The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Gold Star Widow Speaks Out About Trump Call

    The saga continues. The controversial exchange between President Donald Trump and a Gold Star widow has received fresh attention after Myeshia Johnson, whose husband was killed earlier this month in Niger, confirmed that Trump had disrespected her in a phone call. Claiming the president couldn’t remember her husband’s name, Johnson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” his alleged comments — that Army Sergeant La David Johnson “must have known what he signed up for” — only intensified her sadness, adding that she had “nothing to say” to him. Trump defended his behavior as “very respectful.”


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    Shinzo Abe Wins Big in Japan’s Snap Election

    He’s ready, willing and Abe. Japanese voters braved winds from Typhoon Lan to overwhelmingly support the incumbent prime minister against a disjointed opposition in yesterday’s snap general election. The resounding victory paves the way for Abe to take a hard line against North Korea after Pyongyang launched two missiles over northern Japanese islands last month. Abe is expected to begin the controversial process of changing Japan’s pacifist Constitution to allow for a more traditional military, though he’s dropped an initial deadline of 2020 to complete those reforms.

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    Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico Still Awaiting Hurricane Aid

    “In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus.” So said President Trump of his administration’s response in states devastated by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But residents say help has been patchy and inadequate. Properties must be inspected before aid can be dispatched, but checks take weeks, and residents report being put on hold for hours when they call FEMA helplines. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain without power in Puerto Rico, and congressional Democrats are calling on Trump to appoint a federal official to oversee relief efforts.

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    Appeal Launched in Undocumented Pregnant Teen’s Case

    Every day counts. Lawyers for a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant who’s been blocked by federal officials from receiving an abortion say they’re seeking immediate relief from an appeals court. “Every additional week the government delays her abortion increases the risks associated with the procedure,” the girl’s attorneys wrote. While the teen has court permission and money to pay for an abortion, a three-judge panel ruled Friday that authorities, who say she must carry her pregnancy to term or leave the U.S., can delay it until Oct. 31.

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    Tesla Strikes Deal to Open Shanghai Factory

    They’ll be a powerhouse. The innovative electric car manufacturer reported $1 billion in Chinese revenue last year, but import duties hit them hard: Teslas in China are about 50 percent pricier than those sold stateside. CEO Elon Musk says that could be reduced by a third once the company starts building cars in Shanghai’s free trade zone, making it the first foreign automaker to ink such a deal in China. Under current rules, however, Teslas built in the factory will still count as imports and be subject to 25 percent tariffs.

  6. Catalan Defiance, Hollywood Harassment and Draft Dodging

    Know This: A senior Catalan official says his region won’t take orders from Madrid in the ongoing secession crisis. Oscar-nominated director James Toback has been accused of sexual harassment by 38 women. And Sen. John McCain called out the unfairness of wealthy Americans dodging the Vietnam War draft over “bone spurs,” thought to be a veiled dig at President Trump’s fifth deferment.

    Remember This Number: 98 percent. That’s the proportion of people who voted in a nonbinding referendum yesterday who want the Italian region of Veneto to have more autonomy, according to regional officials. In another referendum in Lombardy, 95 percent of voters say they want more regional independence.

    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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    Errant Motorcycle Leads Pack Astray in Venice Marathon

    That took an unexpected turn. Yesterday an Italian man won the Venice Marathon for the first time since 1995 after a guide motorcycle took a wrong turn and steered the leading runners astray halfway through the race. By the time they rejoined, the detour had cost them a minute, enough to let Eritrean-born Italian Eyob Gebrehiwet Faniel take the lead and win the race with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes. “I dedicate the win to myself as I have always believed in my work,” Faniel said.

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    Fewer Women Are Joining the Workforce in Asia

    Home is where the chains are. Much of the world might be making meaningful strides toward gender equality in workplaces. But in Asia, recent research has found the number of women working has either stagnated or declined over the last two decades. Experts point to slow population growth keeping a generation of older, conservative and mostly male workers in positions of power. They’re calling for a holistic reformation of Asia’s labor system — including women’s unfair “time burden” of domestic labor — but that could cost around $3.2 trillion.

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    Jimmy Carter Offers to Aid Trump on North Korea

    He’s helping set a president. Former President Jimmy Carter, 93, said this weekend he’d be willing to help defuse tensions between Washington and Pyongyang in their escalating geopolitical showdown. Carter’s interest in visiting North Korea to negotiate a peace treaty with Kim Jong Un was reported weeks ago in South Korean media, but now Carter himself has confirmed it to The New York Times. In the same interview, he repeatedly defended President Trump, leading some to speculate that he’s jockeying for a position in the administration.

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    Poet Pablo Neruda’s Cause of Death Questioned

    Death is inside the bones. The Chilean poet and activist died of prostate cancer in 1973, according to his death certificate. But an expert panel analyzing Neruda’s remains says they’re “100 percent certain” he didn’t, pointing to deadly bacteria found in his tooth. When Neruda died, he was preparing to flee to Mexico after the takeover of dictator General Augusto Pinochet — whose agents had a history of assassinating people with bacterial injections. Now investigators must determine the type of bacteria found in Neruda’s body in order to prove foul play.

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    Suns Fire Head Coach After Abysmal Start to Season

    He’s lost his place in the Suns. Phoenix head coach Earl Watson was cut just three games into the season after a dismal 33-85 record with the team. The Suns had the worst opening game in NBA history, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers 124-76, followed by a 130-88 beatdown by the Los Angeles Clippers. Just hours before Watson’s firing, point guard Eric Bledsoe mournfully tweeted, “I don’t wanna be here.” Associate coach Jay Triano has been promoted while the team searches for a new guiding star.