The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Transition in Turmoil as Circle Tightens

    It’s chaos in Trump Tower. Former Rep. Mike Rogers was ousted as national security adviser to the transition, while power consolidates around a tighter group of Donald Trump loyalists and family members. Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, both being vetted for top posts, face tough Senate confirmations. And Trump — in an unprecedented step — asked for security clearance for son-in-law Jared Kushner to receive daily briefings. House Republicans, meanwhile, unanimously tapped Paul Ryan to remain as speaker, while infighting Democrats delayed leadership elections until Nov. 30.

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    US Aims for New Syria Sanctions as Assad Woos Trump

    Vladimir Putin might have something to say about this. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a motion to sanction Syria, Russia and Iran for alleged war crimes in Syria’s ongoing civil war. It’s not clear what will happen to America’s Middle East policy under President-elect Donald Trump, but Syrian President Bashar Assad called Trump a “natural ally” in the fight against terror if he lives up to his campaign promises, including saying that fighting the Syrian government was “madness” since it might lead to fighting Russia.

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    Students to Stage Mass Protests for ‘Sanctuary’ Campuses

    They’ll fight for safe spaces. Students from 120 American universities are planning demonstrations at 3 p.m. EST today, advocating to make their campuses sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants who fear deportation under President-elect Donald Trump. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. But we are preparing,” Renata Mauriz, a Brazilian-born, New Jersey-raised undocumented student at Brown University told OZY. Protesters hope educators will ban Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from campuses and protect Black and LGBT students. But such legally questionable steps could make school administrators uneasy.

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    Some Android Phones Are Sending Personal Data to China

    This wasn’t on the list of features. Security contractors reportedly found preinstalled software on some Android phones transmitting location data, contact lists and text message content to China, though it’s unclear if it’s a spying operation or data mining. Shanghai Adups Technology Company says its software runs on over 700 million devices worldwide, including phones, cars and other smart appliances. American phone manufacturer BLU says it’s fixed the problem on all 120,000 of its affected units, but other companies’ users may never know if their devices are vulnerable.

  5. The Electoral College’s Enemies, Ted Cruz’s Next Job and the Word of the Year

    Know This: Highway deaths surged more than 10 percent in the first half of 2016 — and experts blame apps. California Sen. Barbara Boxer has filed a bill that would eliminate the Electoral College. And Ted Cruz is reportedly being considered as a potential attorney general.

    Calculate This: These charts could help you determine how much Trump’s tax plans would save you — or cost you.

    Remember This Word: Post-truth. That’s the Oxford Dictionaries international word of the year, an adjective describing situations where facts are disregarded in the face of emotional appeals. Sound familiar?


  1. Mexico

    Trump’s Win Fuels Mexican Nationalism

    They’re putting Mexico first. Politicians south of the border strongly condemned Donald Trump throughout his campaign. Now, if the president-elect scraps NAFTA, builds a wall or deports millions of Mexicans, they’re planning a legislative onslaught — including economic sanctions and withdrawing from treaties to fight the drug war. This renewed nationalism isn’t just political: Citizens are using the hashtag #MexicoUnido to urge each other to buy locally produced goods and vacation within the country’s borders. But some worry that Mexican nationalism, like that north of the border, could get out of control.

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    Snapchat Quietly Files for IPO

    Let’s hope the stock doesn’t disappear after ten seconds. Companies with annual revenue under $1 billion can file confidentially with the SEC, which is exactly what Snapchat’s done. That gives the SEC time with the company’s private details before it all becomes available to investors and the world. It also gives Snap Inc., valued at $18 billion six months ago, time to gear up to take on Facebook, its biggest rival for young eyes and the ad dollars that chase them. Snapchat is expected to go public as early as March.

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    Light Therapy Emerges as Key to Fighting Dementia’s Effects

    Get some rays. With few effective drug therapies available for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and the number of people over 65 expected to double by 2060, some people are turning to the sun. Not getting enough light can leave adults groggy, experts say, and researchers are testing therapies including light boxes and even a diode that attaches to a user’s nose, sending infrared light up through the nostril to stimulate the brain. But the benefits remain unproven and the FDA has not yet seen the light.

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    Carrie Fisher Confirms ‘Star Wars’ Affair With Harrison Ford

    The force was irresistible. In her new memoir, The Princess Diarist, Fisher confirmed the long-rumored three-month fling during filming of the seminal 1977 movie. “It was so intense,” says Fisher, who was 19, while Ford was 33 and a married father of two. “It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.” While Ford hasn’t commented on the story, he reportedly had a heads-up from Fisher before the book was published that she’d be getting into the steamy details.

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    Ohio State Surges in College Football Playoff Rankings

    It’s a new order. Saturday saw a shake-up for college football’s kingpins as Michigan fell to Iowa and Pitt topped Clemson. But the Wolverines and Tigers remained No. 3 and No. 4 in new rankings released last night. Ohio State, meanwhile, vaulted from fifth to second. Undefeated Alabama remains on top, and lurking just outside the four-team CFP rankings is No. 5 Louisville. The order is unlikely to stick: Bitter rivals Michigan and OSU face off Nov. 26 — with a playoff slot on the line.