The Presidential Daily Brief

important

  1. trump putin square handshake shot from first meeting at g 20 in hamburg russian office of the president crop

    Putin, Trump Chat About Election ‘Hoax,’ Venezuela 

    There was no 2016 election collusion, President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart agree. As for meddling in the 2020 election that the FBI recently warned about, “We didn’t discuss that,” the president told reporters today. Trump was also reassured that Russia was “not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than to see something positive happen.”

    What do others think? Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that he lacked a case for collusion, while this week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of assisting embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whom the U.S. wants unseated. 

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    Barr Under Fire for Protecting Trump

    Critics are casting U.S. Attorney General William Barr as a “defense lawyer for the president” as the feud between congressional Democrats and the country’s top lawyer heats up. Yesterday, Barr refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused him of lying about the true nature of Mueller’s report — a charge the Justice Department called “reckless, irresponsible and false.”

    Could Barr face legal action? Democrats say they’ll hold him in contempt if he doesn’t provide them with an unredacted version of Mueller’s report.

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    Cyclone Fani Begins Lashing Eastern India

    Following the evacuation of more than 1 million people, the powerful storm hit the eastern state of Odisha today with heavy rains and winds of up to 124 miles per hour. Officials say two people have been killed, while flooding and damage to property and infrastructure have also been reported. Ports have been closed, air and train travel have been suspended and many residents have gathered in cyclone shelters.

    Should we expect the worst? Technological innovations allowing for earlier and more accurate storm predictions let authorities respond more quickly than ever — welcome news as the six-month Indian cyclone season has only just begun.

    Explore OZY’s new in-depth series, States of the Nation: India.

  4. Thailand shutterstock 528975937

    Thailand Prepares for King’s Coronation

    More than two years after he ascended to the throne, King Maha Vajiralongkorn will formally be sworn in this weekend — but how he’ll continue ruling remains to be seen. Dogged by reports about his controversial personal life, experts say the 66-year-old monarch has proven both “interventionist” in government affairs and less accessible to the people than his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Just this week, Vajiralongkorn announced his fourth marriage — to a commander of his security detail.

    How powerful is Thailand’s monarchy? Already protected by some of the world’s most rigid lèse-majesté laws, Vajiralongkorn is also pushing for more executive powers.

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    Malaysia Frees Kim Jong Nam Murder Suspect

    Originally charged with murdering North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in the Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017, 30-year-old Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong was finally freed from a Malaysian prison Friday. Last month, the former hair salon worker pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of “causing injury,” saying she was tricked into smearing a nerve agent on Kim’s face. She’s the second suspect in the killing to have been released.

    So who was behind Kim’s murder? Some analysts suggest that with the only suspects now free, whoever planned his assassination has successfully evaded justice.

    Check out OZY’s feature about how Malaysia is rewriting history.

  6. Also Important…

    In a new report, the Pentagon has warned that China is building up its military presence in the Arctic region. The Iraqi government wants to establish a detention camp for up to 30,000 Iraqis who lived in Syria under ISIS. And the Sinclair Broadcast Group has reportedly agreed to purchase 21 regional sports networks from Disney for more than $10 billion.

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

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a prolific sports reporter who’s comfortable creating profiles, trend stories, data-driven articles and thought-pieces. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.

intriguing

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    Facebook, Instagram Ban Far-Right Figures

    The two social platforms have booted outspoken extremists including Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos following months of criticism over their collective role in allegedly fueling hate speech. Infowars has also been banned, and any reposted content from the site will be removed. And after recent extremist attacks on New Zealand and U.S. synagogues piled pressure on the platforms, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has also been banished for repeated anti-Semitic posts.

    What other content poses problems? Observers claim Facebook could do much more to police harmful anti-vaccine content — which thrives on Instagram through memes, a recent investigation found.

    Read this OZY feature about Europe’s “joke” parties.

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    US Health Workers Could Soon Refuse Care Over Religion

    A new rule approved by the Trump administration yesterday affirms the rights of medical staff — from receptionists to surgeons to pharmacists — to withhold care if it contravenes their religious beliefs. The decision, made on the National Day of Prayer, represents an obstacle for individuals seeking birth control, abortions, assisted suicides or sterilization. Hospitals and medical facilities must adhere to the rule or risk losing federal funding.

    How will this affect patients? Activists warn that it could deter vulnerable groups like the LGBT community from accessing vital health services.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, Health Disrupted.

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    Will Pseudo Satellites Conquer the Stratosphere?

    These aren’t just eyes in the sky. From monitoring pollution to providing cell signals, high-altitude pseudo satellites (HAPS) have captured the imagination of researchers and companies around the world, OZY reports. Designed to watch over Earth like satellites but with the flexibility of drones, HAPS use the unique advantages of the upper layer of atmosphere below outer space. Far from an engineering gimmick, they offer a new range of applications currently not being adequately filled by satellites or airplanes.

    Are HAPS here to stay? With technical improvements like lighter, longer-lasting batteries, the global market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022.

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    Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Dies at 74

    Mayhew, who played the hairy, lovable Wookiee in the original Star Wars trilogy and two other films in the series, died at home in Texas April 30. The 7-foot-3-inch actor chose not to pursue a broader career beyond the sci-fi franchise, and instead became a stalwart of the Star Wars convention circuit. Mark Hamill remembered his British co-star, who is survived by his wife and three children, as “the gentlest of giants.”

    What’s Mayhew legacy? He spent much of his post-Star Wars life helping charities, including Wounded Warriors and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, through his Peter Mayhew Foundation.

    Check out this OZY story about the closest thing to real-world Jedi training.

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    Women’s Hockey Stars Boycott Pro Leagues

    All plans are on ice. Demanding better compensation and the stability of a single, unified league, more than 200 athletes from the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which closed Wednesday, and the U.S.-based National Women’s Hockey League announced a collective walk-out yesterday. Currently, female pros in North American hockey earn as little as $2,000 a season. “This is not enough,” one player said. “We’ve earned better than this.”

    Could the players win? Their strategy has worked before: Two years ago, the U.S. national women’s team scored concessions from USA Hockey after threatening to boycott the world championships in Michigan.