The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Dozens Killed in Afghanistan Suicide Bombings

    When will it end? At least 40 people were killed on Friday after suicide bombers struck two separate mosques in Afghanistan, officials say. One attack left at least 30 dead at a Shiite mosque in Kabul. While nobody has claimed responsibility, ISIS has targeted Shiites in the violence-ridden country, where at least 84 followers have been killed this year. The second attack, which killed 10, occurred at a Sunni mosque in the western Ghor province. Meanwhile, U.S.-led forces in Syria declared the former ISIS capital of Raqqa officially liberated.

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    Bush and Obama Speak Out Against Trump

    The POTUS calling the kettle black? In a rare public address yesterday, former President George W. Bush warned that “conspiracy theories” and “nationalism distorted into nativism” pose threats to democracy, and called out “casual cruelty” in public discourse. At a separate event, former President Barack Obama lamented the “politics of division.” Though neither named names, the speeches were widely seen as rebukes of President Donald Trump. Criticism of a sitting president by a predecessor so early in a term is nearly unprecedented, though Trump has disparaged both men throughout his presidency.

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    Audience Shouts Down Spencer’s White Nationalism

    He did not see that coming. Racist activists fought hard for Richard Spencer, a vocal white supremacist, to speak at the University of Florida last night — going so far as threatening to sue if the event, which wound up costing the university $600,000 in security precautions, didn’t go ahead. But most of the audience at Spencer’s lecture, at which he described himself as a “dissident intellectual,” came to protest, booing and chanting, “Go home, Nazis!” over his speech. Spencer shouted back, “We are stronger than you and you all know it!”

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    Kelly Defends Trump Over Condolence Calls

    “There’s not much that really can take the edge off what a family member is going through.” So said John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff and the father of a fallen Marine. He took the podium yesterday to defend Trump’s controversial comments to the widow of an American soldier this week, saying he’d advised the president not to call the family at all. Kelly also excoriated Rep. Frederica Wilson, a friend of widow Myeshia Johnson, for publicizing the comments, calling her “selfish” and decrying the erosion of American values.

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    Catalan Leaders Protest Banks as Spain Schedules Elections

    They’re putting their money … where it always is. Though Catalan separatists urged citizens to protest CaixaBank and Sabadell, which withdrew from Catalonia earlier this month over fears of instability, the banks say they haven’t seen a drop in business. The Spanish government, which plans to suspend the region’s governing autonomy this weekend, will hold elections there in January under its new direct rule. Meanwhile, Catalonia’s referendum and push for secession has emboldened restless Italian regions Lombardy and Veneto, which will soon hold their own votes on breaking away.

  6. Budget Measures, Sean Penn and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The U.S. Senate passed a budget measure yesterday that paves the way to tackle tax reform without bipartisan approval. Malaysia’s agreed to restart the search for missing flight MH370 with Texas-based company Ocean Infinity. And Sean Penn is battling Netflix over the release of a documentary series on Mexican kingpin El Chapo, which Penn fears could lead to violent repercussions.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.

    Tune In: OZY and WGBH have teamed up to create a fabulous new show for PBS, Third Rail With OZY. Tonight’s debate: Is marriage obsolete?


  1. Moon

    Japanese Space Agency Discovers Massive Moon Cave

    It’s a fixer-upper. Under the Marius Hills, volcanic domes on the lunar surface, lies a 31-mile-long cave that Japanese scientists hope could be suitable for a future moon base. The crevasse is thought to be a 3.5 billion-year-old lava tube with thick walls that could protect astronauts against radiation and extreme temperatures. The U.S., Russia, China and the EU are all ramping up plans for lunar bases, while Japan has a manned mission scheduled for 2030 and SpaceX hopes to land civilians on the moon in 2018.

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    More Performers Are Buying Terrorism Insurance

    It’s not unreasonable to have stage fright. Insurance against political violence and terrorism was already a must for musicians who perform in some of the world’s more dubious locales. But things changed after the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival, the bombing at Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert in May and the Bataclan nightclub massacre during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Today managers are pushing their clients to invest in coverage regardless of their destination. One band’s manager explained, “Now more than ever they are targets.”

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    Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Regulate Internet Advertising

    Even online, you’ve got to tell the truth. It’s become clear that misleading ads on Facebook were a major issue in the 2016 election — and while political commercials on television and radio are governed by strict rules, online ads don’t yet have such codes. To combat that, Sens. John McCain, Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar have introduced the Honest Ads Act. If it passes, it would force companies like Google to keep records of whom each ad targeted, as well as who bought them and how much they paid.

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    Tarantino Admits He Knew About Weinstein Allegations

    “I knew enough to do more than I did.” So said Quentin Tarantino, whose close collaboration with Harvey Weinstein goes back to 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. He admitted yesterday that he’d heard stories for decades about the producer’s misconduct toward women, including his own former girlfriend, Mira Sorvino. Tarantino said he feels ashamed for not recognizing a pattern and taking action. He called on other men to come forward about what they know and “do better by our sisters.” Almost 50 women have now accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse or rape.

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    Lonzo Ball Makes Lakers Debut in Full Media Glare

    Game time. Before the much-hyped No. 2 NBA draft pick stepped onto the Staples Center court for the first time last night, the 19-year-old already had his own sneaker line, emoji set and reality TV show, Ball in the Family. Now the former UCLA star, who’s reportedly charging $15,000 per interview, just has to live up to expectations. So far no dice: The Clippers defeated the Lakers 108-92 and Ball’s performance was unremarkable, with just three points, four assists and nine rebounds.