Nothing to see here. A little more than a week after his vague letter threw the presidential race into turmoil, FBI Director James Comey told House members that the agency hasn’t changed its opinion about Clinton’s email probe, and she shouldn’t face criminal charges. Donald Trump angrily retorted: “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days.” A relieved Clinton campaign, clinging to a slim lead in polls, says the news validates its belief that a renewed investigation would lead nowhere — and none too soon, with the election looming tomorrow.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It would be a big prize. Raqqa is considered ISIS’ capital within Syria, but this new initiative — which will consist of 30,000 Kurdish-led Syrian troops backed by the U.S. — isn’t coordinated with the current Iraqi assault to retake Mosul. Though Raqqa’s considered a key target, a headquarters where the group plans its international attacks, the YPG — Kurdish forces at the forefront of the offensive — have been labeled a terrorist group by the Turkish government. But with few choices of strong Syrian rebel allies, the U.S. says the YPG will definitely stay involved.
The crowd went wild — but it was different this time. Panic swept through a pro-Trump rally in Reno, Nevada, on Saturday night when a man rushed the Republican nominee, who was escorted off stage by security agents. Some attendees shouted that the man had a gun, and three people were carried away in stretchers, OZY reporter Matt Foley reported from the event. But no gun was found, and Trump quickly returned to stage and issued a statement thanking the Secret Service and local law enforcement “for their fast and professional response.”
It’s a numbers game. The final showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won’t be won with rhetoric — politicians are all but finished trying to persuade undecided voters — but with get-out-the-vote efforts. Though Republicans say they’ve stepped up their 2012 ground game, the former secretary of state still has a slight lead according to most polls. But Democrats are getting jittery — in case the polls are wrong, or in the event Trump supporters, as they’ve threatened, refuse to accept the outcome if they lose.
Public trust is at stake. After FBI Director James Comey told Congress of new developments in the Hillary Clinton email probe, controverting long-standing bureau policy, President Obama and other Democrats accused him of trying to influence the presidential election. Bureau sources worry that a deeply partisan streak — one agent reportedly referred to the FBI as “Trumpland” — is not only guiding policy but eroding public confidence in the agency. Some lawmakers are calling on Comey, who’s two years into a 10-year term, to resign if he can’t get control over disgruntled agents.
Welcome to fascism lite. Europe’s far right parties have cracked the key to success: Appeal to the mainstream. Fifteen years ago, extremists like the Danish People’s Party and France’s National Front simply aimed to disrupt the establishment. Now these ultra-nationalist groups are trying to outflank traditional ones, moving in from the right with anti-immigrant rhetoric while co-opting conventionally leftist messages about women’s and LGBT rights. These new groups aren’t winning national votes yet, but they are successfully pushing centrist parties — now struggling to retain voters — further to the right.
It was supposed to be their refuge. But after hundreds of thousands of Syrians arrived in Europe last year, aid has dried up, an EU resettlement plan has sputtered, and slow-moving bureaucracy has many migrants considering a return to their war-torn homeland. Thousands of Afghans, Iranians and Iraqis have returned to their native countries through a repatriation program, but Syrians are not eligible. Instead, they have to pay smugglers to take them back — if they can afford it — meaning nobody knows how many are actually finding their way home.
Know This: A 5.0 magnitutde earthquake rattled Central Oklahoma on Sunday, with damage reported to some structures. The Canadian military is probing a mysterious Arctic pinging sound. ISIS has claimed responsibility for a fatal car bomb in Turkey. And Turin’s plan to become a “vegetarian city” is proving divisive.
Read This: Even satirical newspaper the Onion is bemoaning this election — because ”it’s hard to turn up the volume when the speaker is already blown out.”
Check This Out: OZY wants your prognosis on the presidential race. Make your prediction now and check back Nov. 9 to see who agreed with you - and how close you were to reality.
We don’t know where we’ll be next week, but we know where we’ve been. Though Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns are unprecedented, both have roots in previous races. Without John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express,” Trump’s straight talk might not have landed quite as well, and Geraldine Ferraro and Shirley Chisholm paved the way for Clinton to potentially make presidential history. Be sure to catch all eight episodes of OZY’s The Contenders, a new series that aired on PBS and is now available for a weekend binge as we prepare for Election Day.
It’s not your daddy’s Concorde. A fleet of engineers at Colorado-based startup Boom is working on a new generation of passenger planes that break the sound barrier and fly much faster than the standard 615 mph. Learning from Air France’s expensive transatlantic failure, they’ve reduced noise and increased fuel efficiency. The price barrier remains, however, with one-way tickets for three-hour flights between New York and London estimated at $5,000. With plans to launch early next decade, Boom hopes technology costs will drop enough to make supersonic travel affordable for everyone.
Rain, rain, go away. National Weather Service radar can often provide an accurate projection of a storm’s trajectory, but it’s not great at capturing conditions on the ground. After Hurricane Irene, New York decided that wasn’t good enough. So now the Empire State is relying more on scattered atmospheric observation stations than on the big data of national forecasts to predict crucial factors like rainfall. Supply depots have been set up to respond to the information gathered by the new system, called a “mesonet,” and neighboring states can benefit from access to the findings.
Bollywood isn’t open to everyone. In recent years, Indian and Pakistani creatives have collaborated, with Bollywood stars appearing on Pakistani TV, and Indian audiences tuning in to Pakistani soap operas. Now that’s changing: India’s hyper-nationalists are banning films starring Pakistani actors, and this past week one of India’s top directors bowed to political pressure, vowing to no longer cast Pakistani talent. As nationalism grows on both sides, many fear the de facto ban on Pakistani actors is just the first casualty of the military build-up along the Indian-Pakistani border.
They probably won’t have to wait another 108 years. Despite a blunder-filled nail-chomper of a Game 7, Chicago ended its century-long curse with a World Series title stemming not from luck but from an expertly assembled club that dominated the season. While victory-starved Cubs fans would likely have accepted just about any World Series win, the one they got was epic — and the team that clinched it could go on to win again and again, becoming a playoff fixture and destroying their underdog vibe.