The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Stokes Immigration Fears as Troops Arrive at Border

    “Consider it a rifle.” That’s how President Donald Trump says he told U.S. soldiers to respond to any rock-throwing asylum-seekers at the Mexican border as he ramps up anti-immigration rhetoric ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. While experts have questioned the legality of Trump’s recent pledges to detain migrants in tent cities, deny them asylum and repeal birthright citizenship, the president has stood firm: “Oh, this is totally legal,” he said. The first 100 active-duty soldiers — of the 15,000 Trump promised — arrived at the border Thursday.

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    Report: Saudi Prince Called Jamal Khashoggi Dangerous

    Days after the slain journalist disappeared inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate last month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told White House officials Khashoggi was a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, The Washington Post reported. Saudi officials denied the remarks — allegedly made in a phone call with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and national security adviser John Bolton — while Khashoggi’s family called the characterization “ridiculous.” Meanwhile, the prince hosted a rare meeting Thursday with high-profile American evangelists in a bid to promote religious tolerance.

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    Trump, Xi Strike Positive Tone on Trade

    After months of worsening ties between Beijing and Washington, President Trump said he held “a long and very good” phone call yesterday with Chinese President Xi Jingping. On state television, Xi said the U.S. and Chinese delegations should “strengthen contact” with an eye toward reaching a consensus on trade. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Trump asked Cabinet members to draft a possible trade deal aimed at de-escalating the conflict — which could be signed at this month’s G-20 summit in Argentina, where the two leaders are expected to meet.

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    Apple Posts Record Profit, But Shares Dip

    Thanks to higher iPhone prices and strong App Store sales, the company yesterday reported its fourth consecutive quarter of record revenue, which totaled $62.9 billion. But shares fell around 7 percent — briefly placing the company under $1 trillion valuation — at news that Apple would end its practice of reporting unit sales, an indicator watched closely by investors. Still, its services business, which includes Apple Pay, music subscriptions and app sales, rose 17 percent from last year, pushing closer to what CEO Tim Cook pledged would be a $50 billion business by 2020.

  5. Banking Scandals, Sanctions and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: Two Goldman Sachs bankers have been charged for their alleged role in a multibillion-dollar Malaysian fraud scandal. Iran is preparing for U.S. oil sanctions to resume next week. And nearly half a billion people in Asia remain undernourished, according to a new United Nations report.

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

    Tune In: What happens when 100 Latinos gather to discuss the most pressing issues of the day? The answer may surprise you. Don’t miss OZY’s fourth primetime show, Take On America, then join the conversation on Facebook and YouTube to give your #takeonamerica.


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    Merck Ends Delivery of Lifesaving Vaccines to Africa

    Citing “supply constraints,” the pharmaceutical giant is pulling out of its long-term agreement to provide rotavirus vaccines to four countries in West Africa. Though rarely life-threatening in rich nations, the World Health Organization says the diarrhea-causing virus kills some 200,000 children each year, and Merck ending its deliveries by 2020 could leave around 3 million children unvaccinated. Instead, the company will reportedly supply the vaccines to China — likely at a higher price — though it said it was just fulfilling a contract signed in 2012.

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    Report: China Exporting ‘Digital Authoritarianism’

    According to an annual report from watchdog Freedom House, global internet freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year, partly due to China promoting its model of online censorship and surveillance. Of 65 countries examined, 17 proposed or passed laws restricting digital media — ostensibly to fight fake news — while 18 weakened encryption protection or boosted surveillance. Besides training other countries to implement its “techno-dystopian” model, Beijing is also reportedly supplying high-tech hardware to repressive regimes and building “technological backdoors” abroad. China’s foreign ministry dismissed the findings.

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    Scientists Launch Effort to Map DNA of Every Species

    Starting with 66,000 species in the U.K., the Earth BioGenome Project officially began its quest yesterday to sequence the DNA of all eukaryotic life-forms — complex, non-bacterial organisms — including more than 1.5 million plants, animals and fungi. Only 3,500 have had their genomes sequenced so far. The project, which involves collaborations with dozens of research institutions around the world, will span about 10 years and cost $4.7 billion. One British researcher said the effort “will reveal aspects of evolution we’ve not even dreamt of.”

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    Hollywood Stars Mark Latina Equal Pay Day

    Fight for your rights! Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba and America Ferrera were among the celebrities who supported the cause yesterday on social media, posting photos of themselves sporting T-shirts reading “Phenomenally Latina.” The stars also offered facts on the pay gap — including that American Latinas make 47 percent less than White men — and noted that 66 percent of American workers acknowledge the unfairness. “This is an injustice,” wrote Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez. Of all women, Latinas reportedly face the worst wage gap.

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    Simone Biles Wins 4th World Gymnastics All-Around Title

    Despite falling twice — and a trip to the ER last week for a kidney stone — the American gymnast became the first woman to win four all-around titles. Biles secured first place with 57.491 points, a record 1.693-point margin over Japan’s Mai Murakami, at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships yesterday in Doha, Qatar. “Didn’t mean to give everyone a heart attack,” the 21-year-old later tweeted. The four-time Olympic gold medalist competes today on the vault and uneven bars, and on balance beam and floor exercise Saturday.