The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Fashion Icon Gloria Vanderbilt Dies aged 95

    Fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt was pronounced dead at the age of 95 by her son Anderson Cooper, an anchor for CNN. As a child, Vanderbilt was the subject of a custody battle between her mother and her rich paternal aunt who eventually won the case. Nobody predicted that Vanderbilt would become a fashion model, a pioneer of designer jeans in the 1970s, and an actress and writer. 

    How will she be remembered?  “What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom. And what an incredible woman,” Cooper lamented in his obituary. For everyone else, Vanderbilt is best known for her blue jeans. 


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    Former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi Dies in Court

    Egypt’s first elected president Mohammad Morsi fainted and died at the age of 67 during a court hearing Monday. Morsi, a key figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, assumed office in 2012, more than a year after a revolution brought down dictator Hosni Mubarak.  But mass protests and a military coup ousted Morsi from power in 2013.   

    Why was Morsi in court? The new military regime sentenced Morsi to 20 years for ’killing protestors’ and ‘espionage.’ He and other Brotherhood figures were still standing trial for plotting a ’jailbreak’ with members of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian group in Gaza. Trial resumes tomorrow. 




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    Hong Kong Enters Second Week of Protests

    Despite shelving a controversial extradition bill Saturday — and even apologizing for it a day later — Chief Executive Carrie Lam isn’t quite out of the woods. Weekend protests ballooned, with organizers estimating crowds reached 2 million. Today, 22-year-old democracy activist Joshua Wong captured the spotlight after being freed from jail one month early following a contempt of court conviction. He vowed to join the protests.

    What’s next? While protesters vacated central streets Monday, with several hundred moving to nearby areas, they warned they’d return if Lam didn’t abandon the bill for good, among other key demands.

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    Iran Poised to Break Uranium Stockpile Limit

    With tensions between Tehran and Washington deteriorating, the spokesman for Iran’s atomic agency announced today that by June 27 his country would surpass the 2015 nuclear deal’s 660-pound limit on enriched uranium. Behrouz Kamalvandi also said Iran would “increase production drastically,” adding that it has already quadrupled its output.

    What’s behind the announcement? Some analysts suggest the move is aimed at extracting better terms from the deal’s remaining signatories, particularly European countries — whose support Tehran still needs.

    Check out this OZY op-ed about Trump’s Iran strategy.

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    Officials Probe Massive South America Power Outage

    “This is an extraordinary event.” So said Argentine Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui yesterday after a sweeping electricity failure plunged tens of millions of residents in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay into darkness. While Lopetegui doesn’t believe the outage was the result of a cyberattack, he hasn’t ruled that option out — while questions are swirling over the security and vulnerability of the continent’s interconnected power grid.

    When will we know what happened? Officials say results of the investigation could take up to two weeks, though some experts speculate operational and design errors in Argentina’s underdeveloped system were to blame.

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    US Firms Feel Squeeze of Trump’s China Policy

    As public hearings kick off today over President Donald Trump’s proposed new tariffs on $300 billion worth of imports from China, U.S. business owners say they’re already struggling to replace Chinese goods. Meanwhile, top chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm are reportedly lobbying American authorities to ease the government’s ban on selling their wares to Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

    How hard could these new tariffs hit? A Wall Street Journal analysis found China accounts for more than 90 percent of the imports across 273 categories of goods.

    Don’t miss OZY’s latest Donald Dossier on “Tariff Man” striking again.

  7. Also Important…

    British Conservative Party candidates for prime minister clashed in a televised debate last night over the future of Brexit. Deutsche Bank is expected to radically overhaul its operations, including by creating a “bad bank” to store toxic assets. And Libya’s U.N.-backed government has launched a peace initiative in a bid to end the country’s crippling civil war.

    #OZYfact: Approximately one in five American teenagers experience some form of severe mental disorder. 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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    Netanyahu Unveils ‘Trump Heights’ in Golan

    In a symbol of the close relations between the U.S. and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday presented a sign announcing the disputed territory’s newest settlement. Netanyahu described the unveiling as “a historic day,” coming less than three months after the White House recognized Israel’s claim over the thinly populated Golan Heights. President Trump later thanked Netanyahu for the “great honor.”

    When will the town be built? While Israel’s Construction and Finance Ministry have been tasked with starting to make plans, it’s up to the next government to decide whether to move forward — and some are skeptical that it will.

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    ‘Made in China’ Is Becoming ‘Made by China’

    Headline-grabbers like Huawei dominate coverage, but plenty of other China-owned companies are quietly rising to the top, OZY reports: Last year’s Fortune 500 list featured 120 Chinese firms, just behind the U.S., which had 126. In 2010, their respective numbers were 49 and 139. The growing dominance is part of the country’s political system, as most state-owned enterprises are backed by regulatory favors. That means the Chinese government will own many of the world’s future monopolies.

    What sectors are in the crosshairs? The world’s six largest engineering and construction firms are all Chinese, but banking, utilities and petroleum are also on the rise.

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    Student Scrapes Millions of Venmo Transactions to Test Privacy

    Computer science student Dan Salmon said he published 7 million transactions downloaded from the peer-to-peer payment app to warn users that its privacy settings default to public. That leaves data exposed to anyone who accesses the company’s public transaction history, Salmon noted, including “unauthenticated requests” without users’ permission. It’s not the first time Venmo’s come under fire for privacy breaches: A similar effort last year collected 207 million transactions.

    Why does it matter? Open access to the data allows anyone who’s curious to find illegal transactions, even inspiring a Twitter bot that monitors and posts drug purchases.

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    Could the Emmys Go Host-Free?

    For the first time in 16 years, sources say the high-profile TV awards show, slated for Sept. 23, could take place without a host. While a final decision by Fox and the Television Academy hasn’t yet been made, insiders expect to learn more July 16, when nominations are announced.

    Why no host? Observers say it’s a nod to this year’s hostless Oscars — and a way to turn around years of slumping ratings by keeping the focus on an array of iconic shows that ended this year, like Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory and Veep.

    Don’t miss this OZY profile of Comedy Central’s next big thing.

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    Underdog Gary Woodland Wins US Open

    The 35-year-old Kansas native secured his first major golf championship despite some big-name competition, including 2013 champ Justin Rose and world No. 1 Brooks Koepka. Woodland spent the final day never once wavering from the top of the pack in Pebble Beach, while Koepka got within one shot several times but couldn’t catch up. It’s a disappointment for Koepka, who had won four of his last nine majors and was trying for his third straight U.S. Open title.

    What happened to Tiger? Three-time Open champ Tiger Woods, 42, described his own inconsistent play as “crappy,” raising questions about the legitimacy of a revival.