The Presidential Daily Brief

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    US Federal Shutdown to Drag Into New Year

    Come back soon. With no votes scheduled in Congress before the New Year, the partial government shutdown — the second longest of the decade — is poised to extend into 2019. Yesterday the Senate concluded a less than four-minute pro forma session without reaching any new agreements. When Democrats take control of the House next week, they’ll be charged with breaking the crippling impasse over President Donald Trump’s border wall. Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged to “vote swiftly” to reopen the government.

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    Stocks Climb Amid Ongoing Volatility

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared back into positive territory in the final hours of trading yesterday, closing up 1.1 percent after a more than 600-point slump earlier in the day. The S&P 500 jumped 0.9 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite clocked a 0.4 percent increase. Meanwhile, most Asian markets also posted modest gains and finished in positive territory today — though Japan’s Nikkei slipped slightly after its own surge yesterday. Despite those seemingly promising signs, analysts expect the volatility to continue.

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    Hackers Steal North Korean Defectors’ Personal Data

    Officials in South Korea say nearly 1,000 escapees from the Hermit Kingdom have had their names, birthdays and addresses leaked, thanks to a “malicious code” that infected a personal computer at a state-run resettlement center. Some experts believe the breach could endanger their family members who remain in North Korea, while others say it’ll likely prompt defectors to change their names, phone numbers and addresses. South Korea’s unification ministry has said “no harm or damage has been observed,” while the Hana Center in Gyeongbuk apologized to those affected.

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    Family of Dead Guatemalan Boy Speaks Out

    “I want my son to come back home.” So said the mother of 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo Gomez, who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody on Christmas Eve, a week after crossing from Mexico with his father. Catarina Alonzo said she and her husband hoped that bringing the boy would help their chances of entering the United States. She also claimed Felipe wasn’t sick during the journey from their native Guatemala. Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is expected to visit a Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, today.

  5. Saudi Shake-Up, Bad Weather and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: Saudi King Salman has ordered a government reshuffle amid the international outcry over the October murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bad weather is hampering Indonesian efforts to inspect the volatile Anak Krakatau volcano, which triggered last weekend’s deadly tsunami. And the oldest American World War II veteran has died at the age of 112.

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

    We’re Hiring: OZY is looking for a talented Social Media Manager to oversee our social strategy on all platforms. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.

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    Group Busted After Breaking Into Mine for Copper, Sex

    Four people rescued from an inactive coal mine about 30 miles southeast of Charleston, West Virginia, are facing criminal charges, accused of breaking in to steal copper wire earlier this month. The two men and two women allegedly separated to have sex, and then got lost when their lights went out. Eddie Williams Jr., 43, found his way out after two days, while the others were pulled out three days later after an intensive rescue operation. Cody Beverly, 21, called the misadventure “the biggest lesson” learned in his life.

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    Musk Seeks to Dismiss Diver’s Defamation Suit

    A “schoolyard spat.” That’s how Elon Musk’s lawyer described his dispute with Vernon Unsworth, a diver who took part in the rescue of a group of Thai children from a flooded cave in July. After Unsworth called Musk’s delivery of a mini-submarine to help in the rescue a “PR stunt,” the Tesla founder referred to Unsworth on Twitter as a “pedo guy.” The diver sued for defamation, but Musk now says no one took his tweet literally. Musk’s lawyer claims Twitter is a place to find “opinions, not facts.”

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    These Gorillas Are So Endangered They’re Mutating

    Critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo are in decline — and developing genetic mutations because of inbreeding, according to a new study published in Current Biology. Fewer than 4,000 of the creatures remain in the world, a reduction of 80 percent over two decades, due to poaching and loss of habitat. The lack of genetic diversity leads to harmful mutations that reduce fertility, make the population vulnerable to disease, and impair development, explaining why many of the gorillas have fused fingers and toes.

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    ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Frank Adonis Dies at 83

    Adonis, who played real-life gangster Anthony Stabile in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic, died late Wednesday in Las Vegas of a long-term illness, his wife said. Born Frank Scioscia in 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, he debuted in 1971’s The French Connection. He went on to appear in 40 TV shows and films, including Scorsese features Raging Bull and Casino alongside Robert De Niro. Adonis also directed One Deadly Road in 1998. He is survived by his wife, who described him as a “great father and an amazing husband.”

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    Italian Soccer Team Punished for Racist Abuse

    Inter Milan must play its next two games without spectators following a Wednesday match that was marred by fans making monkey noises at Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Napoli, Koulibaly’s team, asked several times — unsuccessfully — that the game be stopped due to the abuse. Pregame violence between rival fans also left one Inter Milan supporter dead after he was apparently hit by a van. Napoli went on to win 1-0, but Koulibaly’s treatment has stoked rumors that the 27-year-old might head to England’s Manchester United or Chelsea.