The Presidential Daily Brief


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    ‘Shape of Water’ Leads Oscar Hopefuls WIth 13 Nominations

    The academy jumped right in. Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale, which won him a Golden Globe earlier this year, garnered the most nominations, followed by Dunkirk with eight nods. Fan favorite Get Out nabbed nominations for best picture, best director and best actor, while Rachel Morrison became the first woman ever nominated for best cinematography for her work in MudboundCall Me By Your Name, The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri also scored multiple big nominations each. The winners will be announced March 4, in a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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    Sessions Questioned in Mueller Probe

    He was in the hot seat. Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice say Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation last March, is believed to be the first Cabinet member questioned in Mueller’s inquiry — as well as a potentially strong witness, considering his earlier unreported contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and his role in President Donald Trump’s controversial dismissal of ex-FBI chief James Comey.

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    Kentucky School Shooting Kills Two, Wounds 12

    “It’s indescribable.” That’s what one witness said of a 15-year-old boy’s handgun assault on his Kentucky high school this morning. It killed a boy and a girl, both 15, and wounded a dozen others. Police have arrested the alleged shooter, charging him with murder and attempted murder in the 7:57 a.m. attack at Marshall County High School in the western part of the state, with the shooter appearing to fire at students indiscriminately, said Gov. Matt Bevin. As authorities investigate the motive, legislators in Washington are again asking why children can obtain such weapons.

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    Shutdown Ends With Promises to Debate Immigration

    “Nobody trusts anybody around here.” So said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham before the Senate voted on yesterday’s spending bill to end the three-day government shutdown. But trust played a hand: Enough Democrats believed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to address policy toward “dreamers” — immigrants brought to America illegally as children — that they passed the bill, later signed by President Donald Trump, which funds the government through Feb. 8. That incensed some activists, who worried that the left had given up its leverage without any guarantees to protect immigrants.

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    Central Japan Hit by Volcanic Eruption, Avalanche

    Look out below. Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, less than 100 miles from Tokyo, erupted today, raining rocks and ash down the mountain. It’s not clear if that’s what triggered a subsequent avalanche, which trapped several skiers — including military personnel conducting a training exercise. One of the soldiers died, and at least 12 other people were injured, some seriously. Authorities have warned people to avoid the mountain. Meanwhile, scores of skiers are trapped at a gondola station, with rescuers considering a snowmobile operation but hampered by snow and ash on the slopes.

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    Pennsylvania Court Rejects Gerrymandered Electoral Map

    They’re breaking borders. The Keystone State’s Republican-controlled legislature redrew its congressional districts in 2011, creating bizarrely shaped pockets that opponents say were designed to allow conservatives to retain control. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court agreed: In a 5-2 decision yesterday, judges ordered legislators to redraw the map over the next three weeks. That could aid Democrats in picking up House seats in November. Republicans say they’ll request U.S. Supreme Court intervention to delay the “impossible” task, though legal experts note that federal authorities don’t have jurisdiction over state law.

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    Trump Slaps Tariffs on Washing Machines, Solar Panels

    It’ll all come out in the wash. Import charges are normally decided by apolitical trade negotiators, but President Trump has employed seldom-used “safeguard” tariffs to levy steep charges on foreign-made washing machines and solar technology at the request of several American manufacturers. Environmentalists and much of the solar industry protested, arguing that higher prices will discourage adoption of solar power and cost American jobs. As Trump attends the World Economic Forum at Davos this week, the tariffs will send a strong message about his attitude toward a globalized economy.


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    New Study Says Cleaning Air Might Raise Temperatures

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. New research predicts that cleaning up air pollution might actually raise global temperatures, because aerosols in the atmosphere help cool the climate. The Norwegian study suggests pollution has masked to a degree — literally — the impact of global warming, and eliminating major aerosols, which can help reflect sunlight away from the Earth, could increase the planet’s temperature by 0.5 to 1.1 degrees Celsius. As places like Asia work to curb air pollution, it’s likely aerosols will continue to decline.

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    Financial Companies Are Going After Tech Sector Talent

    Wall Street’s looking west. With fintech competitors on a mission to disrupt traditional financial institutions, giants like Citi and Deutsche Bank are raiding Silicon Valley for potential hires, poaching experts in artificial intelligence, machine learning and distributed ledger technology. But adaptation is key: Convincing tech workers to switch sides often means accepting looser dress codes and more relaxed working environments — while keeping the big salaries. That could mean banking’s culture as a whole might change for the better, or at least become more forward-looking.

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    Global Billionaires Boom as Income Inequality Grows

    Brother, can you spare a dime? A new report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam International reveals the world is now home to 2,043 billionaires — more than ever before — who could end extreme poverty seven times over if they wanted. In America, the three wealthiest men are richer than the bottom half of the country. Oxfam experts call such a wealth gap a “symptom of a failing economic system,” and say governments need to improve worker protections while limiting shareholder returns and taxation policies that only benefit the wealthy.

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    ‘Wonder Woman 2’ to Debut New PGA Anti-Harassment Code

    She’s conquering evil everywhere. The superhero sequel will officially be the first film to adopt new standards from the Producers Guild of America aimed at fighting sexual harassment and misconduct in Hollywood. The guidelines, which include anti-harassment training and protocols for documenting and reporting incidents, were ratified last week and mentioned at the Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday. Production hasn’t begun on Wonder Woman 2, which is expected to open in late 2019, but star Gal Gadot confirmed that accused harasser Brett Ratner will not be involved.

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    Jason Kidd Fired as Coach of Milwaukee Bucks

    They aren’t kidding. General manager Jon Horst fired the former All-Star point guard yesterday, citing concerns that the Bucks — who’d dropped to eighth place in the East — might not reach their preseason goal of winning the first round of NBA playoffs. Kidd was 139-152 in three and a half years in Milwaukee, with two brief playoff appearances. Potential MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo reportedly offered to fight for his coach — according to Kidd himself, who may be hoping the young star’s loyalty will aid his job search.