The Presidential Daily Brief


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    More Than 200 Killed in Egypt Mosque Attack

    Terror strikes again. At least 235 are dead and more than 100 wounded after militants launched an attack during Friday prayers on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Police say armed men in four off-road vehicles fired at worshipers while also setting off explosives, resulting in the country’s deadliest attack in its three-year-old fight against Islamic State-linked insurgents in the volatile North Sinai province. Friday’s attack appeared to target Sufi Muslims, who practice a mystical form of Islam fundamentalists believe is heretical.

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    Michael Flynn Cuts Ties With Trump During Mueller Probe

    Is he ready to cop? Lawyers for the former national security adviser have told President Donald Trump’s team they can no longer share information on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russiagate investigation. Flynn resigned in February after the revelation of undisclosed contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now Flynn is reportedly concerned his son might be charged. Pair that with his attorneys cutting ties — a legal requirement when clients’ interests diverge — and observers say it indicates Flynn is cooperating or negotiating a deal. Trump’s lawyers, though, warned against jumping to conclusions.

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    US Navy Calls Off Search for Missing Sailors

    They’re gone. The Navy has ended its search for three sailors missing after the Wednesday crash of a military aircraft near Japan. Their C2-A Greyhound cargo plane had been shuttling between a Marine Corps base in Japan and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it went down. Eight people were rescued, but two days of searching by U.S. and Japanese warships in the Philippine Sea proved fruitless. The naval task force’s commander offered prayers for the sailors and their families, and an investigation into the crash continues.

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    Saudi Prince Calls Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘Middle East’s Hitler’

    There’s a lot in that name. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday called the Iranian Supreme Leader “the new Hitler of the Middle East.” The smear came amid escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and missiles lobbed at the Saudi capital from Yemen, where the two nations are waging a proxy war. The Saudi heir added that “appeasement doesn’t work,” and would only precipitate “what happened in Europe.” Khamenei has called the House of Saud an “accursed tree,” but this new salvo may inspire harsher words.

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    Retail’s Good, Bad and Ugly Rolled Into One Day

    It’s the best of times — if you’re not an IRL retailer. The year’s been hard for U.S. stores, which hope today’s feeding frenzy will save them. On the bright side, holiday gift-buyers are projected to spend $967 apiece, up 3 percent over 2016. At the same time, the majority of them will be dropping most of that money online, starting on their smartphones while still digesting their turkey. But polls suggest only 35 percent — compared to 59 percent in 2015 — plan to hit the stores on Black Friday.

  6. Ominous Blast, Pistorius Prison Extension, and Zimbabwe’s New President

    Know This: An explosion has been reported in the last known location of a missing Argentine submarine, dimming hopes that the crew of 44 can be rescued. A South African court has increased the controversial six-year sentence of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, convicted of killing his girlfriend, to 13 years and five months. And a boat carrying eight men claiming to be North Korean fishermen has washed ashore in Japan.

    New Beginning: “He was the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.” — The BBC describes Zimbabwe’s new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, sworn in as president today in Harare.

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


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    Uma Thurman: Weinstein Doesn’t Deserve Bullet

    Don’t take her lightly. The Kill Bill actress wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving yesterday — except Harvey Weinstein “and all your wicked conspirators.” Referring to the mounting rape and harassment accusations against the disgraced Hollywood mogul, Thurman wrote, “I’m glad it’s going slowly — you don’t deserve a bullet.” She added #metoo, but so far isn’t among Weinstein’s 90 accusers. Meanwhile, actor Billy Baldwin, responding to a Donald Trump Jr. tweet about accused harasser Sen. Al Franken, called the president a “fifth degree black belt when it comes to sexual impropriety allegations.”

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    China Loads Zero-Emissions Ship With Coal

    Talk about a funky footprint. China’s first all-electric cargo ship, a 229-foot, 2,204-ton behemoth powered by more than 1,000 lithium batteries, is ready for a test run — transporting, of all things, coal. The ship is due to begin its regular route early next year, supplying a power plant along southern China’s Pearl River. It can haul 2,314 tons of coal 50 miles before charging up during cargo transfer. That’s hardly ocean-worthy, but a Norwegian cruise line plans to launch a hybrid-engine vessel next year.

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    Human Brains Have Evolved Unique Pleasure Systems

    We’re born to be tame. A new study reveals that human brains are more different from our great ape relatives than previously thought. It’s all about our control systems for dopamine, pleasure’s chemical trigger, and may explain why we behave so differently from our hairier cousins. Dopamine levels are thought to be linked to everything from memory and emotion to disorders like schizophrenia. One hypothesis researchers plan to test is that this control mechanism allows us to work toward far-from-instant gratification — like doctoral degrees in neuroscience.

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    Silicon Valley Turns Gaze Toward Construction

    They’re building the future. With experts calling it the last major industry to be disrupted by cutting-edge technology, construction is in for a makeover — courtesy of Silicon Valley. This year venture capitalists are expected to invest $375 million, a 420 percent increase since 2014, in firms focusing on streamlining the sector, which has long been hampered by labor-intensive projects involving multiple contractors. What’s more, observers say “constructech” innovators needn’t come from within the field, evidenced by venture capital pouring into both hammer-swinging and code-cracking startups.

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    Chargers and Vikings Carve Up Rivals on Thanksgiving

    That didn’t go down well. The Dallas Cowboys continued their losing streak without star wide receiver Ezekiel Elliott, now halfway through his six-game suspension. They gained just 247 total yards against the Los Angeles Chargers, who prevailed 28-6. The Minnesota Vikings have won seven straight after ruining the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving, beating them 30-23 despite the hosts’ attempt at a fourth-quarter comeback. And Washington defeated New York 20-10, demonstrating that a persistent hamstring injury isn’t spoiling the holidays for TD-scoring receiver Jamison Crowder.