The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Aretha Franklin, Legendary Soul Singer, Dies at 76

    The diva universally known as the Queen of Soul passed away today of pancreatic cancer, her family confirmed. She had been in poor health since 2010 and retired in 2017 after giving a final performance at a gala for Elton John’s AIDS foundation. During her career, she won 18 Grammys and sold more than 75 million records. The Tennessee-born star is survived by four sons. Jennifer Hudson — Franklin’s first choice to bring her life story to the screen — is expected to star in next year’s biopic of the singer.

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    Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Chief’s Security Clearance

    Citing John Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced in a briefing yesterday that President Donald Trump had stripped the former CIA director of his security clearance. Brennan — a fierce Trump critic who led the agency through most of President Barack Obama’s second term — tweeted that the move was “part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.” Trump says he’s also reviewing the security clearances of nine other officials and staff, including ousted FBI Director James Comey.

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    Catholics Grapple With Pennsylvania Abuse Report

    “I think right now it’s really hard to be a Catholic.” So said one believer as the Roman Catholic Church reels from a grand jury report detailing the extent of sexual abuse committed against more than 1,000 children by hundreds of “predator priests” across Pennsylvania. The revelations, which include allegations of rape and violent sexual assault, prompted a Baltimore school’s rebranding after its namesake cardinal was named in the report. Officials in other areas, such as Boston and Lincoln, Nebraska, continue to address fallout from similar conduct in their dioceses.

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    Toll Roads Operator Blamed for Italian Bridge Collapse

    Senior members of the Italian government are taking aim at Autostrade, the company managing nearly half the national highway network, for the deadly bridge collapse that killed 39 people in the port city of Genoa this week. Yesterday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who declared a 12-month state of emergency in the city, announced that officials will seek to revoke the firm’s concession even before a criminal investigation is concluded. Autostrade said it’s confident it “correctly fulfilled its obligations,” adding it was too early to identify a cause of the tragic failure.

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    SEC Subpoenas Tesla Over Musk Tweets

    They’ve got some explaining to do. Federal regulators are reportedly scrutinizing the electric carmaker after CEO Elon Musk claimed in a tweet last week that he’d “secured” funding to take Tesla private, temporarily turbocharging company shares. Musk said he was considering the buyout at $420 a share, or around $72 billion, and later claimed to be in talks with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund. Under U.S. law, it’s illegal for executives to give shareholders misleading information about major company developments. Neither Tesla nor the Securities and Exchange Commission has commented on the matter.

  6. Manafort, Strange Satellites and Canadian Violence

    Know This: The jury in the trial against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, is set to begin deliberations today. U.S. officials say they’re concerned about “very abnormal behavior” displayed by a Russian satellite launched last year. China has announced it’ll hold a new round of trade talks with the U.S. this month to ease trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Chad, where activists are fighting global warming in a land-locked country that’s most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

    Listen to This: Canadians are grappling with increasing rates of gun violence — and are wondering whether the U.S. is to blame for fueling the disturbing trend.

    We’re hiring: OZY is seeking a highly-motivated Media/AdOps Strategist to join our growing Operations team in New York. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details.


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    Dad Yells at White Supremacist Leader in Viral Video

    “You get out of my room!” That’s how Jason Kessler’s father interrupted a livestream between the “Unite the Right” rally organizer and a fellow White nationalist. Posted June 28, the clip went viral after Kessler’s dismal failure marking the anniversary of his 2017 Charlottesville gathering with a rally in Washington, D.C., last weekend. Kessler’s father can be heard demanding, “I want this to stop in my room, Jason.” Kessler, 34, then explains that the costs of legal action stemming from last year’s deadly violence forced him to move in with his parents.

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    Putin: Social Media Needs More ‘Positivity’

    Tweet that. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised members of a youth forum Wednesday for producing “positivity” he says is sorely needed on social media. “It’s that positivity that’s missing on social networks,” state media quoted him as saying. Activists in Russia are currently pressuring the government to ease up on laws that criminalize the posting of religiously offensive or “hateful” content. VKontakte, Russia’s answer to Facebook, has faced criticism for cooperating with authorities by handing over user data. Meanwhile, American authorities continue to probe Kremlin efforts to troll American voters.

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    English Heat Wave Uncovers Archaeological Sites

    Soaring temperatures that have turned fields across England yellow have also revealed ancient settlements and structures, including Neolithic ceremonial monuments and Roman farms. Aerial archaeologists spotted them while searching for so-called “cropmarks” — when vegetation above the early remnants grows differently than surrounding, drought-ravaged plants, leaving tell-tale lines. A similar phenomenon in 2011 led to the discovery of more than 1,500 such sites. Researchers plan to produce maps of the areas to better protect them from developers’ excavators or farmers’ plows.

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    Chad’s Poets Slam Their Country’s Problems

    A growing number of Chadian millennials are using the spoken word to tackle social ills such as corruption, unemployment and inequality. They’ve got a lot to say: Youth unemployment is over 10 percent, Chad ranks 165th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, and the government runs the country’s only news agency. But that hasn’t stopped young slam poets from spreading knowledge through studio recordings and public performances. Educational and social barriers have restricted women from taking part — but some artists are fighting that, too.

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    Musk’s Boring Company Plans Dodger Stadium Transit Tunnel

    They can dig it. In an effort to mitigate Los Angeles’ legendary traffic headaches, Elon Musk’s construction firm has announced plans to bore a 3.6-mile tunnel connecting the city’s Dodger Stadium to its Metro subway system. A four-minute ride on the “Dugout Loop,” which will run underneath Sunset Boulevard, would cost $1 and carry up to 16 passengers per pod to the stadium parking lot. Mayor Eric Garcetti supports the project, partly because it’s privately funded, unlike the $120 billion in city projects prepping for the 2028 Olympics.