The Presidential Daily Brief


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    North Korea, Trump Continue Trading Tough Talk 

    “A load of nonsense.” That’s how Pyongyang characterized President Donald Trump’s belligerent rhetoric as it announced a plan to fire four Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan to within 25 miles of the U.S. territory of Guam. North Korean state television said the plan will be ready by mid-August, pending approval from Kim Jong Un, though Guam’s governor dismissed the unusually detailed attack description as showing North Korea’s “position of fear.” While top U.S. officials tried to soothe concerns of nuclear war, Trump suggested on Thursday his promise of “fire and fury” wasn’t “tough enough.”

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    FBI Raided Former Trump Campaign Chief’s Home

    They’re on the hunt. FBI agents raided the Virginia home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman last month, reportedly seizing documents in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election. Paul Manafort has been under scrutiny for months over his foreign connections, including work for Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin former president. The use of a warrant in an investigation that’s been relying on subpoenas — especially since Manafort has already handed over hundreds of documents — may indicate that Mueller thinks there’s more to discover.


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    Election Fraud Accusations in Kenya Spark Violence

    It’s getting ugly. After early election results in Kenya showed a strong lead for incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, opponent Raila Odinga rejected the numbers as “fraud” and claimed voting systems had been hacked. While the country’s chief electoral officer says the systems were never compromised, Odinga’s supporters clashed with security forces and some media are reporting multiple deaths. Residents of Nairobi are reportedly staying indoors, fearing a repeat of 2007’s post-election carnage, as many wonder if Odinga will legally contest the victory, as he did unsuccessfully in 2013.

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    Report: Tesla Creating Electric, Self-Driving Long-Haul Truck

    That cargo’s not gonna haul itself … or is it? Tesla’s announced plans to develop a large electric truck, but intimations that it could be self-driving are new. The firm’s reportedly close to testing a prototype, scheduled to be unveiled in September, and has been discussing potential road testing areas in Nevada with the state DMV. Long-haul trucking is seen as a key market for self-driving technology, as it would allow overworked drivers to rest on long routes, and Uber and Google’s Waymo are also competing for market share.

  5. Statutory Period, Swift Justice and Lettuce Rethink

    Know This: Nepal has criminalized the practice of isolating women who are menstruating, promising to punish those who enforce the tradition with jail time and fines. Taylor Swift is countersuing a DJ she says groped her in 2013, after he sued her for $3 million. And Hurricane Franklin has made landfall in Mexico.

    Read This: A 19th century remedy that’s begun to gain traction once again on social media, a specific type of lettuce thought to be useful as a painkiller, has been debunked.

    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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    Diplomatic Hearing Loss in Cuba Blamed on ‘Acoustic Attack’

    There’s little definitive information, according to the State Department. But several American embassy workers living in Havana were sent home late last year suffering from mysterious hearing loss. Then two Cuban diplomats were sent home from the U.S. in May. Some U.S. officials reportedly believe the cause was a sonic weapon, inaudible to human ears but capable of causing significant hearing loss, that was deployed in or near the Americans’ residences. Cuban officials have denied all such allegations, protested their diplomats’ expulsion and convened a committee to investigate the incident.

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    Germany Fights Fake News Before Its Big Election

    Can they handle the truth? After last year’s U.S. presidential election became mired in weaponized disinformation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t taking any chances. Ahead of Germany’s Sept. 24 general election, the country is relying on legislation and online fact-checking to crack down on fake news, which many Germans believe threatens their democracy. But bots and disinformation, often originating from Russia, are still going strong — and technology enables such tools as convincing doctored video that, even among a discerning public, could sow just enough doubt to tip electoral odds.

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    Is the Mediterranean Diet Unaffordable?

    It’s lean fare for rich eaters. A study of 18,000 subjects on a Mediterranean diet — less red meat and more fish, olive oil, fruits, veggies and nuts — found that cardiovascular benefits correlate to incomes. In other words, the richer you were, the better the diet was for your health. The findings suggest that it’s not simply what is consumed, but the quality of ingredients that determines how your body benefits. With pricier varieties often nutritionally better, doctors recommending the diet should consider patients’ budgets, and suggest cheaper alternatives, like red leaf lettuce over kale.

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    Facebook Launches New Video Platform

    Watch out for it. Facebook has officially entered the TV market with the start of a new, personalized and redesigned video tab called “Watch.” It’s being rolled out to a select number of users today, and the social network plans to help finance original video content from publishers like ATTN and Condé Nast, possibly competing with streaming services. Facebook is banking on ad-embedded original and episodic “shows” to draw in skeptics — but Watch is also open to independent creators, YouTube style, which could potentially flood the tab with low-quality content.

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    Mexican Soccer Star Sanctioned for Narcotics Ties

    It’s a stiff penalty. The U.S. Treasury Department has included Mexico’s former national soccer team captain, Rafael Marquez, on a list of 22 people sanctioned for alleged membership in an illegal drug operation. The 38-year-old former Barcelona and New York Red Bulls defender is one of Mexico’s most celebrated players, but is now accused of acting as a front for and holding assets for a trafficking organization. Though he has yet to be charged — and denies the allegations — the designation immediately freezes his American assets and U.S. corporate sponsorships.