The Presidential Daily Brief


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    WikiLeaks Publishes Purported Intelligence Hacking Secrets

    Has the CIA sprung a leak? Yesterday, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents reportedly from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence — and some in Washington say they appear to be genuine. If so, the leak exposes the existence of several advanced cyberspying tools, including some that hack smart TVs and phones — though WikiLeaks hasn’t yet released the code needed to recreate the cyberweapons. It’s not clear who might have leaked the documents, but some experts suspect it may have been a foreign state rather than an Edward Snowden-type insider.

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    Republicans Reveal Obamacare Replacement

    They hope it’s a healthy development. But many are skeptical of the House GOP’s just-unveiled Affordable Care Act replacement. The new bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, eliminates tax penalties on anyone foregoing insurance, instead penalizing those who let their coverage lapse. While the new plan would maintain coverage of pre-existing conditions, it would roll back Medicaid’s expansion and stop requiring employers to cover full-time staff. With many lawmakers expressing reservations and Obamacare’s popularity at an all-time high, the GOP may have trouble garnering the majority needed to repeal.

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    North Korea, Malaysia Hold Each Other’s Citizens ‘Hostage’

    They’re playing politics with people’s lives. After two North Korean suspects in the murder of Kim Jong Nam took refuge in their country’s embassy in Malaysia, unable to leave without losing sanctuary, Pyongyang announced that it will prevent any Malaysians in North Korea from leaving the country until the “incident” is resolved. Both countries have already expelled each other’s ambassadors. Meanwhile, North Korea’s continued to launch missiles in defiance of international sanctions, and the U.S. has begun deploying the Thaad missile defense system in South Korea, despite regional tensions.

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    Trump Removes Iraq From Revised US Travel Ban

    And then there were six. President Donald Trump’s new executive order on travel prevents citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from obtaining new U.S. visas for 90 days, but removes Iraq from the list of banned countries. Current visa-holders will be allowed to travel. The Pentagon and State Department reportedly urged Trump to exclude Iraq from the ban, given the country’s key role in fighting ISIS and its commitment to vetting travelers. It’s too soon to say if this revised ban, which takes effect March 16, will survive judicial scrutiny.

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    Brussels Wants the EU to Sue Volkswagen

    Their redemption may be stalled. The EU’s justice commissioner is meeting today with authorities to decide the consequences the German car company could face over its emissions cheating scandal. Brussels is said to be pushing for legal retribution, meaning VW could be fined in national courts across the Continent. Nine million of the 11 million cars tampered with to dodge emissions standards were sold in the European market, and while Volkswagen’s agreed to pay billions to American regulators, it could face more fines across Europe if action goes ahead.

  6. Protest in Nepal, Dreams Deferred and Ben Carson’s Views on Slavery

    Know This: Protesters shut down much of southern Nepal after police opened fire at a political rally on Monday, killing three. A transgender high school senior has vowed to keep fighting for his right to use the boy’s bathroom after the Supreme Court sent his case back to appeals court for further review. And Hungary has reinstated its policy of detaining all asylum seekers in border camps, despite pressure from human rights groups and the EU.

    Forced Migration: “That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,’’ Housing Secretary Ben Carson said during his first week on the job. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.” Though many criticized his characterization of slaves as “immigrants,” Carson later explained that it’s possible to be an “involuntary immigrant.”

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    Gold Star Father Cancels Talk Over ‘Travel Privileges’

    These are the facts: Khizr Khan, a vocal critic of President Trump, was scheduled to give a talk in Canada today. The lecture was canceled after Khan claims he was informed that his “freedom to travel abroad” is under review. As a U.S. citizen, Khan is legally allowed to travel. But with both Khan and lecture host Ramsay Talks refusing further comment, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol saying it “does not contact travelers in advance of their travel,” it’s unclear where such an order could have come from.

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    Secondhand Retail Thrives With Technology

    This season is so last season. While established mall retailers like J. Crew and Abercrombie endure declining sales, the high-end used clothing market is booming, with an expected jump from $14 billion in 2015 to $25 billion by 2025. Vintage retailers are carving out a place for themselves in the fashion sphere via Instagram, selling not just products “but the story behind the piece.” With a hybrid business model that combines small-town brick and mortar stores, online shopping and savvy wholesaling, secondhand style is setting trends for retailers.

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    Study: Soy Products Can Slow Breast Cancer

    Let’s talk tofu. While some previous research indicated that soy-based foods made hormone therapies for breast cancer less effective, a new Tufts University study found that eating soy products actually reduced a patient’s risk of dying by 21 percent. Researchers monitored 6,235 North American women over nine years and found the reductions were most striking in women with aggressive cancers who weren’t undergoing anti-estrogen therapy. While study authors say soy didn’t have a detrimental effect on other patients, some cancer experts warn that the jury is still out.

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    Chart-Topping Rapper Dethroned by … Himself

    Future’s so bright we gotta wear shades. For the first time in U.S. Billboard history, a solo artist has knocked himself off the top of the album chart. Atlanta-based rapper Future dropped a new full-length album, HNDRXX, just one week after his eponymous album broke at No. 1, making him the first artist to debut two chart-toppers in consecutive weeks. While his place in music history is guaranteed, Future’s current reign at the top may be brief, with Ed Sheeran’s new album Divide expected to seize the top spot.

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    Are Biometrics the New Sabermetrics?

    “This is Moneyball 2.0.” That’s the assertion of Will Ahmed, CEO of Whoop, after Major League Baseball added the company’s continuous biometric monitor to a short list of approved in-game wearables. The tech company, which has no rights to the data it collects, claims the fitness strap will allow teams to analyze players’ health and fitness by monitoring their heart rate, strain, fatigue, recovery and sleep. With several prominent basketball players spotted wearing the straps, some wonder if the NBA will also ease its prohibition on in-game biometric tracking devices.