The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Privacy, Politics Stymie Voter ‘Fraud’ Probe

    There’s chicanery afoot. Is it, though, in states that won’t cooperate with President Donald Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity, or the panel itself, which a Saturday presidential tweet called the “VOTER FRAUD PANEL”? Twenty-nine states, Democrat- and Republican-controlled, have refused to hand over requested voter information, including voting records and partial Social Security numbers, citing privacy rules and concerns that the panel aims to suppress voting. The president’s asked what states are “trying to hide,” but even Kansas and Indiana, whose GOP voting officials sit on the commission, say their states can’t fully comply.

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    Trump to Brave Putin Meeting Minefield

    He’s got an agenda. Vladimir Putin’s always prepared — unlike President Trump, who’s been known to wing it. Analysts say that puts Trump at a disadvantage against a man obsessed with superpower rivalry. It’s also politically toxic for Putin’s longtime admirer, while investigators probe his possible Kremlin ties. Nonetheless, the two plan to meet at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, which begins Friday. Putin’s spokesman says they’ll use a format that’s “convenient for Americans,” which might mean no cameras to capture the two men laughing, as happened when Trump met Russia’s foreign minister.

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    Heroic Intervention May Not Save Trumpcare

    It’ll have to be removed. That’s the latest from President Donald Trump on Obamacare, after last week’s Senate efforts to whip a majority into line to support a replacement health care plan went nowhere. “REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump tweeted Friday, but depriving millions of Americans of alternative care is an unpalatable choice for many Republicans facing 2018 midterm elections. And with the Congressional Budget Office projecting 35 percent lower Medicaid spending and 22 million more uninsured Americans under the proposal, the president’s ultimatum isn’t expected to convince more legislators to concur.

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    AR-15-Wielding Physician Goes on Deadly NY Hospital Rampage

    They’re “fighting for their lives.” Victims, many of them doctors, are being treated for grave gunshot wounds after a Friday shooting at a New York hospital, where a gunman killed a woman doctor and injured six other people. Police said Henry Bello, 45, walked into the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center — where he’d been forced out of a job amid sexual harassment allegations — with an semi-automatic rifle under a lab coat, opened fire, tried to set himself ablaze and fatally shot himself. An investigation is under way. 

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    Agitating for Change at Coal’s Ground Zero

    Can they dig it? Coal in Greene County, Pennsylvania, has provided high-paying jobs for generations. Fifteen percent of its land is owned by mining companies, and the Bailey Mine Complex — America’s largest underground coal mine — supports 7,000 jobs in a county of 37,000 people. As a new president touts an industry revival, cheap natural gas and renewables are making it economically and environmentally unsustainable. So both conservationists and some forward-thinking locals are fighting a quixotic battle to prepare the ground — quite literally — for a future beyond coal.

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    Why Are African Immigrants Choosing to Leave Israel?

    It’s an offer they can’t refuse. That’s one interpretation of a yearlong investigation into Israel’s program to convince detained refugees from Eritrea and Sudan — many of them forsaking livelihoods and asylum petitions — to board one-way flights to Africa. After arriving, the men say they’re pressured to sneak into third countries, such as war-torn South Sudan, ending up as undocumented fugitives. Refugee advocates say that outcome’s intentional, but officials in Israel, backed by its courts, say the program is humane despite its volunteers reportedly facing destitution, imprisonment and sometimes, death.

  7. Poland’s NATO Hopes, Deadly Damascus Car Bombings and Canada’s Big Day

    The Week Ahead: The Championships of tennis begin Monday just outside London on the grass courts of Wimbledon. On Tuesday, six living U.S. presidents will read the Constitution on HBO’s “The Words That Built America” for Independence Day. And on Wednesday and Thursday, President Trump will visit Poland, where it’s hoped he’ll reassure Eastern European NATO members that America will help defend them.

    Know This: Three car bombings in Syria’s capital, Damascus, have killed at least seven people. President Trump lashed out at the “fake news” media again Saturday while speaking to a military veterans’ gathering at Washington’s Kennedy Center. Thousands of protesters marked Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary of mainland Chinese rule as China’s president swore in its first female leader and warned against challenging Beijing’s authority. And Canada celebrated 150 years as a nation while indigenous people protested.

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  1. seattleshutterstock 510934324

    Where College Isn’t a Thing

    They’ve got a chance. While tech jobs may be exploding in Seattle, that bonanza seemed a distant dream just 95 minutes south on Interstate 5. In rural Chehalis’ high school, only 20 percent of graduates earned college degrees. With donations from alum and former Starbucks CEO Orin Smith, the town’s educators began tracking graduates’ college attainment and giving seniors daily future planning sessions. Now 32 percent more students take college prerequisites, and every eligible eighth-grader applies for needs-based scholarships. Such efforts are gaining traction in other underperforming areas, leveraging awareness for a better shot at success.

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    Let’s Beam Signals Into Space and See What Happens 

    Are the neighbors nice? Humans first beamed signals into space decades ago, hoping for contact, and the recent exoplanet discoveries have intensified interest in communicating across the cosmos. But besides being patient — it would take at least tens of thousands of years for such messages to arrive — shouldn’t we be careful what we say? What happens if they don’t like us? The possibility of attracting unwanted attention has some in the scientific community urging caution while others say we’ll never make friends if we can’t risk rejection.

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    Fire Safety Isn’t the UK’s Only Public Housing Crisis

    They’ve nowhere to go. As the recent catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire put British public housing center stage, a timely new study warns that a million lower-income families could end up homeless. Many publicly owned apartments have been removed from the purview of local councils, thanks to Margaret Thatcher’s right-to-buy policy, which has sold off available units faster than they’ve been replaced. With the housing safety net fraying, activists say that to keep the most vulnerable off the streets, the government must renew its homebuilding role.

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    Now There’s CrimeCon for Felony Fanatics

    Crime pays. The organizers of CrimeCon, billed as America’s first “true-crime theme park,” found that attendees at the inaugural Indianapolis event last month were willing to pay $199 to $699 for passes to what they hope will become the South by Southwest of the true crime craze. Hosts of investigative podcasts, crime-solving classes and crime-themed escape rooms all made appearances at the event, which sought to educate (and titillate) amateur sleuths. Even as some question the ethics of interactive fun based on violent crime, tickets for 2018 are already selling like contraband.

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    An NFL Star’s Brush With Homicide

    Fame and fortune can be deadly. That’s the lesson NFL running back Clinton Portis learned after financial ruin nearly drove him to murder his money managers. While he blames them for his bankruptcy, he also enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, with multiple homes, an array of glitzy goods and little awareness of how his $43 million was invested. Between the sudden death of a close teammate and a financial scam that drained him of millions, the celebrated athlete seemingly lost faith in humanity — and himself. But today he’s starting over, explaining, “I’m just now learning me.”