The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Al Franken Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

    It’s time to go. That’s what 32 senators, including almost every female Democrat, told Sen. Al Franken, who faces multiple allegations of unwanted sexual advances. On Thursday, he heeded their call and became the second lawmaker this week to step down amid claims of sexual misconduct. In an address to the Senate, Franken — once seen as a rising political star — denied the allegations and sharply criticized what he said was the “irony” of President Donald Trump still occupying the White House despite the sexual assault allegations leveled against him.

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    World Reacts as Trump Recognizes Jerusalem

    The ratings are in. World leaders expressed disapproval as President Trump formally announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital yesterday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it signaled the U.S. was no longer a “peace mediator,” while Hamas said Trump’s choice would “open the gates of hell.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, called it a brave decision. Internationally, Pope Francis called for respect of the status quo, while the EU urged restraint. Protests broke out in Jordan and Turkey, and Palestinian authorities called a general strike as protesters there clashed with Israeli soldiers.

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    Australia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

    Love wins, mate. Australia’s Parliament voted for marriage equality today after years of political debate and a national postal survey that showed 61 percent of 12 million respondents favored legalization. Amendments to the bill — which supporters said would give religious protection and opponents claimed would legalize discrimination — were voted down. Same-sex marriages performed abroad will automatically become legal when the bill gets royal assent in mid-December, but the first gay weddings in Australia will have to wait until 2018, as all couples must provide a month’s notice to get married.

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    Companies Brace for Brexit as May Scrambles

    They’re nearing the edge. Britain’s government has until Friday to pen a potential Brexit deal, according to the EU’s chief negotiator, before time runs out to draft guidelines ahead of the bloc’s Dec. 14 deadline to move negotiations forward. Now big companies from supermarkets to financial services are reportedly stepping up restructuring efforts as uncertainty over Britain’s future mounts. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is attempting to reach an agreement on the Irish border, despite intractable positions on all sides that already tanked one border deal this week.

  5. North Korea, a Failed Impeachment and Executive Penalties

    Know This: North Korea said that U.S. threats, combined with America’s ongoing joint military drills with South Korea, make war on the peninsula “an established fact.” Rep. Al Green brought a resolution calling for President Trump’s impeachment to the House floor that was overwhelmingly squashed — although 58 Democrats voted in support of letting the motion continue. And Oliver Schmidt, a senior Volkswagen executive and German national, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a Detroit court for his role in concealing the pollution levels of around 600,000 diesel vehicles.

    Remember This Number: 8.6. That’s how many degrees Fahrenheit a new study predicts the Earth will warm between 2081 and 2100. Though scientists say these numbers aren’t a foregone conclusion, the study used climate change simulations that had best predicted current conditions — which also happened to be the most pessimistic.

    Talk to Us: What book got you back to reading? Send the title and a paragraph on why it had that effect to


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    ‘Time’ Picks ’Silence Breakers’ as Person of the Year

    They’ve earned it. Recognizing the wave of sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men in business, politics and media, Time picked the women and men of the #MeToo movement as Person of the Year for 2017. Calling movement leaders such as Ashley Judd and founding activist Tarana Burke the “silence breakers,” it praised them for paving the way by talking openly about sexual assault. President Trump, himself accused of sexual misconduct, was named the runner-up after tweeting last month that he had pre-emptively turned down the honor.

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    Starbucks Opens Massive Store in China

    It’s venti. Starbucks opens a new store every 15 hours in China, but yesterday Shanghai became home to the world’s largest location of the U.S. coffee company. At 30,000 square feet, it’s half the size of a football field and more than double that of Starbucks’ second biggest store in the company’s hometown of Seattle. The shop, which encourages customers to use an augmented reality app to unlock badges and facts, reflects the importance of the Chinese market — one investors hope can counterbalance stagnant growth in other countries.

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    This Western Disease Is Infiltrating Developing Countries

    You are what you eat. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has long been considered a North American and Western European ailment, with 1.3 percent of Americans suffering from the digestive malady. But now developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America are seeing more cases of IBD — and doctors aren’t sure what’s causing the shift, but say it could be exposure to new microbes associated with industrialization. Now these countries will have to focus medical infrastructure on the issue, which already costs Europe as much as $6.5 billion annually.

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    Saudi Prince Revealed as Mysterious Leonardo da Vinci Buyer

    He’s shown his true colors. Last month, the Renaissance master’s “Salvator Mundi” became the most expensive piece of art ever bought, auctioned for $450 million. Now the mysterious buyer has finally revealed himself: Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud. Art prices have been soaring as Asian and Middle Eastern museums look to snap up masterpieces. The painting, thought to be the last privately held Leonardo, will be displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, an outpost of the Paris institution, which opened last month.

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    NFL Commissioner Goodell Signs $200 Million Contract

    Five more years. Despite protests and a threatened lawsuit by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has reportedly signed a five-year extension worth $200 million. On the job since 2006, Goodell has presided over a league embroiled in controversies about player protests, concussions and punishments for off-field offenses. Nevertheless, the NFL’s compensation committee unanimously approved Goodell’s extension, which will reportedly give owners a more direct line to the commissioner — and control over the bonuses that make up about 85 percent of his planned paycheck.