The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Trump Blasts China for Inaction on North Korean ICBMs

    Will they have an impact? On Friday North Korea launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew about 2,300 miles in 45 minutes — enough to reach major U.S. cities if fired at an attack trajectory, analysts believe. U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted his disappointment over China doing “NOTHING for us … just talk,” while Beijing could “easily solve this problem.” Experts believe that the Hermit Kingdom lacks the ability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon enough for such a missile, but could do so in five to 10 years.

    Ballistic Missives

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    Trump Replaces Chief of Staff Priebus With Gen. John Kelly

    He’s a big gun. President Donald Trump this afternoon named “a Great American,” Homeland Security secretary and former Marine Corps general John F. Kelly as chief of staff. He replaces Republican establishment veteran Reince Priebus, who reportedly resigned Thursday while under attack from new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who accused Priebus of leaking to the press to undermine him. The announcement came hours after the administration failed to repeal Obamacare and Trump’s suggestion a general could organize his administration — a daunting task in the face of recent White House turmoil.

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    Three GOP Senators Take Down ‘Skinny Repeal’

    They’re back to square one. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to get enough votes for his ‘skinny repeal’ — which scrapped the individual and employer insurance mandates and was expected to raise premiums 20 percent — even as he assured senators it wouldn’t immediately become law. But even those hopes were dashed when Sen. John McCain joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins to give it the thumbs-down in a suspenseful late-night vote. Now the GOP may be forced to consider bipartisan cooperation on health care.

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    Pakistani Prime Minister Removed After Financial Investigation

    They followed the money. Pakistan’s five-member Supreme Court unanimously ruled to dismiss Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a probe into his family’s finances found evidence of corruption. Sharif maintains his innocence, and his allies have called the investigation — touched off by revelations from the Panama Papers leak — a plot against him. Now Pakistan’s ruling party must choose an interim leader to take over until next year’s election. Meanwhile, the court has ordered a criminal inquiry against the Sharif family to further investigate the source of their vast wealth.

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    Anthony Scaramucci Unloads on White House Colleagues

    He didn’t hold back. In an angry, expletive-laden phone call to a New Yorker journalist — demanding he reveal his source within the administration — the new communications director attacked White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and adviser Steve Bannon. Scaramucci, who’s been focused on stopping damaging White House leaks, accused Priebus of being responsible, calling him a “paranoid schizophrenic” and raising questions about potential confrontations within the administration. Scaramucci later said he would refrain from “colorful language” in the future, but didn’t deny the conversation.

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    Venezuela Bans Protests in Lead-Up to Controversial Vote

    Prison time is on the table. President Nicolas Maduro has struggled to control massive street protests that have continued for months — and only intensified, leading to scores of deaths as citizens battle against what they see as steps toward dictatorship. Now Maduro’s government has banned public demonstrations as a July 30 vote to rewrite the constitution approaches. Violators could see prison terms of five to 10 years. Meanwhile, the White House threatened more sanctions, which some analysts warn could lead to soaring gas prices in the United States.

  7. Russian Retaliation, Transgender Soldiers and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: A day after the U.S. Congress slapped new sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin has ordered the U.S. to trim its diplomatic staff in Moscow and surrender a compound and warehouse used by embassy staff. The Pentagon says there will be no changes to the lives of transgender service members until the White House offers further guidance, despite President Donald Trump’s tweet promising to ban transgender Americans from the military. And the leader of the Boy Scouts of America has apologized for the overtly partisan content of a speech Trump gave to the group.

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

    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 launching debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Is being poor a sign of failure? Why or why not? 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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    Nine Zoo Animals Rescued From Aleppo

    They survived six years of hell. After Syria’s civil war broke out in 2011, the owner of the Magic World zoo fled, leaving many animals locked in their cages. Some starved, some were killed by shelling — but some survived, thanks to locals who scrounged food for them despite being on the brink of starvation themselves. Now animal welfare charity Four Paws has trucked three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas out of Aleppo to be rehabilitated in Turkey. A second operation to rescue more animals is being planned.

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    Starbucks Announces $1.3 Billion Deal in China

    Make it a grande. The coffee chain confirms it will buy out all its joint ventures across eastern China in a move worth an estimated $1.3 billion — the biggest deal in the company’s history. The buyout will see Starbucks take sole ownership of some 1,300 stores, including those in major markets like Shanghai. Starbucks already owns another 1,500 stores in the country and expects to hit 5,000 by 2021, consolidating its largest market outside the U.S. with new vigor as investor pressure at home rises over tepid quarterly sales.

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    Police Searches on the Rise in Russia

    It’s progress of a kind. Russia ranks 131 of 176 in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index. But new government data shows that official police searches are up 40 percent over the past decade — suggesting Russian police are beginning to follow the rulebook, relying on bureaucracy and investigations more than corruption and intimidation tactics of old. While some experts say the rise is simply because it has become easier to perform searches, others say it’s due to a jump in white-collar crime, which requires more investigation and less intimidation.

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    Amazon Becomes Film Distributor With Woody Allen Feature

    There’s no business like show business. Amazon is making headway toward becoming a full-on film studio with its release of Woody Allen’s upcoming Wonder Wheel, due in theaters Dec. 1. While it’s been buying and producing films for two years, Amazon has relied on independent studios to bring its flicks — such as Manchester By the Sea and The Salesman — to cinemas. Now, combining theatrical distribution with its existing streaming service, the ambitious online shopping giant pretty much covers every role played by a traditional movie studio.

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    USA Overcomes Jamaica for 2017 Gold Cup Title

    They’ve got the golden touch. The U.S. men’s soccer team overcame a tenacious Jamaica side 2-1 to claim the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the sixth time — one shy of Mexico’s record. After Jozy Altidore opened scoring 45 minutes in, Jamaica’s Je-Vaughn Watson equalized early in the second half, overpowering American Jordan Morris on a corner kick. But with just two minutes left in regulation time, Morris struck back, taking the Gold Cup title and extending the Americans’ unbeaten streak under manager Bruce Arena to 14.