The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Gunman Kills 12 in California Shooting

    Police say a man dressed in all black opened fire in a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California, last night, killing 12 people — including a sheriff’s deputy. The shooter is also dead, though it remains unclear how he died. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described a “horrific scene” at the Borderline Bar & Grill. “There’s blood everywhere,” he told reporters early Thursday. Officials from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as members of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, were dispatched to the area.

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    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized

    The 85-year-old Justice reportedly fractured three ribs in a fall at her court office Wednesday evening, and went to George Washington University Hospital seeking treatment after experiencing discomfort overnight. Despite her absence a ceremony welcoming newest Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh is set to take place Thursday. Ginsburg previously broke two ribs after a fall in 2012 and has had two bouts of cancer and a stent implanted. Despite previous calls to step down she has hired clerks for the term extending into 2020 suggesting no immediate plans to retire.

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    US Appeals Court Rules Against Trump on DACA

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Thursday that ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “not in accordance to the law,” meaning it  will most likely go up to the Supreme Court. The DACA program, brought under former President Barack Obama, allowed hundreds of thousands of those who had been brought into the country illegally as children, dubbed Dreamers, to gain legal status. President Donald Trump announced plans to phase out DACA in September 2017.

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    Jeff Sessions Replaced by Trump Loyalist

    After firing his attorney general yesterday, President Donald Trump replaced him with Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, a U.S. attorney from Iowa who has publicly questioned the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Democrats quickly demanded that Whitaker, 49, recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe — as Sessions did — because of his comments, as well as his professional ties to a witness in the case. In a statement, Whitaker said he’s committed to “leading a fair department with the highest ethical standards.”

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    White House Revokes CNN Reporter’s Press Pass

    Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta was denied access to the West Wing after a contentious press conference in which President Trump called Acosta “a rude, terrible person” in response to tough questions from the veteran journalist. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said his credentials had been revoked for “placing his hands on” the female intern who attempted to take the microphone away from him, though footage of the incident showed him simply holding the microphone. The White House Correspondents’ Association called the decision “out of line to the purported offense.”

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    Pakistan Frees Prisoner Acquitted of Blasphemy

    Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who spent eight years in prison, walked free yesterday following the Pakistani Supreme Court’s acquittal last week of blasphemy charges against her. She remains in protective custody in Islamabad amid threats from radical Islamists demanding her public execution. Bibi’s husband has asked for help leaving the country, and several nations have reportedly offered the family protection, but authorities say Bibi may not be able to leave after activists appealed her acquittal. Meanwhile, her lawyer has fled Pakistan and is seeking asylum in the Netherlands.

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    Tesla Taps New Chairman to Replace Elon Musk

    The electric car company has chosen board member Robyn Denholm to replace the billionaire following his agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to step down over allegations that he misled investors. Denholm, chief financial officer of Australian telecommunications firm Telstra Corp., now faces the challenging task of overseeing the mercurial Musk, who will remain as Tesla CEO. He praised his successor as a “significant” contributor to Tesla — where she’s served on the board since 2014 — while the company said Musk would be “a resource” to Denholm.

  8. Warnings, Diplomacy Problems and Scout’s Honor

    Know This: Boeing has issued a warning to airlines about potentially faulty flight-control software on its planes following last week’s crash of Lion Air Flight 610. North Korea is reportedly “really angry” over U.S. refusals to offer concessions amid negotiations between the two countries. And security forces in Tajikistan have killed at least 25 inmates during a prison riot.

    Read This: Girl Scouts of the USA is suing Boy Scouts of America in federal court for trademark infringement, accusing the group of carrying out a “covert campaign” to recruit girls with misleading advertising that suggested the two organizations had merged.

    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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    Marijuana Stocks Soar After Jeff Sessions Resigns

    Following the resignation of the staunch anti-marijuana advocate — and Michigan’s vote to legalize recreational pot use — cannabis stocks enjoyed a significant boost yesterday. Exchange-traded funds tracking marijuana stocks, like Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF and Alternative Harvest Marijuana ETF, were up by 9.1 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, while Canadian cannabis company Tilray jumped 34 percent. Analysts believe the departure of Sessions, who once told a Senate hearing “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” could provide the Trump administration an opportunity to be “more cannabis oriented.”

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    Divided Opposition Threatens Congo’s Democracy

    After 17 years in power, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has finally bowed to pressure and agreed to leave office after presidential elections next month. For his political opposition, the goal was simple: Agree on one unifying candidate to defeat Kabila’s hand-picked successor. Instead, 20 names have cropped up, reflecting the pride and tribalism that’s crippled the DRC’s opposition — and which could potentially cost the country its first democratic transition of power since it gained independence 58 years ago. And for Kabila, experts say, that’s just fine.

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    Scientists Create Electricity-Generating Mushroom

    They’ve seen the light. In a bid to create a renewable energy source, researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology have created a “bionic mushroom” capable of producing around 65 nanoAmps of current. By fitting a 3D-printed pattern of graphene nanoribbons and bio-ink containing cyanobacteria onto its cap, scientists were able to harness the electricity generated when that bacteria photosynthesized under light and sent electrons through the conductive graphene. Ultimately, they created what they call an “engineered bionic symbiosis” — a singular functional system created from organic and artificial components.

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    NY Sports Radio Host Craig Carton Convicted of Fraud

    The former Boomer and Carton host faces up to 45 years in prison after a Manhattan federal jury found him guilty of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud while running a bulk ticket-buying business. With the help of fake contracts and doctored emails, Carton scammed investors out of millions of dollars to pay personal expenses and cover his gambling debts. “I need to let it sink in now,” the 49-year-old told reporters after Wednesday’s hearing. He will be sentenced in February.

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    Floyd Mayweather Walks Back New Year’s Eve Bout

    Days after the announcement of a Dec. 31 bout in Japan against undefeated 20-year-old kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa, the American boxing legend has apparently changed his mind. After returning home from a “long and disappointing trip to Tokyo,” Mayweather, 41, claimed that he never agreed to come out of retirement for an official bout, but instead only signed on for a short exhibition. He said he was “blindsided by the arrangements” at Monday’s press conference and apologized to fans for the “very misleading” announcement.