The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Senate Leaders Delay Health Care Vote

    It’ll have to wait. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican senators on Tuesday he’ll delay a highly-anticipated vote on their answer to Obamacare until after July 4. It’s a stinging setback that comes a day after the Congressional Budget Office found the bill would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured by 2026 than Obamacare would. That pushed the legislation, already opposed by a number of GOP Senators, even further down the critical list. Three Republicans have said they’ll oppose even debating it, while some Senate Democrats joined hundreds of protesters on Monday evening for a rally on the Capitol steps.

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    Europe Hit By Massive Cyberattack

    It’s going global. A cyberattack that first struck Ukraine on Tuesday — affecting government computer systems, power distributors and banks, among other entities — appeared to be quickly spreading across Europe, hitting a British advertising firm, Russia’s top oil company and Danish shipping giant Maersk. Not much is known about the source of the attack, even as the number of targets are reportedly growing. But researchers say a type of ransomware, which holds user data hostage until a payment is made, is the primary weapon. And if it’s the kind of self-spreading software experts think, the attack may be far from over.

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    White House Warns Syria Against Future Chemical Attacks

    Don’t even think about it. That was the message for Syrian leader Bashar Assad as the White House announced that it suspects he’s planning further chemical attacks on his citizens. An April 4 strike that killed 87 led President Trump to order a missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation, and presidential Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Assad will “pay a heavy price” for a repeat performance. Officials at the State and Defense Departments were reportedly blindsided by the announcement, suggesting a rather insular thought process preceded the move.

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    EU Hits Google With Record $2.7 Billion Antitrust Fine

    Not feeling so lucky, then. A years-long investigation has led the EU to conclude that Google’s searches favor its own price-comparison service, and the company must pay $2.7 billion, along with 5 percent of parent firm Alphabet’s earnings as long as it continues its “anticompetitive” practice. Some of Google’s American rivals, including Oracle and Yelp, signed on to a letter attempting to refute claims that the EU’s case is driven by anti-American sentiment and backing stiff penalties — likely hoping they’ll pick up some of Google’s business.

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    Brazilian President Formally Charged With Corruption

    Always the bribesmaid, never the bribee. President Michel Temer — who took over after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached over budget shenanigans — has become the first sitting president in Brazil’s history to face criminal charges. The country’s top prosecutor alleges Temer took a $150,000 bribe from JBS, the world’s biggest meat-packing firm, which is at the center of a massive corruption scandal. Before he’s tried, however, two-thirds of the country’s lower congressional house must vote to proceed, something the governing coalition’s confident won’t happen despite Temer’s unpopularity.

  6. Travel Ban, America’s Cup and the History of Drag

    Know This: The U.S. Supreme Court partially lifted an injunction on President Trump’s travel ban, as long as the unwelcome visitors don’t have a credible claim to any relationship with an American person or entity. New Zealand’s team captured the America’s Cup in a surprise victory. And Pew Research has found only 49 percent of people around the world have a favorable view of the U.S., a 15-point drop from last year — and that opinions of those in Mexico, Canada and Germany have fallen far more.

    Read This: Ru Paul’s Drag Race — and its latest winner, Sasha Velour — offer a new chapter in the history of drag, but one that falls in line with the revolutionary art form.

    Talk to Us: We want your feedback on the Presidential Daily Brief — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at


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    Jury Selection in Shkreli Trial Complicated by Hatred

    “In my head I said, ‘That’s a snake.’” So said one potential juror in notorious ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli’s trial for allegedly defrauding hedge fund investors. She wasn’t the only one: More than 130 prospective jurors were dismissed on the first day of jury selection, dozens because they said they couldn’t be impartial toward Shkreli, 34, after his notorious 5,000-percent markup of the lifesaving AIDS drug Daraprim — though that’s unrelated to the current charges. The selection process will continue today with another 100 prospective jurors expected.

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    What’s Really Stifling Africa’s Tech Economy

    Don’t touch that dial-up. While the continent’s citizens may be getting online faster than ever, the ability of their governments to clamp down on online dissent — and the internet itself — is leaving burgeoning digital economies threatened by the whims of their leaders. From July 2015 to June 2016, seven countries saw nine politically motivated internet shutdowns — costing businesses an estimated $400 million. With internet providers subject to official control, they might want to convince leaders that revenue from unfettered e-commerce will win more hearts and minds than censorship.

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    Study Finds Extinction Event Accompanied Climate Change

    Sometimes, life doesn’t find a way. A new analysis published in Nature Ecology & Evolution has found that 36 percent of marine megafauna species, including swimming sloths and giant sharks, went suddenly extinct at the end of the Pliocene Epoch, 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago. Scientists say much of the upheaval, which also destroyed huge swaths of seabird and turtle species, may have been caused by climate change and coastal habitat depletion — and thus could provide a cautionary tale for our own era as well.

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    Salvador Dali to Be Exhumed For Paternity Test

    So much for resting in peace. A Spanish court has ordered the remains of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, who died in 1989, to be dug up to settle a paternity suit. Maria Pilar Abel Martínez, 61, claims her mother and Dalí had a secret affair. She took two DNA tests a decade ago, but says she never got the results. Dalí, who otherwise died childless, could be exhumed as soon as next month — and if paternity is proven, Abel could be entitled to 25 percent of his now state-owned estate.

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    German Newspaper Obtains Damning World Cup Report

    Ain’t that a kick in the head? In 2014, FIFA published a 42-page, “legally appropriate” version of independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia’s report on choosing World Cup venues. At the time, Garcia resigned in protest as Qatar was cleared of corruption over its bid to host the 2022 contest — and now German newspaper Bild says it’s publishing the unexpurgated 403-page document. Its colorful allegations, including a $2 million payment to a FIFA official’s 10-year-old daughter, promises a new black eye for the already tainted body.