The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. sinai peninsula egypt israel shutterstock 693726862

    Report Unveils Egypt and Israel’s Military Alliance

    It’s awkward. A New York Times investigation has found that Egypt has allowed over 100 Israeli airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula in an effort to weaken ISIS-allied militants. An outgrowth of the 2013 military ouster of Cairo’s elected Islamist government, the peninsula’s gunmen killed more than 300 worshippers at a Sufi Muslim mosque in November, but have backed away from attacking government targets after Israeli drones killed a number of commanders. Both governments deny cooperating, but the story is bound to upset an Egyptian population with an ingrained Israel animus.

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    ‘Wrong Track’ S. Carolina Amtrak Crash Kills Two, Hurts Scores

    An Amtrak train carrying 147 passengers collided with a parked, unstaffed CSX freight train early in South Carolina today, killing an engineer and conductor and injuring 116 aboard, according to authorities. Heading from New York to Miami, the passenger train, which Gov. Henry McMaster said appeared to be on the wrong track, crashed at 2:35 a.m. in Cayce, nine miles south of the state capital, Columbia, causing the lead locomotive and some passenger cars to derail. It’s the third fatal Amtrak accident since December, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

  3. Philadelphia Eagles helmet NFL shutterstock 306052748

    Backup QB Foles Leads Eagles to First Super Bowl Win

    Watch them fly. The Eagles shocked the Patriots 41-33 Sunday as Tom Brady’s playoff career-high 505 passing yards couldn’t stand up to Philly’s replacement quarterback. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles became the first ever QB to throw and receive touchdowns in the same championship game with a fourth-and-1 trick play. The teams combined for over 1,000 offensive yards, setting a new Super Bowl record. Now Doug Pederson’s Eagles bring the Lombardi Trophy home and Philly fans hit the streets to celebrate.

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    The Memo vs. the FBI

    “That’s it?” So reacted James Comey, the FBI director fired by President Donald Trump, to the memo Trump helped declassify Friday over the objections of Comey’s replacement and intelligence officials. Prepared by House Intelligence Committee staffers, it appears to assert, in Trump’s words, that bureau and Justice Department leaders and investigators “politicized the sacred investigative process.” Its key assertion is that investigators misled the court that approved a wiretap on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, which launched the Russiagate probe. But officials refute that, leaving many to ponder what all the continuing fuss is about.

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    Reports Say Portable Missile Downed Russian Jet in Syria

    It’s “the last revenge we can offer.” So declared the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front following its purported use of a shoulder-fired missile Saturday to down a Russian Su-25 warplane attacking the northwestern city of Saraqeb. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it launched a new airstrike after the pilot was killed on the ground, killing 30 militants. Such anti-aircraft missiles have been labeled “game changers” by nations opposed to the Damascus regime, but they’ve resisted supplying them for fear they’d target civilian aircraft.

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    The Koreas Load Their Starting Guns

    The snow’s being groomed, the rinks frozen and the missiles lined up. There has never been a Winter Olympics quite like the one that’s to begin with initial events Thursday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and opening ceremonies on Friday. If it weren’t for the U.S. assuring its athletes that they’re safe in the face of nuclear threats, it’s probable the media would be focusing on the 110,000 condoms being supplied to athletes. But this year, it’s two Koreas, North and South, marching as one — only a day after Pyongyang puts its ballistic arsenal on parade.

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    Feds Charge Las Vegas Shooter’s Ammo Supplier 

    They weren’t for deer hunting. Investigators found two armor-piercing bullets in the Las Vegas hotel room of Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people Oct. 1 firing through the room’s window. On them, they report finding fingerprints from Mesa, Arizona, ammunition dealer Douglas Haig, along with tool marks matching his workshop implements. Haig, who admits selling legal ammunition to Paddock while having no inkling of his intentions, appeared in federal court Friday, answering to unlicensed manufacture and sale of armor-piercing ammunition charges, and is due back in court Feb. 15.

  8. migrants in serbia shutterstock sized 314945243

    How the Mafia Exploits Italy’s Asylum System

    They’re easy prey. After braving the harrowing journey — feared Friday to have claimed 90 more lives —  from their troubled homelands, migrants land in fresh jeopardy when they arrive in coastal Italy. Anxious to escape squalid refugee centers, they’re often tricked into slavery or sex work by organized criminals. Those networks also intercept public money intended to help migrants. “They’re more profitable than drugs,” one alleged boss was caught saying on a wiretap that helped convict him. While some try to help migrants, fear of the syndicates is keeping many from getting involved.

  9. eu flags shutterstock 162128453

    Can Europe Step Up as the US Steps Down?

