The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Tornadoes Ravage Midwest, Injuring Scores

    The Kansas City, Missouri, area was the latest to be hit during a 12-day stretch that’s seen at least eight twisters strafe the Midwest — the first such series since 1980. Ohio’s governor declared a state of emergency in three counties, while storms were also confirmed in eastern Pennsylvania. Even parts of New York City and northern New Jersey were issued warnings by the National Weather Service.

    What’s causing these tornadoes? While scientists say climate change probably plays a role in their increased frequency, they’re hard-pressed to pinpoint exactly why.

    Read OZY’s feature about why hurricanes are targeting the North Atlantic.

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    Huawei Seeks Swift Overturn of US Federal Ban

    Accusing American officials of “using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company,” the world’s largest telecommunications manufacturer has asked a Texas judge to rule against a law restricting U.S. federal spending on Huawei-made gear. The firm filed the suit in March, but a hearing on the motion isn’t expected until Sept. 19. Meanwhile, Beijing has suggested using exports of its prized rare earths as leverage in the trade war with Washington.

    Will Huawei succeed? Some analysts say even a favorable outcome in court would be a pyrrhic victory, given the broader ban on Huawei buying American components.

    Check out OZY’s Special Briefing on the tech Cold War.

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    US Supreme Court Signals Caution Over Abortion

    Yesterday the country’s top court declined to consider a reinstitution of an Indiana state ban on abortions carried out because of the sex or disability of the fetus — but upheld state regulation of the disposal of fetal remains. The compromise ruling indicated that justices aren’t quite ready to reexamine the constitutional basis for Roe v. Wade. The court maintained that it wasn’t expressing a formal stance on abortion rights with this decision.

    When can we expect a serious challenge? While recent state bans on abortion probably won’t reach the Supreme Court in the near future, several cases currently on the docket could result in a key decision next year. That includes an Indiana law seeking to force women having abortions to undergo ultrasounds shortly beforehand.

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    Bolton: Tankers Hit by Iranian Mines 

    During a press conference in Abu Dhabi today, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton claimed the four oil tankers attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month were damaged by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.” Providing no evidence for the allegation, Bolton also spoke of a previously unknown failed attack on the Saudi port of Yanbu. Tehran has denied involvement in the recent instability and has blamed the Trump administration for intentionally fueling regional tensions.

    What’s next? Iran says it’ll continue nuclear enrichment starting in early July if Europe doesn’t offer better terms to the 2015 nuclear deal — though Bolton declined to say how the U.S. might respond.

  5. Also Important…

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an evening deadline to form a coalition government. The Australian teenager who broke an egg on the head of a far-right lawmaker has donated nearly $70,000 to the survivors of New Zealand’s recent mosque attacks. And Game of Thrones star Kit Harington, 32, has checked into a wellness facility over “personal issues.”

    #OZYfact: Elephants only digest about 30 percent of their 350-pound daily food intake. 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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    Australian Pilots Targeted by Lasers in South China Sea

    The mysterious laser beams that hit Australian navy helicopters this week came from what experts believe were fishing boats operating with the Chinese maritime militia. The lasers may have been used to track the pilots, who were participating in a military exercise, though it hasn’t been confirmed that the boats were flying the Chinese flag. Earlier this month, Australian vessels were said to have been tailed by Chinese warships while sailing from Vietnam to Singapore.

    Was this an isolated incident? The Pentagon has logged a recent spike in Chinese military activity in the South China Sea. Officials say they recorded 20 similar incidents last year involving U.S. aircraft.

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    Lebanon’s Grindr Ban Draws Criticism

    Activists are up in arms this week following an apparent ban by the Lebanese Telecommunications Ministry against the popular gay dating app. The agency reportedly sent a memo last Friday to the country’s internet service providers ordering them to block the app, and by Monday, users reported that it was inaccessible over state-run ISP Ogero.

    Are gay rights under attack in Lebanon? While the country has traditionally been more accepting of gay culture than elsewhere in the Middle East, some believe the move against Grindr is part of a broader crackdown on the LGBT community.

    Read OZY’s profile of the activist leading Lebanon’s LGBT rebellion.

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    Mexico Confronts Its Own Child Migrant Crisis

    The Mexican government is struggling to cope with a rising number of child migrants, OZY reports. In just the first four months of 2019, 5,542 children have applied for asylum — compared to 7,409 during all of last year. But multiple agencies are pushing plans to help keep families together, as well as avoid the problems the U.S. has grappled with during its own migration crisis. Those plans include new shelters and spaces in foster home networks to handle the record number of children coming in.

    What’s the bigger picture? Successfully navigating the crisis could allow President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to present himself as the antidote to President Trump on migration.

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    Netflix Takes Aim at Georgia’s Abortion Ban

    The streaming platform has become the first major Hollywood studio to criticize the state’s controversial new abortion law, which has been signed by Gov. Brian Kemp and effectively outlaws the procedure after six weeks. Georgia has long been a favored shooting location for filmmakers, drawn by the state’s generous tax incentives. But that could change: Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, says the company will reconsider its investment there if the law goes into effect next January.

    Will protests continue? Support for an industry-wide boycott of the state is growing — though it would also mean leaving many local professionals without jobs.

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    Magic Johnson Denies Reports of Employee Mistreatment

    “I’ve never abused an employee and I never will.” That’s what the Los Angeles Lakers legend claimed yesterday after ESPN reported former staffers saying that he bullied and intimidated people in the workplace during his two-year stint as the team’s president of basketball operations. The report found that the front office turnover rate was 37.5 percent during his tenure. Johnson claimed many workers “didn’t like that [he] held them accountable.”

    Who’s left at the Lakers? General manager Rob Pelinka is now being scrutinized for apparently lying to the team during a motivational speech about having dinner with Heath Ledger.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series exploring the WNBA’s side hustles.