The Presidential Daily Brief


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    USA Gymnastics Files For Bankruptcy

    The governing body for the sport in the U.S. filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Wednesday amid numerous lawsuits representing 350 athletes who blame the organization for lack of oversight of Larry Nassar, a team doctor, accused of molestation. The move will stall efforts to strip its designation as a national governing body by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Newly elected chairwoman Kathryn Carson stressed, “This is not a liquidation. This is a reorganization.”

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    Mueller Requests No Jail Time for Michael Flynn

    Special counsel Robert Mueller filed heavily redacted court documents Tuesday suggesting President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser shouldn’t spend time behind bars because of his “substantial” cooperation with multiple investigations. Flynn, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to investigators about contact with a Russian ambassador, reportedly sat for 19 interviews and provided documents to assist Mueller’s Russian election interference probe, as well as a separate unidentified criminal investigation. This week Mueller is also expected to outline Michael Cohen’s cooperation and Paul Manafort’s plea agreement violations.

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    British PM Faces Fresh Brexit Setbacks

    Opening a week of parliamentary debate yesterday on the British withdrawal from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May was immediately rebuked by the opposition and members of her own Conservative party. A majority declared her government in contempt for failing to publish official legal advice on her Brexit deal with the EU, while lawmakers also approved a contingency plan giving them a direct say in what happens if her deal is rejected. And amid all the drama, the BBC canceled a televised debate between May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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    Senators Emboldened After CIA’s Khashoggi Briefing

    After CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed them yesterday on the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, senior lawmakers on both sides of the aisle walked away even more convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing. “The views that I had before have only solidified,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the prince “a wrecking ball” who’s complicit “to the highest level possible.” The bipartisan consensus poses an increasing political challenge for President Trump, who’s consistently backed the Saudi leader against such allegations.

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    Markets Jittery Amid US-China Trade Concerns

    Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 800 points as investors remained skeptical that last weekend’s trade cease-fire between Beijing and Washington would lead to a lasting economic peace. Thanks to fears of an impending slowdown, experts say, many investors are backing away from stock-related risks in favor of putting their money into bonds or cash. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s tumble also sparked a Wednesday decline in Asian stocks: The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.6 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.5 percent.

  6. Trolling, Earthquakes and ‘Black Pete’

    Know This: President Trump has mocked his French counterpart for suspending a controversial fuel tax hike. Speculation is growing in South Korea over a potential trip to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And authorities in the French territory of New Caledonia have warned of possible tsunamis after a magnitude 7.5 quake struck in the southern Pacific Ocean.

    Read This: While Dutch celebrants have long denied that “Black Pete” — the blackface-wearing assistant to Sinterklaas, the Dutch Santa Claus — is racist, they may finally be coming around. “I think we have reached the tipping point,” one expert says.

    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 right here.


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    Researchers Develop 10-Minute Cancer Test

    With the help of a handheld device — or ultimately even a mobile phone — a simple test could eventually diagnose cancer with a simple “yes” or “no” response. In a study published yesterday, Australian researchers say they discovered a unique DNA structure present in all cancer cells they tested, meaning they’re able to look for this universal structure when diagnosing the illness. Lead researcher Matt Trau said the test might not be the “holy grail” for all cancer diagnostics, but it could prove useful as an “incredibly simple” marker of the disease.

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    Is It Time for a Central Asian ‘Schengen’ Zone?

    The five ’stans — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — haven’t been the friendliest of neighbors. But that may soon change as the landlocked region begins loosening its tight borders. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have abolished their strict visa regime, while leaders in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have moved toward allowing a shared visa — a plan that could even be expanded into a wider “Silk Road visa.” Analysts say it’s about time the nations warmed up to each other, and that easier travel is a step toward closer economic ties.

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    Study Suggests Google Search Results Are Manipulated

    Have you found what you’re looking for? After the popular search engine claimed its results are only personalized in 2 to 2.5 percent of cases, a rival company may have proved it wrong. DuckDuckGo asked users to do searches on the same terms and take screenshots of the results. An admittedly less-than-scientific 87 people showed politically loaded terms like “gun control” and “immigration” offered results that differed greatly among users. Google has said the differences are down to its data center locations and the localization of query results.

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    Report: Moonves Risks Golden Parachute Over Obstruction

    Former CBS chief Leslie Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators in their probe of more than a dozen sexual misconduct claims leveled against him, according to The New York Times. The authors of the CBS-ordered independent investigation described Moonves as “evasive and untruthful at times” and said the company has justification to withhold his $120 million severance. Investigators cited multiple reports of a network employee “on call” to perform oral sex on Moonves. The 59-page document will likely be discussed at a CBS board meeting next week.

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    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Calls It Quits

    The famed Buckeyes head coach announced he’s throwing in the whistle due to health problems, saying, “I believe I will not coach again.” He retires with more victories — including three Big Ten championships and three national titles — than any other coach in the last 17 years. Some speculate that Meyer’s suspension was also a factor: He missed three games this season after mishandling domestic abuse claims against a former assistant coach. Meyer’s last game will be the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl, after which offensive coordinator Ryan Day will take over.