The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Afghanistan Shaken After IS Bombing Kills Dozens

    President Ashraf Ghani promised to wipe out the Islamic State’s safe havens after it claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack on the country’s capital this year, which left 63 people dead and 182 wounded at a Saturday night wedding. The suicide bombing raises questions about how stable Afghanistan may be following the prospective peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban, which called the attack “forbidden and unjustifiable.”

    What could the Afghan government do? It’s largely left out of talks — and questions the Taliban’s promises to stop fighting, as well as U.S. hopes that an accord will make it easier to counter the Islamic State.

    Read this OZY op-ed about how global terrorists remain hard at work.

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    Hong Kong Protests Reinvigorated After Major Weekend Rally

    China’s semi-autonomous territory is gearing up for fresh protests this week after a peaceful Sunday rally attracted a purported 1.7 million people, indicating the movement hasn’t lost its steam. The 11th consecutive weekend of demonstrations also appeared to suggest that neither the recent violence, including at Hong Kong’s international airport, nor warnings from China have deterred protesters, who thronged city streets yesterday under pouring rain.

    What about the other side of the barricades? Supporters of Hong Kong’s police say officers feel unfairly demonized as they struggle to hold the city together amid emotional and physical stress, and even threats.

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    Iranian Tanker Leaves Gibraltar After US Plea Fails

    Following the British territory’s rejection of a U.S. bid to seize the Grace 1, the vessel departed Gibraltar last night for an unknown destination after six weeks in detention. Carrying $130 million worth of crude oil, the tanker supposedly had been bound for Syria before British Royal Marines captured it July 4, though Iran has promised it won’t sail to the EU-sanctioned country. 

    What was the legal issue? Washington claims the ship, now renamed the Adrian Darya 1, was linked to Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. But EU sanctions are “much narrower,” by Gibraltar’s legal interpretation, and did not justify further detention or inspections.

    Read OZY’s profile of the researcher stoking Iran’s anger.

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    Trump Dismisses Recession Fears, Business With Huawei

    “We’re doing tremendously well.” That’s how President Donald Trump characterized the U.S. economy’s performance amid fears it’s headed into a recession. Celebrating his tax cut as having “loaded up” consumers with cash, he also played down the prospect of securing a trade deal with China. Meanwhile, Trump also dismissed reports suggesting his administration would extend the Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s exception from a national security blacklist for 90 days.

    Why does it matter? Amid concerns of a global economic slowdown and trade uncertainty, allowing Huawei more time to purchase vital U.S. components would’ve been seen as an olive branch to Beijing — and a sign that talks toward lifting tariffs might succeed.

  5. Also Important…

    President Trump has confirmed that he’s interested in buying Greenland — a prospect Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called “absurd.” The U.S. is reportedly conducting secret talks with a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. And a leaked report by the British government predicts food shortages, a lack of medical supplies and price hikes following a no-deal Brexit.

    #OZYfact: Only four high school fullbacks are listed in the entire 247Sports database for the 2020 college class. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    Iceland Memorializes Glacier Lost to Climate Change

    Officials and researchers unveiled a plaque at a volcano northeast of Reykjavík yesterday to honor the passing of Okjökull, the nation’s first glacier lost to modern climate change. “In the next 200 years, all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path,” it reads. Declared dead in 2014 when it lacked enough weight to move, Okjökull once covered 6.2 square miles.

    How bad could the situation get? The world’s glaciers are disappearing: One recent study found they’ve lost more than 10 trillion tons of ice in the past half-century, while another says the Alps could lose 90 percent of their glaciers by 2100.

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    Tesla Revamps Its Solar Power Efforts

    The electric carmaker is trying its hand — again — at offering solar power through a program renting out photovoltaic panel arrays in six states for anywhere between $65 and $195 per month. Observers say Rent Solar represents an attempt by Tesla to kickstart a flagging part of its business after panel installations continued troubling declines during the second quarter.

    Is renting the answer? While there’s no long-term contract and virtually no other fees, except a $1,500 removal charge if customers opt out, founder Elon Musk himself insisted that it’s “still better to buy.”

    Read this OZY story about solar power finding its place among America’s poor.

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    Why the Next Recession Could Save Generic Drugs

    Investors once loved generic drug producers, but a recent Federal Drug Administration move to increase competition has reduced profit margins. Yet a potentially imminent recession could prove to be beneficial, OZY reports: While economic downturns usually kill off struggling industries, generic drugs are expected to get a boost, since newly unemployed patients demand cheaper options. That’s welcome news for firms like Teva and Novartis, which laid off thousands of workers last year.

    What headwinds are they facing? Since more than 50 percent of drug sales for major generic firms are outside of the U.S., punitive tariffs could play a big role, while poverty could drive many patients to forego treatment completely.

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    African Bloc Urges Lifting of Zimbabwe Sanctions

    The country’s crippling economy has triggered mass unrest, leading to demands that the U.S. and European Union remove the sanctions they placed on Zimbabwe in 2002. The South African Development Community — a 16-member bloc led by Tanzania’s president — plans to declare Oct. 25 a day of solidarity with the crisis-stricken country, where ex-dictator Robert Mugabe was ousted in a bloodless coup in late 2017.

    Could the pressure work? Maybe, though it could just as easily backfire by throwing the spotlight on Tanzania’s own deteriorating human rights situation.

    Check out OZY’s Fast Forward about the Nigerian Jews’ persecution.

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    Star Texas Running Back Killed in Motorcycle Crash

    Cedric Benson, a former University of Texas star who also played eight NFL seasons, was killed Saturday night in Austin. During his career with the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers, the 36-year-old rushed for more than 6,000 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. “He was a true spirit,” said Mack Brown, Benson’s former coach at UT. An unnamed female passenger was also reportedly killed in the accident.

    What’s his legacy? Benson’s record-setting tenure as a Texas Longhorn included most carries ever, as well as the university’s second highest number of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.