The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Opposition Cries Foul Over Zimbabwe Poll

    The current president and leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Emmerson Mnangagwa, narrowly won Zimbabwe’s first presidential election since the ousting of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe last year. Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent of the vote, according to the electoral commission, meaning he won’t have to enter a runoff with opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change party. But Chamisa has dismissed the results, calling Mnangagwa’s election victory a “coup against [the people’s] will” and promising to challenge it by any legal means available.

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    US Intelligence Officials Warn of 2018 Election Disruptions

    After concluding that Russian hacking and misinformation campaigns were a coordinated effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, top American intelligence officials agree that it’s happening again. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats promised that despite a “pervasive” Russian campaign to influence November midterms, U.S. authorities are “doing everything we can to have a legitimate election.” Meanwhile, the EU announced plans for a bloc-wide campaign to combat voter manipulation, hoping to coordinate national governments to fight against maliciously spread fake news and misinformation ahead of May’s European parliamentary elections.

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    Apple Becomes First U.S. Corporation to Crack $1 Trillion Value

    After a strong quarterly earnings report, Apple shares rose above $207 each yesterday, giving it a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion, the first publicly traded firm to attain such value. OZY contributor Jeffrey Moore II attributes Apple’s rise and Facebook’s recent fall to the latter’s political symbiosis, while Apple sticks to a ”purely capitalist ethos.” Some economists pointed out that a small group of companies hold an unusually high share of corporate profits — and wonder if that’s contributed to wage stagnation and income inequality for workers.

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    Pope Francis Codifies Opposition to Death Penalty

    Thou shalt not kill. Applying that commandment to condemned criminals has divided a Roman Catholic Church that historically has done its share of executions. But the Vatican announced today that, at Pope Francis’ direction, it’s added language to the Catechism, which spells out Catholic beliefs, declaring capital punishment an “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” Francis has said that execution “fosters vengeance” rather than provides justice, and “society can only benefit” from criminals’ rehabilitation. The new language also commits the 1.2-billion-member church to work toward abolishing executions worldwide.

  5. Student Protests, Death in Advertising and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: Thousands of high schools are shut down in Bangladesh as mass teenage protests over two students killed by a bus enter their fifth day. An 84-year-old Chinese activist was in the middle of a live interview when police broke into his house and arrested him. In the U.K., edgy funeral advertising is hoping to change the country’s conversation about death. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Niger, where campaigns to cut childhood mortality could teach the rest of the world a thing or two.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    Watch This: Tune in tonight to PBS for Breaking Big, OZY’s latest TV show exploring the secret sauce behind successful people. Host Carlos Watson sits down with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to find out how she broke through, and broke big.


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    Scientists Unlock Clues to Stonehenge Remains’ Origin

    The cremated remains of 10 Neolithic people, found in Stonehenge’s inner circumference in the 1920s, probably originated some 120 miles away in western Wales, new research indicates. Burnt bone fragments were examined using strontium analysis, which maps regional levels of that isotope to determine a sample’s origin. Testing suggests that the remains of 15 others could be local to the monument. The study’s authors theorize a group transported the stones and cremated dead from Wales to the famous site on Salisbury Plain — though how they moved them is still to be discovered.

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    Stocks Drop Shrinks Chinese Market to World’s Third-Largest

    China lost its four-year title of world’s second-largest stock market after Chinese equities dropped Thursday to $6.09 trillion from a record $10 trillion in 2015. Japan took the mantle with its shares totaling $6.17 trillion, while still well behind America’s $31 trillion. Experts blame China’s decline on trade hostilities with the U.S. — President Trump has threatened to more than double tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — and Beijing’s campaign to cut debt. With continued growth, they believe, China could recover its second-place status.

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    Reports: Japanese Med School Shaved Test Scores to Bar Women

    It was a “necessary evil,” they said. Tokyo Medical University officials reportedly believed female doctors would eventually neglect their professional responsibilities in favor of their own families, thus wasting classroom seats. So they allegedly subtracted 10-20 percent from female applicants’ test scores to restrict admissions. The practice is said to have started in 2010 to prevent motherhood-induced doctor shortages, and came to light amid allegations that top school officials guaranteed a bureaucrat’s son’s enrollment in exchange for a government subsidy. The university says it plans to investigate.

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    Rape Case Against Ex-Backstreet Boy Under Review

    Prosecutors say they’re reviewing sexual assault accusations against former Backstreet Boys vocalist Nick Carter, in a case presented by the Santa Monica Police Department to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office this week. Singer Melissa Schuman had previously accused the singer of raping her in 2003, though authorities wouldn’t say who filed the police report. In February, Schuman tweeted that she was ”finally doing what I thought I could no longer do,” going to the police, thanking the #MeToo movement for support. Meanwhile, a “shocked and saddened” Carter has denied the accusations.

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    ‘Colin Kaepernick’ Rap Cut From ‘Madden 19’ Game

    They dare not speak his name. The latest version of the hit NFL video game, “Madden 19,” has some curious editing: The game features YG’s hip-hop track, “Big Bank,” in which the singer compares himself to the ex-49ers quarterback rejected by league teams since he refused to stand for the National Anthem. But along with deleting profanity, the game’s version of the song also blanks the QB’s name. Gamemaker EA’s called the edit an “unfortunate mistake” and says Kaepernick’s name will be added back in the next update.