The Presidential Daily Brief


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    White House Infrastructure Plan Relies on Local Funding

    Is this a bridge too far? President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal, unveiled today, centers on the federal government providing just $200 billion to fix American roads and bridges, with states and towns making up the difference. The plan also proposes a streamlined permitting process to expedite projects. It’s likely to face significant hurdles moving through a polarized Congress, with Democrats requesting more federal dollars. Administration officials said the plan is “the start of a negotiation” and is open to change and debate.

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    Passenger Plane Crash Kills 71 in Russia

    They’ve found the flight recorder. Rescuers on foot are combing through wreckage of a Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148, which was carrying 65 passengers and six crew from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. According to officials, none survived. After disappearing from radar shortly after takeoff Sunday, the plane crashed about 50 miles from Moscow, near the town of Argunovo, where witnesses reported seeing the aircraft descending on fire. It’s unclear what brought the jet down, but authorities say technical failure, weather conditions and human error are all considered possible causes.

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    South Africa’s ANC Debates Asking Zuma to Step Down

    His future is in their hands. The ANC’s National Executive Committee is meeting today to decide the fate of President Jacob Zuma, 75, who’s been in office for nearly a decade and faces hundreds of corruption charges. Zuma’s already been replaced as party leader by rival Cyril Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman. Analysts say if the committee asks him to resign, as it’s expected to, Zuma will find it difficult to refuse. Either way, the ANC, which has held power for 24 years, anticipates a struggle in next year’s elections.

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    Stocks Bounce Back After Brutal Week

    It was a shock to the financial system. But while last week’s sudden global stock market drops — including two of the biggest single-day plunges in years — rattled investors, many say the storm appears to have passed. Today’s trading has already seen Asian and European markets rise. While equity indexes are still down, indicating traders’ fear of more volatility, others are calling the drop a “technical correction” for over-optimism in markets. New U.S. consumer price data is expected Wednesday, and some worry that it could trigger further bumpy rides.

  5. ICE, Domestic Violence and a Tricky Jump

    Know This: With U.S. immigration officials newly free to pursue undocumented immigrants, arrests of those with no criminal record have more than doubled. President Trump caused controversy Saturday when he tweeted lamenting that a “mere allegation” could ruin a career — after last week’s resignation of a top aide who was accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives. And former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has won a $5 million prize for African leadership, the first woman to do so.

    Watch This: Figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel jump in the Olympics, and only the third woman ever to do so.

    DJ for Us: We’re creating a playlist of songs for singles this Valentine’s Day. Let us know what you’d like to see added to the list by emailing


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    OxyContin Maker Will Stop Advertising to Doctors

    Just what the spin doctor ordered. Purdue, the company behind the highly addictive medication, will stop marketing OxyContin to doctors as of today, after cutting its sales force by half. The company has been blamed for contributing to the opioid epidemic, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016, after heavily pushing its painkiller to physicians. Purdue has also been sued by several states claiming it downplayed the drug’s addictiveness. While some experts call the move “a step in the right direction,” others doubt it will have much effect on the crisis.

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    In Djibouti, Urbanization and Poverty Go Hand in Hand

    It doesn’t add up. Even though 77 percent of its 940,000 citizens live in cities — 1 percent more than Germany — Djibouti is still deeply impoverished, posting a gross national income that’s merely one-fortieth of Europe’s economic powerhouse. Experts blame a combination of political corruption and environmental factors, like rocky, arid land that doesn’t lend itself to agriculture. But despite the country’s poverty, Djibouti is located on a crucial artery of global trade, putting it at the center of international efforts to fight piracy and terrorism.

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    Russia, Estonia Swap Spies in Cold War-Style Handoff

    One in, one out. At a snowy outpost straddling the Russian-Estonian border, the two countries traded convicted spies last weekend in a scene reminiscent of decades past. Artem Zinchenko, a Russian operative held by Estonia for two years, was exchanged for Estonian businessman Raivo Susi, who’d been detained by Moscow for nearly as long. The two men, both of whom received presidential pardons, were the latest pawns in an ongoing geopolitical tussle between the Kremlin and Estonia, a NATO ally and a traditional target for Russian espionage.

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    Weinstein Company Sale on Hold After Lawsuit

    It’s damaged goods. New York’s attorney general has sued the disgraced movie mogul’s former company, citing civil rights violations and forcing a pause in its $500 million sale. The suit, which also names Harvey and his brother, Bob, alleges the company enabled a culture of “pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination.” The attorney general’s office also questioned whether a proposed victims’ fund would be adequate. Maria Contreras-Sweet, who leads the group of potential buyers, claims to be planning a largely female-led studio to replace the company.

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    Olympics Cyberattack Confirmed, US Wins First Luge Medal

    He’s a luger, baby. American Chris Mazdzer won his country its first-ever medal in men’s singles luge, scoring a silver, while Norway currently leads the medal count with eight. Meanwhile, Olympic officials confirmed a cyberattack during the opening ceremonies that impacted television and internet access — though they haven’t named the culprit. And despite some breathless media coverage of Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, during her Pyeongchang visit, many opined that those celebrating her as a “charmer” are glossing over her role in a repressive regime.