The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Austrian Court Annuls Presidential Election Result

    A decision by the country’s highest court will force a re-run of the controversial May election in which independent and former Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen narrowly clinched it over the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer, winning by less than 31,000 votes. Hofer’s party challenged the result, alleging that postal votes were improperly handled. The court said it sides with neither candidate and aims simply “to strengthen trust in the rule of law and democracy.” But some Austrians fear the recent Brexit vote may stir up more populist sentiment for the second time around.

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    Gunmen Take Hostages in Bangladeshi Capital

    A Dhaka cafe fell under a hail of bullets today when around eight armed attackers stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery — a popular haunt among expats and diplomats — in the Gulshan district of the Bangladeshi capital. A gun battle has left two police officers dead and 30 people injured, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities have sealed off the area and are trying to negotiate with the assailants, who are reportedly holding at least 20 people hostages, including foreigners.

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    Istanbul Airport Mastermind Identified as ISIS Lieutenant

    His name is Akhmed Chatayev. The well-known Russian terrorist, aka Akhmed One-Arm, has been identified by Turkish media and the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security as the man who planned Tuesday’s bombings at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 44 people. Turkish officials say the three suicide bombers were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and 13 more suspects have been arrested in connection with the killings. But Chatayev’s involvement will help officials link the attacks to ISIS, something they’d been struggling to do.

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    Feds Investigating Tesla Autopilot Fatality

    The rise of the machines has some flaws. U.S. authorities are investigating a fatal Tesla Model S crash in which the car was on autopilot mode. The self-driving feature had saved driver Joshua Brown before, but in this case it couldn’t detect a white tractor-trailer against a bright sky. Tesla warns drivers to stay vigilant when using autopilot, but considering regulators are still setting rules for self-driving vehicles, the investigation could have a huge impact on the future of autonomous cars, or possibly force a Tesla recall.

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    British Downturn Predicted as Europe Seeks London Replacement

    There’s only so much he can do. Bank of England chief Mark Carney says he’ll do whatever it takes — i.e., monetary stimulus — to support post-Brexit growth during what he predicts will be a difficult economic time, while today the pound continues to tumble. Britain’s ruling Conservatives are now engaged in political drama that could see anti-immigration Home Secretary Theresa May emerge as prime minister in September. Meanwhile, Europe’s on the hunt for a new financial capital, with Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt all vying for business.

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    Gingrich, Christie Top Donald Trump’s Veep Possibilities

    He’s testing second fiddles. While former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have each sought the big job for themselves, they’re now being vetted as possible running mates. Many leading Republicans have removed themselves from contention — an adviser for Jeb Bush commented ”Hahahahahahahahaha” when asked — but Gingrich and Christie have stood behind the billionaire on the trail. Others are under consideration, and though Trump has said he wants someone with political ties to push his agenda, don’t rule out a curveball before this month’s convention.

  7. Missing Kenyan Lawyer Found Dead, Judge Blocks Miss. Religious Objections Law

    Missing Kenyan lawyer Willie Kimani found dead. (BBC)

    Judge blocks Mississippi law on religious objections to gay marriage. (NPR)

    Loretta Lynch says she’ll accept FBI guidance on Clinton email inquiry. (NYT)

    Taiwan accidentally fires missile toward China. (Time)

    Australia prepares for weekend elections. (USA Today)

    Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)


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    FDA: Lay Off the Raw Cookie Dough, Really

    That’s the way it crumbles. The Salmonella risk from uncooked eggs has long been an issue with raw cookie dough, but it was easily avoided by simply eating the dough before adding eggs. But now the FDA says the real danger is the flour: 12.8 percent of tested flour samples contained a strain of E. coli bacteria that produce Shiga toxin, which can cause kidney failure. Dozens of people this year have fallen ill from raw flour — and more could follow if we don’t stop licking the beaters.

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    Study Says 1.4 Million Americans Identify as Transgender

    Times are changing. The same day the U.S. military lifted its longtime ban on transgender soldiers, UCLA’s Williams Institute estimated that 0.6 percent of American citizens see themselves as transgender, double its 2011 estimate of 700,000. The figures see the highest proportion of transgender residents living in Hawaii, California, Georgia and New Mexico, at 0.8 percent each. Researchers, who say people aged 18 to 24 are slightly more likely to identify as transgender, hope their data can help inform public policy on issues like discrimination and access to bathrooms.

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    Hershey Rejects $23 Billion Takeover Bid

    Kiss that deal goodbye. Snack giant Mondelez International, owner of rival Cadbury, made the iconic American chocolate maker a sweet offer: $23 billion dollars to merge and create the world’s biggest confectioner. But though Mondelez reportedly pledged to take Hershey’s name and move the combined headquarters to its Pennsylvania hometown, the chocolatier didn’t sugar-coat its unanimous refusal. Hershey’s stock closed Thursday at an all-time high anyway, signaling investor confidence that another deal could still happen — but any suitor will have to sweet-talk the buyout-resistant family trust.

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    Adnan Syed of ‘Serial’ Podcast Fame Gets New Trial

    What about the Nisha call? A Baltimore judge vacated Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, saying that Syed’s lawyer did not competently represent him, in part for failing to challenge the state’s cell phone tower evidence. Syed became famous when his case was the subject of the 2014 ‘Serial’ podcast series, which questioned his conviction and brought up new evidence. Prosecutors could elect to retry Syed, who has maintained his innocence, or offer a plea deal that leads to his freedom.

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    Coastal Carolina Wins College World Series

    The Chanticleers conquered them all. The Conway, South Carolina, university and its whole Big South Conference had never won a national championship — in anything — until yesterday, when Coastal closed out Game 3 against Arizona with a 4-3 win. Though the Chanticleers had been ranked fairly high this season, they’re not typical College World Series contenders, and were even snubbed to host the tournament’s early rounds. The team’s ace, right-handed junior Andrew Beckwith, was named Most Outstanding Player after tossing another gem and wowing the college baseball world.