The Presidential Daily Brief

important

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    Mueller’s Team Says Manafort Breached Plea Agreement

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office declared Paul Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters” to them and the FBI since pleading guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering charges, according to court filings made Monday. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, assumed to be pivotal in Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling, denied the allegation. After Manafort’s alleged violation, both the prosecution and defense have asked the judge to move forward on sentencing. The prosecution said they will reveal “the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” in a later sentencing memo.

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    NASA’s Insight Robot Lands Safely on Mars

    The space station’s mission control was reportedly in triumphant spirits as news came through of the probe’s safe landing Monday as planned, and following preparations to get it through seven minutes of terror past Mars’s atmosphere. Its next ordeal is to deploy its solar panels, generating power so it can operate and carry out its mission – to find out more about Mars’s interior. Deploying a seismometer, a heat probe known as a German mole and the use of radio transmissions, it will gather information about how the fourth planet from the sun’s core is structured.

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    General Motors Will Lay Off 14,700, Closing up to 5 Factories

    The American multinational could close the plants – including the Lordstown, Ohio plant that makes the Chevrolet Cruze – amid restructuring efforts to cut costs and realign focus toward electric and autonomous vehicles. 8,100 white-collar and 6,000 factory workers will be impacted as well as 2,500 jobs as part of broader restructuring plans. GM’s chief executive said the action was being taken, ”while the company and the economy are strong to keep ahead of changing market conditions.”

     

     

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    Migrants Met With Tear Gas at US Border

    Customs and Border Protection agents clashed yesterday with Central American refugees who reportedly bypassed a Mexican police blockade to rush toward a U.S. crossing that leads to San Diego. Officers fired tear gas to repel the migrants from the border fence, causing some to fall and smoke to waft into Mexico. One Senate Democrat described the move as “a new low.” The event, which prompted a temporary closure of the border, poses a fresh challenge to incoming Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office Saturday.

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    Russia Attacks, Seizes Ukrainian Naval Vessels

    In a fresh escalation of the countries’ four-year conflict, Russia fired on and then seized three Ukrainian ships for allegedly violating its territorial waters while crossing the Kerch Strait. Russia has effectively controlled the crossing since building a bridge connecting its mainland with Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014. But both countries share the strategic Azov Sea, which the Ukrainian vessels were attempting to enter. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the move “unprovoked and crazy,” and the U.N. Security Council will address the incident today.

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    May Shifts to Selling Brexit Deal at Home

    After securing EU approval of her country’s divorce deal with the soon-to-be 27-member bloc yesterday, British Prime Minister Theresa May will begin a two-week campaign to convince her own Parliament it’s a good plan. If lawmakers reject the hard-fought deal, she says, it will thrust the U.K. into “more division and uncertainty” — which is why new Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay is urging colleagues to fall in line. After the special summit in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called Sunday a “sad day.”

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    Chinese Scientist Announces Birth of First Gene-Edited Babies

    Is the genie out of the bottle? Researcher He Jiankui says he tweaked the DNA of embryos from seven couples during fertility treatments, leading to the successful birth this month of genetically altered twin girls. His work, which has not yet been published or independently confirmed, aimed to disable embryos’ CCR5 genes in order to prevent HIV infection. While critics decried his work as “unconscionable” and “premature” — editing sperm, eggs or embryos is banned in the U.S. — He said, “Society will decide what to do next.”

  8. Pardons, Mars and Drone Strikes

    Know This: The United Arab Emirates has freed a British academic who had been jailed for spying. Indian authorities are considering ways to recover the body of an American missionary killed this month by North Sentinelese islanders while attempting to make contact. And NASA’s InSight probe is scheduled to land on Mars today.

    Read This: A new report by The Daily Beast has found that President Donald Trump has launched 238 drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan since his inauguration, while experts say the “burden of proof” needed to authorize such attacks has diminished.

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intriguing

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    Ohio Now Takes Tax Payments in Bitcoin

    Starting today, the Buckeye State will become the country’s first to accept the cryptocurrency from businesses filing their returns. State Treasurer Josh Mandel hatched the idea as part of a bid to push the state’s tech-friendly image: Columbus already boasts a budding tech hub, while Cleveland is attempting to integrate blockchain into its economy. With bitcoin still lacking broad acceptance, Ohio’s move could provide the cryptocurrency an important boost — though given its volatility, it’s unclear whether businesses will be rushing to embrace it.

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    This Church Is Stirring Trouble Between Russia and Ukraine

    Pray it doesn’t get worse. Currently controlled by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Pochayiv Lavra monastery in western Ukraine is coveted by a soon-to-be-independent Ukrainian Church amid the country’s push to sever ties with Russia. But Ukraine’s second-largest monastery is considered a bellwether for nearly 12,000 other parishes controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate — meaning both Ukrainian nationalist groups and pro-Moscow followers are ready to mobilize for it. “Everyone is going to watch to see what happens,” says one expert.

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    Frozen Turtles Wash Ashore in Massachusetts

    It was a shell of a sight. More than 200 sea turtles washed ashore in Cape Cod late last week after being cold-stunned, according to the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Many were frozen solid, with “flippers in all weird positions like they were swimming,” due to unseasonable single-digit temperatures. Experts say stranded turtles — which linger in increasingly warm local waters eating shellfish instead of heading south for winter — aren’t unexpected, but this year has seen unprecedented numbers. The Audubon Society expects to rescue some 1,000 more this year.

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    No, Kid Rock Didn’t Violate Federal Campaign Laws

    Months after staging a faux election bid to represent Michigan in the Senate, Rock announced it was a publicity stunt for his new album, Sweet Southern Sugar. But watchdog group Common Cause didn’t take his promotional effort so lightly: They filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, accusing the right-wing musician of failing to officially register or report contributions. Luckily for him, the FEC apparently knows how to rock: It dismissed the complaint, finding that he didn’t take “even the most basic steps to become a candidate.”

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    MLB to GOP Senate Candidate: Give Back Our Money

    They balked. Major League Baseball has asked Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to return a $5,000 donation following controversial comments in which she made light of public hangings despite her state’s history of lynchings. Hyde-Smith is running against Mike Espy — who could become Mississippi’s first Black senator since Reconstruction — in tomorrow’s run-off. But her enthusiastic Nov. 2 remark that she’d join a political supporter “on the front row” at a public hanging has prompted companies like Walmart and AT&T to ask for their donations back.