The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Death Toll and Desperation Rise in Indonesia

    The bodies of 34 children were found buried in their church by a mudslide, with 52 more still missing, as rescuers continued searching for survivors of Friday’s deadly earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi. More than 1,200 people have been reported killed and 200,000 displaced. Tensions were high today as residents desperate for food and drinking water blocked roads to intercept trucks carrying aid. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government said the island’s early detection tsunami buoys haven’t worked for six years due to a lack of funding.

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    FBI Casts Wider Net in Brett Kavanaugh Probe

    Following a barrage of criticism from Democrats, President Donald Trump said he’s authorized the FBI to interview anyone “within reason” about the sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee, as long as the probe finishes this week. Kavanaugh’s former classmates have offered conflicting public reports of his drinking during college, and Senate Democrats suggested a list of two dozen witnesses who should be interviewed to make the FBI’s inquiry “credible.” Republicans accused them of obstructionism, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted, “We’ll be voting this week.”

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    Catalan Separatists Gather for Anniversary of Vote

    Police estimate that 180,000 people rallied in Barcelona Monday night as tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across Catalonia one year after the referendum to leave Spain. Pro-independence activists stormed a government office to hang the Catalan flag and blocked roads and railways, occasionally clashing with police. Catalonia declared its independence after last year’s vote, despite a low turnout from boycotting opponents, only for Madrid to deem the poll illegal and impose direct rule. Catalonia’s nationalist president, Quim Torra, urged protesters to “keep up the pressure.”

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    North American Trade Deal Boosts Market Indexes

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 climbed at news of yesterday’s trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Investors had been hesitant over the deal’s fate, while multinational corporations were unsure whether they would need new supply chains. General Motors applauded the agreement, which includes a requirement that duty-free cars made in North America have 75 percent of their components also produced in the region. Meanwhile, experts believe the deal has freed up resources for the White House to shift focus to trade disputes with China.

  5. Dangerous Waters, Nobel Justice and Beaches for All

    Know This: A U.S. Navy ship nearly collided with a Chinese warship during an “unsafe” interaction over the weekend near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Jean-Claude Arnault, the French photographer behind a scandal that postponed this year’s Nobel Prize in literature, was sentenced by a Swedish court to two years in prison for raping a woman in 2011. The U.S. Supreme Court declined an appeal yesterday by a billionaire seeking to privatize a California beach. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Honduras: Learn how this Central American nation halved its murder rate in five years.

    Read This: Deep-sea tourists are trying to get a last look at the Titanic as rust-forming bacteria eat away its remains, with experts estimating the wreckage to last only another 20 years.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented business editor to anchor our globally minded finance coverage, based in either Silicon Valley or New York. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Gender Reveal Party Sparks Massive Wildfire

    Families are expensive. Arizona Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey has been fined $220,000 after admitting to starting the 47,000-acre Sawmill wildfire last year. The blaze began when the eager father-to-be fired at a target containing the explosive compound Tannerite and a colored powder meant to reveal his child’s gender. The resulting wildfire, stoked by high winds, took some 800 firefighters two weeks and $8.2 million to fight. In addition to the fine and five years’ probation, Dickey must make a public service announcement for the U.S. Forest Service.

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    Cancer Immunologists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine

    James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University will share the $1 million award for discovering new ways to treat cancer using immunotherapy. Working separately, the scientists pioneered methods of unleashing the body’s defenses on cancer cells by manipulating the proteins that serve as “brakes” for the immune system. Immunotherapy drugs based on their science have extended the lives of patients and even eliminated signs of disease in some with advanced cancers. One Nobel Committee member called it a “paradigmatic shift” in the fight against the disease.

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    Why Are Democrats of Color Struggling to Fund Campaigns?

    Never before have so many candidates of color run for office across the country, but as fundraising revs up ahead of November’s midterm elections, the donations don’t always match the enthusiasm of their grassroots support. Even as deep-pocketed Democratic donors outpace Republican spending, they’ve been tepid in their support for some candidates of color — adding to complaints the party isn’t fully behind newcomers like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. After proving themselves in the primaries, though, some hope cash might start flowing in time for Election Day.

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    French Icon Charles Aznavour Dies at 94

    The beloved singer, songwriter, composer and actor died in his sleep Sunday night at his home in the Alpilles mountains. Born in Paris to Armenian refugees in 1924, Aznavour got his start in a traveling children’s troupe. The “Sinatra of France” went on to sell nearly 200 million records and acted in more than 60 films over eight decades. His catalog includes hits like She and Yesterday When I Was Young and collaborations with Édith Piaf, Elton John and Frank Sinatra himself. President Emmanuel Macron described Aznavour as “profoundly French.”

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    Skiers Conquer World’s Fourth-Highest Mountain

    Two American skiers are reportedly the first ever to ski down the world’s fourth-highest peak, Nepal’s Mount Lhotse, a sister peak of Mount Everest. James Morrison of California and Colorado’s Hilaree Nelson scaled the 27,940-foot summit before descending the 7,000-foot “Dream Line” gorge on skis. The feat comes after three years of preparation, a month of trekking and a 17-hour ascent by the accomplished ski mountaineers. And they had the run to themselves, as climbers in the Lhotse-Everest region prefer the less snowy conditions of spring.