The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Harvey Downgraded but Risks Remain

    It’s no time for complacency. While water levels drop in Houston, the storm continues to threaten along the Texas-Louisiana border, where another eight inches of rain is forecast through Friday, threatening more flooding. Hurricane Harvey has since been downgraded to a “tropical depression,” but local authorities warn that the crisis is far from over. Officials say the death toll now stands at 38, while shelters now house more than 32,000 people in Houston. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump reassured Texans during a speech in Missouri on Wednesday that “all of America is grieving with you.”

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    Federal Judge Blocks Texas Sanctuary Cities Law

    It’s a last-minute save. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has provisionally blocked the SB4 immigration law meant to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” calling many of its provisions unconstitutional. The statute, which would have gone into effect tomorrow, stipulated that local officials could be jailed or removed from office for not complying with demands from ICE. While Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott said Garcia’s ruling “makes Texas less safe,” it’s seen as a victory for the Texas cities, counties and sheriffs who sued over the legislation.

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    Heaviest Monsoon in Years Leaves Mumbai at a Standstill

    The water is waist-deep. Residents in Mumbai are being urged to stay inside as nonstop rain has halted train service, diverted flights and closed schools. This summer has seen unusually heavy monsoons, with an estimated 1,200 people killed by flooding across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and 30 million people in India alone affected by the extraordinary weather conditions. Rain has thwarted rescue efforts across Mumbai, where doctors say hospital emergency rooms are starting to flood, even as health officials warn that the waters increase the risk of infection.

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    Markets Power Past Pyongyang’s Latest Launch, Threats

    They’re betting cooler heads will prevail. The U.N. yesterday condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch, a Hwasong-12 that sailed over Japan, but chose not to levy new sanctions. Meanwhile, the dollar bounced back from a 2½-year low, and today Asian stocks rose, an indication that investors aren’t poised for a regional crisis — despite Pyongyang’s subsequent threat that its launch was a “meaningful prelude” to a previously promised attack on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. President Trump nonetheless warned that “all options are on the table.”

  5. Caracas-Style Treason, Palin’s Loss and an Open Airport

    Know This: Venezuela’s new assembly has voted to approve treason trials for opposition figures. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times has been dismissed. And late British novelist Terry Pratchett had his instructions carried out posthumously: His hard drive containing any unfinished work was crushed by a steamroller.

    Read This: Starting next month, Pittsburgh International Airport will allow civilians to go through security and roam the departure areas without a boarding pass for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

    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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    Female Entrepreneurs Dodge Sexism With Fake Male Co-Founder

    His name? Keith Mann. When Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer founded their L.A.-based marketplace site for weird arts and crafts, Witchsy, they didn’t have a problem with demand. But collaborators, usually men, were often condescending or difficult — until they invented Keith, a fictional co-founder, and started sending emails from him. Suddenly designers and engineers were more respectful and people took their budding business more seriously. For now, they’ve mothballed Keith — but their experience may provide more ammunition in the battle for tech world equality.

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    Fox News Pulled From UK Airwaves

    It’s lights out. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has pulled Fox News from British television, citing low viewership. The politically driven news channel, aired on the U.K.’s Sky satellite network, had attracted only a few thousand daily viewers in the entire country — most of whom were apparently American tourists or industry wonks. The move comes as the Fox corporation awaits regulators’ okay on its $15 billion bid to absorb Sky, and many believe it’s an attempt to take a discussion of ideology, given Fox News’ nakedly conservative bent, out of the equation.

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    Kenyan Plastic Bag Ban Includes Jail Time

    Don’t get carried away. Kenya has just enacted the world’s toughest plastic bag prohibition, slapping a maximum penalty of a $40,000 fine, or even a four-year prison sentence, on people who manufacture, use or traffic in them. Producers and distributors of the environmentally damaging carrying conveniences, now scattered throughout Kenya’s slums and blocking its waterways, are reportedly the primary target. The law, which follows bag rules in 40 other nations and took three attempts before it passed, has prompted supermarkets to give customers cloth bags in hopes of changing people’s habits.

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    How Art Is Helping Boost Post-Industrial America

    They’re not just painting over the cracks. Local officials around Colorado are nurturing a statewide creative arts push that has helped bring depressed communities back from the precipice. From funding public art to hosting festivals, a vibrant creativity has helped towns like Trinidad, which has tripled commercial building sales while embracing 150 new startups. It’s a trend that has seen success in other former coal and manufacturing centers around the U.S., with new “creative districts” helping to diversify local economies — and even guard against endemic boom-and-bust cycles.

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    The Warriors: Don’t Bet on Them

    Your money’s no good here. Las Vegas is raising the bar for the Golden State Warriors following three of the most remarkable season performances in NBA history. Oddsmakers with Westgate SuperBook, the first in Nevada to open, predict a whopping 67.5 victories for the champs, an improvement over last year that includes winning 11 more games in the regular season than their closest competition, the Boston Celtics. So betting on the Warriors is risky: To win $1, you’d need to wager $1,000. Bet against their making the playoffs, though, and a $100 bet nets $10,100.