The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Tech-Wary Trump Skeptical of Russian Hack Intel

    You can’t hack a courier. The president-elect told reporters that “no computer is safe” when questioned about cybersecurity and the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in campaign season hacking of Democrats. In contrast to President Obama, who recently upgraded White House computers, Trump rarely uses technology more advanced than a telephone — except Twitter, which he turned to Saturday to wish a happy New Year to his “many enemies.” The 70-year-old promised to provide new information on the Russian hacking case early this week.

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    Myanmar Police to Investigate Rohingya Abuse Video

    It was all caught on tape. Though authorities have previously said officers follow the rule of law, a video filmed by the country’s border guards shows them kicking and punching Rohingya Muslims — a minority group that faces widespread discrimination in Myanmar. The video was reportedly taken in November, when thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in the face of alleged abuses so severe that human rights groups say they constituted ethnic cleansing. The three officers in the video have been identified and authorities say they’re investigating other officers as well.

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    Mexico’s Economic Anxiety Gives Rise to Trumpian Figure

    They call him Amlo. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is hoping to follow in the U.S. president-elect’s footsteps in his third shot at Mexico’s presidency. A leftist running on an anti-corruption platform, Obrador decried his 2006 loss as rigged before losing again in 2012. But a slowing economy, rising inflation and Donald Trump’s recent win against steep odds have many reassessing Amlo’s chances in the June 2018 vote — especially as he promises prosperity and reforms that some are skeptical he can pull off.

  4. A Killer Storm, An Ethical Dilemma, a Tragic Ferry Trip and France’s New Employee Perk

    Know This: At least four people were killed when a tornado touched down in Alabama. U.S. House Republicans voted to gut their independent ethics watchdog. A suicide car bomb has reportedly killed 35 people in Baghdad. The daughter of a key figure in South Korea’s presidential scandal has been detained in Denmark. And 23 are dead and 17 missing after a ferry full of New Year’s revelers caught fire off the coast of Jakarta.

    Work Week: Sunday marked the rollout of a new law in France requiring large companies to negotiate times that employees aren’t responsible for reading work-related email — an effort to restore work-life balance.

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    Your Guide to 2017 Elections to Watch

    It’s always an election year. After the United States and Great Britain saw stunners in 2016, voters this year will decide whether to continue the trends of antiglobalism and populism — embodied in France by the far-right Marine Le Pen, competing in April’s presidential primary. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are favored to keep power in Germany, but there are few sure bets anymore. Expect the status quo in Rwanda, Hong Kong and Iran, while there are serious questions about whether Kenya and the Congo can even stage credible ballots.

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    Hollywood Sign Vandal Repeats 1976 Prank

    Hooray for what now? Los Angeles woke up to 2017 with a bang — the iconic Hollywood sign spelling out “Hollyweed.” The prank, an exact repeat of a New Year’s incident 41 years ago celebrating newly relaxed California marijuana laws, prompted millions of social media posts and memes. In November, the state approved recreational marijuana use, but legalization won’t come into effect until 2018. Meanwhile, police aren’t amused: They’re investigating the crime, and a suspicious man caught on tape could wind up charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

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    Could Doping Become Part of Mainstream Fitness?

    Look out, Lance. Over the past decade, many famous athletes have been busted for performance enhancing drugs. But some say doping culture’s become so normalized that the illicit substances used by elite athletes could become everyday fitness boosters. It’s already common to include protein shakes and isotonic drinks in gym routines, while steroids and human growth hormone shots are being pushed as “anti-aging” beauty treatments. As a hyper-fit generation ages — and has access to absolutely anything via the internet — some predict these drugs will go mainstream.

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    Blame Game Unfolds After Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Fail

    Never, never, never do it live. The hangover’s set in after Carey stumbled through her New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Times Square performance Saturday night. Her rep said the “production set her up to fail,” blaming technical issues. But ABC sources indicated that it wasn’t the tech, and that Carey just didn’t rehearse. Meanwhile, CNN viewers got a different treat: Anchor Don Lemon taking shots of liquor, piercing his ear — thankfully opting against his nipple — and getting his mic cut off after proclaiming, “2016 was awful.”

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    Packers, Lions Clinch Playoff Spots as Redskins Flop

    The field is set. For next weekend’s wild-card showdown, Seattle hosts Detroit, New York travels to Green Bay, Pittsburgh hosts Miami and Oakland heads to Houston. Yesterday the Redskins eliminated themselves, falling flat against a Giants team with nothing at stake and ending their season with an embarrassing home loss. The Chiefs beat the Chargers, earning a bye and leaving the Raiders and Texans to face off, potentially with backup quarterbacks. And top-seeded New England clinched AFC home-field advantage on their drive for another Super Bowl.