The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Elon Musk Considers Taking Tesla Private

    “Funding secured.” That’s how the controversial CEO ended a brief tweet this afternoon announcing his apparent intent to take the electric carmaker private at $420 per share. The surprise news led to a 7 percent bump in the company’s stock, but trading was later halted at $367 per share. If it goes ahead, the $72 billion move would be among the biggest such deals on record. As of yesterday, Tesla — of which Musk owns nearly 20 percent — was valued at $58 million.

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    Republican Holds Close Lead in Hotly Contested Ohio Election

    Republican Troy Balderson was just ahead of Democrat Danny O’Connor in the unusually close special election seen by many as a referendum on President Trump and a bellwether for midterms. Ohio’s 12th Congressional District has long been a bastion of Republican support and a competitive August congressional election is nearly unprecedented — it’s been almost four decades since the seat went to a Democrat. Now after such a close race and millions poured into Balderson’s campaign, even a win might not be comforting for Republicans.

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    Rick Gates Details Manafort Fraud Schemes

    The former Trump adviser testified on Monday that he helped Paul Manafort commit tax fraud by hiding 15 foreign bank accounts from the U.S. government. Gates, who reached a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller requiring him to testify against his former political consulting partner, said he had also stolen “several hundred thousand” dollars from Manafort by submitting false expense reports. Today, Gates — who detailed how Manafort’s Ukrainian employers funneled money to him via banks in Cyprus — further described concealing millions of dollars of the Trump campaign chairman’s foreign income.

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    White House Reimposes Sanctions on Iran

    President Donald Trump has ordered that sanctions against Tehran be reinstated, months after pulling out of the 2015 deal that offered Iran financial relief in exchange for freezing its nuclear program. “We can have no further illusions about their intent,” a senior White House official said, claiming the Islamic Republic has fueled regional instability with funds it reaped from the pact. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Trump’s move “psychological warfare,” while former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, writing for OZY, says sanctions strengthen “Iranian hard-liners who argued that Washington could not be trusted.”

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    Bloody Road Safety Protests Escalate In Bangladesh

    The demonstrations began more than a week ago after a bus killed two teenagers on one of the country’s notoriously wild roadways. Protesting for better traffic laws and other social issues, young demonstrators have been met by police firing rubber bullets and tear gas, along with pro-government mobs. Some 140 people have been injured in Dhaka, the country’s capital. The U.S. and the U.N. have raised concerns as Bangladesh’s government officials have said they’d use the death penalty in traffic cases, while human rights groups warn of more clashes ahead of December elections.

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    Facebook, YouTube Join Apple in Removing Infowars

    Many tech companies have long followed a hands-off policy toward far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose crusades include demonizing parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting — which he claims never happened. But this week Apple, Facebook and YouTube have all scrubbed some of Jones’ content from their platforms, citing violations of hate speech policies. It’s not clear that Jones’ Infowars programming changed recently, but the move may signal a reversal of tech giants’ reluctance to alienate Jones’ followers. Jones later told the Washington Post that his exile contravened ”the First Amendment in this country as we know it.” 

  7. Canada’s Punishment, Winnie the Pooh and a Historic Cover

    Know This: Saudi Arabia has suspended all direct flights to Toronto as part of a diplomatic spat involving Riyadh’s detention of human rights activists. China has banned the release of new film Christopher Robin due to concerns about comparisons between Winnie the Pooh and leader Xi Jinping. Tyler Mitchell, the photographer behind Beyoncé’s just-released Vogue cover, is the first Black person to shoot a cover for the magazine. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to the Pacific Islands: Find out why a Western religious text has had such an impact on island culture. 

    Read This: Tensions are flaring in Brazil this week as the nation’s highest court considers decriminalizing abortion.  

    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 everyone be required to be an organ donor? Email with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.


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    Nine-Year-Old Lemonade Vendor Robbed at Gunpoint

    Police in North Carolina are searching for a teenager alleged to have escaped with $17 after holding up a lemonade stand Saturday. Dressed in a black T-shirt and camouflage hat, he reportedly pointed a gun at the boy’s stomach before making off into the woods, where deputies found a trail of apparel, a BB gun and the metal money tin. The boy’s father called the incident “despicable” — but joined his son to re-open the refreshment business the following day. “We are being resilient,” he said.

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    Pacific Islanders Look to Tradition When Adapting

    On the front lines of environmental devastation, Pacific Islanders are facing higher sea levels, increased pollution and other potentially disastrous climate change effects. But rather than sacrificing their heritage under emergency conditions, many have realized that embracing aspects of the past can help safeguard the future. That’s given rise to solar-powered canoes, disaster-resistant housing combining indigenous and foreign materials and traditional drought-tolerant crop cultivation. And with a Pan-Pacific network to share ideas, some hope this renaissance will survive longer than past grassroots movements.

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    Europe’s Heat Is Too Much for Nuclear Plants

    Nobody wants a meltdown. The heat wave currently sweeping the continent has fueled wildfires in Greece and Sweden, caused droughts and scorched wide swaths of British pasture land — and now it’s switching off nuclear power. A shortage of water, vital for cooling superheated atomic cores, has shuttered reactors in France, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Switzerland. It’s the fourth time in 15 years that heat’s forced the closure of Europe’s nuclear power plants, which rely on steam to propel turbines and cool water to condense that vapor, and experts expect conditions to deteriorate.

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    Chef Who Held Most Michelin Stars Dies at 73

    World-famous French chef Joël Robuchon ran restaurants across the globe, racking up a total of 32 prestigious Michelin stars. He started his first restaurant, Le Jamin, in 1981 before opening up eateries from Las Vegas to Bangkok. He went on to be named ”Chef of the Century” by the Gault Millau guide in 1989 and hosted the daily TV show Bon Appétit Bien Sûr. He also mentored a number of celebrity chefs, including Michael Caines and Gordon Ramsay (at whom he once threw a plate), who continue his gustatory legacy.

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    NASCAR Head Sidelined After DUI Charge

    It’s time to pull over. The racing circuit’s CEO and chairman, Brian France, said he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence after he was arrested Sunday on Long Island, charged with drinking and driving and possessing oxycodone. Police report pulling France over after he ran a stop sign in the Hamptons. France, whose grandfather founded NASCAR in 1948, has been CEO since 2003 after taking over from his father. In a statement, France apologized and said he would be focusing on personal affairs, while NASCAR said it considers this a ”serious matter.”