The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Ex-Attorney General Says She Alerted White House About Flynn

    Giving her testimony as part of the investigation into Russia’s apparent interference in the 2016 election, Sally Yates said she warned Trump’s administration about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. Yates told the Senate subcommittee she had two meetings and one phone call with Don McGahn, White House counsel, about her concerns and flagging that Flynn “could be blackmailed” by the Russians. She also said Flynn had misled Russian about what he had done, although did not specify what that was. The hearing is ongoing, with news developing.


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    Emmanuel Macron Wins French Presidency in Landslide

    All hail the boy wonder. Macron defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen with 66 percent of the vote, an even greater margin than polls predicted, sending the euro to a six-month high as worries that France might leave the EU under Le Pen receded. Now Macron, who’s never held elected office, will have to build a governing majority as both far-left and far-right parties seek to make gains in legislative elections next month. When he’s inaugurated Sunday, Macron, 39, will become the youngest French leader since Napoleon.

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    Nigeria Rejoices as 82 Chibok Girls Freed

    Scores are still missing. But of 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, only 113 are still captives after dozens were freed Sunday in exchange for the release of militant suspects. Parents waited, not knowing if their daughters were among those returning, as the girls were escorted to Abuja for medical exams and to meet President Muhammadu Buhari. Hours later, Buhari returned to London — he recently spent months there being treated for an undisclosed medical condition — leaving Nigeria in the hands of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

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    Trial Begins for Chinese Human Rights Lawyer

    He’s charged with “inciting state subversion.” Xie Yang has been detained since 2015, one of hundreds arrested during an internationally decried government crackdown on those who fight for human rights in China. Another lawyer was convicted on similar charges in a secret trial last month. Xie’s lawyers claim he’s been tortured in custody, a charge Chinese authorities vehemently deny. He’ll be represented at trial by two government-appointed attorneys after his own lawyer was mysteriously arrested last week and hasn’t been seen since. Xie could face five years in prison.

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    Texas Governor Signs Law Against Sanctuary Cities

    He’s brooking no dissent. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law essentially banning sanctuary cities — which have acted to curtail government collection and sharing of an individual’s immigration status — and threatening any noncompliant law enforcement officers with fines, removal from office and even jail. Abbott and other proponents of the contentious law, which takes effect Sept. 1, say it’s necessary for maintaining security. Meanwhile, more than a dozen states have introduced legislation supporting sanctuary cities, and critics in Texas say they will challenge the law in court.

  6. Flooding, North Korean Tensions and Pepe the Frog

    Know This: Coach has announced it will buy Kate Spade for $2.4 billion. The leader of ISIS in Afghanistan has reportedly been killed in a special forces raid that involved American troops. Montreal has declared a state of emergency over floods that have inundated 1,900 homes. And another U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea, sparking further tension.

    Ribbit in Peace: The creator of Pepe the Frog, who says he never intended his drawing to become a hate symbol, has symbolically killed off his own character, an admission that Pepe can’t be disassociated from the alt-right.

    Love This:  We want your best stories about mom, or the person who served as your mom, in anticipation of Mother’s Day. Email your heartwarming, hilarious or heroic tales with a photo from the family album to Go deep. We’ll include the best ones in our Daily Dose.


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    Thousands Evacuated in Germany Over WWII-Era Bombs

    It’s a delicate operation. In one of the biggest evacuations in German history, 50,000 people were cleared from a half-mile radius in Hanover after authorities said five undetonated explosives had been found. While two turned out to just be scrap metal, the other three were bombs of British origin, and the city’s museums took people in while technicians dealt with the artifacts. Unexploded bombs from World War II are still found across Europe, but as the components degrade, experts say they’re getting more dangerous to handle.

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    Unmanned US Military Plane Back After Two Years in Space

    It’s back with a bang. After nearly two years in orbit, the Air Force’s secretive X37-B space plane touched down at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center yesterday, reportedly waking up nearby residents with a sonic boom. The space drone’s 719-day trip was the longest of the program’s four missions. Military personnel say the X37-B has been testing space’s effects on various material samples and reporting on the performance of a new thruster system designed for advanced satellites. A fifth mission launches later this year.

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    How Artificial Intelligence Could Improve IVF

    Sometimes it pays to be picky. At an average of $10,000 a round and with just a 20-35 percent chance of achieving a live birth, IVF is still far from perfect — but some embryologists are hoping to train artificial intelligence, using photographic data, to assess which embryos have the best chance of success. Other new techniques, from measuring mitochondrial DNA levels to monitoring developmental milestones, are helping reduce the number of fertilization cycles needed, as well as the incidence of twin and triplet pregnancies, still a risk with IVF.

    Intelligent Conception

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    New EU Mural Confirmed a Banksy

    His work speaks for itself. But representatives of the mysterious muralist have confirmed that a new work in Dover, England — a painting of an EU flag with a workman chipping away one of its twelve stars — is indeed a Banksy. Dover is a port for ferries across the English Channel to Calais, France, a favorite spot for some of Banksy’s other large-scale works. The four-story mural is thought to be the artist’s first commentary on Britain’s split from the EU, as the U.K. prepares for a general election.

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    Cavaliers Steamroll Into NBA Playoff Finals

    “We ran into a buzz saw.” So said Toronto’s coach after an unstoppable Cleveland took Game 4 109-102, abruptly finishing the series 4-0. While the Cavs had an unsteady regular season, their barnstorming form in the postseason continues with crushing efficiency. Star catalyst LeBron James averaged an incredible 36 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists over the four games. The Cavs now have six sweeps in the past three postseasons and head into the Eastern Conference Finals to face the winner of the Washington-Boston series with renewed confidence.