The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Thousands Evacuated Near Troubled Dam

    This is not a drill. Nearly 200,000 people living below the Oroville dam in Northern California were ordered to evacuate after a week in which engineers scrambled to deal with a structural failure in the reservoir’s emergency spillway. A crack had appeared shortly after the dam reached its 3.5 million acre-feet capacity last Tuesday, and officials who issued the warning said they expected the spillway to fail within an hour. It didn’t — last minute efforts to plug the hole paid off — but officials caution that the situation is still unpredictable.

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    North Korean Missile Tests a New President

    Was it the missile or the man? North Korea’s reported 310-mile missile flight may have tested both ballistic hardware and President Trump’s resolve. South Korean monitors observed the test early today, during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s golfing and trade discussion weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Both leaders quickly responded with a press appearance, with Abe calling the launch “intolerable” and the president not mentioning the incident at all. Instead, he affirmed that America “stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” reinforcing a sober new diplomatic image.

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    Week 3: Senate Falls Into Line While Courts Balk

    You win some, you lose some. GOP senators have been lining up with their party this week to approve controversial cabinet picks like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom opponents accuse of racism, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose disdain for public education inspired protesters to block her from entering a D.C. school Friday. But the White House is still battling courts over immigration policy — prompting its own Supreme Court nominee to call Trump tweets impugning a federal judge’s legitimacy “disheartening” — and now the President’s considering a new border action.

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    Mr. Netanyahu Comes to Washington

    Will “shalom” mean peace? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, ostensibly to discuss U.S. policy toward Iran. Despite the two leaders’ professions of mutual affinity, it’s expected that Trump’s not about to scrap last year’s Iran nuclear deal, which Israel so vehemently opposed. Rather, experts believe Netanyahu will acquiesce to the new administration’s long-shot plan to tighten controls on the Islamic Republic’s “peaceful” nuclear program. With both taking a hard line, they’ll be starting a dance some believe could bring either one a few steps from war.

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    How One Mom Came to Represent All Immigrants

    They’ll hold the torch for her. Protesters were ready when Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos met with federal immigration authorities. For eight years, officials had allowed the undocumented Mexican to stay with her American children in Phoenix, provided she visited annually to answer questions. But President Trump’s new policy deports anyone who’s run afoul of the law, as Rayos did when charged with using a false social security number. So her deportation Thursday launched a struggle between protesters who support immigrants like Rayos, and policy supporters who say deportations will recapture jobs for Americans.

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    Can the Women’s Movement Get Its House in Order?

    They were legion. On Jan. 21, millions of women took to the streets across America to protest the election of Donald Trump, wearing homemade pink “pussyhats,” chanting and carrying signs to unify the left for a day, despite concerns that a women’s march might not attract men to the cause. But after the big event, racial and ideological divides persist within the feminist movement — and though the majority of white women voted for President Trump, their support may be key in defeating his policies as the campaign continues.

  7. Trans Guidelines Allowed to Die, Protesters Rage Over French ‘Police Rape’ of Black Detainee and Trump the Diplomat

    Know This: Government lawyers have declined to challenge a federal court injunction against Obama administration school guidelines against transgender discrimination. Some 2,000 protesting the alleged rape of a Black detainee by police set fires near Paris. A woman grabbing for a falling hat fell to her death from an escalator at the New York World Trade Center’s new transportation hub.

    Moderate This: “There finally is an administration beginning to take shape around him … During the transition, no one had the nerve or expertise to contradict him.” — Obama China adviser Jeffrey Bader, on Trump’s recent normalization of foreign policy.

    Pitch This: There’s an Academy Award for Best Picture, but there’s an OZY award for Best Pitcher. Pitch us your ideas for our upcoming Oscars edition and they might be featured in the Daily Dose. Almost anything goes: Forgotten tales from Oscars past, fascinating stats that have been overlooked — even an up-and-coming sound editor who’s shaping the way we experience film. Send your tips to


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    Multi-Genre Singer Al Jarrreau Dies at 76

    Moonlighting was just that. He may be known for the TV theme, but Al Jarreau, who died today after being hospitalized for exhaustion, managed to blow away audiences with eclectic scat vocals in smoky jazz venues and then croon smash pop hits to massive arenas. With a career that spanned from 1968 to a recently announced retirement from performing, the Milwaukee native earned seven Grammys in jazz, R&B and pop categories, including 1981 Album of the Year for Breakin’ Away. Tributes are pouring in, with 80s superstar Chaka Kahn mourning an “unrivaled improvisational genius.”

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    Mapping Where Google’s Never Been

    They don’t need your location. We may live in the age of GPS and Google Earth, but there are still plenty of uncharted places and spaces — far beyond what the eye can see. A multitude of professionals is diversifying mapping, keeping it the key to understanding and sharing what we don’t know. There are astrophysicists mapping black holes, doctors charting the progress of diseases and oceanographers tracing hidden topography on ocean floors — which could prove crucial as nations struggle to claim sovereignty over underwater oil reserves in places like the Arctic.

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    Could Artificial Intelligence Make Law Firms Obsolete?

    They may have a case. AI’s threatened to replace everyone from janitors to journalists, but the legal profession guards its human capital like dusty law books. Even so, automated services that speed legal scut work — and even evaluate lawyers’ performance and predict case outcomes — are growing and reshaping the law-firm business model into a more freelance-based industry. Don’t expect a speedy resolution, however: One expert found automation is replacing humans at the rate of 2.5 percent a year, meaning we’re a long way from smartphones standing up for us in court.

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    The Killer App That Detects Killers

    The ghosts are in his machine. A retired journalist and data analyst has developed an algorithm that spots patterns in unsolved murder cases — potentially flagging serial killers’ handiwork. Between 1980 and 2010, Thomas Hargrove observed, one in three homicides went cold. It shocked the Virginian into delving into the data and crossing jurisdictions to compile arguably the most complete database on U.S. homicides. One killer’s been charged in nine murders committed after Indiana police ignored Hargroves’s 2010 warnings, prompting him to conclude police need a less parochial mindset to take advantage of this revolutionary tool.

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    ‘Eagle Huntress’ Is Ruffling Feathers

    Fact or fairy tale? The Eagle Huntress has come under fire for being too trope-heavy to be true. The documentary follows Aisholpan Nurgaiv, a 13-year-old Kazakh nomad who, publicists asserted, became the first girl among her people in 2,000 years to win a major falconry contest with her golden eagle. The director insists everything in the movie happened organically, while critics call it “contrived” and “half-baked.” With the film’s central claim debunked, and a witness saying a key scene was staged, does it deserve to win best documentary at tonight’s BAFTA Awards?

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    Meet ‘The Sheriff’ of Milwaukee

    He moves, shoots and communicates. For a 7-foot-1 power forward, it’s pretty impressive, but is it enough to justify the Milwaukee Bucks’ using up a No. 10 draft pick on inexperienced Thon Maker last year? While the South Sudanese-Australian had only played basketball for six years, the front office saw something far more important: drive. Confidant and smart, with a work ethic and mental toughness that quickly earned him the nickname “the Sheriff,” this 19-year-old giant promises to show the world the Bucks made an inspired — if risky — choice.