The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Europe Faces Politically Divided Future

    While last weekend’s European Parliament elections failed to produce the far-right populist surge some had predicted, the results did suggest that Europe’s electorate is more fractured than ever. The elections were encouraging for EU supporters — 75 percent of voters went for pro-unity parties — but nationalists made big gains in prominent countries like France and Italy. Now some wonder if the traditional left-right spectrum is becoming a populist vs. anti-populist battleground instead. 

    What’s next? All eyes are now on candidates for European Commission president, with France and Germany chasing alternative visions for its leadership. 

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    Two Killed in Japanese Mass Stabbing

    At least 16 people — including more than a dozen schoolgirls — were also injured in the attack, carried out by a 57-year-old man in the city of Kawasaki as the students waited at a bus stop. A 12-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man reportedly succumbed to their injuries, while the suspect, who police say wielded a knife in each hand, also died after stabbing himself in the neck. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for increased security around schools.

    Are such attacks common? While Japan has one of the developed world’s lowest violent crime rates, it saw high-profile mass stabbings in 2016 and 2001.

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    Iran Dismisses Overtures From Trump

    Shortly after President Donald Trump claimed yesterday that Washington is “not looking for regime change” in Iran — but simply wants to curtail its access to nuclear weapons — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to the president’s favorite medium, Twitter, to respond. He posted that nuclear weapons were never part of Tehran’s plan, focusing instead on the U.S. sanctions he says are stoking regional tensions and hurting Iranians.

    Could Iran come to the table? A foreign ministry spokesman dismissed Trump’s prediction of negotiations, while experts say Tehran perceives any softer rhetoric from the U.S. leader as “insincere.”

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Trump’s global saber rattling.

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    Reports: Alibaba Mulls Massive Second Listing

    The Chinese e-commerce giant is believed to be considering plans to raise up to $20 billion in a Hong Kong listing — its second after a record-breaking 2014 public debut in New York. The cash injection would allow Alibaba to diversify its funding, as well as provide the resources it needs to boost innovation. Although it’s cashed in on a surge in online commerce thanks to China’s rising middle class, the country’s recent economic crunch is forcing the company to adapt.

    How does the U.S.-China trade war factor in? Some analysts say the move is partially meant to strengthen ties with China’s leaders in Beijing as they square off with Washington.

  5. Also Important…

    A spate of tornadoes ravaged Indiana and Ohio overnight, leaving some 5 million people without power in the Buckeye State alone. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been ousted by Parliament amid a corruption scandal involving a coalition partner. And Serbia has put its security forces on alert after authorities in neighboring Kosovo carried out an anti-smuggling operation in a Serb-heavy region. 

    #OZYfact: Nearly 40 percent of American adults who experienced a major depressive episode in 2016 did not receive treatment. 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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    Everest Claims Another Victim Amid Fears of Overcrowding

    “We are heartbroken.” So said the family of Colorado attorney Christopher Kulish, 62, who on Monday became the 11th climber to die while scaling Mount Everest this season. With the Nepalese government doling out a record 381 permits this year, concerns are growing that overcrowding on the world’s tallest mountain is leading to deadly consequences, with crowds of climbers jammed up in the “Death Zone” near the summit.

    What’s fueling the problem? Mountaineers say new operating companies are offering more services on Everest, increasingly attracting inexperienced climbers.

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    Mark Zuckerberg to Dodge Canadian Subpoena

    Yesterday Facebook said its CEO, as well as COO Sheryl Sandberg, will defy an order from the Canadian Parliament’s ethics committee to appear at a hearing on data collection and privacy this week in Ottawa — and will send other top execs instead. Lawmakers have warned the two could be found in contempt of Parliament. Leaders from Apple and Google were also reportedly invited to the hearing.

    What would “contempt” mean? While it has no legal force against non-Canadian citizens, the symbolism won’t improve Facebook’s reputation as a company that resists transparency.

    Check out OZY’s feature imagining life after Facebook.

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    Indian Inmates Languish in Pretrial Detention

    Of India’s estimated 433,000 prisoners, more than two-thirds haven’t been convicted, OZY reports — and in some states, as much as 82 percent of the local prison population is still awaiting trial. That leaves suspects languishing behind bars for years, a stretch that doesn’t count toward an eventual sentence. Advocates are sounding the alarm, saying it’s led to dangerous overcrowding in the country’s prison system: In Delhi, for instance, jails are at 227 percent capacity.

    What’s being done? Last year the Supreme Court ordered that trial dates be fast-tracked, though it remains to be seen what effect that’s had.

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    Study: Hundreds of Rivers Contaminated With Antibiotics 

    In an unprecedented global study, researchers took 711 samples from rivers in 72 countries — and found traces of antibiotics in more than two-thirds of them. While trimethoprim was the most prevalent antibiotic, ciprofloxacin was most often detected in unsafe levels. Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria all topped the list for most contaminated. A researcher involved in the study called the results “eye-opening and worrying.”

    What’s the major risk? Besides harming wildlife, experts say contaminated rivers could boost resistance to drugs among humans, rendering antibiotics less effective.

    Check out this OZY story about Mongolia’s antibiotic overuse crisis.

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    Serena Williams Hits French Open With Style

    Williams, 37, turned heads yesterday on the clay courts of Paris in a Virgil Abloh-designed outfit printed with the French words for “mother, champion, queen and goddess.” Then she solidly beat Vitalia Diatchenko (2-6, 6-1, 6-0) in the first round. Last year, French officials reprimanded her for wearing leggings on the court.

    Will she win again? Williams could secure her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title — but considering she dropped out of her last two tournaments over knee issues, there’s no guarantee.

    Read OZY’s feature on the social media savvy of women’s tennis.