The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Kenyan President Wins Re-Election In Disputed Vote

    The results are in. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner on Friday of a tense election his opponents claimed was fraudulent but international observers said was free and fair. Winning 54 percent of the vote, Kenyatta called for unity amid concerns that a loss by opposition candidate Raila Odinga, a former prime minister, would spark protests among disenchanted supporters and lead to violence. Even before Kenyatta’s victory was announced, opposition officials had denounced the tallying as a “charade.” Now, many are anxiously waiting to see whether the dispute can be settled peacefully.


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    Trump Doubles Down on Tough North Korea Talk

    “Locked and loaded.” That’s how President Donald Trump described America’s military solution to a potential North Korean strike. Coupled with his earlier promise to deliver “fire and fury” to Pyongyang, Trump’s statements have stoked global fears that the two unpredictable leaders are charging toward a nuclear brink, while the U.S. and South Korea have announced that large-scale joint military exercises for later this month will go ahead as planned. But despite the bellicosity, there are few signs of any actual military confrontation, leading many to hope words won’t lead to deeds.

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    Ethiopian Refugees ‘Deliberately Drowned’ off Yemen Coast

    Many are still missing. Human smugglers forced at least 160 Ethiopian migrants — many of them children — off their boat and into the sea, according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. About 140 made it to the beach alive. A U.N. spokesman urged countries to increase paths for legal migration in order to thwart smugglers. Italian and Libyan navies have gotten more aggressive with smuggling, reducing the number of arrivals to 11,459 in July, less than half of July 2016’s tally — but that may not ease the refugees’ plight.

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    Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling U.S. Diplomatic Staff

    It’s more warm hug than Cold War. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as the State Department, have criticized Vladimir Putin’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomatic personnel in retaliation over new Congressionally-driven sanctions. But President Trump broke that pattern, saying he was “very thankful” to Putin for slashing payroll costs at American facilities. “If he was joking, he should know better,” said one former State Department official, and while such a reaction is unprecedented, it continues the president’s pattern of avoiding criticism of his Kremlin counterpart.

  5. Google

    Violent Threats Prompt Cancellation of Google Diversity Meeting

    It was meant to be a safe space for open expression. Google executives invited their entire staff to gather yesterday to discuss issues raised by engineer James Damore’s manifesto blaming “biological” differences for tech’s gender gap. But it was canceled after some employees’ personal information was published online, making them targets for harassment. Some who’ve been publicly critical of the memo received death threats after Damore, fired over the incident, gave an interview to an alt-right YouTube channel. Meanwhile, Google says it’ll use other means to continue the internal discussion.

  6. An Interstellar Fly-By, Vogue Gets Political and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: An asteroid will zoom past Earth in October, just over 27,000 miles away. Chelsea Manning will appear on the cover of Vogue  next month, which could bring the magazine more controversy after a Breitbart editor suggested that the current cover photo’s use of the Statue of Liberty is an attack on right-wing immigration policies. And two Iranian soccer stars have been banned from their national team after they played against Israel for their Greek professional club.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.

    Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Should publishing fake news be a crime? Why or why not? Go deep. Email with your thoughts or a personal story, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    Pigs’ Bad Genes Altered for Human Organ Transplants

    Hey look, a silk purse. Researchers in Massachusetts announced a breakthrough in developing pigs whose tissue and organs could safely be used for human transplants. Led by the biotechnology company eGenesis, the team used the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR to alter pig DNA and deactivate viruses that could infect a human host. On Thursday, 15 virus-free piglets survived from 37 delivered, providing hope that their virus-free organs, with additional gene editing to control rejection by the body’s immune system, could someday save human lives.

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    Former Uber CEO Sued by Early Investor

    Is he coming or going? One of Uber’s early investors and largest shareholders, Benchmark Capital, has sued Uber co-founder and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, alleging he’s packing the board to re-assert control over the troubled ridesharing giant. The suit filed by the San Francisco venture capital firm accuses Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, using “loyal allies” on the board to “insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny.” A spokesman for the fallen founder decried the suit’s “lies and false allegations,” saying they’d ultimately be rejected.

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    Last Year Was the Hottest Year Ever

    This is no time to chill. A 299-page State of the Climate report including research from hundreds of scientists in 60 countries says 2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of record-keeping, eclipsing 2015. The findings also showed that while greenhouse gases continued to rise in line with expectations, CO2 underwent the largest year-on-year increase ever observed. The report doesn’t link such changes to human activities, as a leaked draft of the U.S. National Climate Report did. Researchers blame recent warming on both man and the El Niño weather phenomenon.

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    CNN Severs Ties With Jeffrey Lord After Nazi Tweet

    “Nazi salutes are indefensible.” That was CNN’s explanation for dropping pro-Trump commentator Jeffrey Lord from its roster of pundits after a Twitter exchange in which Lord responded to a critique from the president of Media Matters for America with “Sieg Heil!” Lord had recently penned a piece accusing the group of “fascist” tactics for urging advertisers to boycott Sean Hannity’s radio show. He leaves with “zero regrets” and claimed he had been “mocking” with the use of the phrase, while maintaining that CNN is “great.”

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    Knee-Bending Colin Kaepernick Faces NFL Freeze-Out

    No one’s saluting. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a stand last year when he refused to rise for the national anthem, a personal protest against racially charged police violence. Now his fans and some fellow players suspect he’s paying for it, saying team owners are refusing to sign the talented free agent because of his political convictions — similar to Vietnam War-era conscientious objector Muhammad Ali’s blacklisting. While Kaepernick himself has kept quiet, his supporters are advocating for the outspoken star by organizing rallies, a petition and a potential NFL boycott.