The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Giuliani Suggests Cohen May Have Paid Off Others for Trump

    “Michael Cohen takes care of situations like this and then gets paid for them sometimes.” That’s how Rudy Giuliani explained the “long-standing agreement” between President Donald Trump and Cohen, his personal lawyer. The former New York mayor and new Trump attorney said Wednesday that Trump repaid Cohen for giving $130,000 in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels — a revelation that prompted the president to suggest Giuliani needs to “get his facts straight.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Trump knew of the payment months before publicly denying such knowledge.

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    New Volcanic Vents Open in Hawaiian Subdivision

    Some think the god Pele is responsible. Even if one doesn’t believe in Hawaiian volcano deities, the work of the Big Island’s Mount Kilauea commands respect. Since Thursday’s eruption, 10 fissures have cracked open in and near Leilani Estates, on the island’s eastern corner. Most of its 1,700 residents evacuated before lava began spouting as high as 230 feet into the air today. The eruption has destroyed at least 31 homes so far. The activity follows Friday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake, the island’s biggest since 1975, and frequent smaller quakes, including an offshore 4.3 magnitude temblor today.

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    Iran Deal Again in President’s Crosshairs

    The 2015 deal ended economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for guarantees it would stop nuclear development. But President Trump set a May 12 deadline for European allies to agree on further restrictions for the country. Iran’s foreign minister said Thursday in a YouTube video that the Islamic Republic wouldn’t renegotiate and called out the U.S. for “bullying” countries wanting to do business with his country. While the U.N. secretary general said ending the pact risks war, some legislators think Trump is unlikely to do anything that might jeopardize an upcoming meeting with North Korea.

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    How Cape Town Got Ahead of Its Water Problem 

    “People don’t like being treated like naughty children, but it worked.” That’s one expert’s assessment of how South Africa’s second city avoided running out of water after three years of drought. It militated for one of the largest water conservation campaigns ever, cutting H2O use to barely a quarter of the global average. It also proved an equalizer, with the rich conserving to levels only the poor understood. While Cape Town’s proven that cities can survive without much rain, some worry success could water down those hard lessons.

  5. Internet

    Is Congress Putting Sex Workers in Danger?

    The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, or FOSTA, was enacted last month. And some industry observers say its effects have been immediate. Because the new legislation holds websites responsible for sex work-related posts, sites specializing in paid intimacy have gone offline. That’s driven some members of the world’s oldest profession into the streets and a less safe environment. A new model will likely emerge that includes sex work-specific sites hosted on offshore servers — but that will take time.

  6. Lebanese Elections, Parting Shot and Mars Launch

    The Week Ahead: Today Lebanon holds its first parliamentary elections in almost a decade. In what’s seen as the most valuable collection ever auctioned off, Rockefeller family members plan to sell Picasso’s “Young Girl With a Flower Basket,” reportedly worth $100 million, and other items on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on CIA director nominee Gina Haspel.  

    Know This: Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who’s been stricken by brain cancer, has reportedly said he doesn’t want the president to attend his funeral. NASA launched a space probe Saturday aimed at monitoring seismic waves on Mars. President Trump caused outrage in France by mimicking 2015 Paris terrorists who killed 130 people, while telling the NRA’s annual convention Friday that armed citizens could have stopped the carnage.

    Get up to Speed: Can British Prime Minister Theresa May withstand a “Hostile Environment” of her own making? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about the legal immigrant discrimination scandal that’s endangering May’s government. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


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    Justify Wins Derby, Breaking 136-Year Curse

    He had better magic. When race favorite Justify crossed the finish line at Churchill Downs 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Good Magic today, the 3-year-old colt made history. No horse that hadn’t previously raced as a two-year-old had won the Kentucky Derby since 1882. Trained by Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, Justify won his owners $1.4 million, and now heads to Baltimore to attempt the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course, where the Preakness Stakes will be run May 19. 

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    How a Ukrainian Man Passed as a US High Schooler

    He was the perfect student. Asher Potts got straight A’s at Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg High. He took advanced courses at Penn State, did community service and Harrisburg’s mayor honored him. But his real name was Artur Samarin, an adult during his freshman year. Four years later, police arrested him in class, and his adoptive and criminally liable parents claimed Artur was planning to shoot up the school. His proven crimes? Sex with a minor and passport fraud, prompting his imprisonment and deportation, but back in Ukraine, he still pines for his American dream

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    Uber Seeks a Future in Helicopter Taxis 

    They’ve got their heads in the clouds. Despite having lost $4.5 billion last year, Uber’s touting lofty plans of an air taxi service — one that it says will be comparable in price to its current luxury car options and airborne by 2020. Uber Elevate will also require kowtowing to air authorities, contrary to the company’s timeworn tactics of either ignoring local regulations or pressuring officials. And with a predicted shortfall of helicopter pilots on the horizon, many are skeptical air taxis will ever get off the ground.

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    Bangladesh Looks to Connectivity for Economic Boost

    It’s going places. While Bangladesh has emerged as one of Asia’s steadiest engines of growth, the country has overwhelmingly relied on the export of ready-made garments. And with decreased international funding — even while hosting 1 million Rohingya refugees — its economic stability is under threat, so it’s hatched a new plan. The South Asian country is leveraging its geographic location to serve as a transit hub for major nearby powers like China, India and Thailand. In addition to diversifying its export economy, Bangladesh has joined numerous infrastructure projects, hoping to stay on track.

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    When Rags to Riches Doesn’t Pan Out

    Young migrant worker Collin Ishaq thought he’d made it: When the Pakistani native won a song competition several years ago, his star seemed destined to rise — as well as pull him out of dismal living conditions in Dubai. It did, for a while, as Ishaq dabbled in professional singing and even landed on television. And although the performer was determined to hustle and network his way to the top, he found his career mobility was stunted by his story, forever casting him as a worker from the Gulf’s squalid labor camps.

  6. Stephen Curry

    Will the NBA Playoffs Turn on Steph Curry’s Knee?

    When two-time MVP Stephen Curry leapt off the bench to help Golden State power past the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, league rivals took notice. A left knee ligament strain had, for five weeks, sidelined the machine-like point guard and his trademark side-step that slips 3-pointers past defenders. Much of his recovery has been mental, fighting self-doubt after six injury-interrupted seasons. But in last night’s 119-100 loss in New Orleans, Curry scored only 19 points, raising new questions about whether he’s ready to make a difference.