    They were tiring of that “special relationship” anyway. In President Trump’s State of the Union address, he suggested an America that was scaling back its international commitments in both aid and trade. This presents a long-sought opportunity for Europe to fill the power vacuum left behind. In some respects, it’s already happening; Europeans are still backing the Paris climate accord and other global pacts. One of the big tests the continent’s leaders will soon face, though, will be whether they’ll stand up to Trump on preserving the Iran nuclear deal.

  10. Financial Uncertainty, Turkish Setback and Ryan’s $1.50 Tweet

    The Week Ahead: On Monday, Jerome Powell becomes Federal Reserve chairman amid economic uncertainty after Wall street’s worst week in two years, with the Dow Jones index dropping 666 points on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this weekend continues his trip through Latin America, attempting to reassure trading partners and enlist support in dealing with Venezuela’s political upheaval. And on Thursday, Congress faces yet another partisan face-off with the latest deadline to pass this year’s federal budget.

    Know This: Seven Turkish soldiers were killed Saturday in Syria, the country’s deadliest day in its offensive against Kurdish-held areas. House Speaker Paul Ryan has deleted a much-derided tweet in which he touted a Pennsylvania school secretary’s $1.50 — weekly — pay increase. And the NFL’s youngest-ever coach, L.A. Rams’ Sean McVay, has won the Associated Press’s 2017 Coach of the Year award.

    Give Us the Scoop: What do you know and what do you want to discover? If you’ve got an idea for an awesome story, we’d love to hear it. Send your pitches to and our reporters and editors will run them down.


  1. uma thurman serious shutterstock 203759833

    Uma Thurman Finally Tells Her #MeToo Story

    They were a power trio: Star Uma Thurman, producer Harvey Weinstein and director Quentin Tarantino. Their symbiosis kindled Hollywood gold, with blockbusters Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and its sequel. But what Weinstein calls a “flirtatious and fun” collaboration got ugly in a London hotel room over a decade ago, Thurman has told the New York Times. Weinstein pushed her down, she alleges, “tried to shove himself on me,” but she squirmed away “like a lizard.” A Weinstein representative said the “awkward pass” was no assault, and Thurman’s accusations left the disgraced mogul “saddened and puzzled.”

  2. using facebook on a tablet shutterstock 516190801

    Facebook May Be Your Neediest ‘Friend’ Ever

    They never can say goodbye. This week, Facebook admitted — for the first time — that its users were not spending as much time posting, liking, frowning, LOLing or just lurking as they used to. So it lends some perspective on tactics the social network uses to entice (annoy, some argue) its increasingly casual members into being more active, and even get regular users to do more. Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg told investors Wednesday that Facebook’s new strategy is about quality, not quantity, but all those email reminders say otherwise.

  3. Hospital patient

    Making a Life-or-Death Distinction

    She’s a fact of life. After being declared brain dead, Jahi McMath, an Oakland, California, teenager, is kept alive with a ventilator and a feeding tube. Or is she deceased, as medical professionals have argued? Her case has put a spotlight on the entire concept of brain death. Doctors, the government, the media, philosophers and clerics have all weighed in. All while her family continues to care for her — her mother believes her soul remains as long as her heart beats — they watch and record the minutest signals that she’s still with them.

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    If Tether Fails, Crypto Traders May Lose Shirts

    What if cryptocurrencies’ safe haven was backed by thin air? Skeptics are asking to see the books of tether, a “stablecoin” that doesn’t fluctuate, thus facilitating, say, bitcoin trades without costly bank transactions. The Tether company says there’s a greenback banked for every tether, but won’t submit to audits. And tether releases have followed bitcoin drops, a sign they might be inflating bitcoin with new, valueless currency. U.S. regulators are seeking answers, and if the air isn’t cleared, the currency might drop and cause an e-bank run, shaking cryptocurrency confidence.

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    3D-Printed Limbs Bring Hope to the Developing World

    They’re snapping together solutions. Most of the 30 million people in developing countries who need orthotic devices have long been out of luck, but 3D printing is changing that. With international funding, researchers are pioneering ways to scan stumps and print prosthetic sockets and limbs that will fit patients better than anything else they’ve worn — for less than $200. It’s not a magic solution, especially since critics complain that low-cost printers being tested in Africa have produced ill-fitting components, but for millions of amputees, it’s a promising step forward.

  6. Football

    One Haitian’s Long Journey to Super Bowl LII

    He’s back. After being released four times by three teams — in one year — defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois is anxious to take the field with the New England Patriots Sunday. The 6-foot-3, 313-pound son of Haitian immigrants went to the championship in 2013 with the 49ers, traveled to Haiti to personally deliver hurricane aid and is currently building his own network of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises. It’s a story that sets him apart from other professional players — especially ones still waiting for their big day.