The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump and EU Step Back From Trade War

    President Donald Trump and European commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to the U.S. and E.U. working towards removing all tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies on non-auto goods at a press conference in Washington on Wednesday. Trump called it a “new phase” in relations although details so far remain scarce. No new tariffs will reportedly be imposed during negotiations — which will include resolving steel and aluminum taxes levied by the U.S. — while the E.U. offered to buy billions worth of American exports including soy beans and liquefied natural gas. 

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    Michael Cohen Releases Secret Tape of Trump Conversation

    In the September 2016 tape, released to CNN on Tuesday by Cohen’s lawyer, then-candidate Donald Trump can be heard discussing buying the rights to Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story of their alleged affair. McDougal, who claimed to have had an extramarital relationship with Trump in 2006, sold her story to the National Enquirer’s parent company, which never published it. The tape is one of 12 seized in raids on Cohen’s properties earlier this year. The president’s former personal lawyer is currently under federal investigation and is reportedly cooperating with prosecutors.

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    As Pakistan Heads to the Polls, Bomb Attack Kills Dozens

    Polls opened this morning for 106 million registered voters to choose 272 National Assembly representatives — only the second time in Pakistan’s 71-year existence that one civilian government has handed power to another. But an explosion near a polling station in Quetta has killed at least 31 people, and other sporadic clashes and shootings have claimed more lives. The election is widely seen as a contest between Shehbaz Sharif and his dominant PML-N party, and the rising PTI, led by former cricket superstar Imran Khan.

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    Trump Doles Out $12 Billion Aid to Farmers Hit by Trade War

    “Farmers will be the biggest beneficiary,” President Trump said of an emergency aid program to cushion the blow of his escalating trade wars with the European Union and China. Inspired by Depression-era stimulus programs, the $12 billion package will reach key Republican states amid fears of voter retribution in November. Critics, including many farmers and lawmakers in agricultural states, argue the crisis is of Trump’s own making. Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey described the bailout as a “band-aid on a self-inflicted wound.”

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    Death Toll Expected to Mount as Greek Wildfires Continue

    Strong winds, drought, and years of public spending cuts that have depleted local resources have all contributed to the massive fires that devastated Greece’s resort towns this week, killing 74 and sending residents and tourists fleeing for their lives. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of mourning, promising, “Nothing and no one will be forgotten.” Search and rescue operations continue for those who attempted to swim away from the blaze, and the country’s Supreme Court ordered an investigation into the tragedy, Greece’s deadliest fires since 2007.

  6. Delayed Meetings, Flag Fights and Facebook Security

    Know This: National Security Adviser John Bolton has announced that President Trump’s meeting in Washington with Vladimir Putin, originally planned for this fall, will be postponed until next year, after special counsel Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt” is over. Tension between New Zealand and Australia is growing as the acting Kiwi prime minister accused Australia of “copying” New Zealand’s flag. Facebook has promised new security measures as it prepares to repel misinformation in the lead-up to U.S. elections. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Singapore: Check out our coverage of the country’s government-approved activist filmmaker.

    Read This: Otto Warmbier, the American college student imprisoned in North Korea, became a symbol, then a tragedy when he died shortly after being returned. But his autopsy raises questions about what actually happened to him.

    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 there be gender and racial quotas for the U.S. Congress? Email with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    Swedish Student Livestreams Protest of Afghan’s Deportation

    It was the opposite of a sit-in. Activist Elin Ersson resisted her government’s deportation of a 52-year-old Afghan man by refusing to sit down so a Gothenburg-to-Istanbul flight could depart. “I’m doing what I can do to save a person’s life,” Ersson said during the protest, which she streamed live on Facebook, garnering over 1.9 million clicks. The man was eventually removed from the plane, though Swedish authorities say he’ll still be deported, while Ersson may face fines and jail time for refusing to obey orders.

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    Doctored Facebook Video of Congressional Candidate Goes Viral

    Conservative news site CRTV posted a video Monday of New York congressional hopeful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, splicing real video clips with fake questions to make her look unprepared. While it’s racked up more than 1 million views — and wasn’t labeled as satire — CRTV maintains that it’s an obvious joke. Ocasio-Cortez, who was profiled by OZY before her unexpected primary win, tweeted, “Republicans are so scared of me that they’re faking videos.” Meanwhile, Facebook recently reiterated that it won’t censor content merely for containing misinformation.

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    Africa’s New Fitness Hub: The Former Capital of Short-Lived Biafra

    In 1967, the Republic of Biafra briefly declared independence from Nigeria during a brutal 30-month civil war that claimed almost 2 million lives. Now Enugu, Biafra’s erstwhile capital, has been overtaken by a personal fitness craze. Its number of gyms has more than doubled in the past decade, the city’s main square has become a hub for exercise gear and meet-ups, and it hosts Nigeria’s only half-marathon. Many in Enugu are now hoping this new identity will stick around for the long run.

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    Ivanka Trump to Close Fashion Brand

    It’s no longer in style. The first daughter’s fashion label, started in 2014, has faced boycotts, declining sales and criticisms of political profiteering since her father assumed the presidency, and now it will shutter altogether. Ivanka resigned from the business last year after beginning work for the White House as a special counselor, but watchdog groups raised concerns that the brand received trademarks in China around the same time President Trump took a soft line toward a Chinese telecommunications company. Ivanka says she’ll now focus on her work in Washington.

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    Protesting Farmers Interrupt Tour de France

    They’re all winners … breadwinners. Yesterday farmers near Carcassonne in southern France halted the iconic bike race for around 15 minutes when they tossed hay bales onto the road to protest reduced EU subsidies. Police deployed tear gas, but it wafted back onto the peloton and into the eyes of riders Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Peter Sagan, who needed treatment from the medical car before continuing. Today’s Stage 17, only 40 miles long but with 27 miles of steep climbing, is expected to be the decisive segment of the race.