The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Deadly Firestorm Burns Through Northern California

    It’s up in smoke. Powerful winds fueled the flames, which quickly consumed swaths of the state’s verdant wine country, leaving at least 17 dead and 2,000 homes and businesses destroyed. Sixteen fires are still burning in the counties north of San Francisco, prompting mass evacuations. While wildfires aren’t uncommon in California’s dry season, the high number of simultaneous fires burning “at explosive rates” has made this one of the most destructive firestorms in the state’s history. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared emergencies in seven counties while firefighters continue to battle the blazes.

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    White House Issues Demands in Exchange for Protecting Dreamers

    The Trump administration is playing hardball. In exchange for keeping the legal status of around 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, aka Dreamers, it says Congress must approve construction of the president’s promised border wall with Mexico. The White House is also demanding that Congress withhold federal grants from “sanctuary cities,” hire 10,000 more immigration agents and crack down on unaccompanied Central American children fleeing gang violence. Democrats denounced the proposal, with Rep. Luis Gutierrez urging his party to fight it using an upcoming bill on the debt ceiling as leverage.

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    Barcelona Sees Gigantic Anti-Secession Rallies

    “We’ve stayed silent too long.” So said one protester at Sunday’s demonstration, which saw 350,000 Catalans rally against the region’s independence. While Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has threatened to invoke Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, which could take away Catalonia’s measure of autonomous rule, a wave of weekend demonstrations showed that many Catalans aren’t in favor of secession. While 90 percent of voters in an Oct. 1 referendum wanted independence, turnout was only 43 percent. Meanwhile, Catalan leaders said they plan to stop short of unilaterally declaring independence — for now.

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    US, Turkey Mutually Suspend Visa Services

    Nobody’s backing down. After a worker at the American consulate in Istanbul was arrested and charged with espionage on suspicion of links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, the U.S. issued a statement that its Turkish embassies will no longer issue non-immigrant visas. Ankara responded with an identical statement — only the country names were reversed — visiting the same punishment on the United States. The two countries have clashed over Washington’s refusal to extradite Gulen, as well as over a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia that Turkey labels a terrorist group.

  5. Hollywood

    Harvey Weinstein Fired Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

    That’s show business. The film mogul has been fired by the board of his own company after a New York Times exposé laid bare a long history of sexual harassment accusations involving at least eight settlements. The report spurred resignations by three members of the all-male board, plus one of Weinstein’s lawyers. While the producer was reportedly given the opportunity to resign, he refused and was fired outright. Rose McGowan, who was named in the Times report, tweeted thanks to the reporters, saying, “You’ve saved lives with your bravery.”

  6. Secession, Elections and Bob Corker Unleashed

    Know This: Separatist movements in Nigeria and Cameroon are both gaining populist momentum. The bodies of at least 10 children have been recovered after a boat packed with fleeing Rohingya Muslims capsized in the Naf River on the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh. And tomorrow, Liberian voters go to the polls to choose a new president.

    Remember This: “A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true.” So said Sen. Bob Corker, who has become increasingly critical of President Donald Trump — and could potentially jeopardize GOP efforts to pass tax reform, given the party’s slim Senate majority. Corker told reporters that he’s worried Trump is putting the country “on the path to World War Three.”

    Talk to Us: What would you like to know? Here at OZY, we’ve been compiling dossiers on every week’s biggest news issue — tell us what you’d like to find out all about this week by sending an email to


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    Pence Ditches Colts Game After Players Protest

    He won’t sit for it. Vice President Mike Pence returned to his home state of Indiana to catch a Colts-49ers game, only to walk out after players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Pence, along with his boss, have called for boycotts of the NFL over player demonstrations. But reporters said they were warned in advance of his “early departure,” leading some to suspect Pence’s exit was a political stunt — one that could’ve cost taxpayers an estimated $250,000, considering the expense of flying Air Force Two.

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    Dove Ad Removed After Racism Outcry

    What are they selling? Dove has apologized after a short video advertising body wash — which showed a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath — was lambasted for racist overtones. The company tweeted Saturday that it “missed the mark” with the Facebook GIF, which was quickly deleted, but then issued a heartfelt apology Sunday after many complained about the lame response. Dove has found itself in hot water before over racially insensitive advertising, but the company reiterated its commitment to the “diversity of real beauty.”

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    As Storms Intensify, Caribbean Islands Face Precarious Future

    Things are heating up. As hurricanes ravage the Caribbean with increasing force, small island nations are finding themselves in the crosshairs more often. While colonies of larger countries fare better, independent states often lack the resources to beef up defenses — or to rebuild once the damage is done. They’re united, though, in realizing their collective future may well depend on whether the industrialized world can cut down its carbon emissions to fight global warming. Their plight is expected to be addressed at next month’s U.N. Climate Change Conference.

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    Schwarzenegger Eyes New Political Role in Trump Era

    He’ll be back. Term limits may have stopped Arnold Schwarzenegger from staying in office as California’s unlikely Republican governor, and there’s no way the Austrian-born actor can legally become president. Still, the Governator’s taking his one-man show on the road to voice opposition to President Trump, using his star power to push for change on key issues like the environment, racism, immigration and gerrymandering. And while he and the president have bickered in the spotlight, Schwarzenegger says he wouldn’t say no to a Cabinet position if asked.

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    Small New England Farms Embrace Winter’s Bounty

    ’Tis always the season. New multiseason farming techniques have taken root for small-scale organic growers — meaning you might not have to wait for a summer farmers market to enjoy local produce. New England has a higher proportion of small farmers than elsewhere in the U.S., and community-supported agriculture, backed by farm-to-table membership plans, has helped them expand beyond traditional growing seasons to offer hardy vegetables year-round. With family farms turning to hydroponics and other agricultural advances, such operations could expand even further.