The Presidential Daily Brief


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    US Hits Huawei With Heavy Restrictions

    President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday widely believed to be aimed at banning the controversial Chinese giant’s telecommunications gear from U.S. networks. While the decree didn’t name Huawei specifically, the U.S. Commerce Department also levied export controls that would effectively block American firms from selling much-needed technology to Huawei — the largest company to ever face such measures.

    What now? Experts say the move will affect “the entire global telecommunications network,” since Huawei-linked companies around the world depend on U.S.-made tech.

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    Alabama Abortion Ban Fuels Political Fight

    Following Gov. Kay Ivey’s approval yesterday of America’s most restrictive state law on abortions, politicians on both sides of the aisle are gearing up for a fight. Conservatives are hoping the measure, which amounts to a near-total ban, will help them mount a constitutional challenge against abortion rights. Democrats, meanwhile, are considering how the issue might factor into next year’s presidential election.

    What will the Supreme Court do? If the Alabama law reaches the top court, analysts say much depends on Chief Justice John Roberts, who is known to lean right but prefers incremental changes, warning that overturning decisions is a “jolt to the legal system.”

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    Venezuelan Government, Opposition Set to Meet

    Following a failed uprising last month that further deepened the Latin American country’s political crisis, representatives from both sides headed to Norway, where they’re expected to explore solutions to the months-long stalemate. Meanwhile, the U.S. suspended all remaining flights to and from Venezuela.

    Will the two sides agree on anything? It seems unlikely, given their uncompromising positions — which is why some believe the opposition’s last option is threatening force by inviting foreign military intervention.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on when a revolution goes wrong.

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    Tensions Mar Sudan’s Transition Talks

    Ongoing violence in the African nation, which left 14 wounded yesterday, has accompanied a 72-hour suspension of talks between military rulers and the opposition over a political transition. Both sides blamed one another for the clashes in central Khartoum, which occurred after security forces reportedly attempted to remove protesters staging a sit-in. Citing violations of an agreement to tone down protests, Sudan’s transitional military council said it would wait for “a suitable atmosphere” for talks.

    What’s next for Sudan? Although many hailed this week’s tentative agreement on a shift to civilian rule, Wednesday’s suspension is proof that negotiating the actual terms won’t be easy.

  5. Also Important…

    President Trump is expected to unveil an immigration plan today aimed at prioritizing highly skilled workers through a “merit-based system.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called U.S. sanctions “unacceptable” but reaffirmed Tehran’s commitment to sticking with the 2015 nuclear deal. And in an article carried by state media, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a lack of innovation is his country’s “Achilles heel.”

    #OZYfact: Since 1987, the portion of minor-party voters in Australia who say they “very strongly” support their candidate has risen by 120 percent. Read more on OZY.

    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.


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    Palestinian Activists Ditch Airbnb to Protest Israeli Listings

    Campaigners are urging Airbnb users to delete their accounts until listings inside Israeli settlements in the West Bank are removed. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement launched the effort May 15, the day Palestinians call Nakba, which commemorates their displacement in 1948. Airbnb had previously removed the listings, but reversed course under pressure from Israel.

    What’s next? Airbnb has pledged not to remove the listings, but to donate all proceeds to charities — a move Palestinian activists say is not enough.

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    Anti-Propaganda Protests Are Roiling China’s Communists

    Chinese authorities have traditionally responded to protests with a heavy hand — but that may be changing. Citizens across the country are expressing outrage over banners and posters for China’s new “Eliminate the Dark and Evil Forces” campaign. But instead of cracking down, OZY reports, officials are apologizing and removing the propaganda. With a renewed government focus on social harmony, local officials are now incentivized to respond to citizens’ concerns.

    Is that good news? Experts say it’s a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” policy that doesn’t necessarily mean the authoritarian Communist Party is changing its ways.

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    Europe’s Olive Harvest Is Under Threat

    The world’s largest producer and consumer of olive oil, the European Union is facing a serious threat to its harvest in the form of a tree-killing disease. Since appearing in Italy in 2013, Xylella fastidiosa — tough to detect and with no known cure — has spread to other countries, jeopardizing local industries and boosting olive prices. Now the EU Food Safety Agency says at least one strain of the disease could find its way to northern Europe.

    What can be done? While experts try to contain its spread, the only way to eradicate Xylella locally is to destroy infected trees.

    Check out this OZY dispatch on Barcelona’s vermouth scene.

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    Jeff Koons’ ‘Rabbit’ Fetches Record $91.1 Million

    The 1986 sculpture overtook David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) as the most expensive work by a living artist when it sold for $91.1 million yesterday at Christie’s auction house in New York. The 3-foot-tall stainless steel rabbit, modeled on an inflatable children’s toy, was snagged by art dealer Bob Mnuchin, father of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, on behalf of an unnamed client.

    What’s Koons all about? Though often seen as a polarizing artist for his playful and sometimes controversial works, he’s had a major impact on the contemporary art market.

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    WNBA Taps Deloitte CEO as New Commissioner

    Cathy Engelbert, the accounting firm’s first female CEO, will finish the fiscal year at Deloitte before heading up the women’s league in mid-July. Facing renegotiations of players’ contracts, she’ll have to get straight to work. Still, things are looking good for the WNBA, which begins its 23rd season this month, boosted by a CBS broadcast slate of 40 games, a Captain Marvel tie-in, a fresh logo and new sponsorship deals.

    Will Engelbert score any points? The 33-year Deloitte veteran — and former college basketball player — could have the experience and business savvy to rake in more cash for the WNBA.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman training the next generation of basketball refs.