The Presidential Daily Brief


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    North Korean Leader Meets With Chinese President

    State media from both countries confirmed the visit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un after footage showed the arrival of a distinctive green North Korean train used for state visits rolling into Beijing. It was Kim’s first known visit to another country since taking power in 2011. He reportedly pledged to denuclearize and called for a “new era” in bilateral relations betweens China and North Korea. The visit comes ahead of Kim’s planned meetings with South Korean leaders next month and with President Trump in May.

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    US Census to Reinstate Citizenship Question

    It may get harder to stand up and be counted. The Census Bureau has until the end of the month to finalize the wording of the 2020 survey, and it has just announced that it will include a question about citizenship status, which was dropped from the questionnaire 18 years ago. Many warn that this may deter noncitizens from responding to the census, which could lead to undercounting people in urban — often Democratic — areas. Since census numbers help determine electoral maps, that could help Republicans seeking to gerrymander state legislative districts.

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    Trump Expels 60 Russians Over UK Attack

    In response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil earlier this month, the White House yesterday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats based in Washington and New York, as well as the closure of Russia’s consulate in Seattle. Twenty-two other countries also expelled scores of Russian diplomats in solidarity with the U.K., condemning what’s suspected to have been a Kremlin-sanctioned assassination attempt on a former double agent. It’s the most sweeping expulsion in three decades, and will likely boost tensions between Moscow and Washington.

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    Arizona Governor Suspends Autonomous Uber Testing

    After a Tempe pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber last week, Gov. Doug Ducey informed the company that Arizona will no longer host its driverless car pilot program, calling video of the accident “disturbing.” The turnaround from Ducey, who previously welcomed autonomous car testing, could mark a shift against the technology, even in low-regulation states. Uber had already suspended the program and promised to cooperate with investigators. Meanwhile, rival Waymo is still testing its own self-driving cars and plans to launch autonomous ride-sharing in Phoenix this year.


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    Student in Brown v. Board of Education Case Dies at 75

    Linda Brown, the 9-year-old schoolgirl from Topeka, Kansas, whose father’s attempt to enroll her at an all-white school in 1951 led to the landmark Supreme Court case, died Sunday afternoon. Teaming up with the NAACP and a dozen other plaintiffs, Brown’s father Oliver sued the Topeka Board of Education in a legal move that eventually dismantled racial segregation in U.S. schools in 1954. “I am very proud that this happened to me and my family,” Brown said 19 years after the ruling.

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    East Africa Experiments With Different Kinds of Justice

    These “get out of jail” cards aren’t free. Countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are increasingly using community service instead of jail time for smaller crimes in an effort to relieve overcrowded prisons and reduce costs. That means low-level offenders may be picking up brooms to lend a hand instead of languishing in a cell. The countries hope that noncustodial sentences will be safer, cheaper and give back to the community. Now they just need to convince justice-craving citizens that community service is the right path.

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    Massive Sahara Sandstorm Reaches Europe

    It’s a red dawn. Particles of sand from North Africa have mixed with snow in Eastern Europe to turn a ski resort near Sochi, Russia, into a surreal Mars-scape. The red and orange snow is the result of storm clouds catching Saharan sand in the atmosphere. Last year, U.K. skies took on a reddish hue after Hurricane Ophelia brought in atmospheric dirt. Satellite images from NASA show desert dust drifting from the Sahara across the Mediterranean, and its colorful effects have also been seen in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine this week.

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    Netflix Faces Challenges Over Global Content

    They’re playing to the crowd. With more than half of subscribers now based outside the U.S., the popular streaming service increasingly has to consider non-English-speakers’ interests and preferences. Research on the quality of subtitles and voice-overs uncovered some odd quirks: For example, Polish viewers prefer lektoring, where one man reads all the dialogue aloud in a monotone, to dubbing. Meanwhile, Netflix suffered a blow in its quest for industry legitimacy: Its films have been barred from competing in May’s Cannes Film Festival, though two were allowed last year.

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    Larry Nassar’s Former Michigan State Boss Arrested

    Former MSU dean William Strampel has been taken into custody on multiple charges, including at least one felony. For years he supervised Nassar, the disgraced USA Olympic gymnastics team doctor accused of sexually abusing hundreds of girls — and now serving 60 years for child pornography charges. Strampel resigned as dean in December but continued as a professor, though MSU’s president has begun the process of stripping his tenure. An attorney representing Nassar’s victims said Strampel’s arrest is a sign that MSU is dealing with the “systemic misconduct” that enabled the abuse.