The Presidential Daily Brief


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    World’s Oldest Leader, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Quits

    His alternatives were few. Thirty-seven years after he took over as a revolutionary leader, liberating his nation from minority white rule, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 93, has resigned. Greeted with legislators’ applause and dancing in the capital’s streets, the move came after the southern African nation’s parliament started impeachment proceedings. Those followed last Wednesday’s military takeover in response to Mugabe’s wife, Grace, attempting to become her husband’s successor by ousting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Reports indicate Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s 75-year-old revolutionary comrade, could become Zimbabwe’s new leader within 48 hours.

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    Justice Department Sues to Block AT&T-Time Warner Merger

    Hold the line, please. The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a lawsuit to block AT&T’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner, arguing it would hurt consumers and stifle competition. Observers say the case — unusual because it challenges a merger between two different types of companies — could become a landmark antitrust action, potentially discouraging similar deals in the future. For some Democrats, it’s more political: They fear President Donald Trump’s well-known distaste for CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, could be driving the case.

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    Impeachment Proceedings Begin Against Mugabe

    They’re putting it to a vote. Zimbabwe’s Parliament is expected to hear a motion today seeking President Robert Mugabe’s ouster, accusing him of stoking instability and allowing his wife, Grace, to “usurp” power. The move is a response to Mugabe’s defiant refusal to step down, even after being expelled from his own party and in the face of widespread celebrations in the African nation over his imminent exit. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president whose dismissal by Mugabe kicked off the political crisis, has also urged the 93-year-old to resign.

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    Merkel Faces Her Career’s Most Serious Political Crisis

    Can she hold on? After coalition talks collapsed Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing what observers say is the biggest challenge yet to her 12-year grip on power. Rather than seeking to lead a minority government or simply resigning, Merkel says she prefers snap elections that would alter the political landscape enough to allow for a new ruling coalition. Either way, there’s a sense that time could be running out for the chancellor: Even some in her own party believe “the post-Merkel era has begun.”

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    Putin Hosts Assad Ahead of Syria Peace Talks

    He’s scooping the competition. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, on Monday during the Middle Eastern strongman’s surprise visit to Sochi — where Putin will also receive Turkish and Iranian leaders in a scheduled summit tomorrow. Observers believe the meetings are aimed at marginalizing U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva and cementing Russia as the dominant diplomatic force to end Syria’s years-long civil war — as well as keeping Assad, a Moscow ally, in power. Putin is expected to speak with President Trump later today.

  6. John Lennon’s Diaries, Ethereum Scams and Serious Discrimination Problems

    Know This: German police have recovered John Lennon’s diaries, among other items stolen from the Beatle’s estate. Russia’s meteorological service has confirmed the unusually high levels of radiation first clocked by European scientists in September, reportedly originating in central Russia or Kazakhstan. And a blockchain-based Ethereum start-up called Confido has mysteriously disappeared from the internet after collecting $374,000 from investors.

    Understand This: A new poll reveals that more than half of LGBT Americans have encountered violence or harassment because of their orientation. Older adults said personal prejudice — as opposed to official or legal discrimination — was a bigger problem, and LGBT people of color reported higher levels of discrimination than their white counterparts.

    Talk to Us: Tell us how you really feel. Our electrifying TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each week we’re posting a provocative question, and we want you to weigh in with your thoughts. This week: When does a big age gap in a relationship become abuse? Email with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    TV Journalist Charlie Rose Faces Misconduct Allegations

    The table’s been turned. After eight women came forward to accuse the 75-year-old talk show host of sexual harassment, both PBS, which broadcasts the Charlie Rose Show, and CBS, where he’s hosted CBS This Morning and reported for 60 Minutes, have suspended him. But his was only one of many misconduct cases to emerge Monday: A second woman claimed Sen. Al Franken groped her during a photo op, The New York Times suspended a White House reporter, and multiple women have made accusations against veteran Hollywood producer Adam Fields.

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    Single-Payer Health Schemes Are Dividing Democrats

    Can they find a cure? As Democrats ramp up efforts to unseat Republican members of Congress in places like Orange County, California, a key issue is prompting what some say is an unhealthy rivalry. The party’s progressive wing is pushing a government-funded, single-payer health care system that would be comprehensive in its coverage, but hit taxpayers with pricey mandates. More moderate Democrats believe that’s unsuitable for purple districts — and GOP strategists agree, saying it’s just the kind of tax-and-spend proposal that Republican voters won’t stomach.

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    Cairo’s Comics Scene Gives Voice to Political Dissidence

    They’re drawing on inspiration. After Egyptians overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, a brief respite from censorship gave way to the emergence of political art, including graffiti and independent comics. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s seizure of power in 2013 brought repression back, but while harsh laws have cracked down on street art, underground comics and graphic novels have lived on. At the annual Cairo Comix Festival, local artists gather to share stories steeped in sexual, political and religious dissent, drawing together to keep the revolutionary spirit alive.

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    New Study Casts Doubt on Possibility of Water on Mars

    They’re throwing sand on the theory. Scientists have long hypothesized that water was hidden just below the surface of Mars — proven, they thought, by the seasonal dark streaks on Martian dunes, where water would supposedly seep out in warmer weather. But new research suggests those streaks, which only appear on steeper slopes, might be caused by avalanches of sand instead. That would mean the Red Planet boasts a much drier surface than previously thought, dealing a huge blow to the search for microbial life on Mars.

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    Ex-NFL Player Terry Glenn Dies at 43

    He’ll be missed. Glenn, a wide receiver who played 12 seasons in the NFL, was killed Monday in a car accident that also left his fiancée injured. Having overcome a tragic childhood, including the murder of his mother, Glenn was drafted by the New England Patriots in 1996 after winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver while playing at Ohio State University. He later played for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, finishing his career with 593 receptions for 8,823 yards, as well as 44 touchdowns.