The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Northern Irish Leader Martin McGuinness Dies at 66

    He went from fomenting war to orchestrating peace. By the time McGuinness was 21, he was second in command of the Irish Republican Army during some of the rebels’ bloodiest conflicts of The Troubles. After serving two prison sentences, including one for IRA membership, he took a leading role negotiating Ireland’s peace process, later becoming deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. McGuinness, who died last night of a rare heart condition, was remembered by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams as a “passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace.”

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    US to Bar Many Electronic Devices on Middle East Flights

    Forget working on your laptop after takeoff. Airline officials have revealed that the U.S. government is planning an indefinite ban on electronics larger than a phone on inbound flights from certain foreign carriers, reportedly affecting eight countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The ban won’t include approved medical devices, but all other larger electronics will have to go in checked luggage — and some worry that luggage theft may skyrocket. Officials said the ban was a response to an unspecified terrorism threat, and it’s expected to start today.

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    Euro Rises After French Centrist Candidate’s Debate Performance

    The money’s on him. France’s five would-be presidents battled for hours last night in the first official debate, vying for the estimated 40 percent of undecided French voters. Front-runner Emanuel Macron was labeled the winner in a post-debate poll after he painted a picture of a confident, forward-looking France, while ultranationalist Marine Le Pen spoke darkly of an “explosion of insecurity, of violence.” Poll results sent the euro to nearly a six-week high as hopes grow that Macron will stay his centrist course.

  4. Rotten Meat, Family Privileges and Tom Brady’s Lost Jersey

    Know This: Brazil’s burgeoning scandal over rotten meat and corruption could endanger its $12 billion meat export industry. Ivanka Trump will reportedly be getting a White House office — despite not having an official job or title — sparking some ethics concerns about the president’s mixing of family and business. And Tom Brady’s lost Super Bowl jersey has surfaced in Mexico.

    Fortunes Fall: London is now reportedly the cheapest of the world’s city hubs after the post-Brexit collapse of the pound, falling behind New York and Copenhagen — though for residents earning salaries in sterling, the cost of living hasn’t decreased.

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    As SpaceX Scouts Landing Sites, Mars Video Launches

    They’re seeing red. SpaceX and NASA are working together to find potential landing sites for a future Mars mission, with at least one promising touchdown point already identified. Meanwhile, Finnish filmmaker Jan Fröjdman is letting viewers “fly” over detailed Martian terrain in his new video, “A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars.” Using NASA’s trove of some 50,000 freely available hi-res images, Fröjdman painstakingly colorized and hand-stitched thousands of pictures of Mars together into a video flyover. The real mission, meanwhile, is tentatively scheduled for around 2020.

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    The Regulations Forging Political Allegiances

    Rules are boar-ing. Throughout swathes of the U.S., regulators and farmers have been at loggerheads over the Russian boar. Farmers love the breed for its hardiness, intelligence and taste. Opponents maintain it’s an invasive species spreading disease and decimating crops. It’s a microcosm of a larger fight between farmers and regulators — but with the new administration set on widespread deregulation, the 6 million wild pigs in 35 states could be in luck. Or perhaps neighbors and farmers could come to realize that those rules were there for a reason.

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    This Is the Happiest Country on Earth

    Smile like you mean it, Norway. The Nordic nation was named the happiest country in the world by the U.N.’s 2017 World Happiness Report, jumping from fourth place last year to bump Denmark out of the top spot. The report measures “subjective well-being,” which factors in the economy, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity and corruption. Unsurprisingly, countries dominated by conflict fell near the bottom of the list — while the U.S. dropped one spot to 14th, a change blamed on corruption and declining social safety nets.

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    ‘Sesame Street’ Welcomes Its First Puppet With Autism

    Orange you glad to meet Julia? The new citrus-hued puppet is the first character on the long-running children’s show aimed at introducing young viewers to the autism spectrum. Julia has been under development for three years and has already made appearances in print and online, but TV viewers will finally get to meet her when she joins the Sesame Street crew next month. The move is being hailed by activists as a big step toward helping kids understand the condition that affects 1 in 68 U.S. children.

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    Is Colin Kaepernick Being Blackballed?

    He wants them to do the right thing. Film director Spike Lee has called on the New York Jets to sign the controversial quarterback, who’s been on the market for nearly a month. Lee said the situation “smells mad fishy,” suggesting Kaepernick is paying a professional price for his famous kneeling protest against police brutality last year. However, other sports commentators say his unemployment is simply down to recent below-par performances. Kaepernick will reportedly stand for the national anthem next season — whether he’s on the field or in the stands.