The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Announces Lobbyist Ban, Obama Offers Guidance on Russia

    Somebody unplugged the swamp. Donald Trump’s transition team announced yesterday that registered lobbyists won’t be considered for administration posts, and all hires will have to promise not to lobby for five years after their government gigs. Trump — who’s meeting with Shinzo Abe and Henry Kissinger today — disputed reports that the transition’s in turmoil amid a series of personnel shifts. Meanwhile, President Obama met today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, where he encouraged Trump to “not simply take a realpolitik approach” to dealing with Russia.

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    Officer Who Shot Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter

    “I wasn’t reaching for it.” Those were the last words of Castile, a 32-year-old Black man shot to death during a suburban Minnesota traffic stop in July. Castile’s girlfriend streamed his death live on Facebook after Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot him seven times. The county attorney says no reasonable person would have used force, and Yanez could serve prison time if he’s convicted. Despite more than 150 police-involved deaths in Minnesota since 2000, Yanez, who will appear in court tomorrow, is the first officer to see charges.

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    Myanmar’s Muslim Minority Trying to Flee Purges

    Rakhine is on fire. More than a million Rohingya Muslims live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, with their travel restricted and 10 percent of the population kept in internment camps. After they were blamed for attacks on police last month, activists say hundreds of homes have been burned and scores killed, though the reality could be far worse: Observers and aid workers have been barred from entering certain areas. Now hundreds of Rohingya are trying to flee to Bangladesh as many blame clashes on the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

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    Yuan Slides as China-US Relations Strain

    Don’t blame Donald Trump. China’s currency has dropped to its lowest level in eight years — but while the American president-elect has been critical of the country’s manufacturing, experts say the slide’s more about China’s internal monetary policy and dependence on foreign markets. Meanwhile, a congressional panel advised that state-owned Chinese companies be banned from acquiring U.S. businesses, and China disputed Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax invented to derail American manufacturing. China’s ambassador to the U.S. is now pleading for calm cooperation between the countries.

  5. DNI Director Resigns, Johnson’s Dream, Dylan’s Absence and Pence’s Generosity

    Know This: At least 73 people were killed and more than 100 more injured in a fuel truck explosion in Mozambique. U.S. Director of National Intelligence submits letter of resignation. Multiple European officials have accused U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of “wishful thinking” over the divorce terms Britain will get from the EU, while Johnson insists they’ll get ”the best possible deal.” Bob Dylan will be skipping the Nobel Prize ceremony. And South Korea grounded all planes for 30 minutes to reduce distractions while students take the competitive college entrance exam.

    He Said It: ”I say send them to us. We will accept them. We will accept them all. They are human beings.” Controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he’d welcome refugees, though he didn’t elaborate on resettlement plans.

    Remember This Number: 12.5 percent. That’s the proportion of postelection donations to Planned Parenthood that have been made in the name of Vice President-elect (and noted pro-life campaigner) Mike Pence.


  1. Facebook news feed magnifying glass shutterstock 214779115

    Fake Election News Outperformed Real News on Facebook

    It’s news you can’t use. A BuzzFeed News analysis found that the 20 top-performing false political stories — including tales that Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS and Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump — garnered 8.7 million shares, reactions and comments in the three months before the election. The figure for the top 20 stories from reputable sites: 7.3 million. Facebook argues that the numbers are a tiny sample and don’t reflect the whole network, though some employees have launched a task force to fight the falsehoods.

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    Helicopter Cash Could Be Central Banks’ Last Resort

    It’s raining money. Not literally, but Milton Friedman’s lighthearted concept of dropping new bank notes on citizens from a helicopter is gaining new currency as central bank policies fail to conquer the world’s financial malaise. In its real world application, new money would be directly injected into the economy via tax rebates or deposits in everyone’s checking accounts. This cousin of quantitative easing has skeptics who warn that it’s too good to be true or could cause hyperinflation, but in countries like Japan, desperate times could call for choppers.

  3. Brain

    Paralyzed Patients Could Communicate Via Brain Implant

    It’s all in her head. A paralyzed 58-year-old woman with ALS had been communicating using an eye-tracking device, but since ocular muscle control can also be lost, she agreed to try a brain implant developed at the University of Utrecht. It’s designed for patients who are “locked in” — physically paralyzed, but with still-active minds. The implant, with electrodes connected directly to the surface of the brain, can be used at home without medical supervision, and lets patients spell words and play simple games.

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    Missing Frida Kahlo Painting Heads to Auction

    It was hiding in plain sight. A long-missing unfinished Kahlo painting, hung in a California house unnoticed since the 1950s, has resurfaced. Niña con Collar is one of the Mexican feminist’s earliest known works, painted in 1929. While the Mexican government has banned exports of Kahlo’s work, this particular painting is a curious exception because Diego Rivera, Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist, gave it away as a gift after his wife’s death. It’s expected to sell at auction in New York City for as much as $2 million.

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    Calls Grow for US Soccer to Dump Klinsmann After Ugly Loss

    Update that resume. An increasing number of commentators are calling for coach Jurgen Klinsmann to be sacked after the U.S. Men’s National Team’s stinker of a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica. Klinsmann’s had ups and downs since taking the job in 2011, but lately has hit new depths. American soccer president Sunil Gulati, who called Tuesday’s result “embarrassing,” has some time to decide: World Cup qualifying resumes in March, when the U.S. must win games against Honduras and Panama in order to make the 2018 field.