The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Two Koreas to March Together During Olympics

    Two can play at these games. For the first time in over a decade, North and South Korea will parade together under a single “unification” flag at next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and will even field a joint women’s ice hockey team. The fruit of ongoing talks between the fierce rivals, the agreement marks a significant step toward rapprochement after months of heightened tensions — though it could dent U.S. attempts to pressure Pyongyang. It’s unclear how many athletes the North will send, but the country’s confirmed a 230-member cheerleading delegation.

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    Scores Die in Kazakh Bus Fire

    Only five passengers escaped. When a bus caught fire in the remote Aktobe region of Kazakhstan, 50 passengers and two drivers are believed to have perished in the resulting inferno. No details have been released about the cause of the fire — or indeed about the destination of the bus, which Kazakh officials say was carrying Uzbek migrant workers on the way to or from Russia, where they often find work in construction. Local authorities have established a hotline for family members to get more information.

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    China, Russia Top US Defense Agenda

    It’s a clash of the titans. The Pentagon’s updated military strategy, its first new approach in four years, will be more aggressive toward both Russia and China, promising to focus on new weaponry developed by superpowered rivals — and how the U.S. can counter it. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly called for the creation of independent root servers based in BRICS countries, which would ostensibly allow Russia to develop its own internet — and reduce what Putin sees as U.S. and CIA influence over the existing web.

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    Apple to Repatriate Funds to US, Pay One-Time Tax

    America’s getting a bigger piece of Apple pie. Recent changes to the tax code mean that the world’s most valuable company will only have to make a one-time $38 billion tax payment on overseas cash holdings. President Donald Trump took credit for the decision on Twitter as Apple promised another $30 billion in American investment and 20,000 potential new jobs as it establishes another campus and data centers around the country. The repatriation doesn’t affect the $15.9 billion Apple’s been ordered to pay Ireland in back taxes.

  5. Shutdown, Antelope and a Haunted Ranch

    Know This: The House of Representatives is hoping to pass a short-term spending bill today to avoid a government shutdown tomorrow. Humanitarian groups say U.S. border patrol agents routinely destroy water supplies left in the desert, leaving migrants to die of thirst. And experts believe environmental factors triggered a mass die-off of 200,000 antelope in central Asia.

    Read This: Athletes and mental health advisors are advocating for Karolyi ranch, the national training center for U.S. gymnasts, to be closed to avoid top gymnasts having to return to a site where they were sexually abused by the team doctor.

    Talk to Us: What is your tried and trusted home remedy for a stuffy nose? What passed-down family recipe do you mix up when someone is suffering from a stomachache? What’s your favorite cupboard concoction to smooth on sore muscles? It’s cold and flu season, folks, and OZY is looking at traditional home remedies from countries around the world. Let us know your best home approaches to aches and pains at for a chance to be featured in the series.


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    Presidential Physical Spawns ‘Girther’ Movement

    He’s gotta carry that weight. This week President Trump’s doctor announced that his health is “excellent,” claiming the 6-foot-3 chief executive weighs a svelte 239 pounds. Online “girthers” — inspired by Trump’s “birther” conspiracy about his predecessor — compared unflattering shots of the president with athletes of comparable measurements, like Angels All-Star Mike Trout (6’2”, 235) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (6’4”, 230). Some called the report “fake news,” noting that just one more pound would put Trump’s BMI in the obese category, but others argued that political differences are no excuse for fat-shaming.

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    Apple, Google Shuttles Targeted in Highway Attacks

    Someone’s taking the low road. Private shuttle buses for Silicon Valley tech employees have long been symbols of economic inequality in the Bay Area. While they’ve often been targeted by anti-gentrification protesters, it appears things have escalated: Five buses, four run by Apple and one by Google, had their windows broken by unknown objects, possibly rocks or pellet guns, while commuting on Highway 280 Tuesday. No one was injured, but investigators warned that projectiles could distract drivers and cause a crash. Buses have been rerouted to avoid further attacks.

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    Houseflies Are Sniffing Out Dangerous Food

    Something is rotten in the state of Uganda. As the country’s economy sags, people are buying meat less often — and a recent sample found 95 of 125 butchers in Kampala were smearing toxic chemicals on their meat to make it last longer. But those chemicals can cause poisoning or even cancer if consumed, so Ugandans have turned to a low-tech solution: houseflies. If they’re hovering over meat, experts say, that means it hasn’t been treated with formalin. Authorities are also arresting butchers in a bid to stop the trend.

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    ‘Fire and Fury’ Headed to Small Screen

    Binge-worthy or cringe-worthy? Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House will get a TV adaptation after being bought by Endeavor Content. There are no actors, writers or network yet attached to the project, but Wolff has signed on as executive producer. The book, which President Trump attempted to block — and which contributed to the political downfall of Steve Bannon — is currently the best-selling book of any genre worldwide. Other Trump-themed TV in the works includes the animated Showtime series Our Cartoon President.

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    Gay Olympian Says Pence Shouldn’t Lead Delegation

    He thinks it’s bad form. Adam Rippon, believed to be the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympian, criticized the White House’s selection of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. delegation. “The same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” asked the 2016 U.S. men’s figure skating champion — though Pence’s team denies that claim. President Obama included several openly gay athletes in the delegation to Sochi in 2014, flaunting Russia’s crackdown on LGBT rights. Rippon said he would decline a White House invitation, but he won’t protest during the games.