The Presidential Daily Brief


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    White House Offers Mixed Signals on Paris Agreement

    Are you in or out? Though President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be leaving the Paris climate accord in June, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated yesterday that “under the right conditions” Trump might be convinced otherwise. Meanwhile, the White House denied a report that a senior administration official told a conference of energy ministers that Trump was interested in editing, rather than exiting, the deal. World leaders may seek clarification at the U.N today, where the president made his first public statement at the General Assembly, calling for reform of the global institution.

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    Hurricane Maria Threatens Battered Caribbean Islands

    It’s following in Irma’s footsteps. Hurricane Maria has intensified to a Category 5 storm, and meteorologists are predicting it’ll hit multiple areas recently devastated by Irma, dropping as much as 20 inches of rain on Antigua, Barbuda, Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and raising the risk of flash floods and mudslides. Meanwhile, another storm, Hurricane Jose, is still moving through the Atlantic. Maria is expected to make landfall on the Leeward Islands as soon as tonight.

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    Protests Turn Violent in St. Louis After Days of Unrest

    Here we are again. Three years after riots in nearby Ferguson divided the country following the police shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, St. Louis has seen three straight days of protests over the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley, who shot and killed a Black suspect in 2011. More than 80 people were arrested yesterday after a small group smashed downtown windows. Police reportedly chanted in response, “Whose streets? Our streets.” Protest leaders said the vandals were not part of their demonstration, but apologized for the damage.

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    Despite Epidemic, Insurers Restrict Non-Opioid Drugs

    It all comes back to money. America’s opioid crisis, which has seen deaths from prescription drug overdoses quadruple since 2015, may be exacerbated by health plans that don’t cover alternatives that are less addictive but cost insurers more money. Almost every Medicare plan analyzed covered cheap, addictive opioids, which have become the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., while far fewer covered alternatives or addiction treatment. Pharmaceutical companies pushing OxyContin and opioids have been fined hundreds of millions — but this new data raises questions about where responsibility lies.

  5. Obamacare Repeal Redux, a School Shooting and Junk Food

    Know This: Senate Republicans are gearing up for another attempt at Obamacare repeal this week. Authorities are investigating the campus police shooting of Georgia Institute of Technology LGBT student leader Scout Schultz, 21, who reportedly confronted officers with a knife. And Rolling Stone magazine is being put up for sale after 50 years.

    Read This: With Western countries weaning themselves off junk food, companies that sell it are aggressively marketing to developing nations like Brazil, contributing to soaring obesity rates.

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    Emmys Feature Big Wins for ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ HBO

    It was a night of firsts. While perennial winner HBO snagged 10 total awards, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale claimed Best Drama, something no streaming network had managed before. Lena Waithe became the first Black woman to win for comedy writing for Master of None, and Donald Glover the first Emmy-winning Black comedy director for Atlanta. Meanwhile, after an opening monologue roasting President Trump, host Stephen Colbert introduced a surprise guest: former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who insisted it was “the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period.”

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    Plastic Surgeons Hit High Notes to Avoid Burnout

    They’re on a knife edge. Cosmetic surgeons are suffering from high levels of stress: A survey last year showed only a third felt satisfied with their work, the lowest among 16 specialties, and a recent Mayo Clinic report attributed 70 percent of medical errors to burnout. The best medicine? Boosting morale. To that end, the industry is leaning toward innovative methods, from singing contests to yoga to wellness retreats — and even Shark Tank-style competitions at conferences — all to help the medicine go down and keep spirits up.

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    Serbian PM Becomes First to Attend Gay Pride March

    She’s here, she’s queer, she’s marching. Serbia’s gay community has long endured harassment, with Pride events banned for four years after scores of people were injured in 2010 police clashes. Ana Brnabic, who’s both Serbia’s first openly gay leader and its first female one, attended a march last year as a cabinet minister, though her predecessor, President Aleksandar Vucic, who chose Brnabic to succeed him as prime minister, declined the invitation. Skeptics call Serbia’s increased focus on gay rights “pinkwashing,” theorizing it’s part of a potential bid for EU membership.

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    New Florida Textbook Law Stirs Debate Over Science

    It’s a matter of facts. New legislation in the Sunshine State allows any resident to challenge the use of instructional materials in schools. While HB 989 is purportedly aimed at helping parents play a more significant role in education, critics believe it could be used to derail the teaching of key scientific facts, such as climate change and evolution. The law’s primary supporters, for instance, have argued that students should also be taught creationism. With the academic year underway, school boards are waiting to see what will be challenged.

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    Las Vegas Police Deny Michael Bennett’s Racial Profiling Claims

    It’s getting dirty. Several weeks after the Seattle Seahawks star claimed Las Vegas police used excessive force detaining him, the department insists its officers didn’t do anything wrong. Their investigation is ongoing, but police officials have also demanded the NFL investigate Bennett’s “false allegations.” However, the league is publicly supporting Bennett — along with many fellow athletes, Black Lives Matter activists and civil rights leaders — while Las Vegas authorities continue to treat him as a suspect in the altercation that sparked the incident on the night of his arrest.