The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Eiffel Tower Evacuated After Man Seen Scaling Monument

    Tourists visiting the French capital of Paris were evacuate from the Eiffel Tower after a man was seen climbing the historic monument. Fire fighters and police flocked to the scene and have made contact with the man. Photos and videos of the climber have also spread across social media, yet little is known about him.

    Who else climbed the Eiffel Tower? In 2017, the tower was closed after a young man scaled it and threatened to kill himself. An intoxicated man also climbed the tower in 2014, before coming down a half hour later. 

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    Trump, Saudi Arabia Ramp Up Anti-Iran Rhetoric

    Tensions over Iran continue to simmer as Riyadh warned it would respond with “all strength” in a potential conflict, while President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that it would be the “official end” of the Islamic Republic. Late last week, Trump downplayed the risk of war following a string of mysterious, supposedly Iran-backed attacks on Saudi oil assets.

    Are talks with Iran off the table again? Analysts say Trump’s mixed signals further fuel volatility, while Saudi Arabia has called for an emergency summit with Arab and Gulf leaders next week.

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    India Preps for Results as Massive Vote Ends

    Exit polls are predicting a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party after the seventh and final phase of India’s marathon six-week election ended yesterday. Voter turnout was nearly 65 percent, according to the election commission — slightly lower than in 2014. Vote counting begins Thursday, when results are also expected.

    Can we trust the exit polls? While some have been dramatically wrong in the past, the fact that they’re all showing the same trend should have the BJP feeling confident.

    Catch up with OZY’s original series, States of the Nation: India.

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    Google Suspends Huawei’s Android License

    After the Trump administration blocked Huawei from buying technology from American companies, Google has reportedly suspended some of the Chinese telecom giant’s business, limiting it to the open source version of the Android operating system. Existing Huawei phones will still be able to access the app store and updates, Google says, but future phones won’t connect to proprietary services including YouTube and Gmail.

    Is it over for Huawei? Plans to expand beyond China have already been impacted by the U.S. intervention, and this latest blow suggests growth will be a struggle.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on the Huawei controversy.

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    White House Unveils First Part of Mideast Peace Plan

    In a strategy crafted in part by President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, officials are hoping to use investment as a stimulus for peace in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the region. Calling for an “economic workshop” next month in Bahrain, the proposal seeks to enlist wealthy Gulf states and European and Asian countries to chip in “to make the area as investible as possible.”

    Will it work? Experts point to past economic discussions to suggest this latest effort won’t bear much fruit — especially given the bad blood between Washington and Palestinian leaders.

  6. Also Important…

    Swedish authorities have requested a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently imprisoned in Britain, in connection with a rape investigation. Newly inaugurated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for snap parliamentary elections. And South Korea has pledged to send some $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea in addition to possible food shipments.

    #OZYfact: According to Mapping Police Violence, 25 percent of the 1,147 Americans killed in police encounters in 2017 were Black — though the community constitutes only 13 percent of the national population. Read more on OZY.

    OZY Fest is back! Join OZY in New York’s Central Park July 20-21, where some of the biggest names and boldest thinkers — from John Legend and Trevor Noah to Stacey Abrams and Malcolm Gladwell — will help make this year’s OZY Fest the most memorable yet. Click here to get your early bird tickets.


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    US Billionaire Pledges to Pay College Grads’ Loans

    “This is my class.” So said philanthropist Robert F. Smith during his commencement address to nearly 400 Morehouse College graduates yesterday, announcing that he’ll wipe out their student debt. The surprise offer, which could be worth $40 million, prompted rapturous cheers and brought students at the historically Black men’s institution to their feet. Separately, Smith also pledged $1.5 million to Morehouse.

    Will being debt-free give them a leg up? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested a “natural experiment” of following the graduates — some of whom had owed $200,000 — over 10-15 years to see how they compare to their peers.

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    Japan’s Economy Stuns With 2% Growth

    Thanks partly to increased public investment, the world’s third-largest economy defied expectations as its GDP rose 2.1 percent during the first quarter of 2019, despite predictions that it would be flat or even negative. That could provide extra encouragement for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to continue with a planned sales tax increase in October from 8 to 10 percent.

    But will growth continue? While the news sparked measured optimism, analysts also warned that the Japanese economy could still suffer ripple effects from the ongoing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about Emperor Akihito’s legacy.

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    Saudi Arabia Delivers $250 Million to Sudan

    Riyadh has injected a quarter-billion dollars into Sudan’s central bank to support the sub-Saharan country’s currency amid its touchy political transition. The deposit is part of a combined $3 billion pledge that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates made in April. With Sudan’s economy in tatters, the cash is desperately needed — though activists fear it may come with strings attached.

    Who benefits from the aid? Much is intended for medicine and food, but Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also backing Sudan’s military, which protesters are pressuring to cede power to a civilian government.

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    Trees Are Getting Smarter as Climate Change Worsens

    New research suggests that while humanity has destroyed nearly half of the planet’s forests, the Northern Hemisphere’s remaining trees are absorbing more carbon dioxide in response, OZY reports. But these carbon sinks might not be the saving grace Earth needs: As climate change worsens, summers are extending — and elevating threats to woodlands from fire and drought.

    Could carbon sinks save us? Only if we protect them, scientists warn: When trees die, the carbon they’ve absorbed is released back into the atmosphere.

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    Dutee Chand Becomes India’s First Openly LGBT Athlete

    The 23-year-old sprinter has revealed that she’s in a relationship with a 19-year-old woman from her village of Chaka Gopalpur, making Chand India’s first openly lesbian athlete. The two-time Asian Games silver medalist said India’s decision to decriminalize same-sex relationships last year gave her the courage to come out. “Everyone should have the freedom to love,” she said.

    What’s next for Chand? While she says she’d like to settle down with her “soulmate” eventually, she’s currently focusing on qualifying for the world championships and next year’s Olympic Games.

    Read OZY’s op-ed about how India is tearing down a bridge to Kashmir.