The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Greece Completes Crisis-Era Bailouts as Economy Strengthens

    After nearly a decade of a debt crisis and more than $300 billion in loans, Greece should now be able to borrow normally. Its public debt is still higher than any fellow EU member and its society is scarred by years of austerity policies, but with the economy growing and unemployment shrinking, many are cautiously optimistic. To the west, though, Rome’s populist government is stoking new eurozone fears as investors shed Italian bonds and one budget official warned, “everything will be dismantled” without European Central Bank debt guarantees.

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    Hundreds Killed by Monsoon Floods in Southern India

    Rains finally began to subside yesterday in India’s southwestern Kerala province, allowing relief to reach those hit by landslides and flash floods triggered by the seasonal monsoon. Officials estimate that 12 days of downpours have killed at least 370 people and displaced 800,000, causing about $3 billion in damage. Area fishermen have mobilized in hundreds of boats to rescue those stranded by rising waters, while one tearful local politician begged for helicopters. Meanwhile, disaster management officials warned that contagious illnesses in evacuation camps, where chicken pox has been reported, may worsen the crisis. 

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    Cohen Fraud Probe Examines $20 Million in Loans

    President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is already under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations surrounding large payoffs to women claiming trysts with the president. Now he’s facing possible loan fraud charges in connection with $20 million lent to his family’s taxi business. Documents indicate investigators are interested in dozens of New York taxi medallions used as collateral with one of the banks involved. Two people close to the investigation, which is also probing potential tax fraud, have said prosecutors are considering charges by the end of August.

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    Korean Families Travel North to Meet Lost Relatives

    A group of more than 80 South Koreans arrived in North Korea today for a reunion with family members they have not seen since the Korean War. It’s the first such meeting in three years, and for many in the elderly group, probably their last chance. There have been 20 reunions on the peninsula in the last 18 years. This latest, in which families will have 11 hours together over three days, was organized in May by leaders of the two Korean nations, who are likely to meet again in the weeks ahead.

  5. Climate Change, Vladimir Putin and Spacey’s Flop

    Know This: In what’s seen as a bid to maintain power, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dumped a climate policy that would have set emissions reduction targets. Taliban militants have kidnapped about 150 people from a bus convoy in Afghanistan. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the wedding of Austria’s foreign minister, signaling closer ties between the country’s government and Moscow. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Hungary: Meet one of the country’s foremost legal advocates for refugees. 

    Remember This Number: $126. That’s how much Kevin Spacey’s new vehicle, Billionaire Boys Club, earned on its opening day Friday. Spacey, disgraced by sexual assault allegations, has no other projects upcoming.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented Email Marketing Manager to oversee strategy and deploy smart campaigns. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    ICE Says Expectant Dad It Arrested Faces Homicide Charges

    The agency, which sparked outrage when it arrested immigrant Joel Arrona-Lara while driving his wife to get a scheduled cesarean section last week, said Saturday that the detainee is wanted on a homicide warrant in his native Mexico. Surveillance footage shows officers surrounding the car at a San Bernardino, California, gas station, before arresting Arrona-Lara. His wife had to drive herself to the hospital, where she told reporters, “I feel very bad right now.” The defendant’s lawyers are trying to verify the warrant — not mentioned in ICE’s initial statement.

  2. Facebook

    Facebook Accused of Housing Discrimination

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed a complaint against Facebook, accusing the company of using advertising filters to facilitate discrimination against home buyers and renters. Sellers and landlords can block users with interests in things like mobility scooters, deaf culture or child care, the Friday complaint alleges. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, sex or disability. Facebook said it’s working on the issue with the Justice Department, which filed a statement of interest in a suit by fair housing advocacy groups against Facebook, allowing the case to move forward.

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    Spain Warns of Environmental Danger as Pigs Outnumber People

    They’ve brought home enough bacon. The number of pigs slaughtered in Spain each year has risen to 50 million, outnumbering the country’s human population by about 3.5 million, a government report shows. Demand from China has helped the Spanish meat industry boom, and pork production’s grown 20 percent in five years. But that’s also fattened factory farming, bringing increased carbon emissions and risks to ground water, so the Spanish government is planning new environmental regulations on pig raising, while conservation groups call for a moratorium on new farms.

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    Asia Argento Reportedly Paid Off Underage #MeToo Accuser

    The Italian actress and vocal proponent of the #MeToo movement reportedly paid $380,000 to former child actor Jimmy Bennett after he accused her, at age 37, of sexually assaulting him in an L.A.-area hotel room when he was 17. California’s age of consent is 18. Bennett, now 22, once played Argento’s son in a movie she directed. He threatened a $3.5 million lawsuit after she accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her. But they reached a settlement — without a non-disclosure agreement, which the state prohibits in such circumstances.

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    Old School Execs Taking Over Esports

    Competitive video gaming seems like a purely 21st century innovation, but the same investors, professionals and media companies driving traditional sports are increasingly doing the same for esports. “You always want to be up to speed with the new opportunities,” says Zach Leonsis, an executive working both worlds, to fill venues with cheering ticket buyers. Others like him hope to harness the growing popularity of digital competition into something even more lucrative than the previous decade’s poker craze — though they’ll need to win over gamers, who, Leonsis says, “can sniff out the B.S. very quickly.”