The Presidential Daily Brief


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    In Address Trump Calls for Wall to Bolster National Security

    The president used his first televised address from the Oval Office to further his case for a southern barrier. He described the situation at the Mexican border as a ”crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” citing figures on drug smuggling and stories of crime caused by illegal immigrants. His nine-minute speech precipitated a response from Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who asked to separate the issue of border security and government funding to end the partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day.

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    Kim Jong Un Makes Unannounced Visit to China

    As Washington and Pyongyang reportedly consider prospects for a second meeting between President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart, Kim arrived in China by train Monday ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. With his three-day visit, analysts believe Kim is reminding the U.S. of his country’s key diplomatic ties with Beijing — especially amid stalled talks on denuclearization. In an address last week, Kim floated hope for progress in those negotiations, but urged the U.S. to lift sanctions and other pressure off North Korea.

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    Trump to Address Border ‘Crisis’ on National TV

    Stay tuned. As the partial government shutdown dragged into its 17th day, President Trump announced that he’ll speak to the country on primetime television tonight as he attempts to secure $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall. All major networks will broadcast his address — an opportunity reportedly denied in 2014 to President Barack Obama, whose speech on immigration was deemed too overtly political. Later this week, Trump will visit the southern border to meet “those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis,” according to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

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    Carlos Ghosn Appears in Court, Denies Charges

    In his first public appearance since his November arrest, the former Nissan chairman claimed in a Tokyo court today that he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained” following charges that he hid millions of dollars in back pay. “I have always acted with integrity,” Ghosn told Judge Yuichi Tada — who ordered that the 64-year-old stay behind bars as a flight risk. The arrest of one of the auto world’s most powerful executives has thrown Nissan into uncertainty and tainted its alliance with French partner Renault.

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    Detained Saudi Woman Allowed Into Thailand

    Officials in Thailand have temporarily admitted 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel yesterday to prevent deportation to Saudi Arabia. Alqunun’s claims over social media that she’d be killed by her family for renouncing Islam drew support from the U.N. Refugee Agency, which is guarding her while it reviews her case. “You saved Rahaf’s life,” said a friend after her story attracted widespread attention. Meanwhile, Thailand’s police chief said officials from the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok are pleased with how the country handled the matter.

  6. The World Bank, Amazon and the Super Bowl

    Know This: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has resigned nearly three years earlier than expected. Amazon overtook Microsoft yesterday as the highest-valued publicly traded company in the United States. And a German far-right lawmaker has been badly injured in what police say was a politically motivated attack.

    #OZYfact: No NFL squad with a first-team All-Pro quarterback, running back or wide receiver has won the Super Bowl since 2006. Read more.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a creative, organized and ambitious Social Media Manager. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Colleague: Chinese Embryo Editor Could Face Death Penalty

    The physicist who purportedly edited the DNA of twin girls to make them HIV-resistant could be sentenced to death, according to fellow geneticist Robin Lovell-Badge. The British researcher says He Jiankui is living under armed guard and faces bribery and corruption charges — capital offenses in China. Beijing’s science and health ministries may also levy charges of violating research protocols, said Lovell-Badge, who worries that He’s editing work could cause health problems in the twins, since “no one knows what these mutations will do.”

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    Jakarta Is Easing Its Traffic Problems

    Currently the world’s most congested city, the Indonesian capital is backing a combination of mass transit and ride-sharing to ditch the dubious title. A 67-mile rail system in the works could transport more than 1 million travelers a day, while some 11 million people have so far downloaded motorcycle taxi app GO-JEK. The traffic solution couldn’t come fast enough: Indonesia hopes to attract investors skittish of challenges caused by congestion. If successful, the capital of Asia’s fifth-largest economy could hold valuable lessons for other major cities.

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    Bell Unveils Model of Airborne Uber

    Need a lift? Yesterday the Texas-based helicopter maker revealed a full-scale model of the Bell Nexus — an “autonomous pod transport” with six tilting ducted fans that could eventually allow partner company Uber to pick up passengers from rooftops. The unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas afforded participants the first full look at the 6,000-pound vehicle, which boasts a range of 150 miles and can carry four passengers. Uber expects the Nexus to hover over several U.S. cities by the mid-2020s.

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    Kevin Spacey Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Assault

    The disgraced former House of Cards star made his first courtroom appearance yesterday in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he entered a plea of not guilty to one count of indecent assault and battery against an 18-year-old busboy in 2016. The case, one of more than a dozen similar allegations against the 59-year-old Oscar-winner, is the first to result in criminal charges. Hours after his court appearance, Spacey was reportedly pulled over for speeding at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. — but let off with a verbal warning.

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    Clemson Routs Alabama in National Championship

    The Tigers easily mauled the Crimson Tide 44-16 in college football’s top matchup Monday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Alabama, which entered the title game 14-0, suffered from uncharacteristic mistakes — including an interception returned for a first-quarter touchdown. The loss robbed coach Nick Saban of the chance to beat the legendary Bear Bryant’s record six titles. Among the Clemson alumni spotted on the sidelines were Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, Houston QB Deshaun Watson and former Tigers star Tajh Boyd.