The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump’s 2005 Tax Filings Leaked

    We’ve passed the point of no returns. MSNBC has released two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 taxes, revealing $150 million in reported income, but no details about income sources. The president paid $38 million in taxes, a rate of 25 percent, and $31 million of that in alternative minimum tax, which he’s said should be abolished. Trump also wrote off $103 million in business losses. The White House condemned MSNBC’s report but confirmed the forms’ authenticity pre-emptively, leading Democrats to demand the president release the rest of his tax returns.

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    CBO: Trumpcare Will Save Money, Millions Will Lose Insurance

    It’s pretty clear who loses out. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the new Republican health care proposal would cut $337 billion in federal budget deficits, but that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured in ten years. Premiums would initially rise, but eventually fall to 10 percent below current levels by 2026. The White House and congressional Republicans rejected the CBO analysis, arguing that it overestimated Obamacare signups in 2016. But a separate White House analysis painted an even bleaker scene, predicting 26 million would lose coverage.

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    Brexit Looms as Scotland Looks to Leave UK

    Things fall apart. The Brexit bill has finally passed without amendments after weeks of bouncing between the two houses of Britain’s Parliament. The path to triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which formally commits the U.K. to leaving the EU, is now clear. Officials say the starting gun will be fired at the end of March. The news comes as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she’ll seek a second independence referendum to keep Scotland in the EU, even if it means the breakup of the United Kingdom.

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    Feud Between Turkey, Netherlands Escalates

    He’s playing to the crowd. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to expand his presidential powers in a referendum next month — but after several European countries put a stop to campaign rallies among Turkish expats, he’s stepped up his already inflammatory anti-EU rhetoric. He’s also barred the Dutch ambassador from Turkey and canceled diplomatic talks. After German Chancellor Angela Merkel recommended that he stop escalating the standoff with the Netherlands, which holds parliamentary elections tomorrow, Erdogan accused Merkel of sheltering terrorists. She dismissed his accusations as “clearly absurd.”

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    Western Banks Continue to Struggle in Asia

    It’s a success story for local business. For the second year running, the market share of U.S. and European banks in Asian markets fell, dropping to 19 percent in 2016. The biggest collapse came in 2015, when Western banks plunged from 27 percent to just 20 percent of the Asian market. Analysts say the lack of recovery is a worrisome sign for foreign banks, noting that competition from local Chinese banks has increased, and that equity capital markets — normally a strong point for international banks — have continued their spectacular collapse.

  6. Walking Back ‘Wiretapping,’ a Child’s Siberian Trek and Spider Silk for Next Season

    Know This: White House officials say the president’s unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama wasn’t meant to be taken literally. A four-year-old girl has won praise after trekking through subzero temperatures and wolf-infested Siberian wilderness to get help for her sick grandmother. And Polish officials say a 98-year-old man living in Minnesota was a WWII Nazi commander.

    Read This: Is the future of fashion clothes made from spider silk? One startup thinks so.

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    Boaty McBoatface Readies for First Expedition

    Started from the bottom, now it’s here. Last year, British officials polled the public to name a new polar research vessel, and the internet responded: Boaty McBoatface. The government balked — that ship’s been christened the RRS Sir David Attenborough — but the name didn’t go unused. On Friday, an autonomous research submarine dubbed Boaty McBoatface will help map undersea currents in the Antarctic’s 11,500-foot-deep Orkney Passage to understand how they’re affected by climate change. One day scientists hope Boaty will make the first under-ice crossing of the Arctic Ocean.

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    Intel’s $15 Billion Foray Into Driverless Cars

    They’re changing lanes. Intel has taken its place in the race for self-driving cars with a $15.3 billion statement of intent: The formal bid to acquire Mobileye, an Israeli autonomous vehicle technology firm. It’s a move the world’s largest computer chip maker hopes will allow it to branch out, although the self-driving vehicle market is quickly becoming congested. The acquisition comes as Google and Uber spar over self-driving tech, while companies like Tesla and Chinese internet giant Baidu are claiming their own lanes in the market.

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    Study: Oceans Are Warming Faster Than We Thought

    It’s sink or swim. A new study co-authored by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research has found that oceans may be storing 13 percent more heat than previously estimated. Researchers conducted a huge cleanup of temperature data recorded from 1960 to 2015, correcting known biases and running the numbers through a modern climate model that revealed the discrepancy. Warming seas contribute to extreme weather events, meaning that without rapid decarbonization and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the deadly storms, heat waves and droughts may only get worse.

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    Bill Proposes $100 Fine for Male Masturbation

    What’s good for the goose…. Texas state Rep. Jessica Farrar has proposed the Man’s Right To Know Act, legislation that would fine men $100 for masturbating, calling ejaculation outside a vagina an “act against an unborn child.” The Democrat’s “satirical” bill includes mandatory waiting periods and a “medically unnecessary digital rectal exam” before vasectomies, colonoscopies or Viagra prescriptions. While Republican lawmakers weren’t amused, Farrar pointed out that the bill mirrors existing laws restricting women’s reproductive care in the state. Meanwhile, a GOP bill would criminalize abortions in Texas regardless of circumstances.

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    Making Sense of March Madness

    Here’s a stat that could win your bracket. More than any other sport, college basketball is prone to underdog victories. Case in point: the men’s NCAA Championships. Since 1985, when the bracket was expanded to 64-plus teams, the first round has seen an average of 8.25 upsets — there’s a reason it’s called March Madness. With a single-elimination format it doesn’t take much for a minnow to overcome a whale. And in the last 12 years, the 11-seed overcoming the 6-seed has proven to be the most common upset.