The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Washington Capitals Win Stanley Cup

    It only took 44 years and 28 playoff appearances. The Capitals won their fourth straight series game after coming back from a one-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3, on Thursday. It’s D.C.’s first major sports championship since the NFL’s Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. And it’s the first Stanley Cup for league legend Alex Ovechkin as well as the most winningest coach without a championship, Barry Trotz. The Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov finished the playoffs with a record 12 goals and 20 assists. 

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    Rescuers Race to Find Guatemala Volcano Survivors

    Heavy rain and more volcanic activity are preventing crews from finding those left alive after the eruption of the Fuego volcano on Sunday, which has killed at least 99. Rescuers have been met with boiling water from the volcano’s surface and the threat of mudslides, while experts warn of new flows through canyons on the mountain’s western slope. Meanwhile, Guatemalan politicians are calling for the head of the emergency response agency to be fired — and demanding government investigations into criminal negligence, saying advance warnings were not heeded before the eruption.

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    Mysterious Illness in US Diplomats Spreads From Cuba to China

    Several Americans have been evacuated from the consulate in Guangzhou for medical screening after a number of diplomats there complained of mysterious noises that may have led to brain injuries. It’s strikingly similar to symptoms and circumstances reported by dozens of American consular workers in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, which led to a chilling of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington. China and the U.S. have seen tensions rise in recent months as President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping teeter on the edge of a trade war.

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    New Spanish Leader’s Cabinet Is Pro-Europe, Mostly Female

    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appointed former European officials to his Cabinet yesterday, making clear from the start that despite its turmoil, Spain has largely avoided the euroskepticism currently gripping Italy. The 17-member body is also 65 percent female, a record for a European cabinet. It’s a bid to make a fresh start after previous Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was ousted last week, and to settle markets still jumpy from Catalonia’s secession vote and failed attempt at independence last year. “Europe is our new homeland,” Sanchez proclaimed.

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    Trump Commutes Prisoner’s Sentence After Kardashian Appeal

    President Trump personally ordered the release of Alice Marie Johnson, who spent two decades in prison after being sentenced to life on first-time drug offenses. Johnson had become the pet cause of reality TV icon Kim Kardashian West, who visited the White House to make the case for clemency. The situation has raised eyebrows among justice experts, who say that while Johnson is certainly deserving of clemency, Kardashian’s intervention is unprecedented and unfair to other prisoners. Trump is also reportedly considering a pardon for cooking mogul Martha Stewart.

  6. Paul Ryan, E-Scooters and Foreign Policy

    Know This: House Speaker Paul Ryan contradicted President Trump’s assertion that his campaign was inappropriately surveilled by the FBI — and warned the president not to attempt to pardon himself. The last surviving actor to play a munchkin in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz has died at the age of 98. And startup Lime has littered American city streets with e-scooters that scream threats to call the police at anyone who touches them, causing an outcry.

    Read This: Canadians criticized President Trump for asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” during a call in which Canada’s leader questioned Trump’s “national security” justification for increased tariffs. During the War of 1812, British colonial forces burned down the White House: Canada didn’t exist as a country until 1867.

    Talk to Us: This year, OZY is going Around the World on a year-long tour to visit every single country, and we’d love for you to get involved. Where in the world are you when you read OZY? Send us pictures — they might make it onto — and tell us what rising stars, new trends, music and food we should be writing about. Or even pitch us a story! Get in touch at


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    DIY Space Programs Are Taking Off

    They’re reaching for the moon. It’s not just well-funded companies like SpaceX entering the extraterrestrial market: Now nonprofessionals around the world — from open-source enthusiasts to engineering hobbyists to college and even high school students — are looking for ways to blast themselves into orbit. Regulations and steep costs are keeping them earthbound for the moment, but crowdfunding and small satellite projects have proven promising. The new cosmic class is betting on decreasing launch costs and increasingly inspired amateurs to kick-start a generation of starry-eyed entrepreneurs.

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    Canada Prepares to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

    Canada’s Senate is poised to approve the legalization of recreational cannabis today, closing a heated national discussion and fulfilling a major campaign promise from Prime Minister Trudeau. The measure still needs approval from the House, which already supported a previous version of the plan, and if it passes legal sales could begin within three months. A new survey suggests two-thirds of Canadian smokers plan to buy their marijuana from legal retailers — though many investors are still betting on Colombian farmers to supply the actual plants, OZY reported earlier this year.

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    Report: Ivanka Trump Had Russian Contact

    Like father, like daughter? A new report claims that in 2015, Ivanka offered to connect Michael Cohen, the president’s embattled personal lawyer, with an Olympic weightlifter who claimed he could introduce then-candidate Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin to facilitate a real estate deal. While the interaction wasn’t illegal, congressional investigators and Robert Mueller’s team are reportedly probing her relationship with the athlete, Dmitry Klokov. Ivanka’s spokesperson said she “did not know and never spoke to” Klokov, and that she simply forwarded Cohen an email from Klokov’s wife.

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    Virtual Reality Could Be as Popular as Netflix in 5 Years

    VR we ready? A new PwC report on global media predicts that by 2022 there will be 55 million active VR headsets in the U.S. — the same number as Netflix subscriptions today — and that revenue will reach $7.2 billion. That would make it the country’s fastest growing entertainment category. Disney, Sony, Netflix and AMC are already experimenting with virtual experiences, and now Dave & Buster’s has announced it’ll install more than 500 HTC Vive VR headsets in its North American arcades this month.

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    Warriors Lengthen Lead in NBA Finals

    After a mediocre first half, Golden State flipped the script on LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the third quarter, clinching a comeback victory and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals. James recorded another triple-double, while superstar Steph Curry missed his first nine 3-point attempts. A 58-52 halftime deficit became a 110-102 Warriors win thanks to Kevin Durant’s MVP-caliber 43 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists. James gave Durant his due, calling him “one of the best players … this league has ever seen.”