The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. apple store shutterstock 107851007

    Stocks Close on a Low After Apple Slashes Revenue Forecast

    U.S. markets closed Thursday having plunged after the tech giant cut its quarterly revenue forecast yesterday, thanks to a downturn in Chinese iPhone sales. Earlier Apple stock had fallen 10 percent, while the Dow closed 660 points down and tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 2.8 percent. CEO Tim Cook told investors Apple “did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration” in emerging markets, particularly in China — the world’s largest smartphone market, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of Apple’s sales.

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    Nancy Pelosi Elected as Speaker of The House

    The Democratic representative of California was elected for a second time Thursday as 218 members voted for her to retain her gavel. Amid a government shutdown as lawmakers refuse to cave to President Donald Trump’s bid for $5.6 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, Pelosi also faces division within her own party, a cohort of which wanted to see a change in leadership. Pelosi is intending to push through the legislation to reopen the government by day end although the Republican-led Senate has indicated no intention to pass it.

  3. Moon

    China Lands Probe on Moon’s Far Side

    In a major step for Beijing’s space program — and for all human space exploration — the Chang’e 4 today completed the first-ever landing on the dark side of the moon. The spacecraft will probe the terrain around the South Pole-Aitken Basin, part of the largely unexplored lunar surface facing away from Earth. While the far side poses a communications challenge, scientists say its noise-free environment is ideal for pursuing radio astronomy. China hopes to send a follow-up probe next year that will return lunar samples to Earth.

  4. government shutdown shutterstock 1006138888

    Progress Elusive in US Shutdown Stalemate

    Yesterday’s White House meeting, the first in 22 days, did little to break the impasse between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders over his demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall. Sen. Chuck Schumer urged Trump to accept the Democrats’ proposal to reopen the government while continuing to discuss border security. “I would look foolish if I did that,” the president reportedly responded. In a chaotic Cabinet meeting earlier Wednesday, Trump also slammed ex-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and dismissed a highly critical op-ed by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

  5. north korea map shutterstock 564624100

    North Korean Diplomat Believed to Be in Hiding

    South Korea’s spy agency has reportedly told lawmakers that Pyongyang’s acting ambassador to Italy went into hiding with his wife in November, shortly before his term was due to end. One report claims Jo Song Gil sought asylum in an unspecified Western country. If confirmed, the defection would represent a major embarrassment to the North Korean regime, especially after its deputy ambassador to the U.K. abandoned his post in 2016. Jo, who had been in Rome since October 2017, is reportedly related to a high-ranking official in Pyongyang.

  6. Train Disaster, Indian Protests and Opposing Views

    Know This: The death toll in Wednesday’s deadly train crash in Denmark has risen to eight. Two women who defied a centuries-old ban by entering a Hindu temple in southern India yesterday have sparked widespread protests. And U.S. officials in Russia have been granted access to the American citizen charged with espionage.

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  1. car crash vehicle shattered windshield shutterstock 1105336061

    Teen Driver Egging Cars Charged With Murder

    After a 14-year-old driver and his two teen passengers enraged a Houston motorist by egging his car, the target of the ill-fated prank allegedly flashed his handgun and chased them. Running a red light, the teen crashed into a pickup driven by Silvia Zavala, 45, who was found dead at the scene. Prosecutors described her as “the only person who was doing nothing wrong.” The teen driver has been booked into a juvenile detention center, and the man involved in the chase is reportedly cooperating with police.

  2. china chinese prison labor camp shutterstock 146319164

    China’s Mao-Era Labor Camps Are Back

    Although abolished in 2013, China’s laogai system of re-education though forced labor — primarily for political dissidents — seems to be making a comeback. Experts point to “striking” similarities between Maoist gulags and the regime’s current mass detention of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities that are deemed a threat to Beijing’s rule. The government says these “vocational education centers” aim to weed out extremism and help integrate minority groups into Chinese society. But relatives of those detained say their loved ones toil for little or no pay in daunting conditions.

  3. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

    NASA Probe Snaps Photo of Distant Red ‘Snowman’

    Patrolling the solar system’s icy outskirts some 4.1 billion miles away, the New Horizons spacecraft has beamed back an image of 2014 MU69, two frozen space rocks that have fused together to resemble a snowman. On the probe’s New Year’s Day flyby it came within 2,200 miles of the 21-mile-wide object’s surface, gathering valuable data with its instruments. Scientists hope that data — which could take two years to fully download — could provide insight into the distant Kuiper Belt and the frozen planetary building blocks it may hold.

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    Netflix Warns Viewers Against ‘Bird Box’ Challenge

    They didn’t see this coming. The streaming service’s dystopian thriller starring Sandra Bullock has gone viral in a dangerous way. Inspired by the film’s blindfolded characters, challenge participants are testing their abilities to complete day-to-day tasks while blindfolded. But Netflix is concerned, urging viewers not to “end up in the hospital due to memes.” Plenty of footage with the #BirdBoxChallenge hashtag already features people hurting themselves while failing in their attempts. Bird Box, seen by 45 million users in its first week, is Netflix’s best-ever debut.

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    PETA: Keep Animals Off the Field

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has renewed its calls for live mascots to be banned from college sports after Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl, when Texas’ iconic longhorn steer, Bevo, charged into a crowd surrounding Georgia’s bulldog mascot, Uga. No one was injured in the incident — after which Texas topped Georgia 28-21 — but PETA lamented in a statement that the dog or anyone standing nearby “could easily have been trampled and killed.” The group implored fans to encourage their favorite college teams “to use willing human participants instead.”