The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Donald Trump pinch Pennsylvania shutterstock 466489148

    Trump Seeks Return to Basics in Campaign Overhaul

    So much for the pivot. Donald Trump brought in Stephen Bannon, the head of right-wing Breitbart News, as his campaign chief executive, while promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Chairman Paul Manafort will continue in his role, but the reshuffle appears to have walled off his efforts to have Trump run a more mainstream general election campaign and mend fences with the Republican Party. With new polls Tuesday showing him far behind Hillary Clinton in crucial Florida and Virginia, Trump is doubling down on running as an unabashed nationalist and outsider.

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    Russia Begins Bombing Syria From Iranian Airfield

    This is a first. Russia’s been supporting controversial Syrian President Bashar Assad since last year, but they’ve never used a third country’s territory to conduct strikes — until today, when Russian planes took off from Hamadan air base to strike at Aleppo and Idlib. Iran, which also supports Assad, isn’t known to have allowed another country this kind of access since the revolution in 1979 — and many are taking this to mean Moscow and Tehran are forging stronger ties. Meanwhile, Russia says the U.S. is inching closer to an agreement on fighting ISIS in Aleppo.

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    Trump Plays Up Security Fears in Foreign Policy Push

    He calls it “extreme vetting.” Donald Trump added an ideological litmus test for strict immigration controls in a speech in must-win Ohio on Monday, likening the struggle against terrorism to the Cold War and pledging to seize — and keep — oil fields from ISIS. One analyst said the terrorism-centric foreign policy mirrors George W. Bush’s approach. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton brought Vice President Joe Biden to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to launch his push to wrest Senate control from Republicans and convince voters that Trump’s unfit to safeguard nuclear codes.

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    UAE Accepts Transfer of 15 Guantanamo Prisoners

    And then there were 61. Three of the transferred inmates were from Afghanistan and the rest hailed from Yemen, but they’ve now all been sent to the UAE, which agreed to take them when their home countries were deemed too unstable. The prisoners had been held, in some cases for more than a decade, without charges. This largest-ever transfer of Guantanamo prisoners leaves just over five dozen in detention. Nineteen have been cleared for transfer abroad, and the rest will likely be sent to U.S. maximum-security prisons as Guantanamo closes.  

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    Armed Men Abduct 16 From Mexico Resort

    It’s a tourist hotspot. But authorities say the men kidnapped in a Puerta Vallarta restaurant after security guards fled from multiple gunmen weren’t vacationers, but members of “a criminal group.” Though the region’s not known for criminality, more cartel activity has been reported in recent years. Four women were also taken hostage during the incident, but either escaped or were freed. The police are searching for them as part of their investigation, while Jalisco state governor Aristoteles Sandoval has assured visitors that they can continue to enjoy their holidays in safety.

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    Volkswagen Committed Criminal Acts, US Probe Finds

    It was a sin of emission. The Justice Department found that the German car giant criminally rigged its vehicles to fool diesel emissions tests — though it’s not clear what the charges will be. The company’s already agreed to a $15 billion civil judgment, and is expected to owe money in the criminal case as well, with the possibility of getting charges dismissed once Volkswagen meets its civil obligations. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are meeting to negotiate the terms of a settlement, and it’s expected they’ll reach a deal by the end of 2016.

  7. Menstruation at the Olympics, a Podcast About Organs and America’s Favorite Game

    Know This: China’s breakout swimmer Fu Yuanhui casually breaks the taboo of athletes talking about periods. Seven people have died and 20,000 have been evacuated in Louisiana’s apocalyptic floods. It’s week two of a hunger strike for 22 immigrant moms in a Pennsylvania detention center.

    Listen to This: Uh, did you know you can plug your organs into your phone and broadcast your vital signs over the internet? It’s all laid out in Episode #73 of Reply All.

    Read This: “Anywhere Americans have had a large military influence, we’ve seen baseball pop up.” — Kim Ng, who could be the first female general manager in any American professional sport, discusses baseball’s international frontiers.


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    Simone Biles Clinches Her Fourth Gold

    She came, she saw, she slew. The Texan took top honors on the floor exercise Tuesday, netting her fourth Rio gold — tied for the most any gymnast has won in one Games. American Kerri Walsh Jennings’ own quest for four consecutive golds was denied when she and April Ross fell to a Brazilian duo in the beach volleyball semifinal. On the track, American runner Abbey D’Agostino showed Olympic spirit by helping New Zealander Nikki Hamblin up after both fell during the 5,000-meter semis. Despite bad finishes, both will run in Friday’s final.

  2. Eye chart with shallow depth of field shutterstock 10621201

    How Your iPhone Can Be Your Optician

    Say, can you see? Several startups are using iPhones for remote diagnosis and treatment of eyesight problems. It could be revolutionary for the 90 percent of visually impaired people who live in developing countries, where ophthalmologists are scarce. Clip-on tools can map corneal lesions and detect macular degeneration for a fraction of the cost of your doctor’s technology. But some companies are running into legal and regulatory roadblocks against “telemedicine” meant to protect patients. The hurdles have slowed the technology, but it’s still taking Doctor Google to a new level.

  3. Facebook

    Facebook Political Posts Change Opinions … About ‘Friends’

    Fired up about the election and want to influence people? Facebook is not your medium. A recent study shows than 94 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats say they’ve never changed their mind after reading a political post. Instead, people are more likely to change their opinion of the friend who posted it, with Democrats most likely to unfriend over politics on social media. Perhaps most surprisingly, most people say they don’t bring up politics online at all — even if their election season timelines indicate otherwise.

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    Christian Colleges Challenged for Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination Policies

    The college that prays together might pay together. Christian colleges in California recently got a reprieve: SB 1146, a bill that originally aimed to restrict state money to colleges that discriminate against LGBTQ students and staff, scaled back to only requiring public disclosure when they apply for religious exemptions to discrimination laws. While Christian colleges argue students voluntarily choose institutions that fit their values, many are appalled by policies prohibiting LGBTQ staff members or denying housing to married gay students. California legislators say they’ll be going after religious exemptions again later this year.

  5. Larry Wilmore Flickr

    Comedy Central Cancels Larry Wilmore’s ‘Nightly Show’

    It’s no joke. The comedian and Daily Show with Jon Stewart veteran will air his final program Thursday in the time slot he took over from Stephen Colbert in January 2015. Wilmore pushed boundaries with racial discussions and sniped at “The Unblackening” of his time slot, but he struggled in the ratings, as has Stewart’s Daily Show replacement, Trevor Noah. Wilmore’s departure — he will be temporarily replaced by social media-focused @midnight — has been called a sign of late night TV’s risk-aversion as it focuses on easy-to-digest viral clips.

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    Miller’s Dive Denies Felix the 400-Meter Gold; Beam Bronze for Biles

    It doesn’t get any closer. Bahamian Shaunae Miller’s impulsive dive across the 400-meter finish line won gold by 0.07 seconds over Allyson Felix, who became the most-decorated female U.S. track athlete ever in a bittersweet moment. The U.S. netted one silver and three bronzes but no track and field golds Monday. Gymnast Simone Biles had a rare misstep on Monday, when she wobbled on the balance beam, garnering bronze and missing her historic five-gold quest.