game of Thrones still seem to surface once a generation, so enjoy winter while it lasts.

  6. Weightlifting

    The Cold War’s Doping King

    The joke was on him. In 1976, East Germany’s Gerd Bonk was breaking weightlifting records as “the strongest man in the world.” Eight years later, the Olympian was in a wheelchair, and he died largely forgotten at age 63, the victim of a brutal state-sanctioned doping program. His doctor’s records show he was also a record-holder for annual steroid consumption. Today, many of Bonk’s Olympic teammates — some believing they were taking vitamins — are left to suffer the shame and devastating health consequences of an institutionalized doping system.