The Presidential Daily Brief


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    New UK Leak Cites Trump’s Iran Pact ‘Vandalism’

    After quitting over a leaked cable calling the Trump administration “inept,” Britain’s former ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, is back in the spotlight. The Daily Mail cites another message describing Trump’s Iran nuclear deal withdrawal as an “act of diplomatic vandalism” simply to spite predecessor Barack Obama, who approved the pact.

    Could this affect U.K.-Iran relations? It couldn’t hurt: Tensions are high over Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker bound for sanctioned Syria and a Persian Gulf military confrontation over a British tanker. London offered Saturday to return the tanker if Iran promised Syria won’t receive its cargo.

    Get OZY’s security analyst’s take on pressuring Iran.

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    Power Outage Hits New York on Anniversary of 1977 Blackout

    Where was J-Lo when the lights went out? On stage at Madison Square Garden last night, when a power outage on the Manhattan’s West Side stopped her show and many Broadway productions, while stranding subway trains and elevators, blanking traffic signals and darkening Times Square. The utility, Con Edison, said a substation failure was to blame for the three-hour interruption that affected 73,000 customers.

    Did it cause mayhem? Not really. It wasn’t the 25-hour outage that hit the city 42 years earlier, which unleashed a crime wave that included looting and arson.

    OZY’s Flashback looks back at the 1977 blackout.

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    Discredited Epstein Deal Costs Labor Secretary His Job

    Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned Friday amid mounting criticism of his decision against prosecuting hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. As U.S. attorney in Miami, he oversaw an agreement that closed a sex trafficking probe involving dozens of alleged victims, including many minors, in exchange for Epstein’s plea on lesser Florida charges and his sex offender registration. Acosta’s resignation comes just days after Epstein’s arrest on federal charges of sex trafficking in minors in New York.

    What’s the latest on the case? Prosecutors seeking to deny Epstein bail accused him of sending $350,000 to two potential witnesses, although they haven’t charged him accordingly and Epstein’s lawyers haven’t commented.

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    Halep Stops Serena Williams Cold for First Wimbledon Title

    Simona Halep scored her first Venus Rosewater Dish today while stopping Serena Williams’ bid for 24 Grand Slam trophies. The No. 7-ranked Romanian, 27, left no room for doubt, brushing aside the legendary U.S. veteran in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. “It was my mum’s dream when I was about 10,” Halep said of her first finals at the All England Club. Formerly averse to grass courts, she now “can’t wait to come back here.”

    What’s this mean for Williams? Since her maternity break, this was the 37-year-old’s third chance at match Margaret Court’s career major title count. Halep’s play was “amazing,” Williams acknowledged.

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    Pence Tours Border as Immigrants Brace for Raids

    Migrants are preparing for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents’ targeted sweeps, starting today, of anyone marked for deportation, which often includes children who are U.S. citizens by birth. Migrant advocates worry that the roundup will mean more children separated from their parents — something federal officials say they’ll avoid by using family detention — and held under conditions many are calling inhumane.

    What about those conditions? While Democrats condemned them, Vice President Mike Pence visited two facilities Friday, describing “excellent care being provided to families and children” and decrying CNN for focusing on another facility for men, sweltering and overcrowded, that Pence visited.

    Read OZY’s look at Mexico’s own immigration crisis.

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    Reports: FTC Approves $5B Fine Against Facebook

    After a year-long probe of the social media giant’s privacy violations, rooted in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to levy its largest-ever fine against a technology firm. The 3-2 decision saw dissenting Democrats reportedly pushing for tougher oversight — including over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal accountability. The FTC’s approval is expected to sail through a Justice Department review.

    Could this hurt the company? Facebook said several months ago that it was prepared to the pay the fine, which roughly equals its first-quarter profit. But the development signals that more intense federal scrutiny of big tech is coming.

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    New Zealand Begins Buying Back Guns

    New Zealand began ridding the country of some types of semi-automatic firearms today in Christchurch, where a gunman murdered 51 people at two mosques in March, sparking a gun ban. Police reported paying $134,000 to 68 gun owners in the first hours of the buyback — the first of more than 250 such events.

