The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Van Driver Shoots Self After Killing Two in Germany

    The driver of a van crashed into a crowd of people in the northwestern city of Münster Saturday, killing two people before fatally shooting himself in what was described as a deliberate attack. It occurred near a restaurant in the city’s old town, injuring dozens of people, several critically. Photos on social media showed tables and chairs strewn about after the attack. It resembled the December 2016 truck terror attack at a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, but Saturday’s driver reportedly was mentally disturbed and had no Islamist ties.

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    Trump Blames Putin, Iran After Syrian Gas Attack Report

    President Donald Trump launched a rare Twitter tirade blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with Iran and the Syrian government, after rescuers reported scores of deaths in an apparent Saturday chemical attack near Damascus. The Syrian government dismissed as “farcical” the reports from Douma, where state media reported that rebel group Jaish al-Islam today agreed to evacuate its positions in exchange for prisoners. Trump warned there’d be a “big price to pay” for the “atrocity” that killed women and children, urging, “Open area immediately for medical help and verification.” 

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    Patrick Reed Wins Masters

    It was close. The 28-year-old American finished his fifth competition at the Augusta National just one stroke ahead of Rickie Fowler and two ahead of Jordan Spieth to get his first green jacket. He’ll also get $1.98 million in prize money. But although Reed won, Spieth wowed. He had the crowds roaring with almost the greatest comeback in tournament history after starting the last round trailing by nine shots. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods didn’t end up as a contender after early talks of his own comeback although he said “things are progressing” after his loss.

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    Unleashed Trump Returns to Familiar Territory on Immigration

    “They’re rapists.” That seminal Donald Trump stump sound bite characterizing illegal immigrants sparked outrage in 2015, but it’s returned last week as the president’s latest touchstone. Referring to a “caravan” of Central Americans moving through Mexico, Trump claimed Thursday that its women are “raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.” Media fact-checkers could find no evidence of this. Meanwhile, Texas’ and Arizona’s Republican governors obliged Trump’s directive to send National Guard troops to the Mexican border, but under U.S. law they could have refused, as California’s Democratic governor may do.

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    Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to Washington

    It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. A year ago, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was widely suspected of nurturing a presidential bid. Instead, he’s being summoned to Washington to testify Tuesday before a joint session of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, then Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Legislators want to know how Facebook allowed 87 million users’ data to be obtained and exploited by Cambridge Analytica to sway voters. That’s stripped billions from the social network’s value, while making Zuckerberg’s answers this week all the more critical.

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    Has Iran Brought Israel and Saudi Arabia Together?

    After a succession struggle, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is now a heartbeat from ruling Saudi Arabia. Along with economic reforms to wean the kingdom from oil, he’s waging a diplomatic offensive against regional rival Iran while battling it by proxy in Yemen. He’s also reportedly tried to remove Lebanon’s prime minister for being soft on Tehran-backed Hezbollah. The imperative to confront Persian influence is so strong, it seems, that the prince and his nation are close to doing what was recently unthinkable: Recognizing Israel’s claims to Jerusalem and marginalizing Palestinian aspirations.

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    As Baltimore Raged, Another Cop Drama Erupted

    As Charm City became an example of how ruthless policing could rend society after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, detectives in the city’s rural exurbs discovered something else. They’d tracked a suspected drug dealer and found a Baltimore Police Department GPS device on the target’s SUV, and then realized cops had ransacked his house, stealing cash. Thus began a federal case that resulted in convictions of seven members of the BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force, who are yet to be sentenced, new investigations of other police and perhaps thousands of compromised cases.

  8. American Summit, Trump Tower Fire and Hungarian Election

    The Week Ahead: On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office plans to release its budget and economic projections amid increasing federal deficits. The NBA’s last regular season games will be played Wednesday. And on Friday, President Trump’s set to attend the Summit of the Americas in Peru during his first Latin American trip.

    Know This: A Saturday fire that killed a man in New York’s Trump Tower has revived discussion of the city’s 1990s effort to mandate sprinklers — which Donald Trump opposed and the burned area doesn’t have. Hungarians gave right-wing anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban a third consecutive term in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. An Army helicopter crash in Kentucky Saturday killed two soldiers.  And former President Luiz Inácio da Silva ended a standoff with Brazilian authorities by surrendering Saturday to begin serving a 12-year corruption sentence.

    Get up to Speed: Is a new era dawning in the Middle East? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who’s said he recognizes Israel’s right to its own land. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


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    Why AI Can’t Mimic Infant Learning

    For generations, parents and scientists have tried to facilitate infant learning with an endless stream of words and stories. But research on early development shows that such bombardment can be counterproductive. With that in mind, speech expert Deb Roy and roboticist Rupal Patel recorded their infant son’s every word in an attempt to teach robots to learn the way babies do. But humanity and emotion complicate development so much that Patel’s observations prompted him to abandon artificial intelligence to explore the more compelling — and seemingly inimitable — human capacity to learn.

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    Cambodian Women Are Getting a Safe Space to Grow

    They’re living the dream. Rural Cambodian women now have a chance to study, thanks to female-only accommodations in Phnom Penh. Female students have had difficulty leaving home because of parents’ well-founded safety concerns, but the trend is easing those worries while freeing students from traditional roles. Outside of class, the girls live and study in dormitories and practice yoga in the “hall of inspirational women leaders,” with Marie Curie and Mother Teresa looking on. There’s a huge demand for these living spaces, so more NGO-funded housing is in the works.

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    When Twitter Sides With Trolls

    With usage up by 12 percent year over year and the company finally posting a profit in February, one might think Twitter is doing better than ever. Not if you ask some of its users: They’ve taken issue with what critics say is the platform’s sluggish response to troublemakers posting incendiary content, who in some cases even win Twitter’s backing when they complain about being trolled themselves by hate-flagging bots. But that’s apparently the price of unbridled digital freedom — and many are wondering if there’s a way back.

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    ‘Roseanne’ Tries to Bring America Together

    Is comedy the only hope for humanity? That’s what Roseanne Barr once declared, and maybe she’ll prove it with the March revival of her eponymous hit 1990s sitcom. But unlike a lot of left-leaning Hollywood types, the pugnaciously lowbrow protagonist and her creator voted for Donald Trump. That’s sparked cries of “normalizing” Trumpism from some lefties, countered by other progressives hailing the show for highlighting the nation’s personal divisions, like the one between Roseanne and her “Nasty Woman” shirt-wearing sister, Jackie. If it succeeds, the show might demonstrate that intolerance won’t cure itself.

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    Can Tiger Golf His Way Out of the Woods?

    More than two decades since he conquered his sport, Tiger Woods is struggling to substantiate his comeback at his first Masters Tournament bid since 2015. He’s gone from young phenomenon, “Black”-in-spite-of-being-multiracial lightning rod and golfing god to fallen, imperfect has-been. With huge highs and lows, including chronic pain, an arrest and four green jackets, Woods has always had haters along with die-hard fans. As the tournament concludes Sunday, the 42-year-old athlete is likely to juice TV ratings — even if he doesn’t make par.