The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Switches to Unity Message … Again

    It’s a tale of two presidents. Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump railed against the press, attacked his Republican enemies and stoked other divisions at a Phoenix campaign rally, he was reading from a different script. He told veterans in Reno, Nevada, that it’s “time to heal the wounds that divide us.” Suddenly espousing a measured message of unity and inclusion, the commander in chief dramatically departed from the vitriol of the night before with a message that’s left Americans wondering what the president really believes.

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    Typhoon Hato Leaves 12 Dead in Macau and China

    It’s the region’s worst in half a century. A dozen people have been killed and hundreds injured after a typhoon swept across the southern China region Wednesday. At least eight were killed in the gambling enclave of Macau, as winds of up to 109 mph battered the region. Meanwhile an estimated 27,000 people were evacuated to Chinese emergency shelters before the storm made landfall. With widespread blackouts, flooding and business closures in Hong Kong, which issued its highest storm warning, it’s expected that Hato will cost up to $1 billion there.

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    Ex-Prosecutor Claims Evidence of Maduro Corruption

    She hasn’t gone quietly. Venezuela’s dismissed chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega says she has evidence implicating President Nicolas Maduro and other top officials in a corruption scandal involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht — known to have paid some $788 million in bribes across Latin America between 2001 and 2016. Ortega spoke out Wednesday from Brazil, having already fled to Colombia by boat last week. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s seeking an international arrest warrant for Ortega and her husband, something she claims is a government ploy associated with the president’s attempts to cover his tracks.

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    Uber’s Revenue Defies Turmoil

    Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Despite months of near non-stop scandals hitting Uber, net revenue for the ride-sharing app rose 17 percent to $1.75 billion in the second quarter, narrowing losses by 9 percent to $645 million. The gains come as Uber searches for a new CEO following the forced resignation of scandal-tainted co-founder Travis Kalanick, who’s battling to retain control. But the roadblocks may still have opened doors for competitors, such as Lyft, whose market share has grown, and China’s Didi Chuxing, which raised $5 billion this year.

  5. Transgender Troop Ban, Clinton’s Shade, and India’s Privacy

    Know This: The White House is expected to send guidelines for its controversial transgender military ban to the Pentagon in the coming days. Hillary Clinton has called President Donald Trump a “creep” in an excerpt from her upcoming book. And in a landmark case, India’s Supreme Court has ruled that privacy is a fundamental right.

    Remember This Number: $758.7 million. That’s what one very lucky Powerball winning ticket in Massachusetts is worth. The estimated jackpot is the second largest in U.S. history.

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    Can a Centrist Party Bridge America’s Divide?

    They’re at the extreme middle. With U.S. political power seemingly polarized near the fringes, activists in states like Colorado and Maine are looking for independent centrists to unite. Taking inspiration from Emmanuel Macron’s historic presidential and legislative election victories in France, these would-be moderating pioneers hope they can exploit a recent Gallup poll’s finding that 57 percent are ready to support a third party. Yet with more Americans moving further toward ideological extremes, it might be that the well-worn, borderline bipolar system won’t quietly retire into history’s pages just yet.

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    Arsenic Threatens Water Supply for 60 Million in Pakistan

    It’s worse than expected. A new study suggests that as many as 60 million people are at risk from arsenic-contaminated groundwater in Pakistan, with hotspots in Lahore and Hyderabad. Using the latest data gathered from nearly 1,200 wells, the study illustrated a risk map that shows two-thirds of water sources with apparent arsenic concentrations of at least five times the World Health Organization limit of 10 micrograms per liter. Researchers hope the new data will encourage officials to dig deeper wells or invest in purification systems.

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    Apple Scales Back Autonomous Car Ambitions

    It PAILs by comparison. Apple’s reportedly relegated its autonomous automotive ambitions to providing Palo Alto Infinite Loop (PAIL), a self-driving employee shuttle between its old offices and its sprawling new Silicon Valley headquarters. The self-driving car project, codenamed Project Titan, has ended its more ambitious hardware efforts, which included designing an interior without a steering wheel or gas pedal. Now the focus will be on providing cutting-edge software for autonomous “driving” — an evolution similar to Google’s vehicular venture — and an acknowledgment that making cars isn’t so easy.

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    Snowfall on Mars More Extreme Than Thought

    Winter is coming — every night. Once imagined as a gentle dusting, new research has found that Martian snowfall is more like a blustery ice storm as nighttime temperatures drop precipitously. A recent detailed examination of the clouds on Mars, which hint at how atmospheric dynamics caused the planet to lose much of its water, also discovered how inclement its weather can become. That could chill future plans to visit the Red Planet, where experts say the thinner atmosphere means wind turbulence poses a serious risk for landing missions.

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    Kaepernick Supporters Demonstrate Outside NFL HQ

    They’re also threatening a boycott. Just days after a group of city cops demonstrated in Brooklyn wearing “#ImWithKap” t-shirts, more than 1,000 people assembled in New York City outside the NFL’s headquarters in solidarity with free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They’re demanding an end to what they’re calling his blackballing for an outspoken stance against police brutality and systemic racism in America. Meanwhile the NAACP, one of the groups in attendance, has formally requested a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss protecting players’ first amendment rights, especially Kaepernick’s.