The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Yahoo headquarters shutterstock 493431526

    Yahoo Reveals Biggest Hack Ever: 1 Billion Accounts

    Who knew they had so many users? Yahoo disclosed today that a 2013 hack compromised 1 billion accounts — twice as many as the 2014 hack reported in September — including 150,000 U.S. government and military employees. The potential national security threat could also complicate the internet pioneer’s $4.8 billion deal to sell its core business to Verizon. The stolen data includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays and security questions and answers. Yahoo believes payment information is safe, but is still probing how hackers cracked its security.

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    Evacuation of Aleppo Delayed as Cease-Fire Broken

    It’s all over but the fighting. The evacuation of civilians and rebel forces from eastern Aleppo has been delayed amid a new round of cease-fire violations, and buses sent to collect evacuees have returned to the government side. Rebels blamed Iranian militias backing President Bashar Assad for breaking the truce, while Russia hailed the end of four years of rebel control and bloodshed and rejected “pointless” U.S. negotiations. Meanwhile, the U.N. reports that scores of civilians have been executed by government forces and tens of thousands remain in danger.

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    Trump Taps Perry, Zinke; Tillerson Faces Senate Fight

    What’s the third one again? Donald Trump tapped former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Department of Energy — an agency Perry famously couldn’t remember that he wanted to eliminate in a 2012 presidential debate. For the Department of the Interior, Trump’s reportedly picked Montana’s Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has partnered with Democrats on conservation issues. But the president-elect may face a confirmation fight over Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, as even GOP senators have expressed worries about his close relationship with Russia.

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    Rate Hike Expected, Trump Uncertainty Remains

    All ears on the chair. Experts predict Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen will announce a rate increase today, now that the economy’s chugging along with unemployment at a nine-year low. The real question as the Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting is where do members see the economy going under a Donald Trump presidency? Will next year see the two anticipated rate hikes, or more? Global markets are cautious as they await the news, with European stocks, oil and the dollar declining as gold and government bonds climb.

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    Man Who Grabbed Gun at Trump Event Gets 12 Months

    He’s not well. A British man who tried to grab a policeman’s gun at a Donald Trump rally has been sentenced to a seemingly lenient 12 months because of mental illness. “You’re not evil or a sociopath like a lot of people that we have,” Judge James Mahan told defendant Michael Sandford, referring to the act as a “crazy stunt.” Sandford faced 20 years after pleading guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and told the court he felt “awful” about the incident.

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    Federal Reserve Raises Benchmark Interest Rate

    It’s a rising tide. Satisfied with economic growth and inflation approaching 2 percent, the Fed announced a quarter-point rate hike yesterday to a range of 0.5 to 0.75 percent — a historically low figure, but it will still increase borrowing rates. It’s only the second increase since the 2008 crisis, though three more incremental hikes are planned for 2017. The news fired up bond markets, with U.S. short-term debt hitting its highest yields since 2009, while shares for banks — sure to profit from higher interest — boosted European stocks.

  7. Police Kill Crucifix-Carrying Senior, Wonder Woman Fired and Russian Election Hacks Laid Bare

    Know This: Police in Bakersfield, California, killed a 73-year-old man with dementia who refused to remove his hands from his pockets. ISIS claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing of Cairo’s Coptic cathedral that killed 25. And the U.S. has withheld approval of a munitions sale to Saudi Arabia over casualties in Yemen’s civil war.

    Wonder at This: The U.N. is stripping Wonder Woman of her role as honorary ambassador to promote gender equity after staffers complained the superhero was “overtly sexualized.”

    Read This: A New York Times investigation explores how Russian election hacks were met with skepticism by the FBI and reluctance by the Obama administration: “The low-key approach of the FBI meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top DNC officials were alerted.”


  1. Greece

    Archaeologists Discover 2,500-Year-Old Greek City

    Like Atlantis, it sank into obscurity. Archaeologists had previously assumed that the seemingly uninteresting ruins on a hill near Vlochós, about 200 miles north of Athens, were those of a small, insignificant settlement. But an international team using ground-penetrating radar found a 99-acre metropolis that flourished in the fourth and third centuries B.C. The noninvasive exploration, which started in September, revealed gates, walls, towers and coins — and further research might explain the fate of the ancient Greek city, which declined around the time of the Roman conquest.

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    US Teen Smoking, Drinking, Drug Use at 40-Year Lows

    The kids are alright. Only 37 percent of 12th graders reported that they’d been drunk and just 4.8 percent said they’d tried painkillers — sharp declines from a decade ago. Researchers aren’t sure what’s causing the decline, but some point to a reduction in cigarette smoking, a gateway to riskier behaviors. Others worry that the annual federal survey of 45,000 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders in 372 public and private schools is missing an opioid epidemic, but one expert called the findings “gigantic good fortune.”

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    Google Publishes Fed Requests for Emails

    They’re feeling transparent. After Edward Snowden’s revelations about federal surveillance, tech leaders went to court for permission to disclose information about secret FBI demands for user data. Yesterday, Google released eight of the thousands of letters it receives each month from global agencies. “We have fought for the right to be transparent,” said Richard Salgado, Google’s information security chief. The released letters are just a tiny sample, with email addresses and agents’ names redacted, but Salgado said there’d be “a more permanent home” for such material — no doubt searchable.

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    The Low Fade Haircut Is Taking Over the NBA

    It’s a winning cut. When Stephen Curry took his low fade — a few centimeters on top, tapering down around the ears to a clean shave at the base of the skull — on Golden State’s historic rampage through the regular season last year, it was bound to score. Now young stars like Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are rocking the fade, rather than the traditional high-and-tight. With barber shop and hoops culture intertwined, expect to see more fades on your local blacktop soon.