The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Hurricane Harvey’s Floods Bring Texas Chaos and Death

    “Don’t assume this storm is over.” So warned Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner as some 2,000 people were rescued from flooding in and around the nation’s fourth-largest city since the category 4 Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas late Friday. At least eight people are believed dead, while as many as 82,000 homes were without electricity Sunday night. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has warned of flash floods amid continuing heavy rains, which have already brought “epic, catastrophic flooding” to Galveston, while some areas can expect a record-breaking 50 inches of rainfall.

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    Rohingya Muslims Attempt to Flee Myanmar Violence

    They’re running for their lives. Myanmar’s army has been accused of indiscriminately killing Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine, the country’s poorest region, after militant members of the sect attacked about 30 police stations Friday. Close to 100 people have been killed in clashes since then, and thousands of Rohingya have fled their homes, only to be turned away at the Bangladesh border despite protestations that they’ll be killed if they go back. Pope Francis issued a plea for their safety, calling on “men and women of goodwill” to help Myanmar’s persecuted minority.

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    Trump Revives Pentagon Surplus Program for Cops

    There’ll soon be more firepower on the streets. A program that delivered surplus military equipment, including personnel carriers and grenade launchers, to local police departments is reportedly being revved back up via an executive order from President Donald Trump. Started to help police fight drug traffickers, the program transferred more than $5.4 billion in equipment. But after armored vehicles and sniper rifles confronted protesters during 2015 demonstrations over police violence, President Obama curbed it. Now police union lobbying — and a chief executive who extols aggressive enforcement — have apparently reignited the arms race.

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    Uber Hires Expedia Chief Dara Khosrowshahi as New CEO

    What a long, strange trip it’s been. After nine weeks of searching for a new leader following co-founder Travis Kalanick’s departure, the ride-hailing company has settled on Khosrowshahi, 48, an Iranian-American who’s one of the world’s best-compensated executives after more than a decade at Expedia. He was reportedly in a two-person race as the board also mulled Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, who’d previously stated she wasn’t taking the job. If Khosrowshahi accepts the job, he’ll have to steer through ongoing scandals toward a potential IPO.

  5. Border Deal, Heart Solutions and Taser Danger

    Know This: India and China have ended a stand-off of more than two months over a Himalayan border dispute, with an agreement for both to withdraw troops from the area. Researchers say anti-inflammatory injections could drastically lower the risk of heart attacks. And a report in the Washington Post says President Trump was seeking a real estate deal in Russia during his presidential campaign last year.

    Read This: “The hurricane churned up water 100 or even 200 meters below the surface, said [atmospheric scientist Kevin] Trenberth, but this water was still warm — meaning that the storm could keep growing and strengthening.” — Analysis of how climate change may have helped Hurricane Harvey devastate Texas communities.

    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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    Brexit Talks Could Revive Greek Antiquities Dispute

    Will they stonewall over the marbles? With the newest round of Brexit talks starting today, Britain’s hoping to leave the EU with a favorable deal. But each EU member state will have to give its okay — meaning Greece will finally have leverage in its 200-year-old fight to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles, taken to England in the early 1800s to become the pride of London’s British Museum. Greece’s government says it has no current plans to hold the breakup hostage to retrieve the Acropolis’ friezes, but will continue using diplomatic measures.

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    OZY Poll: Get Those Robots Out of My Classroom

    In some jobs, you need heart. A new OZY-conducted survey of some 3,350 Americans suggests that barely any have faith in robot teachers taking over the classrooms of the future. A whopping 92 percent said robots couldn’t replace human interaction, even if they’d be cheaper to employ. So while artificial intelligence is increasingly finding its way into the classroom, when it comes to fixing the issues of the school system — like poverty and access to education — reformers may find robo-teachers don’t have the answers.

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    Democrats Torn Over Charlottesville Response

    It’s time to act. That’s what many Democrats are saying after President Trump’s controversial response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville earlier this month. But what can they do? Among the main strategies, a quixotic attempt to formally censure Trump and zooming in on the removal of Confederate statues, neither option provides an effective shot at destabilizing the administration. Some think identity politics is a losing issue, and a majority of Americans oppose toppling the monuments. One thing Democrats can agree on, though, is that the president’s apparent tolerance of intolerance can’t be left unanswered.

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    MTV VMAs Give Activism Its Own Award

    They struck a political chord. This year’s MTV Video Music Awards saw the inoffensive Ed Sheeran walk away as Artist of the Year, but the show also openly battled for progressive politics with moves like removing gendered categories, inviting transgender members of the military and introducing a new award for “Best Fight Against the System.” A direct descendant of Robert E. Lee took the stage to condemn Confederate symbols, while the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer told the audience: “I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight.”

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    Mayweather Retires Following Victory Over McGregor

    “This is my last fight tonight, ladies and gentlemen.” So said Floyd Mayweather, arguably boxing’s greatest defensive fighter, after he stopped MMA star Conor McGregor Saturday in the 10th round of their hotly-anticipated superfight. Mayweather, 40, came out of retirement to face McGregor, 29, and despite the age difference, was able to pummel a tiring McGregor enough for a technical knockout. The win breaks the 61-year-old undefeated record held by Rocky Marciano, and after the receipts are totaled, it’s expected the bout will earn Mayweather as much as $300 million.