The Presidential Daily Brief


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    ‘Drone Attack’ on President Disrupts Venezuelan Military Event

    Authorities blamed a disruption of a Caracas military celebration on an attack by flying drones sent to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro. Several “drone-like devices” exploded, injuring seven soldiers, Saturday during a rally marking the 81st anniversary of Venezuela’s national guard, the communications minister said. A video shows Maduro speaking when noises cause him to look upward, then another camera shows formations of soldiers in front of the stage breaking ranks and running. Maduro credited a “shield of love” with his survival, and blamed the incident on Colombia’s president, who labeled the charge “absurd.”

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    The President, His Wife and King James

    Pick your one-on-one opponents carefully. Amid the crises, there’s always time for random sniping from @realDonaldTrump, and on Friday, the target was LeBron James. An interview with CNN’s Don Lemon “made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do,” the president tweeted, adding, “I like Mike” — probably referring to whether James or Michael Jordan is basketball’s all-time greatest. Not only did Twitter erupt with derision, but the first lady’s spokesperson said James was “working to do good things” at his new school in Ohio — and Mrs. Trump’s open to visiting it.

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    Quake in Indonesia Leaves 82 Dead

    The second earthquake in a week struck the island of Lombok on Sunday, damaging thousands of buildings, injuring hundreds and leaving at least 82 dead. Those in neighboring Bali also felt the 6.9 tremor. An earthquake on Jul 29 had previously left 16 dead. Authorities said no tourists were so far among those injured or killed on the island popular with vacationers. Victims were being treated outdoors as a precaution after hospitals on the island were damaged. Meanwhile, authorities warned the death toll could climb as soldiers helped with rescue efforts.

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    Is Trump Ready to Shake Hands With Mueller?

    In the agonizing crawl toward a conclusion to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election meddling, last week stood out not so much for milestones, but contrast. It started with President Donald Trump tweeting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should end Mueller’s probe. Then came reports that the president was negotiating the terms of an interview with Mueller. And despite the doubts Trump’s repeatedly sown on the subject, his own intelligence officials stood united Thursday in declaring that not only did Russia meddle in 2016, but it’s doing so again for November’s midterms.

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    GOP Nervously Eyes Ohio Special Election

    Tuesday’s contest to fill the vacant hitherto safe red seat in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District will be Republicans’ last chance to gauge voters ahead of November’s midterms. Since the race is now a toss-up between GOP nominee Troy Balderson and Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor, it’s increasingly seen as a referendum on the parties’ leaders: President Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. For their part, Republicans fear another defeat by energized Democrats — much like in Pennsylvania in March. “It’s exactly the kind of district you worry about,” said one GOP strategist.

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    Populists Take Their Fight to the Seas

    For years, charity-run ships have patrolled Mediterranean waters, where more than 10,000 refugees have died since 2014, to safely deliver those wanting to reach Europe. But ascendant populists accuse these seagoing activists of helping smugglers. Italy banned the vessels from its waters, and Malta denies them harbor if laden with migrants. Now there are only five rescue ships operating — down from 12 last year. Meanwhile, some centrists have even turned against the charities, trying to steal the wind from far-right, anti-immigrant politicians’ sails.

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    How Humanity Almost Stopped Climate Change

    The global warming debate wasn’t always divided between the skeptics and the believers. From 1979 to 1989, Republicans and Democrats, from the president on down, united to combat the effects. But now, as wildfires rip across the U.S., heat waves plague Europe and flooding kills dozens in Asia, the gravity of the failure to follow through on reversing climate change is emerging. Nonbinding carbon emissions targets diluted by world leaders — a crushing blow to environmental activists — stopped the debate, and very few predictions fall short of doom for large swaths of the planet.

  8. Hiroshima’s Lessons, Portland Clashes and North Korean ‘Alarm’

    The Week Ahead: On Monday, in marking the 73rd Anniversary of the the bombing of his city, Hiroshima’s mayor plans to warn of the danger of a new cold war. As it implements a fragile peace agreement, Colombia will inaugurate a new president, Iván Duque, on Tuesday. And that day SpaceX plans to launch a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

    Know This: Police arrested four people Saturday during clashes with counterdemonstrators attempting to disrupt a right-wing rally in Portland, Oregon. The 145,000-acre Carr Fire, the deadliest of 17 California wildfires, was started by a flat tire. And at a Singapore security conference, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a letter from President Trump to North Korean diplomats, who expressed “alarm” over Amerca’s stance on denuclearization.   

    Get up to Speed: Have you seen the golden pigeons? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where countercultural expression could be incubating tomorrow’s creative icons. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.


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    War Comes to America’s ‘Quietest Place’

    They don’t want to hear it. Friends of the Pacific Northwest’s natural wonders are speaking up about silence — the place they call One Square Inch — purportedly the quietest place in the U.S. Nestled among sound-blocking mountains and heavy with old and new plant life, you might hear a pin drop there. Unless it’s when the Navy’s supersonic Growler jets roar by on a practice run from a nearby air station. Locals are fighting the flyovers, but it’s a quixotic battle when noise pollution initiatives dating back decades have long been silenced.  

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    Conflict-Scarred Niger City Wants Its Tourists Back

    Once known as the gateway to the Sahara, Agadez has seen better days. Warned by Western governments against traveling to the historic city of around 120,000 — rocked in recent years by regional violence and instability — European tourists and other adventurers no longer come through. But its denizens dream of reviving Agadez’s former status, even if it means starting small with several hundred tourists per year. “I know they want to come back,” says a former tour guide of his European friends, “and I dream to see them again.”

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    A Clean Beach Is Not a Happy Beach

    Think of the flies. As the summer heat and holidays compel Americans toward sandy shores, tractors plow up trash from some of the busiest beaches. When the first bathers arrive, they find what they’ve come for: lots of clean, fluffed-up sand. But there’s a dark side to such pristine vistas: The ecosystem depends on flies and other insects near the bottom of the food chain, and their habitats don’t survive the plowing. And perhaps some plow drivers won’t either: The fine dust from the sand can cause silicosis, a lung ailment.

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    Critics Nodding About Neflix’s ‘Nanette’

    The special Nanette, released in June showcasing Australian Hannah Gadsby, has left viewers floored — and grasping for definitions. Is it stand-up? Commentary? A one-woman show? Gadsby talks candidly about her personal interactions with sexism, assault and homophobia, but with jokes. Even those who don’t find it genre-bending, or funny, might appreciate her intricate and unique structure. And it’s not often a queer and female comedian reaches such a wide audience, cultivated by Netflix, which has got critics buzzing about what other consciousness-raising comedy the service means to stream.

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    LeBron James Takes on Ohio’s Failing Schools

    He’s mastered basketball, and now LeBron James wants to crush education. And his fans are the neediest kids in his native Akron, Ohio, where he’s opened I Promise. This unique school offers at-risk students bicycles, increased attention from educators and other measures to boost graduation rates. Parents, too, can earn GEDs and access a food bank there. And it’s a public school, not a charter institution like its forebears, working within the system and with local unions. But it will receive funding from James’ foundation, mainly to attract Ohio’s most ambitious teachers.