The Presidential Daily Brief


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    U.S. Students Stage Nationwide Walkout Against Gun Violence

    One month after the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, FL, students across the United States walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. to protest gun violence. Chanting slogans and hoisting placards bearing messages such as “Never Again,” demonstrators observed moments of silence, decried the powerful National Rifle Association, and demanded lawmakers take tougher action on gun control. Tens of thousands of students are believed to have joined the walkout, which was planned to last 17 minutes in each location to honor the Parkland massacre’s 17 victims.

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    Groundbreaking Physicist Stephen Hawking Dies at 76

    “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe.” So said the Cambridge professor, who dedicated his life to the study of relativity and the cosmos. In his early 20s, the British physicist was diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live. But he survived for decades, making a series of radical scientific discoveries and penning the best-selling A Brief History of Time. Hawking — who once threw a party for time travelers, but said “no one came” — is survived by his three children.

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    UK Announces New Russian Sanctions Over Poisoning

    Time’s up. President Vladimir Putin had until midnight Tuesday to explain how a military-grade nerve agent manufactured in Russia came to be used in an attack on British soil that left a former Russian double agent and his daughter hospitalized. Instead, Moscow demanded access to case files before answering, and now U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has outlined retaliatory measures, including sanctions and the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. U.K. ministers will also be skipping the World Cup. Meanwhile, British police are investigating the unexplained death of Nikolai Glushkov, an exile in the U.K. and noted Putin critic.

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    Democrat Declares Victory in Pennsylvania House Race

    President Donald Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th District by nearly 20 points, but yesterday’s special election to replace disgraced Rep. Tim Murphy remains too close to call. Moderate Democrat Conor Lamb leads by 641 votes with one county’s absentee ballots still uncounted. He’s already declared victory over Republican Rick Saccone, telling supporters, “We did it!” If Lamb maintains his lead, Republicans will have to mount a legal challenge for a recount. The White House and the Trump family spent weeks campaigning furiously for Saccone, and his performance may have other Republicans nervous about November midterms.

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    Tillerson, Ousted as Secretary of State, Warns of ‘Troubling’ Russia

    Though the White House maintains that Rex Tillerson was told last week that he was being replaced, Tillerson’s team say they found out via President Trump’s Twitter feed yesterday — and Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein was subsequently fired for contradicting the administration’s version of events. Tillerson’s final statement to reporters warned of the work needed to rein in the “troubling behavior and actions” of the Russian government. Trump hopes to replace the former Exxon Mobile CEO with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who will need Senate confirmation.

  6. A Walkout, Waterboarding and Inclusion Riders

    Know This: U.S. students walked out of their classes for 17 minutes today to protest gun violence, in memory of the 17 people killed in last month’s school shooting in Florida. Gina Haspel, slated to be the first woman to lead the CIA if her boss is confirmed as Secretary of State, reportedly oversaw a secret prison in Thailand where detainees were tortured. And Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Paul Feig have all said they’ll adopt “inclusion riders” into their contracts — stipulations that specify the cast and crew of their films must be diverse.

    Read This: Today, March 14, is observed as Pi Day — an excuse for mathematicians and pie enthusiasts alike to celebrate.

    Fill This Out: Do you think you’re a bracket master? We here at OZY take our March Madness seriously, and this year we’re bringing everyone along for the ride, with some sweet prizes on the line. Join our group on Yahoo for your chance to Stump the Chump, our ace sports writer Matt Foley, and win two tickets to OZY Fest — the hottest event of the summer in New York City’s Central Park. Get your picks in by noon Eastern on Thursday to get in on the action.


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    Facebook Criticized for Role in Myanmar Violence

    As a leading source of information in Myanmar, the social media giant has “substantively contributed” to the conflict, according to U.N. officials. Facebook, used by 20 percent of the nation’s population, is a key conduit for ultra-nationalists pushing anti-Rohingya messages. State-sponsored violence against the minority group continues, and Facebook says it’s monitoring content and enforcing local user guidelines. But Myanmar isn’t the only country in the region plagued by social media manipulation: Sri Lanka sought to block several platforms this week, while India’s been facing internet-stoked violence.

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    United Airlines Apologizes After Dog Dies During Flight

    A family flying with their 10-month-old French bulldog in a TSA-approved carrier was forced — against the airline’s own policy — to put their pet in the overhead bin on a three-hour Houston-to-LaGuardia flight. It proved fatal for the puppy. Witnesses corroborated the story, and United offered apologies for the “tragic accident” and apparently offered to refund the family’s flight costs. United had more pet deaths on board in 2016 than any other airline, and the company’s promised to investigate this incident further.

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    Kids in Multigenerational Households More Likely to Succeed

    They’re raised right. Studies show economically challenged children who live with their extended family do better in school than their peers who live with just their parents. While close quarters can be frustrating, staying near family members provides youngsters with extra guidance and supervision — although it also depends on the personal dynamics that differ from family to family. Experts hope further research will shed more light on this trend as rising costs of living and homes where both parents work are expected to make such households more common.

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    Queen’s Paycheck Trails Husband’s in Netflix Series

    She is not amused. Ahead of the third season of The Crown, the show’s creators admitted Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip. The #MeToo movement has renewed discussion about the gender pay gap in the entertainment industry, but the creators pointed to Smith’s previous high-profile role on Doctor Who to justify the discrepancy. Both actors will be replaced in the coming season, and creative director Suzanne Mackie noted, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”

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    Vikings Sign Kirk Cousins to Fully Guaranteed Deal

    He just moved the goalposts. Likely hoping he’ll get them a shot at the Super Bowl, the Minnesota Vikings have reportedly signed Cousins — hardly the NFL’s most accomplished quarterback — to a contract that guarantees him a record $86 million over three years no matter how well he plays. That’s an unprecedented sweetener, and may wind up changing the game as other QBs, like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, could ask for similar deals. Even future free agents in other positions may start demanding their own fully guaranteed paychecks.