The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Author Philip Roth Dies at 85

    The prolific author wrote dozens of books including Portnoy’s Complaint and American Pastoral, exploring themes of sexuality and Jewish-American life with a dark comic wit. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Roth set many of his stories in those middle-class environs. Although he never managed a Nobel Prize, he snagged National Book Awards, PEN/Faulkner Awards, a Pulitzer and Man Booker International Prize. In his 70s he wrote nearly a book a year but decided to quit in 2012. “The struggle with writing is done,” read a Post-it note on his computer.

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    Mike Pompeo Says US Willing to ‘Crush’ Iran With Sanctions

    During a speech that some interpreted as a threat of regime change, the secretary of state promised economic and military pressure if Iran doesn’t abandon its pursuit of regional influence. Pompeo laid out 12 preconditions Iran must satisfy before diplomatic ties are restored, including withdrawal from Syria and cutting ties with Hezbollah. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded, “Who are you to make decisions about Iran?” Many U.S. allies denounced the new policy and the decision to break the Iran nuclear deal, while Pompeo warned it was “just the beginning.”

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    FBI to Investigate Source’s Surveillance of Trump Campaign

    Republican lawmakers will get to review classified information about an FBI source after President Donald Trump claimed that the bureau had “implanted” an informant in his campaign for political purposes. According to the FBI, the source had informal meetings with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, whose contacts with Russia were under scrutiny. Some see the Justice Department’s agreement to share information with lawmakers as capitulation to political concerns, which puts the safety of a source — who has now been widely named — in danger.

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    Australian Archbishop Found Guilty of Concealing Sexual Abuse

    Despite testimony from abuse victims that they’d confided their trauma in Philip Wilson, now archbishop of Adelaide, the senior Catholic official denied any knowledge of such conduct during his time as an assistant priest in the 1970s. But the judge in Newcastle, New South Wales, believed the victims and convicted Wilson, making him the most senior Catholic to be found guilty in the ongoing scandal over sexual abuse in the church. The 67-year-old will be sentenced next month and could spend up to two years in jail.

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    US, China Reach Tentative Deal on ZTE Sanctions

    ZTE, phone home. Though insiders caution that the deal could still fall apart, terms are firming up in China’s bid to save its telecom giant, all but bankrupted by U.S. sanctions over dealings with Iran and North Korea. The agreement would reportedly lift the sanctions in exchange for ZTE making management changes and paying fines. China also offered to lift tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. goods. President Trump’s rush to save ZTE, the fourth-largest phone vendor in the U.S., surprised many after his tough talk on trade.

  6. The Obamas, Mark Zuckerberg and Action Park

    Know This: Barack and Michelle Obama have reportedly signed a multiyear deal to produce content for Netflix. U.S. high school students are organizing a National Die-In Day protest for June 12 to demand action on gun control and school violence. And Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the European Parliament today to apologize and answer questions about Facebook’s mishandling of user data.

    Read This: Legendary New Jersey attraction Action Park was famous for wildly dangerous rides, accidental deaths and experimental design. Now there’s an oral history from people who visited and worked at the amusement park in its heyday.

    Give Us the Scoop: What do you know and what do you want to discover? If you’ve got an idea for an awesome story, we’d love to hear it. Send your pitches to and our reporters and editors will run them down.


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    Sweden Publishes War Precaution Pamphlets

    Is a storm coming? The Scandinavian nation’s government is handing out an updated manual instructing citizens how to cope in times of crisis including war, terrorism, cyberattacks and climate change. First released during World War II, then again in the 1980s, the new version — called “If Crisis or War Comes” — guides Swedes on securing food, water and shelter, and educates them about an array of warning signals and the threat of fake news. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is distributing the 20-page pamphlet to all of the country’s 4.8 million households.

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    Kosovo’s Youth Are Working to Create Their Own Economy

    Although Europe’s newest country has outperformed its neighbors in economic growth, it remains poor, with a youth unemployment rate over 50 percent. That’s a problem because Kosovo also has one of Europe’s youngest populations: 53 percent of its citizens are under 25. Currently the service sector, which makes up more than 60 percent of Kosovo’s economy, offers the most opportunity. But incubators are also encouraging young entrepreneurs of all kinds to create their own businesses and pitch investors, pushing young workers out of cafés and into the workforce.

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    Scientists to Create Coldest Spot in Universe

    How cool is that? NASA researchers are hoping their new Cold Atom Laboratory aboard the International Space Station will freeze gases down to a record -459.669 degrees Fahrenheit — colder than the vacuum of space (-455 degrees) and approaching absolute zero (-459.67). Launched yesterday, the lab will study atomic clouds called Bose-Einstein condensates, which were proven to exist in 1995 but are difficult to study within Earth’s gravity. CAL’s potentially groundbreaking quantum physics experiments will be conducted remotely by scientists on Earth for at least three years.

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    Interview Magazine to Close After Nearly 50-Year Run

    Its fifteen minutes are up. The publication, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, will reportedly liquidate its assets after filing for bankruptcy. Nicknamed “The Crystal Ball of Pop,” the magazine was often unedited and featured famous interviewers as well as interviewees. The Manhattan-based operation has faced multiple unpaid wage claims, including one from former editorial director Fabien Baron, who resigned in April and has since sued for $600,000. In February, employees were reportedly locked out of the magazine’s office after the publisher failed to pay the rent.

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    Olympic Swimmer Sues USA Swimming Over Sexual Abuse

    Ariana Kukors Smith alleges that the organization not only knew about her abuse by coach Sean Hutchison, but covered it up —  even manipulating a background check system in Hutchison’s favor. She says that he began molesting her when she was 16, and that former national team coach Mark Schubert witnessed inappropriate touching and never reported it. Hutchison has denied the allegations, which USA Swimming investigated without result in 2010. The organization has responded that it respects Kukors Smith for coming forward and will cooperate with her legal team.