The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Called Off Iran Strike at Final Hour

    In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump admitted to calling off a targeted assault on Iran Thursday night, just 10 minuites before the strike was scheduled to launch. U.S officials said the military had been prepared to hit artillery and radar batteries in retaliation for Tehran downing an American surveillance drone. But Trump claims that he called it off after finding out that about 150 people would die. 

    Can conflict be avoided? As OZY reports, Trump could boost diplomatic efforts by bringing China, Europe and Russia onside to build a united front — though he’d need to convince them that Iran was behind a spate of recent Gulf attacks.

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    Police Say ‘No Offenses’ in Call to Boris Johnson’s Home 

    Police were called Friday to the home of Boris Johnson amid fears of domestic violence. A neighbor told The Guardian of hearing screaming, shouting and banging and a woman’s voice, presumed to be the prime ministerial front-runner’s girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, saying “get off of me” and “get out of my flat.” 

    What are the police saying? Police told the newspaper that they made a call that matched the neighbor’s story and said that “all occupants … were safe and well” and there was “no cause for police action.” A Johnson spokesperson said “no comment.”

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    Hong Kong Protesters Hit the Streets Again

    Thousands of demonstrators returned to the city’s administrative district Friday to demand that Chief Executive Carrie Lam permanently withdraw the controversial extradition bill that’s driven two weeks of protests. They’re also demanding the release of detained activists and an investigation into alleged police brutality. Although Lam apologized for the handling of the crisis and suspended the bill, she’s refused to resign or to drop it for good.

    Who’s leading the protests? Newly released activist Joshua Wong will be the one to watch if the protests gather steam again.

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    Only Two Remain in Contest for British PM

    Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor, Boris Johnson, will face off for Britain’s top job after Conservative Party lawmakers narrowed down the field of competitors yesterday. Although Johnson appears to be the clear front-runner, Hunt has pledged to deliver “the fight of his life” as 160,000 party members prepare to vote.

    What’s next? Both men will participate in more than a dozen meetings with party members across the country — as well as in a July 9 televised debate — with the final result expected late next month.

    Check out this OZY op-ed on the challenges the next British leader will face.

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    Walmart to Pay $282M in Foreign Bribery Settlement

    The deal concludes a six-year investigation into Walmart’s dealings abroad, including allegations of paying bribes to launch new locations in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The big box retailer will pay $144 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission and a further $138 million to the Justice Department. CEO Doug McMillon said the company’s “pleased to resolve this matter” and reported that it has invested heavily in improving its ethics.

    How widespread were Walmart’s alleged actions? The charges stem from a New York Times investigation that revealed bribery in Mexico — though similar activity reportedly took place as far afield as India, Brazil and China.

  6. Also Important…

    Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged North Korea to focus on economic development during his two-day visit to the Hermit Kingdom. Thousands of protesters descended on Georgia’s Parliament Thursday night over a Russian lawmaker’s appearance at the legislature. And the FIFA Women’s World Cup knockout round is set after Cameroon, the Netherlands and USA won their matches and advanced.

    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 for tickets.


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    US Cops Under Fire Over Bigoted Posts

    The Plain View Project, led by Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White, spent two years sifting through the public Facebook posts of about 3,500 current and recent police officers in seven U.S. cities to identify signs of bigotry. It found that nearly 100 officers had made prejudicial posts, including racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments, and many had encouraged the use of excessive force, especially against protesters.

    What are the repercussions? Philadelphia put 72 officers on desk duty while the department investigates whether specific posts are protected by the First Amendment, while a St. Louis district attorney barred 22 officers from bringing cases to her circuit court.

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    Foxconn Chief Preps for Taiwan Presidential Bid

    Terry Gou has stepped down as chairman of the electronics manufacturing giant ahead of his bid for the island state’s top job. A nine-person committee will take over for the 69-year-old political neophyte, who will vie for the opposition Kuomintang Party’s nomination for the January vote.

    What are his chances? Although he single-handedly built one of the world’s leading global electronics firms, Gou will likely face scrutiny over his friendlier stance toward China — where Foxconn is the largest private employer.

    Read this OZY feature about Taiwan’s downtrodden millennials.

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    African Swine Fever Spreads From China

    Pork is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular foods, but African swine fever is killing production across the region as the disease spreads from China into Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia — while Thailand could be next. The disease is harmless to humans, but it’s fatal to pigs, and the epidemic could devastate the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.

    How are governments responding? Vietnam has slaughtered 2.5 million pigs, twice China’s total, causing pork prices to spike 40 percent since last year. But regional cooperation is impressive, with Thailand exporting pork to Cambodia at a reasonable price to meet public demand.

    OZY asks: Can cows cure human disease?

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    This Canadian Writer Is Giving Queer Teens Their Story

    Growing up, Mariko Tamaki never saw herself in fiction: Stories always focused on straight couples, while queer texts typically looked at adults and clichéd tropes of forbidden love. Now, her graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me gives today’s young LGBT readers the story Tamaki was denied, OZY reports — one in which the focus isn’t on coming out, but on gay teens living their lives.

    How does a 43-year-old become a voice of Gen Z? Tamaki spent plenty of time with teenagers while working on Laura Dean, pinning down the idiosyncrasies of adolescent speech patterns.

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    Andy Murray Returns With Doubles Win

    The 32-year-old’s future had been in doubt, sidelined in January by hip surgery. But Murray is back in form and pain free, teaming with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez at the Queen’s Club Championships in London, where they beat the top-seeded pair in straight sets in 74 minutes. “You want the nerves and the butterflies in the stomach and I had that,” the former world No. 1 said of his return.

    Will he be back on top? Murray says he’s just happy to be on the court again, but he’s already confirmed he’ll play doubles at Wimbledon in July.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series on sports gambling, Against the Spread.