The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Woman Safe From Hostage-Taking in Cologne

    A hostage taken at a pharmacy in the German city’s central railway station – one of the country’s biggest transport hubs – by a male assailant, is receiving medical treatment for minor injuries with the situation now under control. The hostage-taker sustained more serious injuries as reports state shots were fired and an explosion heard. The station was evacuated Monday morning as the event took place, authorities advise against speculating about the motive while reports describe at least two bystanders on fire or experiencing burns during the hostage-taking or around the area.

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    Pompeo to Meet Saudi King on Case of Missing Journalist

    President Donald Trump said Monday he had spoken with King Salman about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, and that he’ll be sending the Secretary of State to meet with him “immediately.” Salman has allegedly told Trump he doesn’t know what happened to Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime who disappeared after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday Oct. 5.  The Turkish government believes he has been murdered. Meanwhile, Salman has ordered an investigation into the matter amid ongoing international outcry.


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    On ‘60 Minutes,’ Trump Talks Putin Poisonings, ‘Democrat’ Mattis

    In a wide-ranging interview with Lesley Stahl, President Donald Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably” involved with assassinations and poisonings. He said he believes Russia meddled in 2016’s presidential election but pointed to China — which he might hit with further tariffs — as the larger threat. Trump also conceded the climate is changing, but perhaps naturally and claimed it would “change back again.” And in the latest executive branch shake-up foreshadowing, Trump called Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “sort of a Democrat,” saying he might leave soon.

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    Saudi Arabia Bristles at Sanctions Talk Over Khashoggi Affair

    A Riyadh official told state media the kingdom would “respond with a larger action” to any sanctions over the Oct. 2 disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkey believes Saudi agents killed and dismembered the Washington Post columnist inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Now members of U.S. Congress are vowing that if President Trump — who’s promised to punish Riyadh if Khashoggi’s murder is proven — doesn’t act, they will. Meanwhile, Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke yesterday and discussed a possible joint investigation.

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    Brexit Talks Stall on Eve of EU Summit

    As European leaders prepare for talks starting Wednesday, optimism is souring over negotiations on Britain’s departure from the bloc, which both sides had hoped to resolve before the meeting. The European Union is reportedly considering ways to avoid the economic calamity that many predict will follow the U.K. “crashing out” without prior arrangements on trade and other matters essential to neighborly coexistence. Once again the sticking point is preventing a “hard” physical border between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

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    Sears, Once the Retail King, Files for Bankruptcy

    Where America shops. That motto was true for millions of baby boomers for whom Sears was the go-to place to buy just about anything, and its catalog was the midcentury Amazon. But in recent decades, it’s been taken down first by big-box stores like Wal-Mart and then by online retailers. Hedge fund manager Edward Lampert is stepping down as chief executive, and now the company’s hope of getting through one more holiday season is Chapter 11 — protection from creditors — and a new $300 million loan.

  7. Wrong General, Deadly Flooding and a Fine Point

    Know This: NBC is under fire for tweeting that President Trump praised Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee when he was actually praising Union Gen. Ulysses Grant. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc suffered a crushing defeat Sunday in Bavarian state elections. Flooding brought on by heavy rains has killed six people in southwestern France. And Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting a baby in spring 2019.

    Watch This: “It doesn’t matter. We won.” — President Trump during his 60 Minutes interview, which aired yesterday, referring to his treatment of Christine Blasey Ford after her accusations of sexual assault against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    We need your video! OZY is launching a groundbreaking new TV series — and we’d love to include your voice. Record your thoughts on the economy, President Donald Trump, insulting the American flag, policing, modern love or foreign policy in a short vlog, and send it to


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    Oscar Romero, Pope Paul VI Become Saints

    Like Jesus, they were “radical.” That’s how Pope Francis characterized seven people he elevated to sainthood yesterday. The pontiff wore the bloodstained belt of dissident Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, murdered by right-wing gunmen as he celebrated Mass in 1980 in a pivotal moment in El Salvador’s civil war. Also canonized were Pope Paul VI, who championed service to the poor, and five others from the 18th and 19th centuries. All, Francis said, “put today’s word into practice … with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind.”

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    Stephen Hawking Predicted ‘Superhumans’ Could Replace Us

    In his posthumous book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, due out tomorrow, the physicist predicted that advancements in genetic engineering to enhance memory, disease resistance, intelligence and longevity will ultimately be too tempting to resist, even if they’re banned. Hawking said “a race of self-designing beings … improving at an ever-increasing rate” could cause significant problems with “unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete” and would likely die off. He predicted gene-editing CRISPR technology will eventually let those new superhumans “spread out and colonize other planets.”

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    Smile! Border Security Bots Are Reading Your Face

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection has rolled out facial biometric technology to spot suspicious travelers at points of entry. The tools reduce immigration lines, but at what cost? Machine learning tools predicting human behavior have been found to be racially biased, and privacy advocates worry about government collection and storage of traveler data. Then there’s the risk that actual threats could game the system. But polls show Americans are just as worried about terrorism as they were after 9/11, so privacy and fairness may not survive the screening process.

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    Activists Defy Israeli Court’s Fine Over Canceled Lorde Show

    Two New Zealanders were ordered to pay over $7,000 for causing mental harm to teenage Israeli ticket-holders over a canceled concert. Activists Justine Sachs, who’s Jewish, and Nadia Abu-Shanab, who’s Palestinian, wrote to the Royals singer, convincing her to call off a Tel Aviv show. It’s the first use of an Israeli law that allows civil penalties against anyone advocating boycotts or divestments against the Jewish state. Sachs and Abu-Shanab have refused to pay and instead have raised over $13,000 for the Gaza Mental Health Foundation.

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    Report Details Aaron Hernandez’s Childhood Abuse, Secrets

    An extensive Boston Globe investigation describes the late New England Patriots tight end as “a man who lived a life of secrets.” It details how Hernandez was “beaten and brutalized” by his father, and suffered sexual abuse as a child by an unnamed perpetrator. It also reveals that he struggled with his sexual orientation and had a relationship with a high school teammate. Hernandez, who suffered from severe CTE, hanged himself in prison last year while serving life for killing a friend — days after being acquitted of two other murders.