The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Suicide Bomber Reportedly Hits Saudi Holy City of Medina

    A blast has occurred outside the Prophet’s Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, according to reports. Social media posts showed an engulfed vehicle and smoke at the site of Prophet Muhammad’s burial place in Medina, the second-holiest city for Muslims after Mecca. More to follow. There’s no information yet on casualties, and the news comes just hours after another explosion hit the eastern Saudi Shia-strong city of Qatif. A suspected suicide bomber also died near the U.S. in Jeddah.


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    Leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage Resigns

    He championed Britain’s split from the EU, and now he’s bowing out. Farage, leader of the far-right U.K. Independence Party — one of the loudest campaigners for leaving the bloc — has declared he’s stepping down. “I want my life back,” he said in his surprise announcement. The move leaves a third British political party rudderless: The ruling Conservatives are in the midst of a leadership contest, and Labour is roiling with mutiny against Jeremy Corbyn. But Farage has reappeared after resigning twice before, so it’s possible he’ll do another about-face.

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    EU Instability Could Sink Italian Economy

    Was Britain the first domino? Many fear that given the ongoing Italian bank crisis, the U.K.’s economic dive — and corresponding fears about EU instability — could bring the boot down on Italy as well. The European Union instituted new banking rules in January that prohibit saving failed banks with public money, but Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is threatening to throw billions at the problem anyway, in a blow to the EU’s authority. With bank stress tests due this month, pressure is mounting on thus-far-unmoved European officials.

  4. Canada May Push for Gender-Neutral IDs, New Zealand Nabs Biggest-Ever Cocaine Stash

    Canada to consider gender-neutral ID cards. (The Guardian)

    New Zealand seizes biggest ever cocaine stash from glittery horse head. (Mashable)

    Torrential flooding in China kills 180. (BBC)

    China premieres world’s biggest radio telescope. (FT) sub

    Inconclusive Australian elections may mean another vote. (WSJ) sub

    Opponents mount legal challenge to Brexit. (BBC)


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    NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Reaches Jupiter’s Orbit

    It’s arrived at last. After a five-year voyage and a 130,000-mph entry through intense radiation and debris that made for some anxious moments at ground control, the spacecraft fired a steadying engine blast and slipped into orbit Monday night. It’s the start of a 20-month, $1.1 billion mission that will bring NASA’s craft within 2,600 miles of Jupiter’s clouds for a close-up look at its gravity, atmosphere and magnetic fields. Juno is designed to make 37 orbits before diving into the gas giant and disintegrating in 2018.

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    Chris Evans Quits ‘Top Gear’ Amid Sexual Abuse Investigation

    He’s skidded out. Jeremy Clarkson’s successor behind the wheel of Britain’s famed car show has turned in his keys after drawing record low audiences of fewer than two million. “Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough,” Evans tweeted. The news coincided with London police confirming that a woman has made “an allegation of non-recent sexual assault” against the 50-year-old host. But Evans says his departure is intended to help the franchise, and that he’ll continue his work on the BBC’s Radio 2.

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    The Hidden Science, Danger of Fireworks

    You’ll get a bang out of this. Since being created by the Chinese around 200 B.C., pyrotechnics have been shoved into everything from cardboard cones to bamboo shoots. First used to ward off evil, they were soon adopted for celebrations in Europe, where Italians modernized them. To get big bangs, an oxidizer like potassium nitrate must mix with fuel, like sulfur or charcoal. Once ignited, it’s powerful enough to burn underwater — which explains why roughly 230 Americans visit the ER each day this month for fireworks-related injuries.

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    Nobel Laureate, Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel Dies at Age 87

    He was just a witness. So said the Romanian-born writer and activist, who died Saturday in his Manhattan home. But Wiesel did much more than experience the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a Jewish teenager. He campaigned tirelessly to assure mankind would never forget the Holocaust while advocating for victims of persecution everywhere. Wiesel penned several dozen books, including his death camp memoir Night, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, in part for advising that “the forces fighting evil … can be victorious.”

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    US Senate Finally Gets Rid of BlackBerry Phones

    It’s the end of an era. The U.S. Senate will no longer provide BlackBerry phones to its employees, switching to Samsung or Apple devices and ending the Canadian manufacturer’s long tenure as a government staple. Prized for their security and typing ease, addictive “CrackBerries” persisted in the federal government long after the wider marketplace upgraded. The company, too, has moved on. Struggling to convince investors that it has a bright future beyond its famous phones, BlackBerry now makes more of its money from software and services.

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    Study: School Condom Programs Increased Pregnancies

    Should they wrap it up? Schools that distributed condoms to students who participated in counseling sessions had two more pregnancies per 1,000 students than schools that didn’t. And that number jumped to five per 1,000 when the students were given condoms without additional information. It’s troubling news for condom programs, but evidence for the abstinence-only crowd that sex ed can be effective. Some school districts are experimenting with giving out hormonal contraceptives such as IUDs, a controversial step that gives girls more control and has shown early signs of effectiveness.

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    Marlins Top Braves in Historic Fort Bragg Game

    Despite the mosquitoes, they soldiered on. In an Independence Day event Sunday night, MLB staged the first ever regular-season game at an active military base, playing in a makeshift stadium on the sprawling eastern North Carolina Army base. Players, who got to participate in activities like special ops training, watched as helicopters from the 82nd Airborne flew over at the close of the national anthem. The crowd of more than 12,000 cheered harder for Atlanta, but saw Miami seize a 5-2 victory, continuing its fight for playoff contention.