The Presidential Daily Brief


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    North Korea, Trump Exchange Threats Over Nukes

    It’s getting serious. At an ASEAN meeting in the Philippines, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the U.S. would be taught a “severe lesson” if it tries to take military action in its ongoing stand-off with Pyongyang. Yet amid reports that North Korea has developed a missile-ready nuclear warhead, President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised “fire and fury” if the regime continues its threats. It remains unclear whether the militaristic rogue state can successfully deliver a missile, but the reports are nevertheless a troubling indicator that Pyongyang is coming closer to becoming a nuclear power.

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    Kenya Goes to the Polls in Tense Presidential Election

    Everyone’s braced for the worst. Polling places are already open in Kenya for today’s general elections. President Uhuru Kenyatta — who’s battling Raila Odinga, son of his own father’s longtime political rival, for a second term — called for votes to be carried out “in peace.” That’s not a sure thing: In 2007 more than 1,100 people died in violence stirred up by a disputed election. Former President Barack Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, has even stepped in to urge leaders to respect the people’s choice.

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    Amid Suppression Fears, US Climate Report Leaked 

    Reversing this will be difficult. A draft report on the effects of climate change in America — backed by 13 federal agencies — needed a White House stamp before its release. As scientists worried that administration climate-skeptics would sanitize it, someone handed the media a copy. It found that temperatures, driven by human activity, have climbed dramatically in three decades. It’s unclear whether the report will see official release, but the leak is sure to make the president, who’s withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, hot under the collar.

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    To Finance Production, Tesla to Sell First Junk Bonds

    Hopefully, the cars won’t resemble the debt. As Tesla faces steep production costs for its new Model 3 sedan, it’s decided to issue potentially high-interest junk bonds for the first time, hoping investors will leap on them as eagerly as they’ve bought the firm’s supercharged stocks. Recently valued at $59 billion, Tesla has seen its shares rise more than 1,000 percent in five years. Though it’s betting the $35,000-and-up Model 3 will be a hit, delivery wait times and production glitches have plagued past electric car models.

  5. HBO Hacks, a 9/11 Victim and the Sanctuary City Next Door

    Know This: Hackers who stole data from HBO have released several Game of Thrones episode scripts, along with a ransom note demanding an undisclosed amount of money. A victim of the 9/11 attacks has been identified after 16 years due to advances in DNA testing. And scores of people have reportedly been using illegal drugs at a secret injection site in an undisclosed U.S. city, a program modeled on facilities in Canada and Denmark that’s attempting to battle the opioid epidemic without the government’s knowledge.

    Read This: A tiny city near Washington — Takoma Park, Maryland — has been operating as a sanctuary city for decades, and its mayor says “we are not scared” of new Trump administration crackdowns.

    Wanted: OZY is growing! We’re looking to hire a number of additional reporters, videographers, podcasters and editors including a top-tier technology reporter. Read more on our jobs page. And please forward to an outstanding friend who you think may be a great fit.


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    Google ‘Diversity Memo’ Employee Fired

    Bro crossed a line. James Damore, the senior software engineer at Google who wrote a manifesto suggesting that women’s low pay and representation in tech is due to “biological causes,” has been fired for violating the company’s code of conduct. CEO Sundar Pichai said that while employees should feel free to express dissenting minority viewpoints, advancing stereotypes that some colleagues are “less biologically suited” for their work is “not ok.” Meanwhile, Damore, whose manifesto also said non-liberal viewpoints are squelched at big tech companies, is becoming a cause célèbre in the conservative blogosphere.

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    AI May Conquer the Public Sector, Too

    The robot wars are everywhere. Many civil service jobs — DMV, anyone? — involve the kind of box-checking, form-completing work that artificial intelligence could totally crush. Some consultants predict the government could save $41.1 billion annually. But past efforts at AI in government systems, like criminal sentencing algorithms that discriminated against Black defendants, haven’t always worked — and the Trump administration has said it doesn’t expect big job losses to AI for at least 50 years. But one expert calls that “absurd,” and predicts “real problems” in half that time.

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    French Fuming Over Macron’s ‘First Lady’

    Minute, papillon! Many in France were relieved when Emmanuel Macron defeated xenophobic firebrand Marine Le Pen for the presidency — but that doesn’t mean he has carte blanche. Nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition demanding that he back away from a campaign pledge to give his wife, Brigitte, an official role as First Lady. They say that position, which doesn’t exist in France, should be approved through a popular referendum, not a presidential decree. Macron promised his wife wouldn’t be paid with public funds — but critics say it would still cost taxpayers cash. 

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    Exclusive San Francisco Street Sold for $90,000

    The moral is: Pay your taxes. Presidio Terrace is lined with multimillion-dollar homes, but the street itself now belongs to couple Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, who bought it at auction in 2015. The street, unbeknownst to its residents, went up for sale after the gated community failed to pay a $14 annual property tax for decades due to what attorneys are saying was a mailing error. Now Lam and Cheng, who are mulling their options, could potentially start charging residents — or ordinary motorists — to park on the street.

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    Wagging the Board: Abbie Girl Reprises Dog Surfing Title

    There were some ruff waves out there. The second annual World Dog Surfing Championships brought more than 1,000 spectators to Pacifica, California, to watch dogs balancing on surfboards and riding the waves to shore. The relatively recent sport, including solo, tandem and human-canine events spreading around the world, is again topped by Australian kelpie Abbie Girl, who managed to hold onto her title along with her custom-built dog surfboard. The three-judge panel’s criteria? “No. 1 is staying on the board and No. 2 is looking happy.”