The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Accused Texas Shooter Played Football, Made Honor Roll

    He was a bright, quiet student who practiced football diligently for the Santa Fe High School Indians. So why did he fatally shoot eight fellow students and two teachers Friday? Charged with capital murder, suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, had been rejectected romantically by a girl who was killed, the victim’s mother says. Others said he spared people he liked. Investigators have found online clues, including a photo of the “born to kill” t-shirt he wore during his rampage and indications of alt-right ideology, and continue to reconcile the accused killer’s personalities. 

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    Royal Wedding Breaks From Tradition

    It was the “redemptive power of love” on display. The theme from U.S. Episcopalian leader Rev. Michael Bruce Curry’s wedding address seemed to perfectly capture Saturday’s unusual nuptials of Britain’s Prince Harry and U.S. actor and activist Meghan Markle in Windsor Castle’s gothic cathedral. The fact that the new Duchess of Sussex is biracial was only the start. There were also Curry’s calls for social justice, the couple’s whirring off in an electric Jaguar and a bearded bridegroom in uniform — all signs indicating a new era of unpredictability from Britain’s first family.

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    After One Year, New Slings and Arrows for Russia Probe

    It’s netted 22 defendants, five guilty pleas and one sentence. But special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation remains publicly short of proving collusion between Russia and President Trump’s associates. Now the Justice Department, following Trump’s urging, is investigating the FBI’s use of an informant who quizzed campaign staffers. The move is seen as an attempt to discredit the Mueller probe, which a judge recently suggested is too broad. Such cases often drag out, but should this one reach a conclusion, there’s one certainty: America — and the world — will be paying attention.

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    More Than 100 Perish in Havana Plane Crash

    A charter airliner crashed soon after taking off from Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, killing at least 100 people on board. Cuban state media said there were 104 passengers, among them three women who survived and are hospitalized. The 40-year-old Boeing 737, leased to Cuba’s aviation authority and operated by six Mexican crewmembers, was headed to eastern Cuba’s Holguín at noon Friday when it crashed into an agricultural area in Havana’s Santiago de las Vegas neighborhood. Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, said the cause of the crash is under investigation.


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    After a Bloody Milestone, an Opening for Gaza

    It started with a ribbon-cutting. Determined to push an unprecedented pro-Israel policy, the Trump administration moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday. That long-anticipated shift was greeted with carnage: waves of Palestinians challenging Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, and Israeli soldiers shooting 59 of them dead. That prompted both a U.N. war crimes probe and a gesture from otherwise Gaza-wary Egypt, which will leave its Gaza border crossing open for the month of Ramadan, to “alleviate the burdens” of the densely populated enclave’s residents.

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    As Test Site Event Looms, Trump Fights for Kim Summit

    It’s about destruction. North Korea says it will begin dismantling its nuclear test site Wednesday, but that seeming goodwill gesture’s been dulled. Last week, Pyongyang said the planned June 12 summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Donald Trump might not happen, after U.S. national security adviser John Bolton used Libya — whose leader was killed years after scrapping a nuclear program — as a model for North Korean disarmament. Trump’s disavowed Bolton’s remark, and even canceled bomber training for South Korea, clearly hoping to save the talks.

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    Inmates Forge New Existence Helping Others Die

    This “death row” saves lives. The fastest-growing age group behind bars is prisoners older than 55, with 164,800 in 2016 — up from only 26,300 in 1993. But caring for those at the end of their life sentence is providing an unexpected shot at redemption for other prisoners in a state penitentiary in Vacaville, California. They work 15-hour shifts for less than 50 cents an hour, but some 250 who’ve been released haven’t gone back to prison, suggesting that a brush with death might be one path to freedom.

  8. Venezuelan Vote, Arab Assistance and Twice Justified

    The Week Ahead: Venezuelans vote today, and are expected to re-elect President Nicolas Maduro in spite of food shortages and hyperinflation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on his department’s depleted budget. And on Thursday, President Trump will present the Congressional Medal of Honor to a retired Navy SEAL for a rescue in Afghanistan.

    Know This: President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.,  reportedly met with Gulf arabs who promised to help his father win the 2016 election. Kentucky Derby winner Justify has won the 143rd Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, completing two-thirds of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Iraq’s electoral commission said Saturday that a coalition controlled by anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has won the country’s May 12 election, likely unseating Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    Get up to Speed: Is “America First” negotiable? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about President Trump’s surprising decision to help revive Chinese phone giant — and reputed threat to U.S. security — ZTE. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


  1. prince harry and megan markle square shutterstock 790059514 (1)

    Joining the Royal Family is No Picnic

    They’re royally hitched. The American actress, activist and now Duchess of Sussex became the newest member of Britain’s royal family Saturday, so it’s a moment to reflect on royal relationships. Think of the ceremony’s empty chair for Harry’s tragic mother, Diana, the longtime impoliteness his father’s second wife, Camilla, has endured and society’s initial snobbery about Harry’s commoner sister-in-law, Kate. Even with Harry defending his bride, an accomplished actress and activist, against rabid — and sometimes racist — coverage in the British press, her royal road won’t be smooth.

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    Addis Ababa’s Development Is on Track

    They’re going places. Over 2 1/2 years, the Ethiopian capital has radically changed, thanks to a $475 million light-rail system that’s connected workers to jobs and stoked the city’s development. China’s Import-Export Bank provided low-interest loans for 80 percent of the project, built by Chinese firms. There are downsides: Inhabitants of slums in the tramways’ path were given new apartments — but far from their old livelihoods or tram stops. And local transit workers are shadowed by Chinese mentors, whose influence, observers predict, will continue to move the region in new directions.

  3. kaldari coprinoid mushrooms

    Mushrooms Grow Hope Where It’s Needed Most

    They thrive in darkness. In the Middle East and Africa, beset by social and economic turmoil, mushroom cultivation is proving an unlikely source of empowerment — and resistance in places like the West Bank and even the makeshift bomb shelters of Syrian rebel enclaves. For many, the crop provides both sustenance and economic opportunity: Experts predict the region’s edible mushroom market will approach $4.7 billion by 2021. And whether through a sense of activism or necessity, the fungi are helping many desperate farmers bring a bit of light to their lives.

  4. Wine

    Haute Hatred Is Souring the Natural Wine Craze

    Fed up with what they say are the overprocessed wines and rigid rules dominating the industry, organic-minded sommeliers are turning to natural wines — funkier, cloudier and more acidic — to refresh drinkers’ taste buds. Part of the increasingly popular all-local food and drink movement, these throwbacks to classical viniculture are irking proponents of modern wine processing. They argue that the advances of the last 6,000 years have matured the result into a refined panoply of flavors that assure the “santé!” of a $175 billion industry.

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    Legalized Sports Gambling: A Win-Win?

    The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows states to decide the legality of sports betting is a big gamble in itself. Some fear the influx of aboveboard bookies will corrupt the country’s seasonal pastimes. But legal hurdles haven’t stopped bettors before. Estimates say around $400 billion is wagered annually on sports — helping keep organized criminals employed. And some argue that bringing the practice into the light will provide more incentives to keep the games clean. Meanwhile, sports fans should expect a flood of gambling business sponsorships and stadium betting booths.