The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Reports: Saudi Arabia to Admit Khashoggi Killing

    As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh today, several outlets are reporting the Saudi government could admit to inadvertently killing dissident journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi this month at its consulate in Istanbul. Sources suggest an explanation that absolves the Saudi leadership — such as that Khashoggi was killed during a botched interrogation — is likely. That would also align with President Donald Trump’s recent public speculation that “rogue killers” were to blame for the Washington Post columnist’s death.

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    Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Dies at 65

    The computing pioneer and philanthropist, who also owned the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, died yesterday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After co-founding Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, Allen — who scored a perfect 1600 on his SATs — helped launch the age of personal computing before championing a range of other ventures, including music, the arts, brain science and artificial intelligence. In a statement, Gates said he was “heartbroken” by the death of one of his “oldest and dearest friends.”

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    Australia May Move Israel Embassy to Jerusalem

    Follow the leader. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he’s “open to” following the U.S. by moving Australia’s diplomatic presence in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While maintaining his commitment to the two-state solution, the evangelical Christian — who said his faith has “nothing to do” with the potential decision — nevertheless added that the process “hasn’t been going that well.” Morrison’s predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, had earlier ruled out the controversial move, which would go against international consensus but earn praise from Israel.

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    Elizabeth Warren Proves Native American Ancestry

    After years of President Trump tauntingly referring to her as “Pocahontas” and disputing her claim of Native American heritage, the Massachusetts senator — and suspected 2020 presidential candidate — released a DNA analysis yesterday showing she likely had a Native American ancestor at least six generations ago. In July, Trump promised to donate $1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if a test proved her heritage, but yesterday said he’d only pay if he could “test her personally.” Warren retorted that Trump should release his tax returns, tweeting: “Tick-tock, Mr President.”

  5. Stormy Daniels, the Koreas and Rembrandt

    Know This: A federal judge has dismissed a defamation claim by adult film star Stormy Daniels against President Trump. North and South Korea have held their first formal talks over demilitarizing the border. And five days after Hurricane Michael hit Florida’s Panhandle, families were still searching for their missing loved ones.

    Read This: The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will offer art lovers an opportunity to watch experts restore The Night Watch by Rembrandt — considered one of the world’s most impressive paintings — in real time.

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    UK Targets Loneliness With Official Strategy

    Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May outlined a long-term plan to combat social isolation amid growing evidence that it’s linked to early death. In addition to boosting research funding and tailoring social policy to better address loneliness, officials will also introduce “social prescribing” by 2023 — in which doctors will refer isolated patients to group activities, such as cooking or dance classes. Polls show 20 percent of British citizens say they’re lonely most of the time, and 200,000 older people haven’t spoken with a friend or relative in more than a month.

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    Asia-Pacific’s Cyberwars Are Intensifying

    They’re checking their connections. Following a deluge of cyberattacks across the region blamed on China — partially the result of a 2015 deal with the U.S. to step back from cyberespionage in North America — Asia-Pacific countries are developing offensive strategies to counter the growing threat. Experts say the number of nations with network-disrupting capabilities has risen from four to at least 14. That mirrors recent policy changes in the West, from the White House’s authorization of “offensive cyber operations” against adversaries to the imminent launch of a British cyberwarfare unit.

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    Global Warming Could Double the Cost of Beer

    Examining the world’s barley-growing areas, where extreme droughts and heat waves are expected to become more common, researchers determined that global beer consumption could decline by as much as 16 percent as average prices double by 2100. The experts, who incorporated an economic activity model in their research, believe farmers will increasingly feed their barley to livestock during extreme weather events, rather than sell it to brewers. Meanwhile, industry experts say brewers are planning for the future by shifting to hardier barley strains and more temperate growing regions.

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    Small Businesses Dent Music Industry Profits

    According to a new Nielsen study, artists and labels lose $2.65 billion annually because stores, cafes and public venues stream music through platforms like Spotify or Apple Music instead of obtaining commercial-use licenses. The study, commissioned by licensing service Soundtrack Your Brand, found that only 17 percent of small businesses have licenses and that most business owners incorrectly believe streaming music from personal accounts doesn’t violate copyright laws. The study also found that 86 percent of them would be willing to pay for music, but need to be educated on copyright rules.

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    Floyd Mayweather Answers Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Challenge

    “Get the checkbook out!” That’s how the legendary boxer responded yesterday to the UFC lightweight champion’s challenge following Nurmagomedov’s victory this month over Conor McGregor. “In the jungle, there’s only one king,” Nurmagomedov said in a video posted to Instagram over the weekend, in which he stood next to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. Should Mayweather accept the Dagestani fighter’s challenge, it would be the boxer’s second bout against a UFC superstar: Last year he defeated McGregor by 10th-round TKO in the second-biggest pay-per-view event in history.