The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Tsunami Warning Issued in Southern Alaska

    An earthquake that hit 7.0 on the Richter scale Friday has led to a tsunami warning being issued for the coastal areas near Anchorage. Videos were posted on social media showing students taking coverage under desks and items falling off store shelves. Drivers were asked to take “extreme caution” due to damage on the roads by the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Twitter. The Anchorage School District also posted from its account that they are assessing building safety and damage and will update the community when new information arises. 

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    George HW Bush Dies at 94

    The 41st president — and patriarch of one of America’s most well-known political families — died late Friday at his home in Houston, Texas. Serving in the White House from 1989 to 1993, the Yale-educated World War II veteran helped steer the world out of the Cold War following the collapse of the Soviet Union. His popularity soared after the swift coalition victory in the Gulf War, but was soon tarnished by a sputtering economy. Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, called him “a man of the highest character.”

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    Disputes, Difficult Issues Loom Over G-20

    As world leaders descend on Buenos Aires, Argentina, today, the two-day summit promises to be the most action-packed — and tense — in a decade. While many are hoping for a breakthrough in the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington, attention will also be focused on Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia, the U.K.’s impending split from the EU, and the international outcry over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. So packed is the agenda that one expert said the summit is “at risk of falling into disarray.”

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    Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Reveals Trump’s Moscow Plans

    If he’d built it, would they have come? Yesterday President Donald Trump’s former attorney pleaded guilty to lying about his work negotiating a Trump skyscraper in Moscow during the presidential campaign. Though eventually scuttled, the project apparently progressed further than Cohen initially told Congress — and included frequent contact with Russians, as well as the close involvement of Russian-born businessman and felon Felix Sater. Cohen and Sater reportedly discussed giving President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse in the tower, though it’s unclear if Trump knew about the proposal.

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    Tensions Mount in Russia-Ukraine Conflict

    After Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea last weekend, Kiev imposed martial law for 30 days. Now it’s barred all Russian men between the ages of 16 and 60 from traveling to Ukraine amid growing fears of more Russian attacks. The move — aimed at preventing the formation of what President Petro Poroshenko called “private armies” — also follows President Trump’s cancellation of his planned meeting with President Putin at the G-20 summit. Russia’s foreign ministry said it would not respond to Ukraine’s ban with similar measures.

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    Report: Sheryl Sandberg Ordered Facebook Opposition Research

    According to The New York Times, the social network’s second-in-command told employees to dig into billionaire George Soros’ financial interests after he publicly criticized Facebook. The request, reportedly to determine if the progressive philanthropist stood to benefit from harming the company, suggests Sandberg was directly involved in a controversial campaign against Soros. Last week, Facebook’s outgoing head of communications and public policy admitted hiring GOP-linked firm Definers Public Affairs for the job. Facebook claims the research was already underway when Sandberg asked if Soros had shorted company stock.

  7. Veterans Affairs, Whales and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced it’ll pay all student veterans the full amount they’re due after a recent computer glitch resulted in underpayment. German authorities say there’s no foul play suspected in the forced landing yesterday of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plane. And 51 pilot whales died today amid an ongoing mass stranding in New Zealand.

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

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    You Won’t Be Able to Watch Porn in Starbucks Anymore

    Get a room. The coffee chain — where watching porn has always been taboo — announced yesterday that it’s introducing a filter on its Wi-Fi to prevent patrons from accessing explicit content. The move comes after years of pressure from internet safety group Enough Is Enough, which produced a petition signed by more than 26,000 people demanding Starbucks follow McDonald’s, Panera and Chick-fil-A in blocking dirty content. Meanwhile, adult video-sharing site Pornhub responded by announcing a “Safe for Work” category, while YouPorn jokingly banned Starbucks from its offices.

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    North, South Korea Launch Landmark Rail Tour

    All aboard! For the first time in a decade, a South Korean train ventured across the country’s northern border today, part of a joint inspection leading to the modernization and eventual reconnection of rail lines between the neighbors. The 18-day tour will cover around 750 miles of track across the Hermit Kingdom, and aims to “overcome division and open a new future of the Korean Peninsula,” according to Seoul’s reunification minister. Dozens of engineers and officials from both nations will live aboard the six-car train during the journey.

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    Overdoses, Suicides Spur Overall Drop in US Life Expectancy

    New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows American life expectancy has trended downward over the last few years, averaging 78.6 in 2017. While several 0.1 percent annual dips aren’t massive, their cause is worrying: Experts blame rapidly increasing rates of fatal drug overdoses, especially from synthetic opioids. Last year saw more than 70,000, the most ever recorded, with West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania hit the hardest. Meanwhile, suicide rates continue to climb, but heart disease and cancer remain the leading causes of death.

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    San Diego Art Gallery Busted for Ivory Trafficking

    Authorities confiscated $1.3 million worth of collectibles containing elephant tusks and hippo teeth from the Carlton Gallery under a 2016 state law banning the sale or possession of almost all forms of ivory. An undercover sting operation in May led officers to seize more than 300 illicit items from the gallery and its warehouse. Criminal charges were filed against the owner and a salesman, who could spend a year in prison on multiple misdemeanors. The World Wildlife Fund estimates tens of thousands of elephants fall victim to the ivory trade annually.

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    Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled Caught in Cryptocurrency Scandal

    The pair has reportedly settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission after officials found the boxer and the music producer failed to disclose they were being paid to promote Centra Tech’s cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, the company’s founders were arrested for fraud after they allegedly raised $32 million by lying to investors about relationships with Visa and Mastercard — as well as inventing the existence of a CEO. The government seized more than $60 million in Centra Tech currency. Mayweather will pay more than $600,000 in fines, and Khaled around $150,000.