The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Fire Ravages Brazil’s National Museum

    “It is an unbearable catastrophe.” So said a director of the 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro — the country’s oldest scientific institution — after it was consumed by flames Sunday night. Many of the museum’s 20 million items, which include Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts, dinosaur bones, a 12,000-year-old human skeleton, and many Brazilian historical treasures, are believed to have been destroyed. President Michel Temer called it “a sad day for all Brazilians” and described the loss as “incalculable.” It’s unclear how the fire began, though some critics blame funding cuts.

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    John McCain Buried at US Naval Academy

    The six-term senator and celebrated veteran was laid to rest in a private ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, yesterday after five days of high-profile events in his honor. Among the speakers were Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime friend, and former CIA Director David Petraeus. The 1958 Naval Academy graduate — who was honored by fighter jets staging a fly-by as his casket was lowered — was buried next to another close friend, Navy Adm. Chuck Larson. “I just couldn’t not be here,” said a local woman who watched McCain’s motorcade.

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    Myanmar Jails Reuters Journalists for 7 Years

    A court in Yangon handed Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, seven-year prison terms today for violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. The reporters claim police planted confidential documents on them while they were covering the military’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. The ruling, which Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said affects “the press everywhere,” will likely draw further international condemnation of Myanmar, where the military is accused of genocide against the Rohingya. After the sentencing Lone said, “We know we did nothing wrong. I have no fear.”

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    Pakistan Downplays US Military Funding Cut

    Yesterday the U.S. State Department announced it would cancel $300 million in Coalition Support Funds over Pakistan’s alleged failure to fight terrorism. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi downplayed the decline in already frosty relations, noting that the funds were simply reimbursement for military expenses. Pakistan, accused by President Donald Trump in January of taking money in return for “lies & deceit,” is also facing a developing fiscal crisis. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Islamabad this week, where he’s expected to meet with newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan.

  5. Kavanaugh, Prison Breaks and Condoms

    Know This: The U.S. Senate will begin confirmation hearings tomorrow for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong was arrested in Minneapolis Friday on suspicion of sexual misconduct. Some 400 prisoners escaped from a Libyan jail Sunday following a week of clashes between armed militias in Tripoli. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Sri Lanka: Can this engineer convince his country’s tuk-tuk owners to go green?

    Read This: Struggling to weather their country’s crippling economic meltdown, many Venezuelans are forgoing increasingly expensive condoms — a move that’s led to more unplanned pregnancies and cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

    Follow Us: Do you love OZY’s global coverage? Make it Facebook official by liking our new page, OZY World, to stay up-to-date on all the latest global trends.


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    Microwave Blasts Suspected in ‘Sonic’ Embassy Attacks

    The unconventional weapons may be behind the strange ailments reported by dozens of U.S. diplomats and family members in Cuba and China, according to University of Pennsylvania researcher Douglas Smith, a member of the medical team that examined the diplomats. Those affected reported concussion-like symptoms including nausea, dizziness and hearing mysterious high-pitched noises. While sonic attacks or viral infections have also been suspected, Smith believes the symptoms are explained by the Frey effect, in which microwaves hitting the brain’s temporal lobes cause a person to hear phantom noises.

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    Loneliness Provides Stimulus for China’s Economy

    One is the most lucrative number. Eclipsing a position long held by Japan, where urbanization and working-age migration led to mass solitude among the elderly and the young, China is becoming Asia’s new leader in the so-called “loneliness economy.” Today, more than half of all people under 47 years old spend money to stay occupied, a recent study found, leading Chinese and foreign firms to cash in on products ranging from karaoke stations to ramen booths for single diners. But it’s unclear whether this new technology helps solve loneliness — or increases it.

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    Canada Pursues ‘Nuanced’ Health Campaign for Pot

    After legalizing marijuana, the Canadian government is doubling down on a public education blitz observers say is “more nuanced and subtle.” That’s meant waging health campaigns over social media and at public events aimed at harm reduction among teens and young adults — instead of simply discouraging the use of cannabis. “If you really want to connect with consumers,” one expert says, “don’t tell them whether they should or should not do it.” Health authorities say they’ll spend more than $75 million on the effort over the next six years.

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    CNN Removes ‘Parts Unknown’ Episodes Featuring Asia Argento

    Amid allegations the Italian actress sexually assaulted former child actor Jimmy Bennett when he was 17, the network has pulled all Argento-related episodes of the Anthony Bourdain show from its streaming service. Argento met Bourdain, with whom she was in a relationship until his death in June, while filming an episode in Rome. She later appeared in a Southern Italy installment and directed an episode in Hong Kong. Argento, a #MeToo leader who’s denied the allegations against her, was also fired last week from X Factor Italy.

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    Seattle Seahawks Add One-Handed Linebacker to Roster

    After finishing the preseason as the team’s lead tackler, fifth-round draft pick Shaquem Griffin could start in his first regular season game next week. Griffin, who’s missing his left hand due to a childhood amputation, was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year while at the University of Central Florida, and he impressed NFL scouts with his 4.38-second 40-yard dash. The Seahawks also drafted Griffin’s brother Shaquill last year — and both are expected to suit up Sunday in the season opener against the Denver Broncos.