The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Five Dead in Shooting at Maryland Newspaper

    A gunman invaded the Capital Gazette in Annapolis yesterday, killing five people before being taken into custody. The newspaper staff was defiant: “We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” one reporter tweeted. And the daily Capital came out this morning, even as reporters grieved their fallen colleagues. Police say the crime was premeditated and that suspect Jarrod Ramos had previously filed lawsuits against the paper for covering a case in which he pleaded guilty to harassing a former classmate. Ramos was identified via facial recognition after refusing to give his name.

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    EU Reaches Migration Compromise After All-Night Talks

    It came down to the wire. Italy and Greece refused to back down from demands that other European countries take their fair share of migrants arriving on the Continent’s southern coast. After lengthy negotiations, EU leaders agreed to create new centers to process and resettle refugees — and to send back those without a valid claim to asylum. Though migration to Europe has dropped 96 percent since its October 2015 peak, populist politicians in Germany and Italy have begun to demand more restrictions, putting German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership in jeopardy.

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    Deutsche Bank Fails Federal Reserve Stress Test

    The German lender was the only bank to outright fail its second test, which evaluates specific weaknesses in financial institutions with major U.S. operations. While the Fed called out “material weaknesses” in its planning, Deutsche Bank said the result won’t affect capital actions. Meanwhile, The New York Times noted that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son headed the bank’s real estate business during a time when it was the only lender willing to work with President Donald Trump, calling into question the relationship between the two families and the timing of Kennedy’s retirement.

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    Australia Passes Foreign Interference Laws

    The Australian Senate passed two laws yesterday strictly regulating agents of foreign governments, including requiring lobbyists for overseas powers to identify themselves on a public register. Providing intelligence to foreign nations and interfering in Australia’s democratic processes were both criminalized, and penalties for espionage were increased. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulll announced the crackdown in December, saying he’d received “disturbing reports about Chinese influence,” though he maintains the new laws aren’t aimed at any one country. His government is expected to pass bans on foreign political donations later this year.

  5. Identity Theft, Data Privacy and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: A senior lawyer for ICE has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing the identities of detainees to run up more than $190,000 in credit card debt. California just passed a strict data privacy law over the objections of Silicon Valley. Ed Sheeran has been sued for allegedly ripping off “Let’s Get It On.” And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Libya: Find out how the country’s cigarette importation craze may be funding its civil war.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    Watch This: Tune in tonight to PBS for Breaking Big, OZY’s latest TV show exploring the secret sauce behind successful people. Host Carlos Watson sits down with Danai Gurira to find out how she broke through, and broke big.


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    Most Americans Think Social Media Censors Political Views

    A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 72 percent of Americans across the political spectrum believe companies like Facebook and Twitter are suppressing political views on their platforms. Republicans are overwhelmingly more convinced, with 85 percent believing their views are being censored, versus 62 percent of Democrats. And just over half of Americans think tech companies need more regulation. The survey reveals that while conservatives tend to be most concerned that social media sites could be biased against them, liberals are more concerned about possible electoral interference.

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    Amazon Buys Online Pharmacy, Sending Drugstore Stocks Diving

    Market share is a heck of a drug. Traditional pharmacies have long feared that Amazon would get into the medication game — and now it has, paying a reported $1 billion for online retailer PillPack. The Boston-based startup, which has an estimated 40,000 subscribers, delivers prescriptions and refills to customers’ houses. Shares in Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid fell at the news, losing a collective $12.8 billion in value, as Amazon’s anticipated intrusion onto their turf became reality. The deal is expected to be finalized later this year.

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    Russian Landfills at Risk of Overflowing

    Time’s wasting away. Officials are worried about Russia’s ability to cope with 33 billion tons of waste, putting the health of 17 million people at risk. In several areas, waste sites are overfilled to a “catastrophic” level, with one lawmaker claiming they will “imminently face a garbage collapse.” Authorities have shuttered more than 10,000 illegal landfills over the last two years, although many more remain. The government is expected to overhaul official waste-handling procedures next year, and President Vladimir Putin has promised to build 200 “cutting-edge” garbage plants by 2024.

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    Science Fiction Writer Harlan Ellison Dies at 84

    The groundbreaking writer died in his sleep Thursday, sparking an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow authors. The Cleveland native wrote hundreds of short stories, including “A Boy and His Dog” and “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” which won Hugo and Nebula awards, and he penned episodes of The Outer Limits and Star Trek. Controversial and abrasive, Ellison regularly sued studios and directors he believed had plagiarized his work, including James Cameron for The Terminator. He also edited 1967’s Dangerous Visions, a hugely influential classic of New Wave science fiction.

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    South Korean Soccer Players Face Military Service

    Many South Korean athletes of the past, from Olympic medalists to the 2002 World Cup team, were exempted from their country’s mandatory two years of military service. But despite their impressive win against defending champion Germany, this year’s team wasn’t so lucky. Some feel the team is being punished for not reaching the second round, noting the potentially significant impact on players’ careers. South Korean fans have launched a petition arguing that the players “gave us so much hope and their talent should not be wasted in the military.”