The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Outlines New Afghan War Aims

    “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.” So said President Donald Trump in last night’s address laying out new strategy for America’s longest war. The commander in chief didn’t specify troop numbers, but the Pentagon’s expected to add 4,000 to the 8,000 already in Afghanistan — mainly to train Afghan troops. While he was initially inclined to withdraw, he said terrorists would fill that vacuum. Trump also said he’d pressure Pakistan to eliminate terrorist “safe havens” while continuing Afghan economic aid contingent on controlling government corruption, but stressed there’d be no “blank check.”

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    Suspected Barcelona Driver Shot Dead

    They got him. Spanish have police shot and killed the main suspect in last Thursday’s deadly ISIS-claimed van attack in Barcelona. Moroccan native Younes Abouyaaqoub was reportedly wearing a suicide vest and shouted “God is great!” before he was fatally shot on Monday in a town 30 miles west of Barcelona. Police believe Abouyaaqoub, 22, drove the vehicle that careened down the Las Ramblas landmark, killing 13 people and seriously injuring dozens more, before fleeing the scene. Authorities had thrown up some 800 checkpoints across the area and tripled anti-terrorism personnel on duty.

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    Ten Missing in US Navy Destroyer Crash With Tanker

    A search is underway. Ten U.S. sailors were reported missing and another five were injured after guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided early Monday with a 600-foot oil tanker while on its way to Singapore. Although typically rare, it’s the second American warship accident in two months: Seven sailors were killed after the USS Fitzgerald — also from the Navy’s 7th fleet — crashed with a container ship in June. Asked about Monday’s collision, President Donald Trump responded, “That’s too bad,” and later tweeted “thoughts and prayers” for the sailors.

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    Trump to Unveil New Afghanistan Strategy

    Will he fight or flee? In a prime-time address, President Trump is expected to present a fresh strategy for the country’s 16-year involvement in Afghanistan tonight. The details of Trump’s plan remain unleaked, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he’s “very comfortable” with the decision-making process. It’s an opportunity for the president to appear assertive on foreign policy, and observers expect that it will involve a troop increase. Mattis received permission in June to add up to 4,000 troops to the 8,000 already there, but withdrawal is also an option.

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    First NAFTA Negotiation Round Ends Amid Uncertainty

    It’ll need some art, this deal. The United States, Canada and Mexico closed the first round of talks on renegotiating the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement on Sunday, jointly saying they’re interested in a quick settlement. But a new arrangement — one of President Trump’s key campaign promises — won’t be easy, especially amid U.S. demands that it’s overhauled enough to meet Trump’s pledge to increase the amount of motor vehicles manufactured by American workers. The next five-day round of negotiations is set to begin Sept. 1 in Mexico City.

  6. The Eclipse, Sweden and Breitbart’s Epic Fail 

    Know This: Today’s total solar eclipse, the first since 1918, will cast a sweeping shadow across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Sweden is boosting its military budget amid increasing fears of Russian aggression. And conservative outlet Breitbart News has apologized for running a photo of German soccer player Lukas Podolski on a jet ski with a story about human trafficking.

    Listen To This: With action-packed blockbusters such as Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok, now showing in theaters, experts parse through the physics behind their superhuman moves — asking whether Wonder Woman can really block bullets, and whether swinging from building to building is really Spider-Man’s best bet for getting around.

    Join us LIVE: OZY and WGBH are bringing you a terrific new TV show, Third Rail With OZY — premiering Friday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 p.m. on PBS and we want YOU to be part of our live studio audience! Sign up here to attend a taping of this hot new primetime show. You won’t want to miss it.


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    Comedy King Jerry Lewis Dead at 91

    He was seriously ridiculous. Jerry Lewis, who inspired a generation of comics that included Woody Allen and Robin Williams, died Sunday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 years old. The New Jersey son of entertainers first struck a famous partnership with Dean Martin in 1946 in the form of a quirky stage and screen act. After their split, Lewis went solo, producing unforgettable, if derided, cinematic characters such as The Nutty Professor. Fellow funnyman Jim Carrey called Lewis “an undeniable genius,” tweeting: “I am because he was.” 

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    Grassroots Gumshoes Probe for Presidential Misdeeds

    They can handle the truth. As special counsel Robert Mueller leads a team in Washington that’s investigating the Trump administration, amateurs elsewhere are hoping to dig up some dirt on their own. From San Francisco to Northern Ireland, these small-time sleuths scour old newspapers, court documents and other public records for what they’re convinced is evidence that could be the last straw for Trump’s presidency. They might sound like crackpots, but some lawyers say their grassroots gumption could actually help uncover details that highly paid investigators might miss.

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    Elon Musk, Experts Call for Ban on ‘Killer Robots’

    They don’t feel pity or remorse. An open letter signed by 116 experts from 26 countries, including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google DeepMind’s Mustafa Suleyman, has urged the U.N. to ban the use of “lethal autonomous weapons” — killing machines controlled by artificial intelligence. Citing a possible “third revolution in warfare,” the letter warns against opening a “Pandora’s box” that would accelerate and escalate warfare while making civilians its primary targets. U.N. officials are considering adding robotic weapons to a 1981 weapons convention, but will that be enough to stop them?

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    Turns Out You Can Run From Dental Problems

    A workout a day keeps the dentist at bay, it seems. Researchers have found new links between our oral and general health that should inspire a bit more flossing and a lot more trips to the gym. Obese people are six times more likely to develop severe gum diseases, scientists say, thanks to fat cell-triggered inflammation that damages the body’s natural immunity. Researchers have also discovered links between periodontal and cardiovascular diseases, prompting them to argue that gum checkups should be added to general health screenings.

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    Crawford Becomes Boxing’s Only Four-Belt Champ

    He’s alone at the top. Terence Crawford made history Saturday, defeating Namibia’s Julius Indongo to clinch all four major boxing titles in the junior welterweight class. A killer succession of body shots from the 140-pound Nebraska native was enough to keep his opponent writhing on the mat, nailing the third-round victory before a sold-out, home-state crowd of more than 12,000. Two of Indongo’s titles passed to Crawford, making him the first man to achieve four-belt status since 2005, meaning fighters will be lining up to knock him off that peak.