The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Otto Warmbier Dies Days After North Korean Release

    He’s “completed his journey home.” So said the family of Otto Warmbier, 22, who died today of unknown causes — one week after his release following 17 months in a North Korean prison. Arrested in January 2016 while on a tour, he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for allegeldy stealing a sign, and went comatose after his March trial, arriving unresponsive with brain damage in Ohio last Tuesday. In a statement, the president and first lady said the administration is determined to “prevent such tragedies” at the hands of regimes that don’t respect “basic human decency.”

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    Ramadan Worshippers Targeted in London Van Attack

    “I want to kill all Muslims!” That’s what a witness reportedly heard from the driver of a van that plowed into pedestrians early Monday near North London’s Finsbury Park Mosque after evening prayers. Ten were injured and one man is dead, though he reportedly collapsed before the van struck, and his cause of death is unclear. The suspect, identifed as 47-year-old Darren Osborne, is in custody. British Prime Minister Theresa May called the incident — during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and two weeks after a similar ISIS-claimed incident on London Bridge — “an attack on Muslims.” 

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    US Downs Syrian Fighter Jet, Russia Threatens Coalition Planes

    Lines were crossed. When a Syrian SU-22 bombed American-backed rebels fighting ISIS near the group’s Raqqa stronghold, a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shot it down, marking the first American air-to-air assault in the six-year civil war. Tensions are escalating: while Syria decried the “flagrant attack” on its jet, Russia says it’ll now consider U.S.-led coalition aircraft as targets. In another first, Iran launched several medium-range missiles into eastern Syria at what it described as ISIS forces, in retaliation for the group’s June 7 terror attacks in Tehran.

     

    Crowded Battlefield

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    EU Sends Aircraft to Battle Portuguese Blaze

    There was no way out. A forest fire raced through central Portugal Sunday, killing 62 people — many of them trapped in cars as flames cut off their escape route. France, Italy and Spain have sent water-dropping aircraft and reinforcements to assist the 2,000 firefighters still working to control the blaze. It’s believed to have been sparked by lightning during a “dry thunderstorm” where rain evaporates midair, and high winds combined with 104-degree temperatures have fueled the flames. Prime Minister António Costa has declared three days of national mourning.

  5. Uber

    Lyft Grabs Market Share as Uber Makes Pit Stop

    Goliath, meet David. Upstart Lyft might seem inconsequential in the face of Uber’s $62.5 billion valuation. But the ride-sharing giant’s seeking new management after a range of embarrassments, like endemic harassment complaints brought into focus by a recent internal investigation. Uber’s U.S. market share dropped from 84 to 77 percent in just five months, giving ground to its diminutive competitor. While investors fret that the bigger company “may be self-destructing,” don’t count them out: As a global leader, Uber’s entrenched network could put it back on Easy Street.

  6. Navy Crash Probe, Virginia Muslim Girl’s Killing and Tower Fire Toll

    Know This: The U.S. Navy is investigating how a much larger freighter could have crashed into one of its destroyers outside a Japanese port, killing seven sailors whose bodies were recovered this weekend. Police have charged a 22-year-old man with murder after finding the remains of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, reportedly attacked outside a Virginia mosque Sunday. And European stocks are heading toward their biggest increase in two months after the parliamentary landslide of pro-business centrists in France yesterday.

    Remember this Number: 79. That’s the latest death toll in last week’s Grenfell Tower fire in London. Ten victims remain in critical condition, and as authorities comb the building for remains and clues to the fire’s cause, they warn that the body count may still rise.

    Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and sparking debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, with a focus on topics that might make it onto the show. This week, we delve into privacy and security: Should tech companies surrender your data to the FBI? Go deep. Email thirdrail@ozy.com with your thoughts or a personal story, and we might feature your answer next week.

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  1. Bill Cosby

    Bill Cosby’s Mistrial Relief May Be Short-Lived

    He wasn’t exonerated. With a hung jury in his recent criminal case, the embattled comedian can celebrate clearing one legal hurdle, but he still faces a marathon in the wake of dozens of sexual misconduct allegations. The Pennsylvania jury took 52 hours to not decide if Cosby was guilty of an alleged 2004 sexual assault. Prosecutors have promised to retry him, though a second trial is expected to favor the defense. In the meantime, Cosby’s lawyers must contend with 10 civil suits, many for allegedly defaming his accusers.

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    Google Escalates War on YouTube Terror

    It’s fighting back. The search giant announced Sunday that it’s adding new tools to combat extremism online, particularly on its video-sharing platform. YouTube’s new anti-terror weapons include machine learning “content classifiers” to identify extremist materials, plus a larger pool of human experts to review them. It’ll also take steps to minimize exposure to inflammatory videos that don’t outright violate community guidelines, making them harder to find and promote. Finally, Google plans to “harness the power of targeted advertising” to attract potential ISIS recruits and steer them away from radicalism.

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    The Growing Influence of Latin America’s Pentecostals

    They’re blurring the line between church and state. The proportion of evangelicals in Latin America is growing, from under 5 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in some countries today. Increasingly, their conservative voices are resonating on the political stage. Digitally savvy Pentecostals have become a political force, promoting less corrupt candidates. But they’re not just rooting out corruption: Empowered evangelicals last year helped defeat a referendum to end Colombia’s 50-year-old civil war, shunning the proposed peace deal for recognizing the rights of sexual minorities.

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    Does Our Survival Hinge on Job Training?

    Maybe leopards can’t change, but workers can. Breakneck technological and manufacturing advances have turned the job market on its head, changing so rapidly that blue-collar and professional workers alike are being forced to switch careers just to keep earning paychecks. Europe is facing the shift head-on, emphasizing vocational retraining and apprenticeships — even for college grads — and assistance for job-seekers. While the American economy is stronger, it could still use some help, European experts warn — or the ranks of angry, unemployed populists will expand.

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    Brooks Koepka Claims US Open

    He was unstoppable. The 27-year-old Floridian with just one career PGA Tour victory steamrolled his way through Wisconsin’s demanding Erin Hills course to become a major champion. A ruthless streak of three birdies after the 13th hole neutralized any threat from Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama or fellow American Brian Harman, who tied for second four shots behind Koepka. With a final score of 16 under par — tying Rory McIlroy’s record for a U.S. Open — Koepka also became the seventh straight first-time winner of a major championship.