The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Maria Sharapova Banned for Two Years Over Failed Drugs Test

    The ball may not be in her court for some time. The International Tennis Federation has lobbed a career-bruising penalty at the Russian player after she tested positive for meldonium, a heart disease drug. Sharapova admitted she continued taking the medicine — which she’s used since 2006 — because she was unaware it had been banned. Calling it “unfairly harsh,” the 29-year-old former No. 1 says she will appeal. Nike says it will continue to sponsor Sharapova, who could still contend for majors after two years off.

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    Papua New Guinea Police Fire on Student Protests

    The political just got very personal. Students marching at the University of PNG’s Waigani campus were headed for parliament, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, when police reportedly prevented them from boarding buses and then fired into the group. Opposition leaders say four students were killed and dozens wounded, but O’Neill — who says he isn’t going anywhere — denies that there were any deaths. Now he may be facing a no-confidence motion when parliament reconvenes in August, as students continue their boycott of university classes.

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    Trump Clarifies Position After Ryan Calls His Remarks ‘Racist’

    With friends like these…. House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed to support Donald Trump’s campaign for president after initial diffidence — but when the billionaire said a Mexican-American judge who’d ruled against him was inherently biased due to his heritage, Ryan called it “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Trump issued a clarifying statement — not an apology — but still saw a defection from Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and waffling from others in the party. Despite the incident, Ryan’s still Team Trump, saying Hillary Clinton’s not the answer.

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    Investigation Reveals Luxembourg-McDonald’s Tax Deal

    They’re getting grilled. The European Commission’s been cracking down on corporate tax deals — especially those involving U.S. companies. Now it’s revealed that McDonald’s struck a deal with Luxembourg to make the fast food giant exempt from taxation in Europe on any income that could be taxed stateside, whether or not the tax was actually paid. McDonald’s and the Grand Duchy both denied any wrongdoing, but Brussels could force the tiny country to go after taxes determined to be due, which could jeopardize Luxembourg’s growing role as a European tax haven.

  5. Three Killed in Tel Aviv Shooting, At Least 15 Die in Syrian Hospital Strike

    Shooting spree at shopping center kills three in Tel Aviv. (DW)

    Hospital reportedly hit in Aleppo airstrike. (BBC)

    Two Democrats win California’s top-two Senate primary. (LA Times)

    Euroskepticism on the rise across Continent, survey says. (Independent)

    EgyptAir flight resumes after emergency landing for bomb threat. (AP)

    Bashar Assad swears to retake “every inch” of Syria. (NYT)

    U.S. says China’s intercept of spy plane was “unsafe.” (Reuters)


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    Fishazam App to Verify Source of Seafood

    There are plenty of fish in the sea — who can tell them apart? London developers are working on a smartphone app that uses infrared pattern-recognition technology — like the song-identifying tool Shazam — to help shoppers and retailers determine the source and species of their seafood. Fish are often illegally caught and a third are mislabeled as more expensive species. Fishazam is a finalist in Fishackathon, a U.S. government-sponsored initiative promoting sustainable fishing, and the $10,000-prize winner will be announced today for World Oceans Day.

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    Forty Percent of American Woman Are Obese

    Fat lot of good news this is. Bellies are growing across the U.S., with some figures showing more than two-thirds of American adults now fit into the overweight and obese categories. A new study shows that while men’s obesity rates have plateaued at 35 percent, numbers and waistbands continue to expand for women, a whopping 40 percent of whom are now obese. Experts say the scales tipped significantly between 2005 and 2014, leading many to ponder whether an obesity-busting collaboration with the food industry should be added to the menu.

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    Italian Emigrants’ Descendants Return to Ancestral Towns

    They’re making themselves at home. Second-generation offspring of Italians who fled years ago for better opportunities abroad are returning to their grandparents’ villages in the central region of Ciociaria and buying up real estate. These “old-new” immigrants are reviving local economies by restoring medieval buildings and abandoned farmhouses and boosting demand for local artisanal products. Some stay a few months at a time, others half the year, but all are adding a new accent to a mountainous backdrop dotted with ancient Roman bridges and castles. 

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    Study: Celebs Make Big Bucks Hawking Unhealthy Products

    Empty calories make for full bank accounts. Beyoncé made $50 million for pushing Pepsi, while Justin Timberlake took home $6 million from McDonald’s. A new study of 65 music celebrities who endorse 57 food and beverage brands reveals that the products, ranging from Pop-Tarts to Red Bull, were nearly all unhealthy and often targeted the impressionable youth market. The food industry has cut back on marketing to children 12 and younger but it’s resisting calls to restrict advertising aimed at teenagers, even as pressure mounts.

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    US Men’s Soccer Team Dominates Costa Rica

    They came out fast and furious. A quick Clint Dempsey goal — his 50th with the team — set the stage for the U.S. men’s national squad to crush Costa Rica 4-0 and avoid elimination from the Copa America Centenario. Friday’s loss to Colombia had put the host country on the ropes, but it’s now in position to advance out of the first round. With questions about his job rising, the win puts Coach Jurgen Klinsmann on firmer turf ahead of the team’s next match against Paraguay on Saturday.