The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Donald Trump Shakes Up Transition, Puts Pence in Charge

    He’s changing the lineup. Vice president-elect MIke Pence will now lead Donald Trump’s transition team, in a surprise Friday shift, demoting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from the post. The move came a day after the Republican’s extraordinary summit with President Obama at the White House. Obama said afterward that they had an “excellent conversation” about wide-ranging policy issues. Trump thanked the president, calling him a “very good man.” Meeting with congressional leaders, Trump vowed a tax-slashing, Obamacare-dismantling agenda. Meanwhile, “Never Trump” Republicans are starting to warm toward working with his administration on foreign policy.

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    Trump Plans Cabinet as Markets Stabilize

    It’s a whole new world. Donald Trump has made a shortlist of cabinet candidates, which includes embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a potential attorney general and former candidate Ben Carson as a possible secretary of education. Markets, which had plunged, righted themselves as they anticipated pro-big business policies, and formerly hostile GOP leaders plan to unite with Trump on projects like repealing the Affordable Care Act. President Obama, who’s vowed to work with his successor, is meeting with Trump today to discuss the peaceful transfer of power.

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    Trump Victory Bolsters European Populists

    Is France the next domino to fall? After populist victories in the U.K. and U.S., many are wondering if France, the next major Western democracy to have a presidential election, will elect ultra-right-wing populist leader Marine Le Pen. While many think Donald Trump’s win is a good sign for Le Pen, who’s expected to reach the run-off round of voting, others say France’s main parties will unite to defeat her in April. Meanwhile, German conservatives up for re-election in October are nervously eyeing anti-immigration populist party AfD.

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    India’s Anti-Corruption Measure: Ban Big Banknotes

    It’s a shock to currency affairs. Cash is king in India, and in an effort to cut down on corruption and tax dodging, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes — worth about $8 and $15 respectively, and constituting 85 percent of circulating cash. People panicked, rushing to ATMs and standing in massive lines to get cash before banks closed yesterday to restock and receive newly introduced 2,000 rupee notes. Indians will be able to exchange their now-worthless notes until Dec. 30.

  5. Dow Closes at Record High, Seattle Shooting, Gloria Steinem’s Advice and Nate Silver’s Numbers

    Know This: Thursday’s Dow rose 218 points, closing at record high. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes were finally called for Donald Trump padding his victory margin, but New Hampshire and Michigan remain too close to call. Five people were shot and wounded in downtown Seattle, near anti-Trump protests but apparently unrelated. Democrats added a second Senate seat in New Hampshire’s hard-fought race. And leaders from around the world say they’ll push ahead without the United States if Trump, as he’s threatened, refuses to participate in the Paris Climate Agreement.

    Fighting Words: ”We know from family violence — the paradigm of all violence that isn’t in self-defense — that the most dangerous time is the moment just before or just after escape.” Feminist icon Gloria Steinem compares American sexism and racism to domestic violence, asserting, “We will never go back to the old hierarchy.”

    Remember This Number: 1 to 2 percentage points. That’s the margin by which Hillary Clinton’s expected to have won the popular vote in Tuesday’s election, statistician Nate Silver says, reminding us that the country is still bitterly — and nearly evenly — ideologically divided.


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    Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen Dies at 82

    It’s the end of an era. The hugely influential Canadian’s work spanned five decades, after he ditched poor-selling poetry for the 1960s folk-rock scene in New York City, where he turned out artistic gems while mingling with Andy Warhol and Nico. Cohen’s best-known song, 1984’s “Hallelujah,” didn’t achieve its full due until covered by Jeff Buckley a decade later. His final album, You Want It Darker, earned critical acclaim earlier this year, and Cohen will be remembered as one of the most original voices of his time.

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    Assisted Suicide, Marijuana Triumph at Polls

    Tuesday was more than Trump. State ballot measures offered insight into the changing views of red and blue America. Colorado became the seventh state to allow assisted suicide, while Georgia voters rejected a measure to allow the state to take over failing schools — a fight that united teachers’ unions on the left and anti-big-government activists on the right. California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and several more states allowed medicinal pot — signs, activists say, that the legal weed movement is ready to go national.

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    GoPro Drone Recall Raises Questions About Automated Traffic

    These eyes in the sky aren’t reliable. GoPro has recalled the entire fleet of its latest drone model after finding the Karma units had problems with losing power mid-flight. No one’s yet reported any injuries, but the possibility of a drone falling out of the sky has made experts start to rethink existing regulation of the little machines. It could spell disaster for GoPro, which has seen year-on-year sales drop nearly 40 percent even before facing a recall just as the crucial holiday shopping season begins.

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    Porn Industry Rejoices as Condom Initiative Fails

    Protection comes in many forms. A controversial proposition in California to require adult film performers to wear condoms — which would also have allowed private citizens to sue porn stars for not wearing protection — has failed. Proposition 60 was supported by health activists saying condom use sets a good example and is key for performers’ well-being. But the porn industry contended that public access to performers’ personal information would have enabled harassment and abuse, noting that regular STI testing is already standard — and 54 percent of voters agreed.

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    Brad Pitt Cleared of Child Abuse Allegations

    He’s off the hook. The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services has reportedly found that despite allegations rumored to have ignited his divorce from actor and activist Angelina Jolie, Pitt did not abuse the couple’s eldest son, 15-year-old Maddox, on a private plane in September. For now, Jolie has sole physical custody of their six children, who maintain “therapeutic” visits with Pitt. But courts will have a hand in the final arrangement — and California state law usually favors shared custody, which Pitt is seeking.

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    Failed Vote Could Prompt San Diego Chargers Move

    The moving vans are idling. San Diego voters rejected a proposal Tuesday for a $1.8 billion taxpayer-funded stadium, which could be the final straw after a half-century of Chargers football. While owner Dean Spanos didn’t tip his hand in a post-vote statement, ties have frayed between ownership and the city. The team has until Jan. 15 to decide whether to share a stadium with the Los Angeles Rams, though that would be a difficult marriage and would require Spanos to put up a $550 million relocation fee.