The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Jury Finds Dylann Roof Guilty

    Will he face the death penalty? That’s the next question after a jury deemed the 22-year-old guilty of all 33 federal charges, including hate crimes, linked to last year’s massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Epsicopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. ”He needs to be held accountable for every bullet,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams told jurors. Next up, the jury will decide whether Roof — a known white supremacist who confessed to the murders during questioning — should spend the rest of his life behind bars or face the death penalty.

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    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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    Putin Guarantees Evacuation of Aleppo’s Last Rebel Enclave

    He’s got clout. Some 4,000 rebels and their families that are poised to evacuate Aleppo — potentially ending four years of bloodshed — reportedly have Vladimir Putin’s personal pledge that they won’t be harmed. The plan, approved by both rebels and the Syrian government, involves Russian soldiers leading convoys out of the city, though ambulances carrying wounded residents along the evacuation route were driven back by gunfire, according to one monitoring group. But a government-aligned Lebanese militia predicted that the buses could be rolling in the “next few hours.”

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    Donald Trump Toasts Tech Executives — Except for Twitter

    He gave them the business. The president-elect hosted Silicon Valley leaders — including Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Bezos — at Trump Tower, telling them “call me” for help. Conspicuously absent was Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, reportedly because the company refused to produce a “Crooked Hillary” emoji during the campaign. Meanwhile, House Democrats said the General Services Administration told them Trump must divest from a D.C. property he leases from the feds, though the agency responded that it has yet to establish its position.

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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.

  6. Uber Says It Doesn’t Need Self-Driving Permits, China ‘Arming Islands’ and the Tweets That Roared

    Know This: The California Department of Motor Vehicles is crying foul over Uber’s lack of permission for its launch of self-driving cars in San Francisco. Experts say China has put weapons on its disputed man-made islands in the South China Sea. And Britain’s EU ambassador has said it could take 10 years to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with Europe.

    Tweet This: Some doubt he’ll do it for America, but Donald Trump has already made Twitter great again.

    Remember This: Ta-Nehisi Coates deconstructs the legacy of America’s first Black president: “Much as the unbroken ranks of 43 white male presidents communicated that the highest office of government in the country … was off-limits to Black individuals, the election of Barack Obama communicated that the prohibition had been lifted.”


  1. Dictionary

    ‘YouTuber’ and ‘Brexit’ Enter Oxford Dictionary

    So that’s what “Brexit” means. The Oxford English Dictionary has announced the latest words to officially enter the language — and they reveal much about political and cultural trends that have left a lingering mark on society. There’s “glam-ma” (a glam grandma), “get your freak on” and “YouTuber,” plus the borrowed-from-Yiddish “verklempt.” But one word has positively sped from the streets to the lexicon: “Brexit.” If British Prime Minister Theresa May is wondering, it’s defined as “the (proposed) withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

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    ‘Guerrilla Archivists’ Aim to Rescue EPA Data From Trump

    They won’t be denied. This Saturday, Canadian researchers plan to grab as much of the American government’s climate change data as they can to protect it from Donald Trump, who’s called global warming a “hoax” and named a like-minded EPA head. The academics, fearing the incoming president will purge data — as some suspect he’ll also do with federal climate experts — will preserve the research on Canadian servers. Online information has disappeared during previous government transitions, organizers say, so anything’s possible after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

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    Transgender People Are Taking Health Care Into Their Own Hands

    They’re changing the system. Around the world, conventional health care systems lag behind transgender patients’ needs — even getting basic treatment can be a struggle — but trans people are taking matters into their own hands. In many places, including France, accessing hormones and surgery means drastic measures like state-required sterilization. But using do-it-yourself systems, from individual crowdfunding campaigns to networks of advocates sharing information, trans activists are increasingly bypassing insurance providers and doctors who are reluctant to conform to a new gender reality.

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    Facebook Is Planning Original Scripted Shows

    There’s a new network you might “like.” Facebook has hired CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen to lead the charge into the scripted content game. Hoping to beef up its video offerings — which until now have relied on live broadcasts or third-party clips — the social network is wooing producers for content tailored to its mobile-oriented platform. It sounds more like YouTube Originals than Netflix, but there could come a day when Facebook and HBO duke it out for Emmys — streamed for smartphone addicts the world over.

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    Louisville Admits Getting Leaked Wake Forest Football Plays

    It’s been dubbed “Wakeyleaks.” The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, university fired radio announcer and former player Tommy Elrod for reportedly using his inside access to leak confidential information to opponents after he was cut from the coaching staff in 2014. Louisville yesterday admitted to receiving “a few plays” from Elrod, but said it didn’t affect the outcome of a Cardinals win over Wake Forest on Nov. 2. The betrayal has stunned Demon Deacon fans, and Atlantic Coast Conference officials are now conducting a wider investigation.