The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. kawhi leonard square wikimedia commons

    Toronto Beats Milwaukee, Advancing to NBA Finals

    Canada’s only team faces its first championship bid after the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 100-94 in Saturday night’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 in Toronto. The 19-year-old team recovered from a third-quarter 15-point deficit, taking the lead even with star Kawhi Leonard on the bench. He returned to complete the job, finishing with 27 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

    What chance to they have? Don’t bet all your loonies on Toronto beating the overwhelmingly favored Golden State Warriors. It’ll be their fifth consecutive finals appearance when the series begins Thursday, so Leonard will simply “enjoy the moment and take the challenge.”

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    Legendary NFL Quarterback Bart Starr Dies at 85

    Green Bay, Wisconsin, is in mourning. The quarterback who helped make the town’s Packers franchise an enduring pillar of the game died today in Birmingham, Alabama. Bart Starr lead the Pack to championships in 1961, 1962, 1965 and then led Green Bay to victories in the first two Super Bowls. Those included the snowy 1967 “Ice Bowl,” in which he pulled off a game-winning quarterback sneak.

    What did he do later? From 1975 to 1983, he coached the Packers, but reached the playoffs only once. In 2015, stricken with cognitive difficulties, he apeared in Lambeau Field one last time, receiving a resounding ovation from fans and players alike.

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    UK Conservatives Begin Struggle to Replace May

    Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday announced her June 7 resignation, bringing the first chapters of an agonizing Brexit battle to a close. Her hard-nosed and perhaps disingenuous negotiating, which included threatening to leave the European Union without a deal managing trade and other relationships, is what some believe ultimately spelled her demise.

    Who’s next? Conservative Party Brexiteer Boris Johnson is the best-known among what may be a dozen candidates for May’s job, who differ mainly in support for an unpopular no-deal EU departure, with 120,000 party members voting on their new leader.

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    President Faces the ‘I Word,’ Courts and Iran

    President Donald Trump’s facing an array of disappointments, from a mounting call for his impeachment, including from another fellow Republican, to a court blocking his exercise of emergency power to fund a southern border wall. The coming weeks may bring more showdowns with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, now locked in a war of taunts with Trump.

    Could there be a new distraction? The Pentagon is sending 1,500 troops to the Middle East, saying it’s countering an Iranian threat, causing some to fear a Wag the Dog military scenario.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing about the U.S. challenging its rivals.

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    The Christian Exodus From Iraq

    Iraq’s Christian population has dropped 80 percent, from 1.4 million to 250,000, since the U.S. invaded in 2003. Those remaining are making the painful choice of leaving some of their faith’s oldest communities, like the Nineveh Plain, or facing increasing intolerance and extremism. Those who stayed, after surviving ISIS’ onslaught, face harassment from other historically persecuted groups like the Shabak and Kurds. 

    Is there any hope? Influenced by evangelical supporters, the Trump administration has earmarked $300 million in Nineveh Plain aid, but at same time, admissions of Iraqi Christian refugees has been cut 98 percent in the past two years. 

    Read OZY’s feature on the repatriation of Iraq’s stolen treasures.

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    How China Might Win the Trade War

    It’s not all cheap toys and designer knockoffs. Rare earth minerals imported by the U.S. from China are integral to everything from oil refining, which needs lanthanum, to europium-hungry flat-screens. And it could be the next big trade war weapon. President Xi Jinping last week visited a factory in the middle of China’s rare-earth production region, sending a veiled threat to U.S. policymakers.

    Can they be acquired elsewhere? China has produced nearly 90 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals since the 1990s, but its share has recently fallen to 71 percent following an uptick in American production.

    OZY asks how much the trade war will cost consumers.

  7. Also Important…

    Germany’s anti-Semitism commissioner has warned against wearing yarmulkes in parts of the country where attacks against Jews have increased. Social satire Parasite on Saturday became the first South Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday. And today is the last of four days of European Union parliamentary elections, with the first official results projections expected tonight.

    In the week ahead: The 103rd Indianapolis 500 Formula 1 race is set for today. And on Thursday, Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who’s been charged with espionage by the United States, is scheduled to appear in a British court.

    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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    This Video Game Keeps Genocide Real

    Although it never expressly says so, Mayrig: Paths to Freedom follows a woman’s escape from the Armenian genocide in 1915, OZY reports, requiring the player to make harrowing choices that alter the historically accurate storyline. Available for download in English and Arabic, with an eastern Armenian version in the works, the game is an eye-opening journey — accompanied by historical photographs and traditional Armenian music — that thrusts the player into the shoes of a refugee from a tragedy that left 1.5 million dead.

    What’s the lesson? Rather than being a gorefest, Mayrig highlights ordeals faced by refugees fleeing any given conflict.

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    Can YouTube Help Find Anya’s Lost Memory?

    She doesn’t remember what happened in January. She doesn’t recall anything before then either. Specialists have diagnosed the Russian schoolgirl with psychiatric conditions ranging from dissociative amnesia to a fugue state. After the incident, she relearned the important things in life — who her mother is and what social media is. Posting as Unplanned Reborn, her YouTube account documents her struggle to learn who she was. Some of her friends think she’s faking it.

    Can social media be therapy? Anya’s therapist took a while to warm to the videos, but says “acting and creating” can help resocialize the teenager.

    Read OZY’s feature about ancient memory techniques.

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    Amazon Rainforest Carbon Offsets Won’t Save Us

    A new analysis by ProPublica casts grave doubts upon one of the world’s more popular ways to fight climate change: carbon offsets in tropical rainforests. Polluters pay to preserve forests, which absorb CO2 and store it as long as the trees live. Looking at a variety of indicators, including aerial images, the author found that some “protected” forests are completely barren, while others are severely depleted or degraded by previously undetected small-scale development.

    How are industrialized nations reacting? The European Union prohibits such tropical forest offsets, while California environmental regulators are now considering them.

    Read OZY’s feature on how trees are absorbing more carbon.

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    Empty Cars Will Destroy Your Commute

    With current occupancy averaging around 1.1 riders per vehicle, rising to even 1.2 could eliminate congestion in many cities. That marginal math cuts both ways: 1.0 or lower means gridlock. That’s why autonomous vehicle advancement alarms transportation planners: Robot ride-sharing puts zero-occupancy vehicles in motion, on their way to and from rides or simply cruising for fares.

    What’s the solution? Totally old school, writes one high-occupancy tech exec: Employ the existing hierarchy that favors vehicles carrying more people. Don’t give AVs access to, say, carpool lanes without humans inside.

    Read OZY’s Immodest Proposal on congestion pricing.

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    Selling NFL Gambling’s Golden Calf in the Bible Belt

    The owner of the Carolina Panthers, David Tepper, is cultivating sports betting in North and South Carolina. But resistance from pious lawmakers and debates over modes — mobile networks or brick-and-mortar locations — cast doubts on initial visions of cash fountains last May when the Supreme Court permitted states to allow sport betting. 

    Would everyone score? The impoverished Catawba tribe is desperate for a casino, but its still-unapproved facility straddling both Carolinas would sit a half-hour drive from Tepper’s stadium.

    Read OZY’s profile of an up-and-coming sports gambling star.