The Presidential Daily Brief


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    US Supreme Court Refuses to End Partisan Gerrymandering 

    The American Supreme Court Voted Thursday not to rule political partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional.  The cases presented to the court included North Carolina and Maryland, where Republicans and Democrats were accused respectively of manipulating the district lines to increase their support base. But the judges concluded that gerrymandering accusation poses ’political questions beyond the reach of federal courts.’ 

    How are people reacting? Activists say the court-ruling signals a missed opportunity to outlaw an obviously anti-democratic practice. The decision, they worry, could lead to more extreme gerrymandering in the future.  

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    US Democratic Contenders Face Off in First Debate

    Ten candidates vying for the party’s nomination for the presidency touted their progressive credentials in Miami last night in the first of two debates. Divisions emerged on the subjects of immigration policy and health care, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the highest-polling contender onstage, vowing to eliminate private insurance in favor of Medicaid for all — a move also supported by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Meanwhile, centrists like Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker pushed for more moderate measures.

    What were the candidates’ strategies? Many appeared to target specific segments of voters in what this OZY op-ed called “a doubling down of identity politics and micro-targeting.”

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    FAA Finds New Flaw in Boeing 737 Max

    Federal Aviation Administration authorities say they’ve found another flaw in the plane’s updated automated flight control system — one that reportedly appeared to push down the nose of the aircraft during simulations, delaying the recovery time for pilots. The glitch will likely further delay efforts to get the 737 Max back in the air, and to restore the Chicago-based planemaker’s reputation after two deadly crashes since last October.

    Will the 737 Max ever fly again? United, American and Southwest Airlines have all grounded the aircraft until at least August.

    Don’t miss this OZY Special Briefing on Boeing’s future.

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    World Leaders Descend on Japan for G-20

    Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are among the heavy-hitters heading to Osaka for the global summit, which kicks off tomorrow. Topping the agenda are trade tensions between the U.S. and China, as well as rising concerns over Iran. “This will be a difficult G-20,” said European Council President Donald Tusk during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who analysts say will be hard-pressed to iron out differences between golfing buddy Trump and other leaders.

    Could the trade war end in Japan? Some believe both Beijing, hobbled by a slowing economy, and Washington, facing an election season, are under increasing pressure to strike a deal.

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    Europe Hit With Historic Heatwave

    A blast of hot Saharan air is forcing European countries to take drastic steps this week as the continent struggles to cope with a record-breaking heatwave. German officials have imposed speed limits on parts of the country’s famously fast autobahn to prevent road deterioration, while zookeepers in Rome are feeding animals frozen treats. Some French schools may remain closed through the end of the week as temperatures could exceed the country’s previous record of 111 degrees.

    Is this heatwave particularly dangerous? Experts say people aren’t prepared for an early summer sizzle — as opposed to ones in July or August — which could make it more lethal.

  6. Also Important…

    A 29-year-old Australian student living in North Korea is feared to have been detained after his family and friends reported him missing this week. President Trump has demanded that India withdraw its retaliatory tariffs on more than two dozen U.S. imports. And a member of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s G-20 contingent was arrested in Spain this week with 86 pounds of cocaine.

    #OZYfact: This year on International Women’s Day, a record-breaking 500,000 women marched in Spain. 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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    Is Bitcoin Making a Comeback?

    The notoriously volatile cryptocurrency had regained much of its value in the past eight days, with each coin worth more than $12,900 until today. Bitcoin hadn’t experienced a surge of this sort since January 2018, and its recovery is believed to be related to Facebook’s plans to launch its own virtual currency: With the world’s largest social network endorsing the crypto economy, once-hesitant buyers may be jumping into the market.

    Is the recovery sustainable? That’s unclear: True to its volatile nature, bitcoin slid 12 percent today to end its surge.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the self-described “CryptOprah.”

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    Paris Prosecutor: No Criminal Intent in Notre Dame Blaze

    Authorities in the French capital say there’s no reason to suspect criminal activity caused the fire that gutted the centuries-old cathedral in April. But they still haven’t pinned down exactly what did, speculating that either faulty electrical wiring or a poorly stubbed-out cigarette was to blame. According to chief prosecutor Remy Heitz, those conclusions were based on interviews with around 100 witnesses — though he added that “deeper investigations, using significant expertise” lie ahead.

    How will investigators proceed? They’ll continue combing through debris for traces of electrical circuits, as well as reviewing witness testimony for a full inventory of flammable materials that had been stored in the cathedral.

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    The US Coffin Industry Is Dying for Disruption

    For decades, the business of death has avoided major disruption. But these days cremation is becoming more popular than burial — and for the coffin industry, it’s a potential death knell, OZY reports. A series of mergers and smaller players closing shop has turned the coffin business into one of the country’s 10 least competitive industries, with only two firms sharing 82 percent of the market. Choice often isn’t a top priority for grieving families, who typically pick the services closest to them.

    What keeps upstarts down? Besides cost, experts say the sheer logistics of transporting mass quantities of unwieldy coffins is a significant barrier to entry.

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    Kim Kardashian’s New ‘Kimono’ Label Riles Japanese Critics

    The reality star has unveiled her new line of shapewear under the brand Kimono and filed to trademark the name. But Kardashian’s garments have little in common with Japan’s elaborate, traditional, long-sleeved kimono, prompting backlash from those who believe using the name for skintight undergarments disrespects Japanese culture. They’ve taken to Twitter to express their anger and decry her “tool for making money” with the hashtag #KimOhNo.

    Why was the name chosen? Kardashian hasn’t offered an explanation — but some suggest she’s simply appropriated the word since it includes her first name.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman behind Japan’s high-heeled rebellion.

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    Megan Rapinoe, Trump Spar Over White House Visit

    This week the co-captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team vowed she wouldn’t visit the White House if her squad wins the World Cup, noting, “We’re not going to be invited.” President Trump responded by inviting the entire team, win or lose. “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag,” he tweeted. Rapinoe, an outspoken advocate for women’s and LGBT rights, has also refused to sing the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

    Can Team USA win? It’s dominated the tournament so far, but the next big test will be against France in the quarterfinals Friday.