The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Hong Kong Protesters Clash With Police

    Legislators said they’ll debate a controversial extradition bill at “a later time” after thousands of protesters blocked entry to the government headquarters Wednesday. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and high-pressure hoses against the crowds. But while Wednesday’s delay appeared to be a minor victory for protesters — upset with a measure they say would give Beijing greater control over Hong Kong — the bill is expected to be approved next week.

    What’s next? Protest leader Jimmy Sham, of the Hong Kong Civil Rights Front, promised demonstrations will continue until Chief Executive Carrie Lam ditches the bill.

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    Trump, Biden Exchange Barbs in Iowa

    In what many saw as a potential preview of next year’s presidential election, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden traded scathing remarks about one another during their visits to the Hawkeye State, a key electoral battleground. Biden claimed the president represented “an existential threat” to the United States, while Trump labeled him a “loser” who lacks concrete positions on policy and the mental fitness to run for office.

    What’s Biden’s strategy? Largely ignoring the nearly two dozen other Democratic contenders, he’s casting himself as the most electable candidate against Trump.

    Read this OZY op-ed aimed at Trump-era reporters.

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    Japan’s Abe Heads to Tehran in Historic Visit

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s two-day visit this week to the Iranian capital, where he plans to meet with both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, is the first by a Japanese premier in four decades. Yet while the trip officially marks 90 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Iran, the fact that it follows President Trump’s recent visit to Tokyo suggests Abe is hoping to mediate the unfolding drama between Tehran and Washington.

    What could he achieve? While analysts doubt he’ll produce any meaningful movement, Abe is expected to receive a boost domestically as a global statesman.

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    States Move to Block T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

    Ten state attorneys general, led by New York and California, filed the challenge Tuesday in a New York federal court. They say a potential $26 billion merger of the pair — currently the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers — would likely lead to consumers paying more. Ajit Pai, chair of the Federal Communications Commission, previously blessed the merger, but the Department of Justice is still reviewing the proposal.

    How did the market react? Shares in T-Mobile dipped 1.6 percent yesterday while Sprint fell 6 percent.

    Check out OZY’s original series, Too Big Not to Fail.

  5. Also Important…

    At Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday, CEO Elon Musk said there’s no “demand problem” with the Model 3. State-run Saudi news reports that Yemeni Houthi rebels struck Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport today, wounding 26. And for the first time since an outbreak in Congo last year, Ebola has been detected across the border in Uganda.

    #OZYfact: The first U.S. women’s national soccer team was given hand-me-down men’s uniforms for its first tournament in 1985. 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 for tickets.


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    Manipulated Mark Zuckerberg Video Tests Facebook Policy

    A fake news clip posted on the company’s Instagram platform shows Zuckerberg bragging of having “total control of billions of people’s stolen data” and noting that “whoever controls the data controls the future.” It seems designed to test last month’s decision to allow a fake video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing drunk — a policy Facebook insisted would also apply to doctored videos of Zuckerberg.

    Will it come down? The company’s standing by its decision to allow the deepfake, which was created for a British film festival, though CBS wants it removed for unauthorized use of the network’s logo.

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    Germany Considers Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

    “Homosexuality is not an illness.” So said German Health Minister Jens Spahn yesterday, announcing his intent to draft a law prohibiting the controversial practice. Spahn, who is gay, said he consulted a 46-member expert commission that determined such a ban is constitutional and “medically necessary.” He hopes to present a bill to Parliament by the end of the year.

    How widespread is conversion therapy? While less common in Germany, watchdogs say some 1,000 people fall victim to it annually, pressured by religious figures, therapists and even family members.

    Check out OZY’s Special Briefing on whether Asia’s becoming gay friendly.

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    This Researcher Is Saving a Dying Zoroastrian Language

    Predating Islam, Christianity and Judaism, monotheistic Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest religions. But the future is dim for the Parsis, a community of Indian Zoroastrians whose numbers are dwindling and whose identity is threatened, OZY reports, by fewer people being able to speak the Parsi-Gujarati dialect. That’s why Russian-born scholar Anton Zykov has collected hundreds of samples of colloquial speech in an effort to save it.

    How deep can he get? While he’s immersed himself in the culture, Zykov isn’t allowed in Parsi fire temples, forcing him to use trained local consultants to help his documentation.

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    Experts Recommend Expanding HIV Prevention Medication

    Individuals at high risk of contracting the virus should be offered preventive antiretroviral medications, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended Tuesday for the first time. The panel said at-risk people, such as those with HIV-positive sex partners and people who share needles for injecting drugs, should take a daily preexposure prophylaxis pill, known as PrEP.

    How effective could this be? Researchers say the recommendation might spur more insurers to cover PrEP — which costs as much as $21,360 per year and has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent when taken consistently.

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    US Women’s Soccer Team Routs Thailand for World Cup Record

    The defending champions topped Germany’s previous World Cup record of 11 goals with a 13-0 thrashing of severely outmatched Thailand. Seven U.S. players scored, including Alex Morgan, whose five goals tied Michelle Akers’ record for the most by an American in the tournament. The opening-round match reignited questions about the fairness of the group rounds as well as criticisms that the U.S. ran up the score in the most lopsided World Cup win ever.

    What’s next for Group F? Sweden takes on Thailand after a 2-0 defeat of Chile, which faces the U.S. in Paris on Sunday.

    Check out OZY’s Flashback about how the 1999 U.S. women’s team nearly lost.