The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Facebook Breach Could Affect 50M Users

    An attack on the social media giant’s network this week meant 90 million users were logged out of their accounts Friday morning, with the information from 50 million accounts at potential risk. Facebook discovered the breach earlier this week and said it has fixed the vulnerability, informed law enforcement and begun an investigation into the origins of the attack. It comes after the company has been dealing with the fallout from several scandals including that involving Cambridge Analytica, which harvested data from 87 million Facebook users in order to target U.S. voters.

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    Tsunami in Indonesia Leaves Hundreds Dead

    “It could get much worse.” So said the Red Cross in a statement after a tsunami and 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near the Indonesian city of Palu on Friday, leaving at least 832 dead. Rescuers are currently digging by hand to free people from rubble as the number of injured and killed increases. Video of the tsunami shows people fleeing in panic from waves that were reportedly up to 10 feet high. A series of deadly earthquakes on the Indonesian island of Lombok last month also left hundreds dead. Meanwhile, aftershocks continue to hit the area.

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    Kavanaugh Vote Faces Delay

    The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to ask President Donald Trump to reopen an FBI background investigation into the supreme court nominee, taking no longer than one week. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on condition the investigation happened before a full Senate vote. The decision comes a day after the Committee heard nine hours of testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. In a captivating session Thursday, Kavanaugh “unequivocally” denied assaulting Ford, while she was “100 percent certain” he forced himself on her during a party 36 years ago. 

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    Israel Challenges Iran Over ‘Secret Atomic Warehouse’

    In his address to the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his country’s longtime foe of stockpiling illicit nuclear weapons in a facility outside Tehran. “What Iran hides, Israel will find,” said Netanyahu, who called on international inspectors to find what he claimed was up to 300 tons of nuclear equipment. Iran’s foreign minister dismissed the charge, calling Israel “the biggest threat to the region.” Meanwhile, a U.S. intelligence assessment alleges Iran-backed groups are planning attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the Middle East.

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    SEC Sues Elon Musk for Fraud, Seeks Ouster

    Citing “false and misleading” comments to investors about potentially going private, the Securities and Exchange Commission is suing the controversial Tesla CEO and seeking his removal from the company. In a tweet last month, Musk said he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420,” adding that funding was “secured” — a claim the SEC says caused confusion in the market because Musk hadn’t discussed potential funding with investors. Tesla stock dropped 10 percent on the news, while Musk said the lawsuit has left him “deeply saddened and disappointed.”

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    Netherlands Police Foil Alleged Terror Plot

    Seven men between the ages of 21 and 34 were arrested in the Dutch cities of Arnhem and Weert yesterday on suspicion of plotting what authorities claim would have been a major terror attack. Tipped off by intelligence services in April, police staged a 400-man raid in search of assault rifles, hand grenades and bomb materials. Three of the men, including the alleged ringleader, a 34-year-old Iraqi, were previously arrested for attempting to join extremist groups abroad. All seven are due in court today as the investigation continues.

  7. Crash Landings, Minimum Wage and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: All 47 people aboard a plane that crash-landed in a Pacific lagoon in Micronesia Friday morning have survived. Workers at the three main airports serving New York City are set to make the highest minimum wage in the U.S. after the Port Authority approved a raise to $19 an hour. Researchers in Hong Kong have confirmed the world’s first known human case of rat hepatitis E. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Turkmenistan: Learn why this secretive Central Asian nation hasn’t won an Olympic medal yet.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    We need your video! OZY is launching a groundbreaking new TV series — and we’d love to include your voice. Record your thoughts on diversity in Hollywood, plastic surgery, playing the “race card,” your parents or voter turnout in a short vlog, and send it to


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    Canada Votes to Revoke Aung San Suu Kyi’s Honorary Citizenship

    Canada’s House of Commons unanimously agreed yesterday to strip the Myanmar leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate of the rare distinction. The move followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s suggestion that her honorary citizenship, bestowed in 2007, could be revoked as Suu Kyi has come under increasing international criticism for her silence on the Myanmar military’s alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. The Senate is expected to vote next week to make the revocation official. Current honorary Canadians include Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and the Dalai Lama.

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    Facebook Uses Phone Numbers for Ad Targeting

    Who’s calling, please? Following a Gizmodo report citing an investigation by Northeastern and Princeton researchers, the social media company confirmed that it uses the phone numbers provided by users — ostensibly for two-factor authentication — to target them and their contacts with advertisements. Facebook previously denied using this “shadow profile” information for advertising, and its former security chief wrote in February that he hoped people didn’t skirt “helpful security features” over fears of ad targeting. The company said users could avoid the issue by opting out of phone number-based authentication.

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    Banned Pollutant Threatens Orca Population

    It’s a whale of a problem. A new study finds that lingering traces of polychlorinated biphenyls in the ocean could halve the orca population in the most polluted areas in as little as 30 years. The concentration of the industrial pollutants in whales’ blubber was as high as 26 times the amount that can cause infertility, cancer and immune system damage. While PCBs have been banned globally since 2004, they still leach out from dump sites and accumulate in the food chain, notably in whales’ prey of large fish and seals.

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    Utah Ordered to Pay Up in Cinema Booze Case

    A federal judge has ordered the state to cover nearly $500,000 in legal fees after it lost a case against Brewvies Cinema Pub. Following a 2016 screening of Deadpool, Utah authorities threatened the theater with a $25,000 fine over a law prohibiting serving alcohol during films featuring simulated sex or full-frontal nudity. Brewvies, represented by former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson — and with the support of Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds — sued and won on First Amendment grounds, causing the state law to be overturned.

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    Germany to Host UEFA Euro 2024

    The longtime favorite beat out Turkey for the right to host the European soccer tournament after both countries made their final pitches yesterday in Nyon, Switzerland. A week earlier, a UEFA evaluation report had indicated Germany’s strong position and noted its “high quality” bid, while finding Turkey’s potential as host country marred by its record on human rights, as well as its shortcomings in infrastructure and hotel capacity. German Football Association officials celebrated the news, and bid ambassador Philipp Lahm promised to “organize a huge football party in Germany.”