The Presidential Daily Brief


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    John McCain Honored in Farewell Ceremonies

    “He lived by a different code.” So said a tearful Joe Biden of his friend at the six-term senator’s Phoenix memorial Thursday. Biden described it as an “antiquated code where honor, courage, character, integrity and duty were what mattered.” Today, McCain will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda before a Saturday memorial at the Washington National Cathedral, where Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are expected to speak at his request. Sources say President Donald Trump, with whom McCain shared a testy relationship, was asked to steer clear of the services.

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    Justice Department Chides Harvard for Racial Discrimination

    In a statement filed in Massachusetts District Court yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice sided with a group of Asian-American students who claim Harvard University rejected them over their ethnic background. The Ivy League college “failed to carry its demanding burden” to ensure its consideration of race didn’t disadvantage Asian-Americans, the department said. It pointed to Harvard’s alleged policy of capping its quota of qualified Asian-Americans in favor of less-qualified students of other races. Harvard rejected the allegations, which date back to 2014, as “misleading and hollow.”

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    UN Demands China Close Uighur Detention Camps

    United Nations human rights experts are calling on Beijing to release as many as 1 million ethnic Uighurs they believe are being held in political “re-education camps.” Earlier this month, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination claimed Chinese authorities have effectively turned the country’s western Xinjiang province into “something that resembles a massive internment camp,” saying Muslim Uighurs are being held under the “pretext of countering terrorism.” Beijing denies the allegations, blaming anti-Chinese sentiment, but insists that Xinjiang faces serious threats from Islamist militants.

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    Trump Threatens to Leave World Trade Organization

    In an interview yesterday, President Trump called the WTO’s founding agreement “the single worst trade deal ever made” and said the U.S. would leave the global body if it doesn’t “shape up.” Despite data showing the U.S. fares slightly better than the WTO average when it comes to rulings, Trump complained of the group’s unfavorable attitude toward Washington. On multiple occasions Trump has reportedly threatened to quit the WTO — a move that would rattle the global economy — though administration officials appear cool on the prospect.

  5. Getting Involved, Catholic Crimes and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: During a campaign rally yesterday, President Trump also threatened to “get involved” if the FBI and Justice Department don’t “straighten out properly.” Propagandists for Myanmar’s military allegedly used fake images of supposed Rohingya Muslim crimes in a recently published book to justify their crackdown on the ethnic minority. The Catholic Church in Australia has said it’s against forcing priests to report abuse when they’re told about it during confession. And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Bulgaria: Meet the medical clowns making sick kids’ lives better.

    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 former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson to find out how she broke through, and broke big.


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    California to Mandate Female Board Members

    Yesterday the state Senate approved a bill requiring that women be included on the boards of publicly traded companies, paving the way for California to become the first state with such a law. The legislation mandates at least one woman in each boardroom by the end of next year, and as many as three by 2022, depending on company size. Today, women are absent from the boards of around one-quarter of California’s public firms. The bill has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, whose signature will make it law.

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    Dutch Politician Cancels Prophet Cartoon Contest

    Far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders said Thursday he was calling off a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad after news of the event prompted thousands to protest in Pakistan. Islam strictly forbids any visual depiction of the prophet. “I don’t want Muslims to use the cartoon competition as an excuse for Islamist violence,” said Wilders, who’s lived under police protection for years over his inflammatory anti-Islam remarks. A 26-year-old man was arrested Tuesday for making death threats against Wilders, while critics insist the contest was merely a publicity stunt.

  3. In this handout photo provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst takes a photo during his spacewalk, whilst aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on October 7, 2014 in Space.

    Astronauts Plug Hole in International Space Station

    Houston, do they have a problem? After astronauts awoke yesterday to news of a cabin pressure drop, they discovered a 0.07-inch puncture in the docked Soyuz spacecraft that transports crew back to Earth. German Alexander Gerst initially plugged the hole with his finger, prompting NASA to joke, “I don’t think that’s the best remedy.” Caused by an impact from space debris, the fissure — which was later covered with duct tape and rags as controllers work on a long-term solution — doesn’t present a life-threatening danger for the six-person crew.

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    Actor Gerard Depardieu Accused of Rape

    Authorities are reportedly investigating the French 69-year-old after an unnamed 22-year-old actress accused him of assaulting and raping her twice at his Paris residence earlier this month. The acclaimed actor is the second major film figure in France to face allegations of sexual assault: Director Luc Besson is also currently being investigated, accused of raping actress San Von Roy. Depardieu’s lawyer says his client — known for films such as The Last Metro and Cyrano de Bergerac — denies the allegations and is “shaken by this complaint.”

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    Colin Kaepernick Collusion Complaint Moves Forward

    They’ll allow it. An NFL-appointed arbitrator has refused to dismiss an official grievance by the former 49ers quarterback alleging a plot by the league and team owners to keep him off the field. Although Kaepernick, who led players in national anthem protests to highlight racial injustice, has been a free agent since March 2017, no team has signed him. His complaint, if successful, could lead to the invalidation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, the NFL’s regular season will start Sept. 6 without a clear-cut policy on player protests.