    How did it come to this? After the attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern emotionally urged the legislation’s passage, describing victims who will “carry disabilities for a lifetime” because of the nature of the weapon fired at them. “I could not fathom how (such weapons) could be obtained legally.”

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on the attacks.

  8. Also Important…

    More than 40 people have been killed by flooding brought on by monsoon rains in Nepal and northeastern India. New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, appears to have escaped the threat of Hurricane Barry, which hit Louisiana Saturday but has since weakened. And a gunman who reportedly threw incendiary devices at an immigration center in Tacoma, Washington, was fatally shot by police Saturday. 

    In the week ahead: Wimbledon concludes today, with Roger Federer facing Novak Djokovic in the men’s final. Tuesday is the anniversary of Apollo 11’s 1969 launch, beginning a week marking 50 years since man first walked on the Moon. And former special counsel Robert Mueller will not testify before a scheduled joint House committee on Wednesday, having agreed to extend his appearance to three hours while delaying it until July 24.

    Want a trip for two to New York? Enter here for a chance to win two VIP OZY Fest tickets, airfare, hotel stay and more.


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    Dubai’s Runaway Royal Shines Spotlight on Emirati Inequality

    Despite being married to one of the world’s richest leaders, Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein recently fled to London with her children. If that wasn’t shocking enough, the emir published a poem insinuating her infidelity. More allegations are expected as the royals sue each other in British court.

    Where could this lead? Some suspect the legal filings will implicate Dubai’s ruler in the abduction from London last year of of an adult daughter, Princess Latifa, and her apparent captivity. Princess Haya’s lawyer has reportedly since received video accounts of the abuse of other wealthy Emirati women.

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    How Amazon Nomads Pick Traditional Retailers’ Bones

    When bankrupt Toys R Us stores cleared their shelves last year, the nomads were there. They drive from Targets to Walmarts to lesser-known chains, picking through inventory to find potentially lucrative items for resale, from bars that soften fabric to guns that shoot Monopoly money. And Amazon helps: While the scavengers must drive and shop, the online sales behemoth supplies an app to scan items for profitability, then provides storage and shipping.

    What’s the allure? For many, it’s the road itself, sometimes paired with following a touring band or drinking in the nation’s natural beauty.

    One OZY writer touts his bracing early-morning $500-a-month side hustle.

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    What Greenland Can Tell Us About Humanity’s Demise

    Jon Gertner’s book The Ice at the End of the World combines Western exploration of the island’s glaciers, and the more current discoveries of secrets locked deep within. Probing glacial ice cores going back millennia reveals how the island and planet have changed, and portends the looming demise of human civilization. 

    What do the explorers and scientists have in common? Both were engaged in a life-or-death struggle, with the early pioneers fighting for their own survival and the modern-day climatologists trying to save their entire species from a hostile environment.

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    The Rehabilitation of New Coke, and ‘Stranger Things’

    The 1980s nostalgia peppered throughout the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things includes multiple placements of the infamous New Coke. Like the series, the formulation was an amusing horror story — of the marketing variety. It was killed off within three months by a backlash empowered by the media, organized by greed and stoked by Southern sensitivities about the Atlanta-based soft drink, posits journalist Tim Murphy.

    What’s New Coke’s legacy? Despite being synonymous with failure, the soda reminds modern tasters of Coke’s prevailing brands: Diet and Zero — perhaps explaining Coke’s limited release of 500,000 “New” cans this summer.

    Let OZY introduce you to the DJ who plays 1,000 Walkmans.

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    This South African Is Paving the Way for Female Gamers

    Twenty-eight-year-old Jana “Salty Monkey” du Toit dreams of a day when her gender won’t be so interesting. In addition to her team winning Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions, this business analyst has gone from hiding her obsession at age 9 to becoming South African female players’ most eloquent spokesperson, OZY reports. And as a two-time sexual assault victim, she’s painfully aware of the stakes.

    Are attitudes changing? Du Toit says sexist comments are now the exception, and an increasing number of male gamers aren’t afraid to challenge misogyny, but her broader goal is to boost the competitiveness of African gaming for both genders.