The Presidential Daily Brief


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    White House Press Secretary to Resign

    President Trump announced Thursday that the Sarah Sanders will leave her post at the end of the month. During her nearly two-year tenure, Sanders often clashed with reporters over the president’s actions, while making many factually incorrect statements. Despite the incidents, she told reporters that she “loved every minute – even the hard minuites.” 

    What’s next Sanders? She reportedly has floated the idea of running for governor of Arkansas in 2023, believing it would be a better career path than taking another television job. 

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    Tensions, Oil Prices Surge After Tanker Blasts Near Iran

    Explosions struck two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, one loaded with naphtha. The Taiwanese company chartering the Front Altair said it suspected a torpedo strike while its Norwegian owner reported the ship was on fire. Another tanker apparently suffered lighter damage. U.S. Navy ships received distress calls and offered assistance, while Iran claimed it rescued 44 sailors.

    What are the impacts? The incident, just weeks after U.S. officials blamed Iran for strikes on four other vessels nearby, is sure to inflame tensions, while it also boosted benchmark Brent crude prices 4.5 percent to exceed $61 a barrel.

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    Hong Kong Calm After Protest Crackdown

    Streets surrounding the Legislative Council reopened after police cleared demonstrators objecting to a proposed law allowing extradition to mainland China. The semi-autonomous territory’s council Thursday postponed debate over the bill purported drafted to combat crime. Activists accused authorities of using excessive force after police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to clear public spaces, leaving 72 people hospitalized.

    When will the standoff end? Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, condemned protesters for “dangerous and life-threatening acts,” but pro-democracy activists vowed to keep resisting.

    Catch up with OZY’s Special Briefing on Carrie Lam.

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    Trump Says He’d Take Campaign Dirt From Abroad

    Speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Trump said he would accept information about political opponents from foreign governments — and he wouldn’t necessarily notify the FBI. “There’s nothing wrong with listening,” he said. It follows the 2016 Trump campaign’s meeting with Russian operatives who offered information on Hillary Clinton. When told the FBI has called for candidates to notify the agency of such offers, Trump replied, “The FBI director is wrong.”

    How have Democrats reacted? Some on Capitol Hill say campaign laws should be updated to explicitly require the reporting of foreign offers.

    OZY asks how we can stop interference in 2020.

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    Ebola Spreads Into Uganda, Shows ‘No Sign of Stopping’

    Two people, including a 5-year-old boy, have succumbed to the virus, and another six cases have been reported in Uganda. The deaths indicate the epidemic has spilled over from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where it’s claimed 1,400 people since August. Jeremy Farrar, a doctor with medical charity Wellcome Trust, said the spread was “tragic but unfortunately not surprising” for an epidemic that’s showed “no sign of stopping.”

    What can be done? Farrar has called for a “full” international response, while Uganda has banned public gatherings in the district with the outbreak.

    Bill Gates shares his big idea on Ebola with OZY.

  6. Also Important…

    The U.S. House Oversight Committee voted to hold the commerce secretary and attorney general in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents subpoenaed in a probe into adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Emails uncovered in an effort to satisfy federal regulators suggest that Mark Zuckerberg was closely involved in Facebook’s controversial privacy policies. And today Britain’s Conservative MPs cast secret ballots in the first of several rounds of voting to narrow down a list of 10 candidates hoping to replace resigned Prime Minister Theresa May.

    #OZYfact: More than 60,000 Nicaraguans are in exile and fear returning to their home country. 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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    St. Louis Gets Stanley Cup Revenge After 49 Years

    Nearly a half-century after being swept by the Bruins in the NHL championship, Blues fans were rewarded with sweet retribution: Winning Game 7 in Boston 4-1 to take home their first Stanley Cup. Forward Ryan O’Reilly, who scored a record 23 playoff goals, earned the Conn Smythe MVP trophy, while rookie goalie Jordan Binnington shut down the Bruins offense, blocking 32 shots.

    How sweet is it? In addition to a finals drought since the 1970 Bruins sweep, the Blues occupied last place in January and endured a humiliating 5-1 drubbing in Game 6 that tied the series 3-3.

    Read OZY’s comparison of NBA and NHL playoff drama.

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    Research Finds New Zealanders Best Embody Islamic Virtues

    The Muslim world turned its attention to Christchurch in March after 60 people were slain in two mosque shootings. New Zealanders came together in grief, but a new analysis found something more: According to the Islamicity Indices, which rank governments by their adherence to Quranic values, New Zealand tops the list, despite being just 1 percent Muslim. It beat out Muslim-majority countries on principles such as charity, anti-corruption laws and access to education.

    What could the list accomplish? Its creator says it aims to encourage governments in Muslim-majority nations to improve based on principles widely held by their populations.

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    Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Singer Answer #MeToo Claims

    Gooding is expected to surrender to New York police today following allegations that he groped a woman at a Manhattan bar last weekend. The Oscar-winner said he has “trust in the system” and claims there’s video of the incident that will prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Singer has agreed to pay a $150,000 settlement to Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who accused the Bohemian Rhapsody director of sexually assaulting him in 2003 when Sanchez-Guzman was 17.

    What does the settlement mean for Singer? His legal team reiterated his innocence and called it a “business” decision because it was cheaper than fighting the allegations in court.

    OZY looks at #MeToo in Cannes.

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    Fake Twitter Accounts Spread Old Terror Attacks as New Alerts

    A network of hundreds of fake Twitter accounts is sparking terror fears by recycling years-old breaking news alerts. The findings were posted Wednesday by the threat-intelligence firm Recorded Future, which located 215 accounts sharing old stories using the same 10 URL-shortening sites with the same tracking code. Journalists discovered dozens more accounts acting similarly.

    Who’s behind the campaign? Recorded Future says it hasn’t seen any evidence that anyone’s making money, so it suspects a European group or a state actor is aiming “to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

    Check out this OZY story about how Italy is battling fake news.

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    FBI Joins Probe of Mysterious Dominican Republic Deaths

    After recent reports of three American tourists dying suddenly at Dominican resorts, four similar deaths over the past year have emerged. In one case, a Maryland couple was found dead together, their lungs reportedly filled with fluid. Several of the deaths immediately followed consumption of alcohol. The Caribbean nation’s tourism minister promised a “definitive answer” to the mystery and insisted “necessary measures” would be taken to ensure visitors’ safety. 

    What’s killing tourists? The FBI is conducting toxicology reports with results expected in a month, while the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said patients’ symptoms were “consistent with poisoning.”

    OZY looks at what’s next for tourism in the region.