The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Brett Kavanaugh Addresses Senate Judicary Committee

    The Supreme Court nominee has begun his testimony on Capitol Hill, denying he assaulted Christine Blasey Ford or any woman, calling his confirmation process a “national disgrace.” Earlier in the chamber, Ford said she was 100 percent certain it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her. A third woman, Julie Swetnick, came forward Wednesday claiming she observed Kavanaugh in the 1980s spiking girls’ drinks at parties, and says she was raped at one such party. President Donald Trump characterized all of the allegations as “false” but said he would listen to the accusers.


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    Trump Accuses China of Election Interference

    “They do not want me or us to win.” So said President Trump during remarks at the U.N. Security Council meeting yesterday, alleging that China plans to influence November’s midterm elections. He did not provide evidence for the claim, and a Chinese representative at the U.N. denied the “unwarranted accusation.” Trump later tweeted photos of a China-backed anti-tariff insert in Iowa’s Des Moines Register, calling it “propaganda … made to look like news.” U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect this week.

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    Adultery No Longer a Crime in India

    Today India’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 158-year-old law that made it a crime for a man to have sex with a married woman without the consent of her husband. It’s unclear how many people had been charged under the colonial-era rule, which was challenged for discriminating against women and assuming they were the property of men. Chief Justice Dipak Misra said adultery could still be used as grounds for divorce. This month the Indian court also ended the criminalization of homosexual sex between consenting adults.

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    US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates Again

    The Fed raised its benchmark rate by a quarter of a point to 2-2.25 percent in the third increase this year and eighth since late 2015. Chairman Jerome Powell said the rate hike was appropriate due to a strong economy — a “particularly bright moment” — ending the era of “accommodative” monetary policy, although he also noted business concerns over the widening trade war with China. The central bank plans for another hike in December and three next year while forecasting at least three more years of growth for the American economy.

  5. Maldives, Thai Murders and Big Loans

    Know This: Security forces in the Maldives said they would uphold the results of Sunday’s presidential election after reports that ousted President Abdulla Yameen would challenge the poll. The murder of a wealthy Scottish businessman and his Thai wife found buried in their garden has been blamed on a family dispute. And Argentina will receive a loan of $57 billion from the International Monetary Fund — an increase of $7 billion from previously promised support. 

    Remember This Number: 383,000. That’s how many people are estimated to have died during five years of fighting in South Sudan’s civil war, according to a new report.

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    Online Sleuths Identify Novichok Suspect as Russian Officer

    Investigative website Bellingcat says Ruslan Boshirov, one of the suspects in the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, is actually Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated colonel in the Russian military intelligence agency. The report, which used leaked documents and open source methods, says that in 2014 Chepiga received the country’s highest award, the “Hero of Russia,” likely from President Vladimir Putin himself. Putin has claimed the suspect is a civilian. British authorities charged Boshirov and Alexander Petrov for the March poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

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    Google Faces Questions on China in Congressional Hearing

    Chief privacy officer Keith Enright was grilled by senators yesterday amid concerns over a potential search app for the Chinese market that would obey the country’s censors. Former Google research scientist Jack Poulson, who resigned in August over the plan — codenamed “Project Dragonfly” — described decision-making by Google’s leadership as “unethical and unaccountable” in a letter to senators this week. Meanwhile, human rights groups are calling on the company to drop the project, and hundreds of Google employees signed a letter saying it raised “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

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    Investors Find Opportunity in Argentina’s Economic Gloom

    They’re buying low. After recent panic in Argentina’s financial markets, investors are finding bargain prices for bonds and local currency –- and banking on an eventual recovery that will see those investments pay off. For now, the trading environment is rough: Liquidity has deteriorated and changing one’s portfolio isn’t as easy as it used to be. But with the government’s announcement of plans to squash its primary fiscal deficit by next year, and $57 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund, stable markets may be just around the corner.

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    Prince Given Honorary Degree From University of Minnesota

    The iconic musician and Minneapolis native was awarded a doctorate yesterday for his music, humanitarianism, philanthropy and “role in shaping the city.” The school had planned to give the award to Prince — who racked up seven Grammys, an Oscar and a Golden Globe among others accolades — before his death in 2016 at age 57. The ceremony included emotional renditions of Nothing Compares 2 U and Purple Rain. Meanwhile, Prince’s estate released the first posthumous album from his extensive archive, Piano and a Microphone 1983, just days prior.

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    Brewers, Cubs Clinch MLB Playoff Berths

    “Just enjoy the moment.” So said slugger Ryan Braun following Milwaukee’s 2-1 victory over St. Louis yesterday, which sent the Brewers to the postseason for the first time since 2011 — and just the fifth time in franchise history. They remain a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs, who topped the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday to ensure their fourth consecutive postseason. The NL Central contenders join the Braves, Red Sox, Indians and Astros, who have already secured their divisions, while the Rockies and Dodgers are still battling for the final divisional playoff berth.