The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Malaysia Has Filed Criminal Charges Against Goldman Sachs

    Having helped raise $6.5 billion through three bond offerings for the investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which is the subject of investigation in six countries, the American multinational investment bank has been accused of breaking Malaysia’s securities laws, along with two of its employees. Former bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng have been implicated while the government said it would seek criminal fines in excess of $2.7 billion related to the charges. A spokesman said in a statement the bank would “vigorously defend” itself against the allegations.

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    New Report Provides Sweeping Analysis of Russian Disinformation

    In the most detailed study to date of social media tactics used in the 2016 election, it found every major platform was utilized to target voters’ interests with words, images and videos. One of two reports produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee by a Texas based cyber security company, said that efforts were particularly directed at African-Americans to suppress Democratic voter turnout, while another continuing Russian campaign seeks to influence opinion on Syria towards ally Bashar al-Assad. Data was based largely on Russian operations provided by Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

     

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    Michael Flynn’s Former Associates Indicted, Linked to Turkey Campaign

    Bijan Kian and Ekim Alptekin, who have past business connections with President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, were charged as part of a federal investigation into Turkey’s secret 2016 lobbying campaign. While Turkey wanted Trump to expel the Turkish President’s rival, Fethullah Gulen, from the U.S. – a cleric accused of helping to instigate the failed 2016 coup – the indictment is part of a crackdown on foreign lobbying efforts growing from special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into foreign money flows, targeting Washington power.

     

     

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    US Government Shutdown Looms Over Border Funding

    Negotiations have hit a wall. Neither side looks ready to budge as President Donald Trump seeks $5 billion from Congress to fund his Mexican border wall. Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said the administration would do “whatever is necessary,” including shutting down the federal government, to get it. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said Trump was “not going to get the wall in any form.” Seven spending bills are set to expire Friday, potentially impacting a quarter of the government including national parks and the Department of Homeland Security.

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    Protesters Take to Streets Against ‘Slave Law’ in Hungary

    An estimated 15,000 people joined demonstrations yesterday in Budapest against a law allowing employers to demand hundreds of hours of overtime yet delay wages by up to three years. Marchers, who also used the opportunity to rail against right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, headed to Hungary’s public television headquarters in freezing temperatures to read a statement, but were rebuffed. Meanwhile, pro-government media blamed the unrest on Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros. Since Wednesday, dozens have been arrested and several police officers have been injured.

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    Sri Lanka Reinstates Prime Minister, Ending Political Impasse

    Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in yesterday for the fifth time in his career in what supporters celebrated as a defeat of a “coup.” Although in a speech soon after, President Maithripala Sirisena, who fired Wickremesinghe in October, expressed doubt the two could work together. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ruled last week that Wickremesinghe’s ousting was unconstitutional, finally forcing his Sirisena-appointed replacement, former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, to leave the position Saturday. Rajapaksa had lost two no-confidence votes in Parliament but predicted his party would soon return to power.

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    Vine, HQ Trivia Co-Founder Dies at 34

    Colin Kroll was found dead in his Manhattan apartment by police on Sunday after his girlfriend requested a welfare check. Kroll helped found Vine, the six-second video platform, and followed the company to Twitter after its purchase. After being fired he moved on to create the viral game show app HQ Trivia. But his newest venture had faced funding issues after accusations surfaced of Kroll’s inappropriate behavior toward women during his time at Twitter. Police reportedly found drugs at the scene, and Kroll’s death is being investigated as an overdose.

  8. Japan Explosion, Giuliani Defense and a Few Good Men

    Know This: Forty-two people were injured yesterday after an explosion in Sapporo, Japan, thought to have been caused by gas leaking from more than 100 deodorizer spray cans. Rudy Giuliani said his client, President Trump, would only sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller “over my dead body.” And Trump tweeted Sunday that he’d review the case of a Green Beret facing murder charges after killing an Afghan man suspected of making a bomb that killed two Marines.

    Read This: Concrete has become the most widely used man-made material on Earth after its production increased thirtyfold since 1950. According to the think tank Chatham House, if the cement industry were judged as a country it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world.

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    Cryptocurrency Founder Arrested for Throwing Cash From Roof

    Wong Ching-kit livestreamed his arrest Sunday after he reportedly tossed hundreds of dollars in bank notes from a building in one of Hong Kong’s poorest neighborhoods. Video shows passers-by on Fuk Wa Street scrambling to collect the money fluttering to the ground. The 24-year-old founder of Epoch Cryptocurrency was arrested for disorderly conduct after he returned to the neighborhood in a Lamborghini to hand out meal coupons. Police told finders to hand over any cash they gathered from the stunt.

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    Excavation of Untouched 4,400-Year-Old Egyptian Tomb Begins

    The “exceptionally well-preserved” private tomb is thought to be the final resting place of a purification priest named Wahtye who served King Neferirkare during the fifth dynasty. Archaeologists say the site, found in a pyramid complex southwest of Cairo, is in pristine condition — and remarkably hasn’t been looted. Photographs from inside the tomb show colorful hieroglyphics and detailed wall carvings, but not yet a sarcophagus. This is just one of a number of high-profile archaeological finds Egypt’s government hopes will draw tourists back to the country.

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    South Sudan’s Higher Education Is a Study in Resolve

    College is hard enough. But students in South Sudan — a young country racked by civil war and poverty — are making it work, thanks to flexible institutions and a high demand for education. Universities are sharing resources, relying on donations, pushing evening and weekend classes so students can keep their day jobs, and boosting staff: The country’s five public universities tripled their academic staff between 2012 and 2017. The creativity and resolve spell success for South Sudan and also offer a model for other war-torn nations.

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    Trump Lashes Out After ‘Saturday Night Live’ Parody

    “Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?” So tweeted President Trump Sunday after catching SNL’s season finale, which included a spoof of It’s a Wonderful Life imagining a world where Trump wasn’t president. Returning cameos included Matt Damon’s Brett Kavanaugh, who wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court, and Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen, who reassured Trump he’d “never ever flip” on him. It’s not the first time Trump’s criticized the NBC show or questioned the First Amendment: He previously suggested the FCC should revoke the network’s license over unflattering coverage.

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    Tour de France Champ Geraint Thomas Gets New Trophy

    Race organizers have given the Welsh cyclist and 2018 victor a replica of the black and gold cup after the original was stolen in September. The Coupe Omnisports trophy went missing after being lent by Thomas’ Team Sky to Italian bike manufacturer Pinarello during the Cycle Show in Birmingham, U.K. Thomas received his replacement on the BBC’s Sunday Brunch program on the same day he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Meanwhile, police are still looking for the wheelman behind the trophy theft.