The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Declares Opioid Scourge a Public Health Emergency  

    It’s getting serious. President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic raging across the United States a public health emergency, instructing federal agencies to beef up their fight against the mounting crisis. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” he said in a White House address. Yet the designation — more measured than a “national emergency,” which the president had originally promised — won’t provide any new funds to battle a scourge that kills more than 100 people every day, prompting critics to bemoan what they believe isn’t a strong enough effort.

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    White House Releases JFK Files, Delays Others

    So interesting! The White House ordered the release of 2,800 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy but delayed publishing hundreds more because of “national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns,” according to a White House memo. President Donald Trump was reportedly pressured by the CIA and the FBI to not release the whole trove. Officials are to make their last case for secrecy and the rest of the files, if a compelling case can’t be made to hold them, are set to be released by April 26th.

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    Kenyans Vote for President … Again

    Take two. Police and opposition supporters have already clashed as voting gets underway in Kenya’s rerun presidential election. The first, won by President Uhuru Kenyatta, was declared invalid for suspected irregularities. But the second try hasn’t been without controversy: Opposing candidate Raila Odinga is boycotting the “sham election,” saying authorities haven’t fixed the issues that plagued the first ballot and asking his supporters to avoid polling stations. Dozens of people have been killed in riots since August’s election, and preliminary reports say turnout today appears lower than for the previous vote.

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    As Trump Foes Flee, GOP Majority Rallies Behind Him

    “Forget about it.” So said House Speaker Paul Ryan of the full-throated denunciations of President Donald Trump by Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake. More Republicans joined Ryan in dismissing their warnings that Trump poses a danger to democracy, calling it a “Twitter dispute.” Neither Corker nor Flake will run in 2018. Their abdication — along with that of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus — may sound the death knell of the GOP’s remaining “Never Trump” movement, as Republicans around the country mirror the president’s extreme, racially tinged tactics.

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    Thailand Begins Massive Funeral Ceremony for Late King

    It’s a grave moment. After a year of national mourning, the streets are draped in yellow as Thailand’s much-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s five-day, $90 million funeral continues. Hundreds of thousands of black-clad mourners are expected in Bangkok today to witness the elaborate 164-foot-high cremation pyre lit by his son and successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The new monarch, 65, has spent much of his life outside the country and will now have to try to capture his nation’s affection as his politically stabilizing father did.

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    Weinstein Studio Deal Stumbles as Victims Find Their Voices

    Not all publicity is good publicity. The Weinstein Company, struggling with sexual assault and harassment allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, is in exclusive talks with Colony Capital to sell its assets. But Colony’s unwilling to pay the hundreds of millions sought, so many expect the studio to seek other bidders next week. Meanwhile, former President George H.W. Bush has apologized to a woman who says he groped her. And anti-rape organization RAINN reports that calls to its helpline are up 21 percent since the Weinstein news broke.

  7. A Deadly Explosion, WikiLeaks and Home Invaders

    Know This: At least 23 people have been killed in a fireworks factory explosion in Indonesia. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says the Trump campaign’s data-mining contractor, Cambridge Analytica, contacted him about leaking Hillary Clinton’s emails. And a district judge has rejected an appeal by 18 states to restart Obamacare subsidies aimed at helping low-income Americans get insurance coverage.

    Read This: Amazon Key, the retail giant’s latest initiative, would surveil your home and allow couriers to unlock your front door to deliver a package — challenging social norms about the value of privacy.

    Talk to Us: Next year, OZY will be going around the world on a year-long global tour to visit every single country, and we’d love you to get involved. Where in the world are you when you read OZY? Send us pictures — they might make it onto — and tell us what rising stars, new trends, music and food we should be writing about. Or even pitch us a story! Get in touch at


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    NAACP Warns Black Travelers About Flying American Airlines

    Sound the alarm. The civil rights organization has issued an advisory about “a pattern of disturbing incidents” against Black passengers on American Airlines — including a Black woman who was moved from first class to economy despite having a first-class ticket and a Black clergyman who was kicked off a flight for responding to white passengers’ discriminatory remarks to him. Previously, the NAACP warned Black people against traveling to Missouri. The airline says it doesn’t tolerate discrimination, but has invited NAACP representatives for a meeting to discuss the incidents.

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    Hungary Is Europe’s Most Socially Networked Country

    It’s the real friend zone. Official statistics show more internet users — 83 percent — are on social media in Hungary than anywhere else in the EU. Recent history helps explain why: Since the reign of communism, Hungarians have trusted their social circles over official institutions. Political tensions have returned lately, which may justify the younger generation’s “need for escapism” by embracing social media at even higher rates. But the country’s got a history with social media too: A proto-Facebook, known as iWiW, was connecting Hungarians as early as 2002.

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    New Plan Would More Than Double National Park Entrance Fees

    Can’t see the forest for the fees. It currently costs no more than $30 per car to enter even the most popular U.S. national parks and monuments, but a new National Park Service plan would jack that up to $75 per vehicle, or $30 per person, during a five-month “peak season.” NPS has seen its budget slashed under the Trump administration, but some worry that struggling families will be priced out of natural wonders. The government’s soliciting public feedback on the plan through Nov. 23.

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    Early Rock Legend Fats Domino Dies at 89

    He was a giant. Antoine “Fats” Domino, who adapted his hometown New Orleans blues into what would become rock ’n’ roll, cut his first record in 1949 and gifted the world songs like “Blueberry Hill.” The exuberant pianist and singer died Tuesday of natural causes at the age of 89. Elvis Presley, the only artist who outsold Domino at his peak popularity, called him “the real king of rock and roll.” Many agreed: Domino was in the first class of performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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    World Series Gets New HR Record in Astros Comeback

    They went deep. Though FanGraphs initially put Houston’s chance of winning Game 2 at 15 percent, that estimate changed repeatedly over the course of a 332-pitch extra-innings roller coaster. When Astros outfielder George Springer finally slammed a two-run homer in the 11th — the eighth of the game and the fifth in extra innings — a new MLB record was set. Houston held on to beat Los Angeles 7-6 for its first ever World Series win. They’ll meet again on Saturday with the series tied 1-1.