The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Defiant Despite U-turn on Border Wall Promise

    He’s backed down. President Donald Trump reversed his demand that an upcoming spending bill include funding for his much-touted Mexican border wall, a red line that worried congressional Republicans who must pass short-term spending measures by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Nevertheless, the president tweeted assurances that the wall “will get built.” Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled that Trump’s executive order denying federal grants to “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with his immigration crackdown is unconstitutional, a decision the White House lambasted as “egregious overreach.”

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    China Trumpets Military Might With First Homebuilt Aircraft Carrier

    Anchors aweigh. Some see China’s new warship, which brings the country’s fleet size to two, as the beginning of a military buildup. While the U.S. has 10 aircraft carriers, China’s first domestically built vessel could be a harbinger of a newly modernized military and hopes for dominance over nearby seas. The fleet’s expected to grow to at least six, and though the ship won’t be fully operational until 2020, today’s launch is seen as a victory for President Xi Jinping ahead of a much-anticipated party congress later this year.

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    White House Tax Overhaul to Slash Corporate Rates

    Pop the office champagne. President Trump’s tax plan, to be unveiled today, would introduce a 15 percent business tax rate — down from 39.6 percent — which benefits corporations and owner-operated firms alike. But it’s unlikely to win over Republicans worried about the deficit, especially since a proposed import tax has apparently been tossed. Trump’s team, which didn’t factor its promised $1 trillion infrastructure program into the plan, insists economic growth will make up the difference — but even with a conservative Congress, many think reform will be another battle.

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    Europe Weighs Protections for Gig Economy Workers

    The future of work is gonna take some work. With world economies shifting away from salaried, pensioned jobs and toward the so-called gig economy — which often cuts workers off from health care, retirement and unemployment benefits — Brussels has announced it’ll begin identifying options for covering flexible workers when they get sick or lose their jobs. It’s a conversation deeply important in Europe, where youth unemployment is high. Consultations with trade unions and businesses will begin today as European Commission bureaucrats start to formulate new policies and regulations.

  5. Mob Murder, a Big Bunny and Mass Arrests

    Know This: Pakistan is in uproar over blasphemy laws after the recent mob lynching of a student. Ivanka Trump was booed at a conference in Berlin when she called her father a “tremendous champion of supporting families.” And United Airlines is investigating the death of a giant rabbit, Simon, that it was charged with transporting in the cargo hold of a London-Chicago flight.

    Remember This Number: 110. That’s the apparent age limit for giving out bank cards at one bank in Mexico. That’s according to 116 year old Maria Felix, who for three months was refused the card she needed to collect her monthly welfare checks - a situation that has since been remedied.

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    Turkey Suspends 9,100 Police Officers

    He’s the law now. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently won a referendum expanding his authority, and yesterday his administration arrested 1,120 people allegedly connected to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for an attempted coup in 2016. He’s also suspended 9,100 police officers and issued over 3,200 additional arrest warrants. More than 47,000 people have been arrested since the putsch last July. Meanwhile, Turkey’s opposition party says it’ll be challenging the referendum result in the European Court of Human Rights — though its not clear if Europe will step in to curb Erdogan.


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    Fitbit Contradicts Husband’s Account of Murder

    It’s his word against the machine’s. A Connecticut man has been charged with murdering his wife after her wearable fitness tracker’s data indicated that he’d lied to police. Richard Dabate told investigators his wife was shot and killed by a home intruder who tripped the house alarm. However, his wife’s Fitbit continued to record her movement for nearly an hour after Dabate claimed she’d been killed, and the panic alarm, activated by the husband’s key fob, went off six minutes after her Fitbit finally registered her idle.

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    Waymo Opens Self-Driving Car Testing to Public

    They’re passing the competition. The Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle group has expanded its testing process to the public, letting hundreds of families in Phoenix, Arizona, make the company’s driverless Chrysler minivans their regular mode of transportation. Human Waymo operators will initially be behind the wheel to collect feedback — and in case intervention is needed. Arizona’s a key initial test for building public confidence in the technology, and also for letting the self-driving vehicles maneuver on roads that rarely see rain or snow before expanding to stormier climes.

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    Artificial Womb Shows Promise for Premature Births

    It’s in the early stages of development. Scientists have created artificial wombs for lambs that could help save the lives of premature human babies. Researchers were able to continue gestation of premature lambs in Biobags, external artificial wombs, for a record-breaking four weeks, with normal development of their brains, lungs and other organs. With 30,000 critically preterm human births in the U.S. each year, extreme prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal death and disease. Researchers say Biobags could be ready for human trials within three years.

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    Beyonce Announces Formation Scholarships

    The best revenge is her paper. To commemorate the first anniversary of her Peabody-winning visual album Lemonade, Beyoncé will be offering four college scholarships, reportedly worth about $25,000 each, to young women studying creative arts or African-American studies. The four participating schools — Berklee College of Music, Parsons School of Design, and the historically black Howard University and Spelman College — will each host one scholarship student in the 2017-18 year. “Bold, creative, conscious and confident” recipients will be chosen based on portfolio work and an essay about Lemonade.

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    Achilles Injuries Are Risking NFL Careers

    It’s the literal Achilles heel of football players. Called “the new ACL” by one former team doctor, a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon is becoming the most dreaded injury for the pro athlete. In football, it can be career-ending. From 2011-2015, 46 players reported a torn Achilles and 24 of them retired shortly thereafter or never played professionally again. Doctors say it’s a matter of scale: As athletes get larger and stronger, their tendons and ligaments stay about the same, becoming physiological weak points — and disasters waiting to happen.