The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Promises Border Troop Increase Ahead of Midterms

    “Nobody’s coming in.” So said President Donald Trump yesterday, declaring he’d send up to 15,000 troops, a dramatic increase from the 5,200 announced Monday, to stop a migrant caravan at the Mexican border. The American Civil Liberties Union called the move a “racist ploy,” while Pentagon officials were reportedly caught by surprise. Trump also affirmed his plans to end birthright citizenship via an executive order, which some observers saw as a steep escalation of rhetoric days before crucial midterms. Meanwhile, the caravan is nearly a thousand miles away from the border.

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    Report: Sexual Violence Rampant in North Korea

    International advocacy group Human Rights Watch released a report yesterday accusing North Korean officials, police and soldiers of routine sexual violence against women. The 86-page paper was compiled over two years from interviews with 54 defectors who fled since 2011 — the year Kim Jong Un became leader. Victims said the abuse is so normalized that women rarely report it: North Korea’s crime statistics show single-digit rape convictions each year. Meanwhile, the U.S. and South Korea have avoided the issue of the regime’s rights abuses during recent diplomatic talks.

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    Turkey Says Jamal Khashoggi Was Strangled

    In the country’s first official statement providing details of the murder, Turkey’s top prosecutor said yesterday that the Washington Post columnist was strangled to death soon after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The announcement comes after meetings between Turkish and Saudi prosecutors ended with “no concrete results.” Yesterday, a Saudi official said the kingdom, which has arrested 18 suspects so far, hadn’t concluded if Khashoggi’s death was premeditated. Turkey claims to have audio evidence of the murder, which it shared with the CIA, but the recording has not been made public.

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    Google Employees Plan Walkout Over Sexual Misconduct

    Organizers expect more than 1,500 workers in nearly two dozen offices to walk off the job today to protest Google’s lenient treatment of executives accused of harassment and abuse. The “Walkout For Real Change” comes after a New York Times report detailed Android software creator Andy Rubin’s $90 million severance package despite “credible” accusations of sexual misconduct. It also named former director Richard DeVaul, who resigned from Google’s “X″ lab Tuesday without severance. CEO Sundar Pichai said employees “will have the support they need” if they participate in the walkout.

  5. Black Box, Synagogue Attack Charges and Weinstein Accusations

    Know This: Indonesian divers have recovered the black box from the Lion Air flight that crashed into the sea Monday, killing all 189 aboard. The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Robert Bowers, was charged yesterday with 44 counts, including murder and hate crimes, which could bring the death penalty. And Harvey Weinstein was accused in a civil court filing yesterday of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Polish model in 2002.

    Remember This Number: 70 percent. That’s how much of the world’s last remaining wilderness is held by five countries — Russia, Canada, Australia, Brazil and the U.S. — according to a new report in the journal Nature.

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    Study: Oceans Warming Much Faster Than Estimated

    A report published in Nature yesterday shows that the world’s oceans absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously estimated between 1991 and 2016, indicating the planet is warming faster than scientists realized. For each year of the last quarter-century, oceans have taken in 150 times the amount of energy humans produce as electricity. But earlier attempts to measure the ocean’s temperature relied on an “imperfect ocean dataset,” according to researchers. An October U.N. climate report called for “rapid and unprecedented” changes to mitigate the risk of catastrophic environmental damage.

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    Elon Musk: Tesla Cars Will Find Their Own Parking Spaces

    The Tesla CEO announced on Twitter yesterday that the new tech would let an electric vehicle navigate a parking lot, identify a space and park using a “slightly smarter version” of its current Autopark feature, which enables parallel or perpendicular parking without human guidance. Musk said the feature is due to launch next year, though the company did not elaborate on its plans. A Securities and Exchange Commission settlement requiring Musk to get preapproval for Tesla-related social media messages doesn’t take effect until later this year.

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    South Asia Is Becoming More Democratic

    No longer is India the region’s sole beacon for free and fair elections. In the past eight months, several South Asian nations saw elections with a rare common outcome: The incumbent was defeated. Pakistan and Nepal elected new prime ministers, Bhutan’s ruling party was soundly beaten, and an opposition candidate won against an increasingly authoritarian regime in the Maldives. And all of this came without military coups or crackdowns by civilian dictatorships. Although difficulties remain, deepening democratic roots — like increasing voter turnout for women in Pakistan — mean democracy won’t be easily rolled back.

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    Rumors Swirl Around Megyn Kelly’s NBC Exit

    After a tabloid report yesterday claimed the host asked for $10 million to sign a confidentiality agreement on top of her $23 million contract payout, Kelly’s attorney has requested NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke be brought in for negotiations. He said NBC News has an obligation to correct the “completely false and irresponsible reports.” Meanwhile, Kelly, whose show was canceled after she defended wearing blackface Halloween costumes, called out Daily Mail paparazzi for publishing photos of her husband inside their home and for following her children to school and videotaping them.

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    Maryland Football Coach Reinstated, Fired

    Just one day after his reinstatement, the University of Maryland fired head coach DJ Durkin yesterday. He was suspended in August following the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair from heatstroke, and a subsequent investigation into allegations of abuse in Durkin’s program. Though the probe concluded the team’s culture didn’t contribute to McNair’s death, his family called for Durkin to be fired. Outgoing university President Wallace Loh said he made the decision after meeting with campus leaders and promised to work on athletic department reforms in his remaining months.