The Presidential Daily Brief


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    India’s Modi Poised for Victory as Votes Tallied

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party appeared headed for a major win Thursday as India’s Election Commission continued counting ballots from the country’s massive seven-phase general election. The BJP seemed likely to secure significantly more than the 272 seats required for a legislative majority following the world’s largest-ever exercise in democracy, which was largely seen as a referendum on the controversial nationalist leader.

    What’s next? As the world awaits final results, due later today, global investors will likely take heart in the “political stability and continuity” of Modi’s reelection.

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

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    Trump-Democrat Spat Threatens Bipartisan Lawmaking

    After President Donald Trump stormed out of a White House meeting yesterday with Democratic leaders — following an accusation by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he’s “engaged in a cover-up” — observers are wondering if the potential for bipartisan legislating is over. While trillion-dollar issues like infrastructure remain pressing, the evolving dispute between Trump and Democrats over special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report could complicate efforts to strike deals.

    What else is at stake? Trump’s threat to end cooperation with Democrats could also imperil negotiations over government spending, as well as the approval of a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement.

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    Markets Rattled as Global Firms Ditch Huawei

    Japanese electronics giant Panasonic and British chipmaker Arm Holdings have become the latest major firms to cut ties with the embattled Chinese telecom company after it was blacklisted by the U.S. last week. The company’s partnership with Arm is especially important because the U.K. firm provides key designs for Huawei-made chips — yet another blow to its global business amid Beijing’s ongoing standoff with Washington.

    How are Huawei’s suppliers doing? Their shares have taken a hit, with companies like Hong Kong-based Sunny Optical sinking more than 7 percent, while Asian stocks fell to a four-month low Thursday.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on the tech Cold War.

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    Voters Head to Polls in European Union Election

    The first of around 350 million eligible voters will cast their ballots today at the start of a four-day election to decide the makeup of the EU’s main legislative body. Analysts say the 751-member European Parliament, which passes laws on everything from environmental issues to data privacy, is headed for a major shake-up this year given the higher-than-usual anticipated turnout. British and Dutch citizens will be the first to vote.

    What’s in store for Europe? While various nationalist and anti-EU parties are expected to perform well, top bureaucrats are also calling for gender-balanced leadership in EU institutions.

  5. Also Important…

    The Pentagon is expected to unveil plans today to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to the Middle East. Scientists have traced the mysterious rise of banned ozone-destroying chemical CFC-11 in recent years back to eastern China. And an Australian judge has awarded actor Geoffrey Rush a record $2 million in a defamation case over reports of inappropriate behavior.

    #OZYfact: The works of author Marie Corelli — a curious mix of occultism, romance, Gothic mystery and Christian morality tale — far outsold those of contemporary rivals like Charles Dickens. 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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    Canada to Defuse Trash Dispute With Philippines

    Following a threat by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to “declare war” over 2,200 tons of Canadian garbage that’s been rotting in his country for over five years, Ottawa announced yesterday that it will spend more than $800,000 to bring it back. A Canadian company had originally shipped 103 containers of trash mislabeled as recyclables to Manila, forcing the Philippines to dispose of some but leaving 69 containers to rot.

    How serious does garbage get? It’s unclear if diplomatic relations will recover soon — especially after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to retrieve the trash, prompting the Philippines to recall its ambassador from Ottawa.

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    Visa, Mastercard Seek Lift From Public Transportation

    In a bid to promote contactless payments, the two credit card giants are looking to public transportation for help. More than 150 cities now boast mass transit systems, many of which are sponsored by Visa or Mastercard, that let passengers save time by tapping their cards at entrances. The companies are betting on those systems to demonstrate the convenience of contactless payments, which could, in turn, generate a spike in credit card purchases.

    Is it a win for everyone? Not exactly: Poorer families and undocumented immigrants — part of the more than 25 percent of the U.S. population that’s unbanked or underbanked — could be left marginalized by such a system.

    Check out OZY’s feature on the rise of digital tipping.

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    Can This Scientist Eradicate Thousands of Diseases?

    Harvard biologist David Liu has developed a new class of DNA base editors that can switch a single letter of DNA with another, OZY reports. That could open the door to treatments — and possibly cures — for thousands of diseases caused by one small “typo” in DNA. It’s a new iteration of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR that Liu hopes could help tackle diseases as diverse as anemia and childhood diabetes.

    What’s the challenge? Bringing this technology from animal trials to human ones is a complicated process requiring “bulletproof” biology, and even after it’s proven safe and effective, FDA approval could take years.

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    Rihanna Unveils New Fashion Brand in Paris

    “This is a moment in history.” So said the Barbados-born singer after becoming the first Black woman to lead a top Parisian luxury house yesterday upon launching her new collection at a pop-up store in the French capital. Fenty, named after the 31-year-old’s last name and owned by conglomerate LVMH, features clothing, eyewear and footwear, among other offerings, and its products will go on sale Friday.

    How expensive is Fenty? While significantly cheaper than some luxury brands, the asking price for T-shirts tops $200 — though Rihanna’s still hoping to ”reach a broad audience.”

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    FIFA Ditches Plans to Expand 2022 World Cup

    The soccer federation announced Wednesday that the World Cup in Qatar won’t grow from 32 to 48 teams due to “political and logistical issues.” FIFA president Gianni Infantino had been pushing for the expansion, but the obstacles proved too great: Qatar remains blockaded by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, neighboring countries that had been under consideration to host the extra matches.

    Will the World Cup field ever increase? FIFA voted in January to include 48 teams in the 2026 tournament, which will be co-hosted by Mexico, Canada and the United States.

    Read OZY’s profile of the man behind Qatar’s first vegan café.