The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. A man and a girl on the Caribbean island of Guadaloupe look at the ocean in the runup to Hurricane Maria, expected to arrive later today. Source: Getty

    Trump Rejects Puerto Rico Death Toll

    President Donald Trump has claimed that 3,000 people did not die in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria but that the Democrats made up the death toll to make him look “as bad as possible.” Despite evidence showing the number reached into the thousands, Trump tweeted his theory on Thursday, two days after he drew fierce criticism for claiming the government’s response was an “unsung success.” The official count of 64, long considered a vast underestimation, was changed after months of campaigning.

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    Hurricane Florence Weakens, But Remains Dangerous

    Although wind speeds have dropped to 110 miles per hour and the storm’s been downgraded to Category 2, forecasters warn that its wind field is widening. “This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast,” said one FEMA administrator. Still expected to make landfall early Friday, Florence could dump up to 40 inches of torrential rain Saturday and Sunday, potentially affecting as many as 10 million people through the Southeast. While predictions continue to vary, officials are urging residents to follow any evacuation orders and heed safety advice.

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    Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Jailing of Journalists

    Speaking at a World Economic Forum event in Hanoi, the embattled leader dismissed claims that Myanmar’s imprisonment of two Reuters reporters was an attack on free speech. Suu Kyi said Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were reporting on the military’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, “were not jailed for being journalists” but for violating a law against leaking state secrets. Held under house arrest herself for 15 years, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has drawn criticism over the trial and the alleged ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingya.

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    Five Killed in California Mass Shooting

    A gunman in Bakersfield, California, killed five people at a trucking business and a nearby home Wednesday afternoon before he carjacked a woman and eventually turned the gun on himself when he was confronted by police. While the shooter’s motive remains unclear, police believe it was an act of domestic violence because one of the victims was the man’s wife. “This is the new normal,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who said the investigation — in which at least 30 witnesses will be interviewed — could take days.

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    FDA Cracks Down on Youth Vaping ‘Epidemic’

    The five major e-cigarette companies that dominate the U.S. market have been told by the Food and Drug Administration that they must tackle vaping among minors or risk being banned from selling flavored products. In what the FDA called a “historic action,” it has given manufacturers 60 days to present plans to combat teen vaping, noting an “epidemic” of more than 2 million minors using e-cigarettes last year. Meanwhile, tobacco stocks jumped at the news, fueled by investor speculation that the federal government would rein in their competition.

  6. Migrant Children, Ancient Records and Afghan Designers

    Know This: An investigation by The New York Times has found that more migrant children remain detained in the U.S. than ever before. A Russian activist who disrupted a World Cup game is reportedly being treated for a suspected poisoning. Archaeologists in South Africa have discovered the oldest known human drawing. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to the Central African Republic: Check out the book that forced the country to confront its brutal colonial record.

    Listen to This: Relying on colorful fabrics and spicing up traditional patterns, fashion designers in Afghanistan are looking to give local women far more options than they’ve ever had.

    Baltimore, we’re coming for you! OZY will host a town hall in Baltimore on Monday, Oct. 8. Interested? Want to get involved? Email for more details!


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    EU Approves Controversial Internet Copyright Law

    The European Parliament has voted in favor of the Copyright Directive, a new law designed to protect creative industries — but which critics say could have a “catastrophic” effect on the internet. It would force companies like Google to pay publishers every time they link to a story, and require platforms like Facebook to proactively stop users from sharing unlicensed copyrighted material. Critics, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, say it amounts to widespread censorship. The law is expected to get final approval in January.

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    This Poor African Country Spends the Most on Weapons

    Waste not, want a lot. Despite having the world’s lowest per capita income, a paltry $2, the Central African Republic spent 10 percent of its total import bill on weapons, the world’s highest proportion. Mired in a brutal civil war, the government is snapping up all the arms it can while the international community, after failing at intervention, reluctantly accedes. Experts say CAR’s military import expenses are likely to grow thanks to new Russian weapons sales — even if it means scrimping on other needs, like education.

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    Marijuana Use Increasing Among Older Americans

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it. A recent analysis of national survey data shows that the number of middle-aged and older marijuana users is steadily increasing. Around 9 percent of Americans aged 50-64 used cannabis in 2015 and 2016, up from 7 percent in 2013, and users over the age of 65 more than doubled during that time. Nearly half of the older group also said they started using the drug after the age of 21. Experts say increasing access to medical marijuana has contributed to the trend.

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    CBS Executive Claims He Was Fired Over ‘Harsh’ Text Message

    Jeff Fager, former head of CBS News and longtime 60 Minutes producer, says the company fired him after he sent a “harsh” text to journalist Jericka Duncan, who’s covered the wave of sexual misconduct allegations against the company. “Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me,” he wrote, according to Duncan. The exchange followed a New Yorker report that Fager had inappropriately touched female colleagues at company events. Fager denied the allegations, as well as that his dismissal was linked to the article.

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    Red Sox Post First 100-Win Season in 72 Years

    For the fourth time in club history Boston has hit the century mark, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 at Fenway Park yesterday in the 146th game of the season – the fastest MLB team to post 100 wins since 2001. The last time the Red Sox reached that milestone was 1946, boosted by future Hall of Famer Ted Williams as he returned from military service, and in their first two 100-victory seasons they went on to win the World Series. The team’s just six victories away from breaking the 1912 franchise record.