The Presidential Daily Brief


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    ‘Historic’ Rains Kill More Than 100 in Japan

    The heaviest rains meteorologists could remember caused flooding and landslides this weekend, killing more than 100 people in central and western Japan, including a 3-year-old girl in hard-hit Hiroshima prefecture. Rainfall began Friday, intensifying through Sunday, loading hillsides and bodies of water that tore into buildings, leaving some 2,000 people unaccounted for and 30,000 in emergency shelters. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cancelled an international trip, said rescuers were “working against time” to help those affected and find the missing. While waters receded today, authorities said “extreme danger” of further landslides remains.

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    Trump Picks Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

    The establishment conservative judge, in filling Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat, would guarantee a shift to the right of the court for decades. Kavanaugh, 53, was once an attorney in Kenneth Starr’s office and lead author of the “Starr Report” detailing President Bill Clinton’s transgressions. A former aide to President George W. Bush, the Yale Law School graduate sits as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. His partisan past is sure to be part of an intense confirmation battle, something Kavanaugh has experience with after lasting through a nearly three-year confirmation fight with Senate Democrats.

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    Brexit Fallout: Boris Johnson Resigns From U.K. Cabinet

    U.K. Foreign Secretary and chief supporter of the Brexit campaign Boris Johnson has resigned in another blow to Theresa May’s government. His announcement comes just hours after David Davis, who was supervising Brexit efforts, and his deputy also quit their posts. A major organizing figure in the 2016 “Leave” campaign, Johnson wrote in his resignation letter that May’s arrangements for trading with the continental bloc would make Britain a “colony” of the E.U. May, who now faces a parliamentary effort to hold a no-confidence vote, appointed Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace Johnson.

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    Divers Rescue Eighth Boy From Thai Cavern

    Divers emerged from flooded caverns in Thailand today with four more boys who’d been trapped for 17 days underground. With four rescued Sunday, only four of the 12 boys and their soccer coach remain to be rescued. While the first four are reportedly in good health, those brought out today are at a local hospital and their conditions haven’t been reported. Replenished oxygen supplies and a tightened dive line have sped up the operation, while a low dam outside the caves’ entrance and clearing weather are keeping water levels under control.

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    Trump Builds Suspense About Supreme Court Pick

    “I’m very close to making a decision.” That’s what President Donald Trump told reporters yesterday, adding that he may take part of Monday to decide his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. He’s described all four short-listed picks — Brett ­Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy ­Coney Barrett — as “excellent,” and observers say no clear front-runner has emerged from the process. Trump is expected to announce his choice in a prime-time nationally televised address this evening.

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    White House Halts Obamacare Payments

    Citing a New Mexico district court ruling, the Trump administration announced Saturday that it was freezing $10.4 billion in “risk adjustment” payments that incentivize insurers to cover high-risk patients with pre-existing and chronic conditions. Insurance companies say the move, which effectively prevents them from complying with the Affordable Care Act, will boost premiums for millions of individual customers and small businesses. Meanwhile, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said it would “undermine Americans’ access to affordable coverage, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

  7. North Korea, Press Freedom and Discouraging Statistics

    Know This: Analysts are wondering whether North Korea’s angry dismissal of recent denuclearization talks with the U.S. could be a bargaining ploy. Myanmar will try two Reuters journalists accused of illegally obtaining information while reporting on the country’s Rohingya crisis. Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to normalize relations after decades of diplomatic tension. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Denmark and Iceland: Check out our coverage of the battle to defend the Icelandic language from decline.

    Remember This Statistic: According to the American Civil Liberties Union, less than half of the immigrant children under 5 years old who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border will be reunited with them by a court-ordered deadline of Tuesday.

    Talk to Us: Tell us how you really feel. Our electrifying TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each week we’re posting a provocative question, and we want you to weigh in. This week: Should all sports go gender-neutral? Email with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    US Threatened Ecuador Over Breastfeeding

    American delegates to the U.N.-affiliated World Health Assembly reportedly strong-armed Ecuador and other nations to stop them from introducing a resolution endorsing breastfeeding. The South American country had intended to submit a document urging all nations to “protect, support and promote” nursing mothers, but withdrew it after Trump administration representatives threatened to withdraw military aid and impose trade restrictions, The New York Times reported. The U.S. ultimately dropped its opposition — seen as support for the $70 billion baby food industry — once the resolution was introduced by Russia.

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    Another Fitness App Reveals Secret Military Locations

    Six months after Strava inadvertently exposed the location of U.S. military bases, another popular fitness app has potentially revealed secret installations around the world. An investigation by Dutch media and digital forensics researchers found that data from Polar, a Finnish manufacturer of fitness-oriented smartwatches, exposed names and addresses of individuals exercising in sensitive locations. The company suspended the Explore feature in its Polar Flow app, but noted that no sensitive information was leaked — saying only users who had intentionally made their data public were exposed.

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    Green Spaces Could Help Prevent Schizophrenia

    Here’s another reason to go green. A new Danish study suggests that people raised without vegetation nearby are 50 percent more likely to develop the mental illness, which affects a person’s ability to process lucid thoughts and manage emotions. Researchers compared satellite imagery of green spaces in Denmark with statistics on citizens diagnosed with schizophrenia over three decades and noted that those with the least access to greenery were at greater risk of the illness. Experts say the findings could help identify the causes of the notoriously undertreated illness.

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    Robin Wright Opens Up About Co-Star Kevin Spacey

    “I didn’t know the man.” So said the actress of her disgraced House of Cards co-star ahead of the show’s final season. Wright told NBC’s Today she had no relationship with Spacey, who was fired after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, outside of filming — despite some of the accusations coming from co-workers on the Netflix political drama. Meanwhile, actor Guy Pearce said he regretted commenting that Spacey was “handsy” when they co-starred in 1997’s L.A. Confidential, explaining, “It’s too sensitive a topic to be brushed off.”

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    Daredevil Recreates Iconic Evel Knievel Jumps

    Travis Pastrana, an 11-time X Games gold medalist, paid tribute to the legendary stuntman by performing three of his most famous motorcycle jumps for a History channel event broadcast live in Las Vegas Sunday. Dressed in a full Knievel costume and with requisite pyrotechnics, Pastrana landed jumps over 52 cars, 16 Greyhound buses and the fountains at Caesars Palace. Knievel, who died in 2007, completed a 50-car jump but famously crashed during his attempt to sail over the fountains in 1967. He cleared 14 buses without incident eight years later.