The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Investigators: Thousands Abused by Australian Priests

    The statistics are staggering. An ongoing investigation into priests accused of sexually abusing children across Australia released numbers today illustrating the extent of the claims. Between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 children were victimized across the country, the investigating commission says, and 7 percent of priests allegedly abused children. One order saw 40 percent of its priests accused. “As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame,” said one church executive, who says the Catholic Church is establishing reporting standards and better child protection policies in response to the investigation.

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    Global Uncertainty, Internal Economic Growth Solidify EU

    Rumors of Europe’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Though the EU economy is often depicted as stagnant or sluggish, actual data is rosier: The bloc’s had 14 consecutive positive quarters and has gotten unemployment into single digits. Though French ultranationalist Marine Le Pen launched her presidential campaign yesterday promising to free France from EU “tyrannies,” European officials report that leaders are cooperating as never before, as they realize togetherness could be key to facing the challenges of Brexit, a protectionist or hostile U.S. and the rising power of Vladimir Putin.

  3. Romania’s Unrest, Fighting Fake News and NYC Subway Warriors

    Know This: Though Romania’s government has scrapped its controversial new corruption laws, half a million people are still protesting in Bucharest. Rescuers are trying to reach survivors after an avalanche in Afghanistan killed at least 135 people. And Facebook and Google have joined an initiative to battle fake news in France that they say will keep faux stories off newsfeeds.

    Read This: Subway riders in New York City worked together to scrub anti-Semitic graffiti off the windows and posters of a No. 1 subway train.

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    Italian Women Help Lead Prison Reform

    L’arancione è il nuovo nero. With facilities at 130 percent capacity, Italy’s Justice Ministry is pushing prisoner rehab. Now 20 percent of inmates are enrolled in programs meant to get them out from behind bars and into fulfilling professions. Hundreds of associations are helping, led largely by women who’ve found their passion in training the inmates — a passion known as carcerite, or “prison syndrome.” The Justice Ministry’s hoping such programs, which are already drastically reducing recidivism rates, can mend Italy’s reputation in Europe for inhumane incarceration conditions.

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    Scientists Find Evidence of Ancient Indian Ocean Landmass

    No, it’s not called Atlantis. The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius was formed by volcanoes no more than 9 million years ago, but a team of geologists say they’ve found zircons in rocks on the island that are as much as 3 billion years old. While previous finds of this nature have been dismissed as flukes, the scientists believe that these zircons indicate the crust of an ancient continent. They’re calling the potential continent Mauritia, and they suspect it could have originally been connected to the island of Madagascar.

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    Activists Pressure Macy’s to Drop Ivanka Trump Brand

    They’re shaming her name. The #GrabYourWallet movement to boycott stores that sell Trump merchandise won big victories last week when Nordstrom agreed to stop selling Ivanka’s clothing line and Neiman Marcus dropped her jewelry line. Now activists are targeting Macy’s, and Facebook and Twitter users are imploring the department store chain to dump the first daughter’s products. Macy’s hasn’t sold the president’s menswear line since his pre-election comment branding Mexicans as “rapists,” but the struggling store may decide that even the younger Trump’s name is bad for business.

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    Lady Gaga Wows at Super Bowl Halftime Show

    She knows how to make an entrance. The pop superstar began by singing “This Land Is Your Land” on the roof of Houston’s NRG stadium, then soaring onto the stage on wires. While many observed that the Woody Guthrie classic is a protest favorite, Gaga avoided overt political statements. But some commercials — like Airbnb’s, which said, “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong.” — were largely interpreted as political, despite the NFL’s moratorium on advertisement advocacy.

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    The Fast and the Furriest Compete at Puppy Bowl XIII

    Somebody’s got to be top dog. Team Fluff set a new scoring record as it defeated Team Ruff 93-38 in Animal Planet’s annual TV event starring dozens of puppies awaiting adoption. Many of the players found forever homes during the game through an online system that let viewers adopt puppies they saw on screen — including Pomeranian-Husky mix Alexander Hamilpup and Rory, a poodle-terrier mix who was named 2017’s MVP after scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter. All of the players are reportedly very good dogs.