The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Gunman Kills 11 in Virginia ‘War Zone’

    He walked through a Virginia Beach city services building, where it’s legal to carry firearms, firing a sound-suppressed handgun and a rifle Friday afternoon. When it was over, 12 people were dead, including the gunman, killed in a protracted shootout with police, and nine were injured. The city police chief compared it to a “war zone,” with bodies on all three of the building’s floors, as well as in a car outside.

    Who was the gunman? Reports name DeWayne Craddock, 40, as the shooter, who had recently made multiple weapons purchases. An investigation is under way, but reports indicate that Craddock, a longtime public utilities employee, was seeking revenge.

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    Trump Threatens Mexico With Tariffs

    In a surprise bid to pressure Mexico to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States, President Donald Trump said yesterday he’ll slap 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican imports starting June 10. He added that taxes would gradually increase — to 10 percent by July, and eventually to 25 percent — until the “problem is remedied.”

    What effect will these tariffs have? American business leaders are already sounding the alarm over the cost U.S. consumers could shoulder, while politicians fear the move could undermine efforts to nail down a new trade agreement with Mexico.

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    Report: North Korea Executes Nuclear Diplomat

    A South Korean newspaper has reported that Pyongyang executed Kim Hyok Chol, its special envoy to the U.S., and four other foreign ministry officials in March following the collapse of a Vietnam nuclear summit with President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. A source claimed the five were accused of spying for the U.S. While evidence was scant, a North Korean state newspaper warned “traitors and turncoats” would be punished.

    Could this alter nuclear détente? Some experts believe Kim Hyok Chol didn’t have much influence on policymaking — and it’s even possible that he’s still alive.

    Check out OZY’s Special Briefing on North Korea’s economic potential.

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    Captain Arrested Over Hungary Boat Crash

    Hungarian police are holding a 64-year-old Ukrainian national they suspect of reckless misconduct in a Wednesday collision of two vessels on the Danube River that left at least seven dead. Rescue efforts have so far failed to locate 21 people reported missing after the incident, which occurred in central Budapest after the Ukrainian captain’s vessel collided with The Mermaid, a tourist boat carrying mostly South Koreans.

    How did this happen? While The Mermaid’s operator said it found “no signs” of any problems, some suggest increased river traffic along the Danube is at least partly to blame.

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    Uber Posts $1 Billion Quarterly Loss

    In its first quarterly report since going public earlier this month, the ride-hailing giant reported an operating loss of more than $1 billion — thanks to a 54 percent boost in marketing costs — but reassured investors that everything’s under control. While not unexpected, the news underscores concerns that rising competition from rivals like Lyft threatens Uber’s market dominance.

    What are analysts watching? They’re tracking whether the growth of gross bookings, which declined from 37 percent to 34 percent over the last two quarters, will continue losing momentum.

  6. Also Important…

    President Trump lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller yesterday after the former investigator declined to clear Trump of obstruction. Sudan’s military rulers have shuttered Al Jazeera’s Khartoum office as pro-democracy protests there continue. And the Philippines has begun sending back 69 containers of trash to Canada amid a tense diplomatic row over the 2,400 tons of Canadian garbage.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    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 Spelling Bee Ends in Eight-Way Tie

    Everyone’s a winner. Each of the victors will receive checks for $50,000, plus reference books and a $2,500 savings bond, after yesterday’s historic conclusion of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee. Officials said they ran out of challenging words after the eight contestants spelled their way through 20 rounds. The contest attracted 562 competitors from all 50 states.

    What’s so special about spelling? Observers argue “brain sports” not only boost cerebral capacity, but also train kids to present themselves in public and, if need be, properly process disappointment.

    Check out this OZY story about Italy’s grammar problem.

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    These Tech Startups Are Filling the Fertility Gap

    Spurred by a generation of couples waiting longer to have children, the emerging fertility tech industry fills giant gaps in research left by historical prejudices, OZY reports. Dominating the women’s health technology market — known as “femtech” — services like at-home fertility tests costing a tenth of what doctors charge attracted more than $400 million in funding last year alone. While they won’t replace OB/GYN care, gadgets like ovulation-tracking bracelets empower women with enhanced reproductive health awareness.

    What’s next? Researchers and investors alike are setting their sights on improving fertility treatments, a market that’s set to reach $2.2 billion globally by 2023.

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    Can Custom-Made Fungus Kill Off Malaria?

    “This could save many lives.” So said the University of Maryland entomologist who co-authored a recent study in which researchers claim to have engineered a fungus that kills malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Developed using a gene from a funnel-web spider, the fungus produces a deadly toxin after it finds its way into insect blood.

    Is this a silver bullet? While the results appear promising — especially considering malaria claims 400,000 people each year — other experts worry it could disturb fragile ecosystems in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman tackling Africa’s fake medicine problem.

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    R. Kelly Hit With 11 New Assault Charges

    Prosecutors filed 11 new counts of sexual assault and abuse against the disgraced R&B performer Thursday — including some of the most severe he’s ever faced, such as four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Those Class X felonies carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Kelly’s currently out on a $1 million bond following charges filed in February in a sex abuse case involving four victims, two of them allegedly underage.

    What’s the fallout? The victim involved in the new counts, who has identified herself as Jerhonda Pace, claimed on Twitter that R. Kelly fans have “already started bothering me.”

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    South Korean Soccer Champs Anger Chinese Hosts

    Following his team’s 3-0 victory over China in the under-18 boys’ Panda Cup this week, one member of the South Korean soccer squad rested his cleats on the trophy. The celebratory image quickly spread across Weibo, the popular Chinese social network, generating more than 10 million views as well as an uproar, with one user calling it “barbaric and vulgar.” The tournament then stripped South Korea of the prize.

    Will China take further action? Organizer Chengdu Football Association has lodged a complaint with the Asian Football Confederation, while apologies from Korean team members haven’t cooled Chinese fans’ anger.