The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Elizabeth Warren Announces 2020 Presidential Run

    The 69-year-old Democrat from Massachusetts has announced why she is launching an exploratory committee for president in a video address to supporters saying, “No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing.” She added she’d more formally announce a campaign plan in early 2019. Warren is one of the more prominent Democrats and liberal voices who made a splash during the economic crisis, calling out the Obama administration’s handling of the financial downturn. An exploratory committee allows candidates to start raising money.

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    Stocks Close Out on Worst Yearly Decline For a Decade

    The final day of trading for 2018 ended with an increase but not enough to veer 2018 from its steepest loss since the 2008 financial crisis with the Dow Industrial Average 5.7 percent in recess, Standard & Poor 500 off 6.2 percent and tech-heavy Nasdaq down 3.8 percent. Positive murmurings about the progress of U.S.-China trade relations Monday meant major indexes got a lift – the Dow rose 257 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed 0.9 percent, a possible turn for 2019.

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    No Deal in Sight Over US Shutdown

    Days before the new Congress starts work, there’s little sign of a compromise between Democrats and President Donald Trump and Republicans over the president’s border wall. The spat will drag the government shutdown into 2019 amid signals that Trump may not approve Democrat-sponsored legislation, expected this week, to end the federal closure. “Nobody’s going to win this kind of game,” said Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, blaming both sides for the impasse. Meanwhile, outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly suggested the administration had dropped plans for a “solid concrete wall” long ago.

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    Chinese Factory Output Lowest Since 2016

    Manufacturing in the Middle Kingdom decreased this month for the first time in more than two years, government figures show — and reportedly to its lowest level in nearly three. The 49.4-point reading on the Purchasing Managers’ Index, which separates growth from contraction at 50 points, suggests the economy is losing momentum as officials seek to end the crippling trade war between Beijing and Washington. Meanwhile, China’s benchmark CSI 300 index will close out 2018 more than 25 percent down, losing $2.3 trillion in value as the world’s worst-performing major market.

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    Graham: Trump to Ease Withdrawal From Syria

    “I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way.” So said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham after meeting with President Trump yesterday to discuss Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. His announcement earlier this month to end the U.S. presence there shocked allies and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Graham. But after a two-hour lunch, the South Carolina lawmaker and close Trump ally said “we’re in a pause situation,” in which the president is reportedly reevaluating the best way to deliver on his promise to defeat ISIS.

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    Bangladesh Prime Minister Re-elected Amid Violence

    In an election described as “farcical” by the country’s opposition, Sheikh Hasina claimed a landslide victory today, with her Awami League winning 288 of 300 parliamentary seats. She’ll sail into a record third consecutive term amid alleged polling irregularities and election-day violence that killed at least 17. The opposition has demanded a new vote. Hasina has presided over an era of relative calm and economic growth in Bangladesh — although the country is still plagued by endemic poverty and Islamic militancy, while corruption is estimated to have cost the country billions.

  7. New Year’s Eve, Building Blast and Flea-Flickers

    Know This: A group of journalists will drop the New Year’s Eve Ball in New York City’s Times Square tonight. Three people were killed and 79 remain missing after a suspected gas explosion in an apartment building in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk. And a NASA probe will complete the most distant flyby in history tomorrow when it passes a space rock called Ultima Thule.

    #OZYFacts: The first known use of the term “flea-flicker” — an American football play in which the quarterback laterals the ball to another player, who returns it to the quarterback for a downfield pass — was in 1927.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a dynamic and organized Media Strategist to join our growing team! Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Escaped Lion Kills Intern in North Carolina

    Alexandra Black, 22, was performing routine cleaning duties at a wildlife park Sunday when she was killed by a lion that had escaped a locked area. The attack happened at Conservators Center, a 45-acre park near Burlington, N.C., that houses more than 80 animals and 21 species — including 15 African lions. After failing to tranquilize the animal, police fatally shot it in order to retrieve Black’s body. A recent Indiana University graduate, Black had worked at the center for around two weeks. Authorities are investigating the incident.

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    Should Universities Accept Cash From the Middle East?

    Western institutions of higher learning are trying to balance support for human rights while also retaining lucrative relationships with nations known for flouting them. Gulf countries have given hundreds of millions of dollars to British and American universities, but after disturbing incidents — like the October murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad — some institutions have reviewed major donations. Harvard, for one, isn’t renewing a fellowship funded by the Saudi royal heir blamed for the killing. Another key question: Does the money influence research on donor nations?

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    UK Experts: These Meat Preservatives Cause Cancer

    Are you going to eat that? A coalition of British scientists and lawmakers have called on the government to ban the use of nitrates in processed meat products, saying they can increase the risk of cancer. Their comments echo a 2015 U.N. report that categorized processed meats as a carcinogen. Cardiologist and coalition member Aseem Malhotra said the meat industry should act immediately or suffer a “reputational blow” akin to the tobacco industry’s. Nitrates are permitted in the U.S., where federal agencies issue guidelines on limits in foods such as sausage and bacon.

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    Report: Ariana Grande Declines Damehood

    Shortly after the list of New Year’s honors — bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II — was announced, Grande, 25, “politely said no,” according to British tabloid The Sun. Honored for organizing a charity gig and visiting hospitalized victims after the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, she reportedly explained that it wasn’t appropriate to accept the title while people were still grieving. Grande had just finished a show at the venue when suicide bomber Salman Abedi struck. The “Thank U, Next” singer says she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

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    Chiefs QB Caps Season With 50th Touchdown

    Yesterday Patrick Mahomes became the second player after Peyton Manning to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback also tied New England’s Tom Brady for the second-most TD tosses in a season after throwing an 89-yard completion against the Oakland Raiders. The 23-year-old — an MVP favorite in his second year — leads the league in touchdown percentage and adjusted yards per attempt. The Chiefs beat the Raiders 35-3, topping their division and securing home-field advantage for the playoffs.