“Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” That’s what former FBI Director James Comey told a Senate Intelligence Committee panel yesterday in regard to his conversations with President Donald Trump. During the highly anticipated hearing, Comey accused the president of defaming him and the FBI by describing an organization allegedly wracked with distrust in the president. Comey also told the bipartisan committee he felt compelled to document his interactions with Trump because he felt the president might lie about their conversations. That’s in addition to a statement released Wednesday in which Comey claimed Trump demanded his loyalty and pressured him to drop an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Somewhat unusually, Trump appeared to steer clear of Twitter during the hearing.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The numbers aren’t confirmed. But exit polls released as soon as polls in the U.K. closed indicate that, rather than the landslide Tory victory predicted just weeks ago, Prime Minister Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament. A hung parliament would mean conservatives will have to attempt to form a coalition with another party. It’s not clear how this will affect May’s ability to negotiate Brexit, which was her main focus during the election, but it will offer much greater power to the leftist Labour Party. The pound tumbled at the unexpected result.
They’re at each other’s throats. Though ISIS claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attacks on Iran’s capital that left 13 dead and dozens wounded, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard laid the blame on Saudi Arabia, accusing Tehran’s regional rival of sponsoring terrorism. Saudi officials protested that they condemn all terrorist acts. Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted condolences, but added an accusation he’s long leveled at Tehran: “States that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Iranian officials dismissed Trump’s tweet as “repugnant” as rifts in the Gulf deepen.
He’s out. Eric Alexander, Uber’s president of business in Asia, has reportedly been fired after it emerged that he’d not only obtained the medical records of a woman raped by her Uber driver in India, but had discussed them with other executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick. Though Uber announced this week that it fired 20 employees over a probe into sexual harassment and misconduct, Alexander wasn’t one of them — until reporters demanded information about the 2014 rape investigation. Meanwhile, allegations surfaced that Uber’s compensation-setting algorithm disadvantaged female employees.
Know This: Comey told senators that AG Jeff Sessions might have had a third undisclosed encounter with Russia’s ambassador. Three more arrests have been made in connection with the London Bridge attack last weekend. An investigation is underway after five workers at a Japanese nuclear facility were exposed to plutonium due to a broken bag. And police in Australia say they may have solved the mystery of an unexplained “SOS” written in rocks in the remote outback.
Read This: Former FBI Director James Comey released a prepared statement on his interactions with President Trump, so catch yourself up before the hearings begin at 10 a.m. EDT.
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Turns out dead men do tell tales. The fossilized bones of several Homo sapiens were discovered at Jebel Irhoud, a cave west of Marrakesh, Morocco, and two dating techniques indicate they’re between 280,000 and 350,000 years old. That not only contradicts the accepted timeline of hominid evolution — that humankind likely arose in East Africa around 200,000 years ago — but means that people had already spread across the continent long before then. Researchers say this could lead to reinterpretation of other fossils and tools found throughout Africa.
Yeah, but who designed the algorithm? In an attempt to prevent discrimination against women and minority candidates and employees, some companies are hoping that technology can limit unconscious bias — and keep them from getting sued. Replacing human decisions and prejudices with blind algorithms for hiring and promotions should make for fairer workplaces. But though “blind” software encouraging diverse and respectful company culture may be a step in the right direction, experts warn that algorithms can themselves contain bias, reflecting which standards and performance goals their authors value.
Take that, fake news. Schools in all 50 states and 52 countries have begun embracing an online program aimed at making pupils sharper media consumers by helping them identify incorrect or misleading information. Checkology, launched last year by American nonprofit News Literacy Project, now reaches nearly 1 million students, providing courses on everything from the First Amendment to journalistic bias — and attempting to integrate media awareness into school curricula. The uncertainty, however, is whether the lessons will stick with students as they mature in an increasingly connected and digitized world.
It’s a golden opportunity. Abdellatif Kechiche won the 2013 Palme d’Or at Cannes for Blue Is the Warmest Color, but that film’s success hasn’t translated into funding for his newest project. Mektoub, My Love — which aptly features a character finding an unusual way to finance his own film — is stalled in post-production after its line of credit was blocked by its bank. Now Kechiche, who hasn’t disclosed how much money he needs, will auction both his Palme d’Or and paintings featured in his earlier film.
He’s being open about his difficulties. Last year Novak Djokovic became the first man to hold four grand slam titles at once in 47 years. But in recent months his performance has slumped, despite coaching from tennis legend Andre Agassi — culminating in yesterday’s defeat in the French Open quarterfinals by 23-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem. When asked if he’s considering a hiatus, Djokovic said, “Trust me, I’m thinking about many things … especially in the last couple months.’’ Thiem will go up against Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semifinal.