The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Second Woman Accuses Kavanaugh of Misconduct

    Senate Democrats are investigating a second claim of sexual misconduct by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, this time from a former Yale University classmate, Deborah Ramirez, who said Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself at a party during his freshman year in the early 1980s. A statement by the White House called the allegation a “smear, plain and simple,” while Kavanaugh denied the event. Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein called for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be postponed just as the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing for Thursday to hear Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony.

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    Kavanaugh Accuser Agrees to Testimony Deal

    On Saturday, Christine Blasey Ford reached a tentative agreement to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, which, if made formal today by the committee chairman, would put off his panel’s Monday vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. He also plans to testify that he did not, as Ford claims, hold her down and grope her at a 1980s high school party. Meanwhile, another woman said to have been at the party says she never met Kavanaugh, further clouding a controversy that’s soured public opinion on a no-longer certain confirmation.

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    Trump to Chair UN Security Council Meeting

    He’ll be armed. When the U.S. takes up the rotating chair of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, President Trump plans to personally wield the gavel, much to the trepidation of the world leaders who’ll be seated with him. In his first appearance at the meeting last year, he shocked his peers with a threat to “totally destroy” North Korea. This year, he plans to focus on Iran in the wake of his unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement — and this time, he controls the agenda.

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    Brexit’s Final Countdown

    In about 200 days, Britain is to leave the European Union. But since a deal on a post-separation trade and legal relationship between the two seems increasingly unlikely, some observers fear a chaotic breakup. It raises myriad thorny issues like Northern Ireland going without currently Irish-supplied electricity and a cutoff of diabetics’ EU-produced insulin supply. Amid such uncertainty, companies are preparing for the worst — even to the point of stockpiling medicine and nonperishable food. Meanwhile, commercial losses on both sides could reach nearly $300 billion, prompting fears that Brexit could also unleash civil unrest.

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    Taiwan Tries to Avoid China-U.S. Trade Crossfire

    President Trump’s trade war with China has his friends across the strait worried: After all, some Taiwanese-owned electronics manufacturers operate there. In response, Taiwan is preparing to provide incentives, like relaxing land-use regulations and expanding tax breaks, to lure its China-based companies back home. Although U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports will kick in shortly, analysts aren’t expecting a huge impact on Taiwan — yet. That is, unless the trade war begins targeting consumer electronic products, which are Taiwan’s bread and butter.

  6. Maldives Connection, Iran Accusations and China Fighter Flap

    The Week Ahead: Indian officials are worried that today’s Maldives election could boost China’s influence in the Indian Ocean. Comedic actor Bill Cosby’s sentencing proceeding will begin — and perhaps conclude — on Monday. And on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the eighth time since 2015.

    Know This: The Iranian government has accused Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain of providing refuge for members of a Sunni Muslim militant group that says it opened fire on a military parade in Iran Saturday, killing 25 people. China has canceled military talks with the U.S. in response to Washington’s new sanctions against Beijing over China’s purchase of fighter jets and a missile system from Russia. And the Trump administration has announced that it will begin citing use of public assistance as a reason to deny immigrants legal status

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    The Problem With Weight Is Ignorance

    For decades, popular thought concerning weight has barely shifted, despite research dating back to the 1960s showing that nearly all attempts to lose weight will fail, especially among women. Yet still, health care providers, the media, advertisers and popular culture insist the obesity crisis must be checked. Some observers believe the health care industry heaps blame, shame and misdiagnoses onto patients instead of helping. But while members of the heavy set are unlikely to shrink, they can become healthier — and happier — no matter what size clothing they wear.

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    Puerto Rico’s Tax Dodgers Are Living the High Life

    Thousands perished from last year’s hurricanes, and many more struggle to survive amid wrecked, impoverished lives. But for one class of residents, it’s canapés and bubbly all around: The not-quite-ultrarich have flocked to the U.S. territory since its 2012 law offering a tax haven to mainlanders. The catch? Establishing bona fide residency by severing all onshore ties. Although meant to spur development, the act has been stripped of key provisions, such as requiring transplants to buy property and hire local workers, leaving doubts that it will help the island’s economy.

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    Prostitution Under Fire in Nevada

    It’s a “disgusting, drug-ridden business” — when it’s illegal, says Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof. But in Lyon County, where he runs four bordellos, a midterm ballot measure could outlaw the trade. It’s been permitted since 1971, but the November initiative might just be the first crack in Nevada’s peculiar attraction, touted as boosting both tourism and tax revenues. Opponents say it enables assaults on workers, an accusation Hof’s faced himself. He denies the allegations, saying they’re aimed at derailing his state legislative campaign. Now both Hof and his industry await voters’ judgment.

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    How Christian Rock Became Eternal

    Though it has roots in the late 1960s, when rock and “Jesus freaks” crossed paths, Christian rock long languished on the periphery of both the music industry and the church. By the 2000s, it went mainstream, with God-loving — if not always “Christian” label-embracing — nu-metal bands like Evanescence and Creed blasting from secular radio stations and stages at some of the biggest rock festivals. That hasn’t gone away, but for churches trying to fill pews, religious hip-hop may be more likely to earn young fans’ blessings.

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    Who Pays for College Basketball Corruption?

    Starting in October, the first in a series of criminal trials will begin for cases involving bribery in college basketball recruiting. While Michigan high school hoops luminary Brian Bowen Jr. isn’t on trial, it seems that way: He’s essentially blacklisted from college ball after federal prosecutors said his family was offered $100,000 for him to attend the University of Louisville. Now he’s playing in Australia and wondering if he’ll ever get a second chance. Meanwhile, the NCAA recently surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue on the backs of players prohibited from earning a paycheck.