The Presidential Daily Brief


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    South Korea: Kim Seeks U.S. Guarantee Against Invasion

    Terms are shaping up. When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in Friday, Kim said he would give up nuclear weapons if the U.S. agreed not to invade his nation, South Korea announced today. Kim also said he’d shut down the north’s atomic weapons test site next month, and invite American and South Korean experts and journalists to witness the event. President Trump says he’ll meet Kim in “three to four weeks,” making talk of Nobel Peace Prizes for the unpredictable heads of state seem somewhat less whimsical.

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    T-Mobile, Sprint Agree to Merge, Setting Up Antitrust Fight

    They’re joining the “un-carrier.” Sprint has agreed to be absorbed by larger T-Mobile in a $26 billion all-stock merger that would reduce U.S. national wireless carriers from four to three. The plan requires approval from federal regulators, who in 2011 stopped T-Mobile from joining rival AT&T and will deliver closing arguments Monday in a Justice Department lawsuit to block AT&T’s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. The new marriage would create a $146 company called T-Mobile and controlled by its German parent, Deutsche Telekom.

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    President Stumps Against Foes as GOP Leaders Fret

    President Trump blasted Democrats, the FBI director he fired and the media at a Michigan campaign rally Saturday, again skipping the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. He urged supporters to unseat their state’s Democratic senator, Debbie Stabenow, along with Montana’s Jon Tester, whom Trump’s vowed to damage for helping derail his Veteran’s Affairs secretary nominee, while taking credit for a growing economy and detente with North Korea. Meanwhile, GOP leaders are worried that the president’s bluster and unshakable confidence won’t help them keep control of Congress in November — and might even hurt.

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    Mike Pence Will Be the NRA’s Big Gun

    The plainspoken conservative vice president is to address the National Rifle Association in Dallas on Friday amid roiling U.S. debate fueled by regular mass shootings. Advocates of unrestricted keeping and bearing arms face student-led nationwide rallies for stricter firearms laws coupled with demands for elected representatives to disavow the gun lobby. The White House has nonetheless walked back President Trump’s talk of new restrictions. Meanwhile, young activists united by the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting are fomenting a new gun control voting bloc, while the NRA’s just topped a 15-year fundraising record.

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    Cosby’s Other Victim: Cliff Huxtable

    Not him too. While #MeToo campaigners rejoiced, a profound sense of loss set in among those who were inspired by now-disgraced, now-convicted actor and comedian Bill Cosby. Critic Wesley Morris laments the utter destruction of Cosby’s ultimate Black male role model, Cliff Huxtable, especially at a time when racial stereotyping is again creeping into the mainstream. “Mr. Cosby made blackness palatable,” he writes, “in a country historically conditioned to think the worst of black people.” And now, that role model’s creator is a convicted rapist, facing sentencing in 60 to 90 days.

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    In Jackson Downfall, a Dirty D.C. Secret

    While there were qualifications issues with President Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, White House physician Ronny Jackson, his withdrawal Thursday morning was about something else. His reputation as the White House “candy man,” allegedly dispensing stimulants and sleep aids, weighed heavily against his confirmation. But this brought out admissions by a number of D.C. bigwigs that the consumption of Ambien, say, to get over jet lag, along with the stimulant Provigil, is quite common. Jackson is out as VA secretary, but it seems the uppers and downers of government are here to stay.

  7. King ‘Simpsons,’ New Myanmar Exodus and Deputy Killing Arrest

    The Week Ahead: The Simpsons will air the series’ 636th episode Sunday, breaking the record set by Gunsmoke in 1975. On Tuesday, suppliers of steel and aluminum to the U.S. will find out if their exemptions from new tariffs will expire or be extended. And on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to bump up interest rate increases to four times this year due to rising U.S. wages. 

    Know This: More than 4,000 people have fled Myanmar’s northernmost state, plagued by new fighting between the government and Kachin rebels. Police have captured the suspect in the shooting death of a Maine sheriff’s deputy. And Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man arts festival held in Nevada, has died at age 70. 

    Get up to Speed: Can Tesla get its groove back? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about Elon Musk’s recent series of misfortunes, from autopilot vehicle crashes to skidding stock prices. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


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    Accused Golden State Killer Kept His Grass Tightly Clipped

    The best-selling book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark debuted in February, detailing the grisly rapes and murders of the Golden State Killer. But its list of suspects missed Joseph James DeAngelo, arrested Tuesday. The mystery was solved, as the book’s lead researcher surmised, using seemingly ordinary genealogy hobby sites — fitting for an ex-cop-turned-mechanic who doted over his lawn and whose sister described him as “the kindest, gentlest man with his children.” This Sacramento suburbanite is reportedly cooperating, providing investigators a tidy, polished ending to the story.

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    Egyptian Cops’ App Trap Punishes Gay Men

    Egyptian authorities are posing as potential gay lovers on dating apps like Grindr and Hornet in order to accuse users of “debauchery.” Lawyers have gotten such charges thrown out, but the men are still publicly humiliated — many Egyptians, along with the country’s media, support such enforcement — and held in jails where the other inmates know what they’re in for. The tech works both ways, though: Users are flagging police poseurs and the apps issue warnings, but activists contend that men ignore the warnings, enabling more oppression via seduction.

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    Japan’s Rent-a-Family Businesses Sell Closure and Love

    They’re putting the rental in parental. Agencies like Family Romance allow Japanese singles, widows and companies to rent actors to portray loved ones, from wedding guests to dead wives to a swordsman employed to tell clients sad stories, make them cry and dry their tears. While the idea of paying for prefab affection is anathema to many, others find long-term solace in relationships like these … and occasionally the ability to repair their real-life ties after role-playing therapy with their significant others for hire.

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    This Strange Brew Could Land You in a Sudanese Jail

    It’s a recipe for trouble. Sudan’s Muslims have earned a good celebration at the conclusion of a month of Ramadan fasting. And sharbot, fermented with dates, yeast and fragrant spices, seems perfect for washing down the Eid al-Fitr feast. But the popular drink’s fermentation can bring it dangerously close to being date wine, an issue that keeps the legally teetotaling country’s imams busy. Nonetheless, taunting sharbot brewers by suggesting they’ve let their concoctions steep too long — and authorities should be summoned — is a way of complimenting their work.

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    Can Russia Bring Its Neo-Nazi Soccer Hooligans to Heel?

    With the World Cup fast approaching, the Russian government’s getting nervous about its headline-grabbing, extreme-right soccer gangs. More than 200 rabble-rousers have been banned from matches until after the competition — but they say they’re not going quietly. With authorities’ tacit support, these groups have become an inexorable part of Russian soccer culture, acting as a breeding ground for nationalist ideology and anti-immigrant violence far beyond the soccer pitch. While the Kremlin’s now cracking down, experts predict the gangs’ racist culture will persist for decades.