The Presidential Daily Brief


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    EPA Expected to Repeal Fuel Efficiency Rules

    This could fuel a backlash. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce a reversal of Obama-era fuel efficiency and automotive emissions regulations in what they say will end burdensome rules for corporations. That could create a clash with California, which has sworn to stick with the stricter guidelines, and with a group of 12 states that have traditionally followed its environmental lead. Two sets of emissions standards could effectively create two U.S. auto markets. EPA head Scott Pruitt reportedly hasn’t finalized the proposal, which will be delivered Tuesday.

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    Trump Says US Will Withdraw Troops From Syria ‘Very Soon’

    “Let the other people take care of it now.” That’s what President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters in Ohio yesterday, just hours after the Pentagon recommended a continued U.S. presence in Syria. American troops have stood alongside the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces for years. In recent months those forces have faced attacks from Turkey, which Secretary of Defense James Mattis said is hampering the fight against ISIS. Meanwhile, France has offered to mediate between the Kurds and Turkey, though Ankara immediately dismissed the offer.

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    Russia to Expel 150 Diplomats, Close US Consulate

    The game of tit for tat between Russia and a coalition of Western countries escalated once again yesterday with an announcement that the Kremlin will expel scores of diplomats, including 60 Americans. Russia will also close its U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg. Earlier this week, 27 countries agreed to expel more than 150 Russian diplomatic personnel in retaliation for the Kremlin’s suspected nerve gas attack on Sergei Skripal, a former double agent living in Britain. Skripal is still in critical condition, though his daughter, also poisoned, is reportedly improving.

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    Under Armour Reports Massive Data Breach

    Their security wasn’t up to the workout. The fitness company says usernames, emails and passwords of up to 150 million users of its MyFitnessPal app were stolen by hackers in February, though Under Armour claims it’s only known about the breach for four days. The company is encouraging all users to change their passwords immediately. Analysts say that compared to past data hacks like that of Equifax, the company’s response is an improvement: Consumers were told in a timely fashion and the stolen passwords are protected by encryption.


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    Scientists Discover Mechanics Behind Knuckle Cracking

    They’ve cracked the case. After more than six decades of research, scientists might finally have an answer to what causes that popping sound when people crack their knuckles. When medical imaging wasn’t accurate enough, researchers turned to mathematical modeling, which suggested the sound is the partial collapse of microscopic bubbles in joint fluid — and the only factor that impacts the level of sound is the force applied to the knuckle. Now physiologists hope the research could give insight into how healthy joints function, and aid with preserving their mobility.

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    Fox News Host Loses Advertisers After Attacking Student

    Right-wing radio and TV host Laura Ingraham mocked an 18-year-old school shooting survivor via Twitter, writing, “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it.” Hogg, who’s become a gun control activist since the Parkland massacre, called for his followers to contact her advertisers, and several, including Hulu, TripAdvisor, Johnson & Johnson and Nestle, have since abandoned her show. Ingraham apologized yesterday, and Hogg responded: “I will only accept your apology … if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends.”

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    CDC: Synthetic Drugs Driving Opioid Epidemic

    As America’s opioid crisis continues to rage, an analysis of CDC data from 2016 shows synthetic opioids like fentanyl — which can be 50 times stronger than heroin — were to blame for nearly 31 percent of that year’s 63,632 total fatal overdoses. From 2015 to 2016, death rates from synthetic drugs doubled in 10 states, and Washington, D.C., saw an increase of 392 percent. Meanwhile, President Trump’s plan to combat the epidemic by allowing the death penalty for dealers is meeting some resistance as anti-drug legislation advances through Congress.

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    ‘Ren and Stimpy’ Creator Accused of Preying on Teens

    Two women have come forward to say that John Kricfalusi, the creator of cult cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show, groomed them as teenagers, offering them jobs and then sexually harassing them. Robyn Byrd, now 37, says she sent a tape of herself to Kricfalusi at 13, after which he cultivated a relationship with her and later hired her. Another woman shared a similar story. Kricfalusi, who’s widely celebrated as a pioneer in animation, has denied any abuse while admitting that he once had a 16-year-old girlfriend.

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    Australian Cricket Coach Resigns Over Ball Tampering Scandal

    It wasn’t cricket. Darren Lehmann stepped down yesterday in a tearful press conference after some of his players tampered with a cricket ball during a match with South Africa in what’s been dubbed “Sandpapergate.” Lehmann’s been cleared of wrongdoing — national team members, including captain Steve Smith, apparently acted without his knowledge — but he accepted responsibility for the team’s “culture.” The scandal has been a blow to a sport that’s cultivated a gentlemanly reputation. Now Australia will search for another coach as the players involved wait out their suspensions.