The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Florida Shooting Suspect Held Without Bond

    He’s been charged. Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, who allegedly stalked the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, yesterday shooting teachers and students with an AR-15, now faces 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bond. Before being expelled from the school last year, Cruz reportedly bragged about his gun and threatened classmates. President Donald Trump, who’s planning a visit to the area, cited “mental health” as a factor in the shooting — one of the ten deadliest in modern U.S. history.

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    Immigration Bills Fail in Senate

    Everyone loses. The Senate failed to approve two different immigration bills offering protection for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children while upping border security. Earlier, a group of senators had come to a deal they hoped could garner the necessary 60 votes: $25 billion for border protection over 10 years and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, said he’d veto any plan other than his own hardline option. With both now off the table, it seems the “Dreamers” are out of luck.

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    Ramaphosa Takes Over as President of South Africa

    Totsiens. After a lengthy struggle to retain power, Jacob Zuma submitted to his party’s formal resignation demand. In his first appearance yesterday, he remained defiant, calling the ANC’s decision to remove him after nine scandal-marked years as president “very unfair,” but reversed that position in a late-night televised statement, promising to resign immediately. Zuma’s facing hundreds of corruption charges and leaves the country with a declining economy. ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president by Parliament today, and will deliver a presidential address tomorrow to South Africa’s citizenry.

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    Stocks Continue Climbing Despite Inflation Bump

    Their interest is rising. Global stocks extended their rebound today, with the Stoxx Europe 600 and Asian markets, minus Chinese and South Korean exchanges closed for the Lunar New Year, enjoying a bounce upon opening. Yesterday data showed increased U.S. consumer prices and retail sales at an 11-month low, and the dollar has slipped in trading. But despite market fears of inflation causing an angst-ridden correction last week, it didn’t appear to impede today’s optimism and yesterday saw the Dow climb 1 percent, although a strong yen might discourage Tokyo traders.


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    Transgender Woman Breastfeeds in Medical First

    “This is a very big deal.” That’s how one expert described the three-and-a-half-month regimen — which included hormones and breast stimulation — that allowed a 30-year-old transgender woman to produce 8 ounces of milk per day. She sought out the treatment when her then-pregnant partner decided not to breastfeed. While doctors say they aren’t ready to recommend the treatment, as the components of the milk need to be analyzed and the amount was insufficient after the healthy baby was six weeks old, demand is expected to grow.

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    Germany Mulls Free Public Transport to Combat Pollution

    The air needs a lift. Facing the prospect of missing its 2020 emission goals, the famously car-crazy nation plans to roll out pilot programs for free public transit in five western cities by the end of the year. Questions about how municipal transport will fund itself without ticket sales have yet to be worked out. But a free transit scheme in Estonia found that increased ridership was largely from those who previously walked or couldn’t afford cars, suggesting that making driving more expensive might work better. 

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    Tanzania’s Female Mutilators Are Leaving the Practice

    It’s about time. A combination of social awareness and increased economic opportunities in Tanzania has seen the country’s ngaribas, those who perform traditional female genital mutilation, dropping the gig. The excruciatingly painful practice is illegal, but the traditional ceremony is still widespread, and remains a lucrative profession largely among older women. Some charities have launched skill-development programs aimed at finding new work for cutters — who often underwent mutilation themselves and don’t want to perpetuate it — which might eventually break the practice’s economic model entirely.

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    Ryan Murphy Shakes Up Industry With Huge Netflix Deal

    The money is streaming in. The Glee and American Horror Story producer has signed a five-year deal, worth as much as $300 million, to produce new series and films only for Netflix. Murphy follows superstar showrunner Shonda Rhimes, who last year inked a similar exclusive Netflix contract worth an estimated $100 million, in a trend that’s worrying traditional TV networks unable to match such massive deals. It’s a blow for 20th Century Fox TV, Murphy’s base for 15 years, though he’ll continue to work on existing shows there.

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    Jamaican Bobsled Coach Quits, Shaun White Apologizes

    And she’s taking her sled with her. German gold medalist Sandra Kiriasis has resigned as coach of the first Jamaican Olympic women’s bobsled team after she said a role change barred her from contact with her athletes. She claims she owns the team’s sled and wants reimbursement, though the Jamaican Bobsled Federation disagrees — possibly necessitating the team’s withdrawal before next week’s initial heats. Meanwhile, gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White apologized for referring to his 2017 sexual harassment settlement as “gossip,” while saying he’s got “big plans” for future competition.