The Presidential Daily Brief

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    US President and First Lady Make a Surprise Visit to Iraq

    Melania and President Donald Trump made an unannounced journey to the war-torn country “late on Christmas night” according to a statement by the White House, to thank troops for “their service, their success and their sacrifice.” The visit fulfills a promise by the 45th president to visit a war zone despite decrying the resources allocated to them, already ordering a draw down of troops in Afghanistan and full withdrawal from Syria. There are currently no plans to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq

     

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    Stocks Surge After Hitting Low Before Christmas

    It may have been the worst Christmas Eve market report in ten years but Boxing Day saw the biggest points gain in history with 1,080 points added to the Dow Industrial Average. It was joined by the Standard & Poor 500 Index closing 4.9 percent up, while tech-heavy Nasdaq, suffering the most in recent losses, increased 5.8 percent. Despite worries about the economy, healthy consumer spending helped appease investors, as did Russia’s reassurance it would keep oil prices higher and affirmation from the White House that Jerome Powell would remain the Fed’s chairman.

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    Second Migrant Child Dies in US Custody

    The crowded facilities that house Latin American migrants to the U.S. will face further scrutiny after an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy succumbed to illness yesterday at a New Mexico hospital — the second child to die in Border Patrol detention this month. The boy, who’d entered the U.S. with his father last week, was diagnosed with a cold and fever on Monday before dying of unknown causes early Tuesday. A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died of dehydration just three weeks ago. Authorities have promised to conduct an internal review.

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    Japan to Resume Commercial Whale Hunting

    The country will ditch its membership in the International Whaling Commission and resume hunting the marine mammals for the first time in more than 30 years. In July, fishermen will begin catching whales within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, but will stay out of the Antarctic Ocean, where the nation claims its whaling ships have only conducted scientific excursions — an assertion that animal activists refute. Still, confining whale hunts to its waters is unlikely to assuage the global community, which has pushed Japan to completely abandon the controversial practice.

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    Trump Stands Firm on Border Wall Amid Market Turmoil

    Following the worst ever Christmas Eve trading day, President Donald Trump doubled down on his pledge to secure funding for a Mexican border wall, vowing to continue the federal shutdown. “If you don’t have that, then we’re just not opening,” he said of the government, which has been partially closed since Saturday. Trump also slammed the Federal Reserve once more for hiking interest rates “too fast.” Yesterday Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average dropped 5 percent on the heels of Monday’s 3 percent U.S. dip, and remained volatile today.

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    Indonesia Struggles in Aftermath of Tsunami

    “I’m scared to see the ocean now.” So said one survivor of Saturday night’s catastrophe that killed 429 and left the island nation stunned as it observed the 14th anniversary of another devastating earthquake and tsunami, one that killed some 230,000 people across a dozen countries in 2004. More than 150 people remain missing since Saturday’s killer wave — with the death toll still expected to rise — and more than 21,000 have been displaced. Indonesian authorities have asked locals to stay at least 500 meters away from the coastline along the Sunda Strait.

  7. Korean Railways, Medical Malfeasance and Black Voters

    Know This: Officials from North and South Korea broke ground today on a joint infrastructure modernization project. Eight people were killed yesterday after a hijacked bus rammed into pedestrians in southeastern China. And more than 3,000 patients of a New Jersey medical center may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis after “lapses in infection control.”

    Read This: Although the Democratic presidential primary is still more than a year away, Black voters are expecting to play a more significant role than ever in determining the party’s 2020 candidate.

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intriguing

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    GoFundMe Returns Donations From Scam Campaign

    The crowdfunding website said Tuesday that it has returned more than $400,000 to around 14,000 people after fundraisers were charged with manufacturing a story to scam donors. A New Jersey woman and her boyfriend claimed they were raising money for a homeless veteran who gave her his last $20 when she ran out of gas in October 2017. Authorities looked into the case after the homeless man said he hadn’t received the full amount raised. All three were charged with theft by deception after prosecutors said the entire scenario was fabricated.

  2. The custom built DJI s1000 Drone in operation at Palm Beach on July 4, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Commercial and recreational UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) sales in Australia have regulators concerned about safety, privacy and security, while the commerc

    Gatwick Drone Incident Boosts Israeli Tech Company

    Skylock, which specializes in catching and downing drones by interrupting their frequencies, has seen a 40 percent increase in inquiries after reports of a rogue drone caused chaos at London’s Gatwick airport last week. Product manager Asaf Lebovitz said Skylock’s Drone Dome service was initially designed to target military devices in Syria, but now airports in North America and Europe are interested in its technology. Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority described such systems as crucial to countering drone activity by operators who are unconcerned by regulations.

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    Cosmonaut: Hole in ISS Drilled From Inside

    A 2-millimeter hole that caused a recent pressure leak on a Soyuz capsule docked at the International Space Station was drilled from the inside, according to Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, who examined the breach on a spacewalk before returning to Earth last week. Although NASA said those on board were never in danger, the hole could have been the result of “deliberate spoilage,” according to Russian authorities. In response to suggestions that an astronaut could have drilled it, Prokopyev said, “You shouldn’t think so badly of our crew.”

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    Kevin Spacey’s Video Message Clocks Millions of Views

    The disgraced actor posted the address titled Let Me Be Frank — delivered in character as Frank Underwood, his role from the Netflix series House of Cards — on Christmas Eve. In 24 hours, it had racked up 4.5 million views and 14,000 Twitter shares. “I know what you want: You want me back,” he told viewers, hinting at Underwood’s demise in the series as well as the accusations against the actor himself. The video went viral as news broke that Spacey will face felony charges for sexual assault in Massachusetts.

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    European Golf Captain Keeps Promise of Butt Tattoo

    “A promise made. A promise kept.” So tweeted the European Ryder Cup team, sharing a video of captain Thomas Bjorn receiving a tattoo of the competition’s final score, 17.5-10.5, on his rear end. The 47-year-old Danish golfer had promised the ink to his team, considered the underdog, if it bested Team USA in Paris in September. Bjorn said he chose the location so it would only be visible to his girlfriend, though he allowed the process to be filmed — even wishing fans a Merry Christmas as he got inked.