The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Death Toll Rises to 13 Across Michael’s Path

    Florida authorities are busy responding to reports of missing residents in the storm’s aftermath as its death toll has climbed to 13 and is expected to rise. Now a tropical storm, Michael plowed across Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, where four people drowned. In Florida’s Panama City, one resident said, “It looks like an atomic bomb had hit our city.” It’s the strongest storm to reach the continental U.S. in a half-century, tearing apart houses, marinas and even an Air Force base. Damage estimates are in the billions.

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    Turkish Court Releases US Pastor

    Andrew Brunson was freed Friday as his three year sentence was suspended for time served. The Presbyterian pastor who had worked at the Izmir Resurrection Church and lived in Turkey for over 20 years, was jailed in 2016, charged with helping to plot a coup against President Recep Erdogan, charges he denied. The U.S. who has maintained Brunson was held unfairly, slapped sanctions on Turkey over the case causing the Turkish lira to crash in August, but Erdogan said he had no sway over it. The release is expected to relieve tensions between the two countries.

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    Washington Becomes 20th State to End Death Penalty

    The writing is on the wall. Washington state’s Supreme Court unanimously declared Thursday that capital punishment — which had already been put on hold by the state’s governor since 2014 — had been carried out in an “arbitrary and racially biased manner” that violated Washington’s Constitution. While the ruling didn’t declare capital punishment as a concept to be unconstitutional, legal scholars say it’s another inexorable step toward a wider abolition. Nineteen other states have suspended or banned death sentences, which have dropped 85 percent since the 1990s.

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    Asian Markets Stabilize After US Declines

    Markets across the world’s early time zones provided some relief for jittery investors, stabilizing and even climbing a bit, including a 2.1 percent rise in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and a 3 percent boost for Taiwan’s TWSE. It was a much rosier scenario than Thursday in New York, where the Dow dropped 546 points and added to the worst two-day losses in eight months. Investors fretted over rising interest rates as well as trade war concerns — eased by news that U.S. and Chinese leaders would meet next month.

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    Malaysia Releases Uighurs Despite China’s Request

    They won’t be re-educated — yet. Resisting Beijing’s call for their repatriation, prosecutors freed 11 ethnic Uighur Chinese citizens who escaped from a Thai prison and fled to Malaysia last year. Officials dropped immigration charges against the men on humanitarian grounds and allowed them to fly to Turkey. The move’s expected to further sour ties between China — which has accused Uighurs of radicalization and detained them en masse for “re-education” — and Malaysia, where Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has canceled $20 billion in projects previously awarded to Chinese firms.

  6. Fighter Grounding, Vote Suppression and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The Pentagon is grounding its entire fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft pending an investigation to determine why one of them crashed in South Carolina last month. Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ campaign is calling on her Republican opponent to resign as secretary of state following reports that his office is suppressing minority votes. Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York married her commoner boyfriend today in Windsor Castle. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to China: Find out why it takes five years to get into Hong Kong’s public housing.

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

    We need your video! OZY is launching a groundbreaking new TV series — and we’d love to include your voice. Record your thoughts on diversity in Hollywood, plastic surgery, playing the “race card,” your parents and voter turnout in a short vlog to


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    Prosecutors Drop Charge From Harvey Weinstein Accuser

    Manhattan’s district attorney has dismissed a charge stemming from allegations by Lucia Evans after a witness provided contradictory evidence. A friend of Evans, who met the mogul with her in 2004, said the actress later told her the sex act she performed on Weinstein was consensual in exchange for a movie role, though Evans was “upset, embarrassed and shaking” when she recounted the story. Evans also offered a conflicting account in a letter to her husband years later. Prosecutors said they’re “moving full steam ahead” with two other charges against Weinstein.

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    Same-Sex Mouse Couples Bear Children

    Researchers in China using stem cells and gene editing have produced offspring from two male mice, something that had previously only been done with two females. This doesn’t mean same-sex human couples can have biological children quite yet, however. While the two-mother offspring survived and were able to reproduce, the two-father pups lived for only 48 hours. But the breakthrough is a step toward same-sex human reproduction. In the opinion of one biologist, “I’m sure there are technologies coming and little twists that will make that possible.”

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    Journalist’s ‘Hit’ Prompts Business, Media Leaders to Snub Saudis

    Viacom, The New York Times, Richard Branson, Uber and The Economist are among entities that have dropped out of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh after the disappearance and suspected murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish officials have accused Saudi agents of killing Khashoggi after he entered the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate Oct. 2. An Economist editorial Thursday slammed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a crackdown on dissidents, which it said overshadowed progress in his country. Meanwhile, other event participants are also expected to withdraw.

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    Kanye West Visits Trump at White House

    The rapper went to Washington to discuss prison reform and urban revitalization, but in a rambling 10-minute speech lavishing praise on President Trump, the topics varied, from the misdiagnosis of West’s bipolar disorder to “male energy” to the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment. “You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it,” West explained while sporting a Make America Great Again hat that he said made him feel like Superman. Trump, who doesn’t often let anyone upstage him, said West “could very well be” a presidential candidate.

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    Nurmagomedov, McGregor Suspended for Brawl

    They can’t stop talking about this fight club. The Nevada Athletic Commission will bench the fighters for the melee following Saturday’s UFC 229 lightweight title fight. Winner Khabib Nurmagomedov hasn’t received his full match payout and threatened to leave the UFC if it fires Russian teammate Zubaira Tukhugov, who had a fight canceled for punching Conor McGregor during the brawl. “You can keep my money,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing.” The commission will decide the length of the suspensions at an Oct. 24 hearing.