The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Bombing Suspect Ahmad Rahami in Custody

    They nabbed him. New York and New Jersey bombings suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami has been arrested following a shootout with police. The suspect was taken away on a stretcher with a bloodied shoulder. His capture comes just hours after a pipe bomb exploded earlier today near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, as a bomb-defusing robot was examining a suspicious backpack. The blast caused no injuries but raised authorities’ concerns over an active terror cell. The bomb — which shut down Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor — resembled one that exploded Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, injuring 29.

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    Study: Indonesian Haze Caused 100,000 Deaths

    Authorities are gasping for air. Researchers at Harvard and Columbia concluded that toxic fumes caused 90,000 premature deaths last year in Indonesia and thousands more in Singapore and Malaysia — a tad higher than the Indonesian government’s official calculation of 19 deaths. Farmers typically set forest fires each year to clear land for palm oil and pulpwood plantations, but last year’s smog was unusually awful as monsoon winds carried the fumes to neighboring nations. The death toll was likely even higher, as the analysis didn’t include children, who are especially vulnerable.

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    ‘Apparent Terrorist Attacks’ Jolt Presidential Race

    It’s a commander in chief test. Bombs in New York City and New Jersey and stabbings in Minnesota do not appear to have been coordinated, but they jolted a terror-wary nation over the weekend. On Saturday, Donald Trump declared that a bomb had gone off in Manhattan two hours before it was officially confirmed, while Hillary Clinton was initially more cautious, but yesterday labeled the attacks apparent terrorism. While both candidates would not stray much from President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy, Trump has offered sharper rhetoric about an imperiled America.

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    Maduro Says Oil Market Agreement Close

    They’re mapping out a crude strategy. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says that after discussions with Iran and Ecuador, OPEC and non-OPEC countries are on their way to an agreement to stabilize the oil market, which has seen prices plunge over the last couple of years. Now investors are speculating that oil producers will agree to cap outputs at discussions on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum on Sept. 27 in Algiers. OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo says if that happens, the group may set a special meeting to finalize details.

  5. Social Lubricant, David Letterman and India’s 007 Secret Weapon

    Know This: Angela Merkel’s party suffered historic losses in Berlin elections with anti-migrant forces rising, while Vladimir Putin’s party got a vote of confidence in Russia. The United Nations hosts its first-ever refugee summit today with leaders from around the world. And Swiss scientists have made the shocking discovery that drinking beer diminishes shyness about sex.

    Watch This: A hirsute David Letterman teases his return to television for a National Geographic series on climate change.

    Read This: A onetime super-spy now has serious weight in guiding Narendra Modi on India’s foreign policy.


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    Feds Issue Regulations for Self-Driving Cars

    Anthony Foxx, take the wheel. The U.S. secretary of transportation lays out new rules of the road today in an effort to create nationwide standards for the vehicles already circulating in autopilot projects from Mountain View, California, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The federal government will license self-driving software based on 15 safety factors, giving states power over registration and liability, but supported by a national legislative framework that they hope will encourage adoption of self-driving technology while avoiding an “inconsistent patchwork” of local regulations.

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    There May Be a New Threat to Democracy

    Having one’s say is a good thing, right? Political parties in the U.S. and worldwide have learned that opening up their leadership selection processes can bring unexpected results. In the U.K., three-quarters of Labour Party MPs opposed Jeremy Corbyn for being too left-wing, but he won the leadership election with a wave of newly eligible voters. Open primaries are often touted as offering more representative democracy, but some warn that they bring about a “tyranny of the extremes” — ultimately leading to less democracy, not more.

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    Best Drama Winner ‘Game of Thrones’ Sets Emmy Record

    They hold the crown. The HBO megahit took home awards for best directing, writing and drama series Sunday night, topping Frasier with 38 total Emmys for a scripted primetime show. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted a lively ceremony featuring a pre-taped bit with Jeb Bush as a chauffeur for Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won her fifth consecutive best comedy actress statue. Amazon series Transparent won for comedy directing and lead actor, with both Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor delivering poignant speeches in support of the transgender community.

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    Congress’ Next Big Debate Could Be About Colonizing Mars

    Get ready for an interplanetary filibuster. The Senate is expected to proceed with groundbreaking legislation calling on NASA to establish a colony on Mars. The bipartisan bill would give the space agency nearly $20 billion next year for the mission of sending people to Mars by the 2030s. There are Earth-bound politics at play, too. Key sponsors’ states have major NASA facilities, and Republicans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have criticized President Obama for funding climate change research over space exploration as they eye presidential campaigns — again.

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    How American Intelligence Readies for the Next Snowden

    Who watches the watchers? The intelligence community itself, apparently — and it’s preparing for the next big whistleblower. Since Edward Snowden’s 2013 leak revealed that the NSA was spying on millions of Americans, U.S. intelligence agencies have increased their vigilance against insider threats. When some of the NSA’s cybertools turned up online this summer, many in Washington blamed a Russian hack. But the National Counterintelligence and Security Center is investigating a leak that might point to another rogue employee — and they’re monitoring their own ever more carefully.

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    Boisterous Crowd Toasts Rams Win in NFL’s Return to LA

    The beautiful people got an ugly win. A loud, star-studded crowd and razzle-dazzle production greeted the first NFL game in Los Angeles in 22 years and helped inspire a 9-3 victory over Seattle. While star running back Todd Gurley and the Rams offense have yet to score a touchdown through two games, the defense — with a little help from 91,000 screaming fans — stopped Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at crucial moments, with the crowd defying L.A. stereotypes by staying through the game’s end.