The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Indicted

    A federal grand jury has charged Robert Bowers, 46, with 44 counts, including hate crimes. According to authorities, Bowers opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday, killing 11 and wounding six. The indictment says while inside the synagogue Bowers made statements about his desire to “kill Jews.” Jailed without bail, a hearing will take place Thursday and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, although the decision on capital cases will ultimately be left to the Attorney General. Victims’ funerals began Tuesday drawing hundreds.

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    Turkey: Jamal Khashoggi Was Strangled, Dismembered

    A Turkish prosecutor said in a statement Wednesday that as part of  “plans made in advance,” the Washington Post columnist was choked to death as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, after which he was “dismembered and destroyed.” It comes just as Saudi prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb left after two days of meetings with his Turkish counterpart. Turkey says that a 15-man Saudi hit-team killed Khashoggi but Turkish authorities have not yet released the audio – key evidence – of what happened inside.

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    Cold Welcome for Trump in Pittsburgh

    Against the request of some residents and local officials — and amid protests over his “divisive” rhetoric — President Donald Trump visited a grieving Pittsburgh yesterday as funerals began for the 11 people murdered inside the Tree of Life synagogue Saturday. The family of at least one victim refused to meet Trump following his comments that the massacre could have been avoided if an armed guard were posted at the synagogue. The district’s Democratic congressman, Rep. Mike Doyle, said the community “didn’t think this was a time for a political photo shoot.”

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    Pakistan Court Overturns Blasphemy Death Sentence

    In a landmark ruling, the country’s top court has ordered the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother on death row since 2010 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Accused by co-workers and prosecuted based on limited evidence, the former farm laborer has spent most of her imprisonment in solitary confinement. “I can’t believe what I am hearing,” she reportedly said. Although judges reached a verdict three weeks ago, they delayed their announcement amid death threats from conservative campaigners. More protests are expected upon Bibi’s release.

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    Notorious Gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger Found Dead in Prison

    The 89-year-old former leader of South Boston’s Winter Hill Gang was reportedly beaten to death by fellow inmates yesterday, the day after being moved to West Virginia’s Hazelton penitentiary. Captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run, Bulger — a former FBI informant as well as a regular presence on the agency’s “Most Wanted” list — was handed two consecutive life sentences in 2013 for murder, money laundering and extortion. His life inspired numerous films, including Martin Scorsese’s 2006 feature The Departed.

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    Mark Zuckerberg Charts Cautious Future for Facebook

    After third-quarter revenue totaling $13.73 billion — slightly lower than anticipated — analysts say Facebook’s CEO sought to temper expectations in his Tuesday call with investors. Highlighting video, messaging and 24-hour stories as key priorities, Zuckerberg conceded all three face monetization challenges: “It will take some time for our business to catch up to our community growth,” he said. Still, the results were reportedly well-received among previously jittery backers. Zuckerberg also said Facebook is still at least one year away from combating misinformation “at the level we want.”

  7. Wreckage, Plots and Homework Problems

    Know This: Indonesian officials say divers may have found the fuselage of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed Monday with 189 people aboard. The FBI has been asked to probe an alleged plot to raise sexual misconduct accusations against special counsel Robert Mueller. And NASA’s Kepler space telescope has powered down after nearly a decade hunting for planets.

    Read This: Amid the push to embrace technology-based education in U.S. schools, a new report has found the strategy leaves behind children from low-income families who lack the resources to complete digital assignments.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented business reporter and editor to anchor our globally minded finance coverage, based in either Silicon Valley or New York. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.

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    The UK’s Gender Pay Gap Is Closing

    According to an annual survey by the Office for National Statistics, the difference in pay between British men and women is now at a record low of 8.6 percent for full-time employees — down from 17 percent in 1997. Most of the improvement can be chalked up to workers in their twenties and thirties, who see a disparity of less than 1.5 percent. But little has changed for their older counterparts: The pay gap still hovers at 12.8 percent for people in their forties and 15.5 percent for those in their fifties.

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    Ben & Jerry’s Releases Anti-Trump Flavor

    Can you taste it? Fighting what it calls President Trump’s “regressive and discriminatory policies,” the Vermont ice cream company revealed its new Pecan Resist yesterday. The limited edition flavor features chocolate ice cream, fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts and fudge-covered almonds. Ben & Jerry’s, long known for its social activism, also announced it would donate $25,000 each to four groups promoting racial equality, environmental consciousness and women’s rights. But some are wondering if the move can do much to raise awareness in a market already packed with political messaging.

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    Study: Quitting Pot Improves Teens’ Cognition, Memory

    A study published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that participants’ cognitive abilities improved in just one week when they stopped consuming marijuana. Of 88 regular cannabis users aged 16 to 25, those who abstained for the month-long study clocked higher scores on memory tests — though there was little difference in attention scores. Researchers were particularly concerned with studying young people because they reported that marijuana most affects areas of the brain that are “very critical to cognitive functioning,” and which are still developing in young adulthood.

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    Kanye West Backpedals on Political Commentary

    “My eyes are now wide open.” So tweeted the rapper yesterday while announcing his plans to distance himself from politics. West has been increasingly vocal in his support for President Trump, whom he recently met at the White House, and he made a long pro-Trump speech while sporting a Make America Great Again hat after his Saturday Night Live appearance. Now West claims he was “used to spread messages” he doesn’t believe in. He voiced support for prison reforms, common-sense gun legislation and “love and compassion for people seeking asylum.”

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    Aaron Hernandez Used Synthetic Marijuana Before Suicide

    A Boston Globe investigation revealed that the former Patriots tight end, jailed in 2013 for murder, was heavily using K2 before hanging himself in 2017. According to another inmate, Hernandez spent his last two days smoking the synthetic cannabinoid — popular because it’s difficult to detect, though also known to cause psychosis — and “wasn’t in the right frame of mind.” His body was found surrounded by religious writing, with “3:16” written across his forehead in blood. The information about Hernandez’s drug use was reportedly withheld from his family and lawyers.