The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Germany’s Merkel Wins Fourth Term

    She’s survived. Germany’s voters have allowed conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel to tack four years onto her 12 years in power. But her welcoming a million-plus refugees in 2015 helped anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) win 13 percent of the vote and what’s being called the first far-right parliamentary bloc since the Nazi party. Merkel’s Christian Democrats won a record low 33 percent while losing their governing partner, the left-of-center Social Democrats, who got a disappointing 21 percent. Merkel will need smaller parties to form a governing coalition, but she’s ruled out an AfD partnership.

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    Today’s Big Game: The NFL vs. Trump

    He’s started something. In a Friday Alabama stump speech, President Trump railed against football players who’ve protested civil injustice by kneeling for the Star-Spangled Banner: “Wouldn’t you love to see (an NFL owner) say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now’?” The comments were denounced by many players, their union, and league commissioner Roger Goodell, who called the words “divisive.” The fallout continued across the nation today as players from 20 teams, many linking arms with owners and teammates, knelt or remained in locker rooms during the anthem.

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    Gunman Kills One, Wounds Seven at Tennessee Church

    A gunman wearing a ski mask has killed at least one woman and injured seven others in a Nashville-area church. The shooter, wearing a neoprene mask, killed the woman outside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, on the outskirts of Nashville, before opening fire inside, police said. He then reportedly shot himself after being confronted by an armed congregant. All but one of the wounded victims was over 60, police said, and have been taken to local hospitals. Police arrested an injured suspect, who’s also been hospitalized, and are investigating.

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    North Korea Says Strike on U.S. ‘Inevitable’

    Words fail. After a week of escalating language, North Korean’s foreign minister said insults from President Donald Trump makes “our rocket’s visit” to the U.S. mainland “inevitable all the more.” The grim declaration followed the Pentagon’s supersonic sortie of B-1B bombers and F-15 fighters near the Hermit Kingdom’s border Saturday — responding to a threat of an open-air thermonuclear test over the Pacific. Tweeting after the missile threat, Trump said that if the minister “echoes thoughts” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “they won’t be around much longer!”

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    Local Puerto Rican Official Plays Down Dam Collapse Threat

    North Americans are again facing dueling disasters. Among some 30 Hurricane Maria deaths across the Caribbean were 10 in Puerto Rico. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló begged 70,000 residents of low-lying coastal areas to evacuate before the “imminent” collapse of the storm-damaged Guajataca Dam, which has already suffered a fissure. Local and territorial safety officials gave conflicting warnings, with an Isabela city official saying the dam wouldn’t collapse. Meanwhile, the search for survivors of Tuesday’s Mexico City earthquake, which killed more than 300 people, was interrupted by a new 6.1-magnitude temblor yesterday.

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    Iran Defiantly Tests Medium-Range Missile

    They’ve joined the fray. The Islamic Republic says it’s successfully launched a medium-range missile, reportedly able to carry multiple warheads, in stark defiance of U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has called the pact to halt Iran’s nuclear program an “embarrassment” that he might undo, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his nation would “not be the first” to violate the deal. The Khoramshahr missile, with a range of 1,250 miles, had been displayed during a Tehran military parade Friday, when Rouhani said Iranians “won’t ask anybody’s permission to defend our people.”

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    London Uber Ban May Put the Sharing Economy on Trial

    Tough brake. On Friday, London’s transportation regulator refused renewal of the $70 billion ride-hailing company’s license to operate. While some 3.5 million customers and 40,000 drivers will need to alter their lifestyles — assuming the ban survives an appeal — the decision could signal something much bigger. An unreported driver assault and other security issues loomed large in the decision, but some wonder if the move exposes the “gig” economy’s vulnerability. As Uber struggles to recover from controversies that sidelined former CEO Travis Kalanick, it may encounter new roadblocks along the way.

  8. Mattis’ India Trip, London Acid Attack and Price’s Flights

    The Week Ahead: On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis begins a two-day trip to India, where he plans to improve military ties. And later tomorrow, former congressman Anthony Weiner will be sentenced for sexting an underage girl, an act which triggered events that may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

    Know This: A 15-year-old is in custody in last night’s London acid attack that injured six. President Trump launched a late-night tweetstorm against Arizona Sen. John McCain for saying he’ll vote against the latest GOP Obamacare replacement bill. And Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has acknowledged that his chartered jet trips “don’t look so good,” and he’ll suspend the practice pending a review. 

    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.


  1. greek anti fascist demonstrators shutterstock 183107459

    In Athens, a Gym Takes Its Political Battles to the Streets

    Their tolerance ends with fascists. As attacks on immigrants continue in Greece, one group in Athens is training to strike back. The White Tiger gym, founded by an anarchist Muay Thai fighter, trains its members to respect diversity and reject patriarchy while defending vulnerable populations. That’s pitted them against groups like the far-right Golden Dawn, blamed for recent years’ anti-immigrant violence. Although those actions had subsided, an influx of refugees has drawn new attacks, meaning White Tiger’s black-masked brawlers won’t be letting up anytime soon.

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    Native Americans Considering Pot Industry’s Potential

    It’s high times for the cannabis business. That’s why Native Americans want in, leveraging their access to natural resources, a unique distribution network, and the ability to set their own taxes to gain a foothold in the lucrative industry. Tribes such as the Paiutes of Nevada are already giving it a go, launching a massive, 15,800-square-foot marketplace outside Las Vegas that could pull in an extra $100 million in yearly revenue. Still, making millions in the pot business is not a given, especially with unfriendly federal authorities looking to harsh the buzz.

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    Failing Charter Schools Don’t Die — They Go Private

    They might not be learning the right lessons. An investigation of failing charter schools in the U.S. has found that 13 in five states have gone private since 2010, taking advantage of burgeoning voucher programs that pay students’ tuition. As the charter movement matures, it’s seen more oversight, and many — including those that specialize in the arts or in serving special needs kids — have been found lacking. By turning private, such schools can dodge that supervision, though with fewer performance reporting requirements, it’s not clear they’re serving students.

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    Are House-Flipping Shows Fueling Another Bubble?

    Step away from the Shaker cabinets. HGTV has turned shows about homebuying and renovation into a multibillion-dollar phenomenon, led by shows like Flip or Flop and its spinoffs featuring photogenic couples obliterating walls, installing subway tiles and hanging barn doors. But the house-flipping shows’ addicted viewers may be lulled into thinking they can emulate TV flippers’ financial success, warns social critic Caitlin Flanagan. New data on the 2008 financial crisis indicates that such irrational exuberance helped volatilize home prices and foreclosures, suggesting that the next “flop” could be the U.S. economy.

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    Brain Scan Technique May Diagnose Football’s Plague

    They’re getting inside players’ heads. Since 2005, American football has been battered by discoveries of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which deprives sufferers of their composure and memory. So far, CTE’s only been detected after the death of concussion-jarred players who’ve exhibited symptoms. But New York neurologist Sam Gandy has had promising results using brain scans and a new radioactive tracer that binds with a protein associated with CTE, showing where a living brain might be affected. Experts say that within five years, such diagnoses may become reliable enough to help in developing treatments.