The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Massive Earthquake Strikes Mexico

    The aftershocks are already coming. Authorities confirm that a magnitude-8.1 quake, the strongest to hit the country since 1985, struck off the Pacific coast of Chiapas state, killing at least 58 people. Shaking could be felt in Mexico City, more than 1,000 miles away. A series of magnitude-6 aftershocks have been reported, as residents evacuated en masse. Now not only Mexico but Fiji, Guatemala, Ecuador and El Salvador are under tsunami warnings, and schools have been closed across the region as local authorities work to assess the damage.

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    Hurricane Irma Devastates Caribbean Islands

    It’s far from over. Irma has left death and destruction in its wake after passing over the northern Caribbean Wednesday night. The Category 5 storm damaged 95 percent of Barbuda’s buildings, leaving the island without water or phone service, in a state its prime minister described as “barely habitable.” The death toll is still unknown there, but the Atlantic’s most powerful hurricane in years killed at least eight in the French Caribbean. Irma now hurtles toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, while two other Atlantic storms have been upgraded to hurricane strength.

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    Trump’s Debt Deal With Democrats Blindsides GOP

    They’re at a loss. President Donald Trump’s agreement on Wednesday with top Democrats to raise the federal debt ceiling and fund the government for three months caught Republicans by surprise. The bipartisan deal, part of an agreement to fast-track nearly $8 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief funds, scuttled their hope of postponing the vote on the ceiling — a touchy political issue — until after next year’s midterm elections. While the deal signals Trump’s potential willingness to reach across the aisle, it also complicates his already strained relations with his own party.

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    Facebook Pinpoints Potential Pro-Kremlin Influence Campaign

    Are they coming closer to the truth? Facebook says a Russian operation purchased $100,000 worth of ads over the past two years promoting divisive political and social issues, but without openly backing a specific candidate. The social network — criticized for its role in spreading misinformation during the 2016 campaign — reportedly told congressional investigators yesterday that they traced the ads to a “troll farm” peddling pro-Kremlin propaganda. It’s a potentially troubling discovery, especially amid official probes into Russia’s election interference and alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

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    Seoul Deploys Missile Defense Amid North Korea Fears

    “The situation is very grave.” So said South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who believes Pyongyang will launch another intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday — less than a week after its most recent nuclear test. Amid protests that left dozens of demonstrators injured, the U.S. military completed the roll-out of its controversial THAAD missile defense system about 185 miles north of Seoul. Meanwhile, China has voiced support for tougher U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang, while also keeping the possibility of dialogue on the table.

  6. India’s Military, Climate Change, and the End of DACA

    Know This: India’s top general says his country should be prepared to fight both China and Pakistan, as regional tensions show no signs of abating. Confectionery giant Mars will spend around $1 billion to combat climate change, part of a plan to eventually cut its carbon footprint by more than 60 percent. And the sun released its most powerful flare in more than a decade, even affecting high-frequency radio signals.

    Read This: DACA may be coming to an end, but not without a fight. OZY’s new special briefing takes a closer look at the complicated political calculus facing Congress as it considers the DREAM Act as a potential replacement.

    Tune In: Third Rail With OZY, the new TV show from OZY and WGBH, premieres on PBS tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m.! Every week, we’ll delve into a provocative question and take the debate to its limits.


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    Russian Opposition Leader Caught in Sausage Attack

    Call it a sausage snafu. Alexei Navalny, the leader of Russia’s beleaguered political opposition, was showered with uncooked sausages at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Wednesday as he arrived from a trip abroad. Navalny claims a woman distracted him by asking for a photo while three unidentified “fiends” swooped in and scattered their pork-based payload. It’s only the latest — and most innocent — attack against Vladimir Putin’s potential opponent in next year’s presidential election: Twice this year Navalny’s been splashed with antiseptic fluid, requiring serious medical treatment after one incident.

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    Africa’s Literary Potential Grows Through Online Journals

    They’re finding their voices. Free from the excoriating and expectant gaze of the Western-focused publishing industry, up-and-coming writers across Africa are finding new paths to success thanks to online literary journals. New outlets proliferate with increasing internet connectivity, and by writing for themselves and publishing for audiences closer to home and African expats around the world, budding writers from Ghana to Kenya are finding the new approach pays off — even financially. As the continental market continues to grow, so does the potential pool of new literary voices.

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    New ‘Pen’ Can Identify Cancer in Seconds

    It could highlight serious problems. A team from the University of Texas says it’s developed a pen-shaped prototype that can diagnose cancer in tissue samples within 10 seconds and with 96 percent accuracy. The handheld MasSpec Pen connects to a portable mass spectrometer that analyzes tissue in real time — instead of the several days it currently takes — allowing doctors to determine whether cells are cancerous. Among other clear-cut benefits, the groundbreaking device could mean surgeons will be less likely to leave behind cancerous tissue during operations.

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    Louvre to Open Outpost in Persian Gulf

    Art lovers, rejoice! After more than 10 years of planning, the world’s biggest and most-visited art museum will open a new location in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 11. A collaboration between the Emirati and French governments, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase nearly 700 artworks and, officials hope, help cement the oil-rich United Arab Emirates as a regional hub of culture. While half of the exhibits will stay in the museum’s permanent collection, the rest will be loaned by more than a dozen French cultural institutions.

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    NFL’s Michael Bennett Accuses Las Vegas Police of Abuse

    He has the right to not remain silent. The Seattle Seahawks defensive end has accused police in Las Vegas of “abusive conduct” after he says he was violently detained and threatened by officers while leaving last month’s McGregor-Mayweather boxing match. Bennett underscored the broader racial tensions between police and African-Americans, saying he was harassed for being “a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement fully supporting Bennett, while the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police say they’re investigating the incident.