The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Floats $100 Billion in New China Tariffs

    The White House has instructed trade officials to consider billions in additional taxes on Chinese products. According to the president it’s “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” against an earlier proposed $50 billion in new tariffs aimed at China for intellectual property abuse. China responded to that with their own $50 billion list of American products ready to be taxed. A trade war between the world’s two largest economies would not only impact markets but possibly U.S. and North Korean talks next month which China is helping to facilitate.

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    Trump Denies Knowing About Stormy Daniels Payoff 

    “No.” That was the president’s one-word response to whether he knew about his lawyer paying the adult film star $130,000 days before his election. It was Trump’s first public statement on the matter of payment in return for Daniels not speaking about their alleged affair. He said he didn’t know where the money came from while Daniels’ lawyer later said he looks forward to testing Trump’s lack of knowledge under oath. Meanwhile, complaints filed with the Justice Department claim the arrangement with Daniels would count as an illegal undisclosed campaign contribution.

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    Facebook: 87M Users Hit in Cambridge Analytica Scandal

    The world’s largest social media company says personal data from 87 million users — 37 million more than previously estimated — was likely shared with the data-mining firm, which worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify on the matter before Congress next week, took personal responsibility for the mistake, explaining that for “unprecedented” companies like Facebook, “there are going to be things that you mess up.” The company’s now pledged to restrict how deeply third parties can tap into user data.

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    Former Brazilian President to Be Imprisoned During Appeal

    Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2011 and remains divisive but popular, was convicted last year of corruption. His first appeal not only failed but saw his prison sentence upped from nine to 12 years. Now Lula’s lost another legal bid — this one hoping to keep him out of jail until his next appeal can be processed. He’ll have to start his sentence once the paperwork is complete, which could throw October’s presidential election, in which he’s the front-runner, into total chaos.

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    White House Previews Syria Withdrawal

    Should they stay or should they go now? The White House said yesterday that the fight against ISIS in Syria was “coming to a rapid end,” as President Trump reportedly told advisers he wants the approximately 2,000 American troops there withdrawn within six months. Officials said Trump is scaling back U.S. goals, leaving Syria’s stabilization and reconstruction to others. The Pentagon, State Department and CIA — along with other nations in the U.S.-led coalition — have expressed concerns that a sudden withdrawal could lead to a power vacuum and an ISIS resurgence.

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    NYPD Shoots Black Man After Mistaking Pipe for Gun

    Hundreds gathered on a Brooklyn street corner after four officers fired 10 shots at Saheed Vassell, 34, who was carrying a metal pipe. Vassell, who was known to be mentally ill, was remembered by his neighbors as a kind, quiet man who worked odd jobs and loved to dance. Police said they’d received 911 calls saying Vassell had a gun, and that he’d pointed the pipe at them in a shooting stance. This may heighten tensions roiled by the police shooting of unarmed Stephon Clark last month.

  7. Trade War, Poaching and Social Media Rage

    Know This: The White House is attempting to calm fears over a trade war with China, characterizing rising tariffs as a “threat” that would benefit U.S. industry. Bollywood star Salman Khan has been convicted of poaching rare antelope in 1998. And a deep dive into YouTube shooting suspect Nasim Aghdam’s social media channels reveals a documented anger at what she saw as the platform stifling her ability to monetize her work.

    Coming Up: The U.S. is reportedly preparing to slap new sanctions on Russia this week in a move that could affect those close to President Vladimir Putin.

    Talk to Us: May 7–11 is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we’re giving you the chance to honor your favorite teacher with the OZY Educator Awards. Tell us what’s special about this excellent teacher in your life, and they could win an OZY Educator Award.


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    Oklahoma Teacher Walkout Enters Fourth Day

    They’re teaching a lesson. Educators in the Sooner State continued their statewide strike to pressure lawmakers to provide overdue pay raises and boost funding for students. As Republican Gov. Mary Fallin compared teachers who haven’t had an across-the-board raise in more than ten years to “a teenager wanting a better car,” districts debated how long to continue the walkout — and Tulsa teachers began a weeklong 110-mile march to Oklahoma City to prove their determination. Kentucky teachers are also striking, and walkouts are soon expected in Arizona.

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    New England Fishing Families Evolve to Stay Afloat

    It’s a new sea world. Small fishing businesses have built an industry on passed-down wisdom about where to catch certain fish at certain times of the year. But fluctuating water temperatures are forcing them to jettison those ideas, as Maine sees its cod industry collapse and lobster populations explode, while to the south lobsters succumb to disease and black sea bass swim farther north than ever before. Now fisheries are hoping up-to-date marine data, as well as more flexible regulations, will help them adapt to changing tides.

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    Philippines Closes Tourist Spot Due to Raw Sewage

    There’s trouble in paradise. The tropical island of Boracay is a tourist favorite for its white sand beaches and nightlife, but the Philippines has announced it’ll be closed for six months over a sewage crisis. In February, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened the island with closure, complaining of “smelly” water and shuttering 51 businesses for environmental violations, including dumping untreated waste into the surrounding waters. Boracay saw 2 million tourists last year, but now residents worry that its biggest industry, which employs about 17,000 people, may be drying up for good.

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    Saudi Arabia Nets Entertainment Deals in Hollywood Visit

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Tinseltown tour has landed his kingdom some new artistic offerings: Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil is developing a new production for its first ever performance in Saudi Arabia. Feld Entertainment will bring its touring shows, like Disney on Ice and Monster Jam, as well as a National Geographic underwater experience currently installed in Times Square. And AMC will open 100 theaters in the next 12 years — the first cinemas in the kingdom since a 35-year ban was recently lifted.

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    New International Pro Karate League Announced

    Beginning this month, Karate Combat will stage full contact matches around the world — and become the first league to show fighters’ biometric and DNA-based data in real time. Around 50 million Americans have participated in karate at some point, league CEO Michael DePietro noted, and the ancient sport has fans around the world. The league has signed over 100 fighters from 30 countries. The first match, “Karate Combat: Inception,” will be broadcast April 26 from Miami Beach as fans warm up for karate’s debut at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.