The Presidential Daily Brief

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  1. Joe biden shutterstock 1405653386

    Joe Biden Fights Back in Second Debate

    The former vice president, still the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, rebuffed attempts by challengers to cast doubt over his policy positions on everything from immigration to women’s rights. Most prominently, Sen. Kamala Harris knocked Biden’s plans to augment Obamacare, while Sen. Corey Booker sparred with the 76-year-old over criminal justice. Biden called Harris’ health policy criticism “a bunch of malarkey” and accused former Newark mayor Booker of neglecting abusive policing.

    How could they win in November? This OZY op-ed writer says contenders need forward-looking policies, not “pendulum reactions” to President Donald Trump’s provocative politics.

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    US Hits Iran’s Foreign Minister With Sanctions

    Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is the latest Iranian official to fall under American punishment, reportedly for serving as the “propaganda arm” of Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Zarif dismissed the move, while President Hassan Rouhani called it “childish” and raised doubts about whether Washington is really serious about negotiating with Tehran following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

    Why does it matter? By isolating Iran’s top diplomat, the White House is essentially blocking the most effective route toward talks, with observers suggesting it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of Iran’s power structure.

    Read OZY’s analysis about Tehran searching for the West’s red lines.

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    Reports: Osama Bin Laden’s Son Is Dead

    U.S. officials cited in numerous media reports have claimed Hamza bin Laden died — in an unspecified U.S. action — sometime in the past two years, though few other details were available. He’s one of the al Qaeda founder’s more than 20 children and was believed by the U.S. State Department to be an “emerging” leader in the group after his father was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011. The Saudi-born younger bin Laden’s most recent known statement was released in 2018.

    Are there doubts about this? Some experts say it’s unusual that al Qaeda didn’t issue a public eulogy, given Hamza’s status within the organization.

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    Fed Cuts Interest Rate in Post-Crisis First

    “As usual, Powell has let us down.” That’s how President Trump responded to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s announcement yesterday that the central bank would implement the first such reduction since the 2008 financial crisis. It’s seen as a pre-emptive move against a weakening global economy and potential blowback from continuing trade turmoil. Powell said the quarter-percent cut wouldn’t lead to “a long series” of reductions, though he also didn’t rule out making another in the near future.

    How are markets responding? The Fed’s mixed messaging appeared to rattle investors, as the S&P 500 closed down 1 percent — its biggest drop in two months.

  5. Also Important… 

    North Korea says it has tested a new multiple rocket launcher system a day after South Korea claimed Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles. China has effectively banned individual leisure travel from the mainland to Taiwan. And organizers have cancelled a three-day concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, citing financial and legal difficulties.

    #OZYfact: Jim Brown, one of the greatest players in NFL history, is the only person to win the MVP award in his rookie season. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for a creative, organized and ambitious social media manager to engage and expand our online audience. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.

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  1. Trans rights shutterstock 562810600

    Trans Migrants: When Deportation Means Death

    Since October, an estimated 300 trans migrants have been detained by U.S. immigration authorities along the southern border, the most since official reporting began in 2015. But the perilous journey from Central and South America, only to end up in American detention, is worth the risk for many: Violence, including murder, stalks them at home. Yet as of July 1, OZY reports, only 145 remained, their claims rejected or withdrawn — via English-only paperwork, some say.

    Where can they turn? The U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees has cited violence against trans people as a migration factor, but that’s spurred little help for victims.

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    The EU Has More Jobs Than Ever, But Where’s the Growth?

    The 28-member bloc posted a 6.3 percent jobless rate last month — the lowest since unemployment was first recorded in 2000 — while the 19 nations using the euro currency hit an 11-year low of 7.5 percent. But that doesn’t mean Europe’s in the clear: The economic slowdown in Germany and Italy appears to have spread, pushing the bloc’s quarterly growth to 0.2 percent.

    What’s next for Europe’s economy? Analysts say such sluggishness could prompt the European Central Bank to lower interest rates and introduce other stimulus measures.

    Read OZY’s Newsmaker profile of the first woman to lead the European Union.

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    More HIV-Infected Russians Die as Crisis Worsens

    Last year, more than 20,000 HIV-positive people died, according to Russia’s Health Ministry — marking a 2.2 percent uptick from 2017. Three-quarters of them were 25 to 44 years old, while “HIV infection at a young working age (18-44) is emerging as one of the leading causes of death,” exceeding even cancer, the ministry reported. With more than 1.2 million infected, Russia faces a growing crisis.

    How bad can it get? The World Health Organization warns that Russia’s likely underreported epidemic could spiral out of control, while a consumer watchdog says that older people are increasingly contracting HIV.

  4. Harold prince toni morrison wiki commons

    Broadway Mourns Legendary Producer Harold Prince

    Known to his theater friends and fans as Hal, the prominent director and producer died in Reykjavík, Iceland, yesterday at 91. Prince leaves behind a legacy as one of theater’s most celebrated figures, having collected 21 Tony Awards over a career that spanned six decades. The force behind Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret and The Phantom of the Opera, among many others, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award in 2006.

    How will colleagues remember him? Fellow Broadway icon Andrew Lloyd Webber said Prince’s “mastery of musical theater was without equal.”

    Check out this OZY profile of Broadway’s next rock star.

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    Ex-NFL Player Joins Monsanto Weed Killer Lawsuit

    Former ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, who played seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, may be the most prominent among the 18,400 plaintiffs suing the manufacturer of Roundup for causing their cancers. In his filing, which was submitted to a federal court in Idaho this month and came to light yesterday, the 54-year-old says he suffers permanent “physical pain and mental anguish” rooted in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto parent company Bayer insists the chemical is safe.

    How was Hoge exposed? His lawyer says the former running back, diagnosed in 2003, regularly mixed or sprayed the chemical while working on farms during his youth.