The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. david koch by gage skidmore

    Billionaire Republican David Koch Dies at Age 79

    David Koch passed away Friday although the cause of death is unknown. As a committed libertarian, he used his money to reshape the conservative movement in the United States. He was the chairman and chief of Koch industries, which invested in everything from pipelines to paper towels. But more significantly, Koch brought together 700 wealthy philanthropists to collectively support movements they all believed in. 

    What’s his legacy? Koch is credited for financing the Tea Party, which propelled the Republicans to win the House in 2010. His big spending has also drawn the ire of Democrats, some of who accused him of buying America.



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    China Retaliates with Tariffs on $75 Billion Worth of US Goods  

    The announcement of tariffs ranging from 5 to 25 percent on U.S products – consisting of cars, soybeans and oils –  has caused American future stocks to nose dive. Some of the tariffs will come into effect on September 1, but the rest will be enforced on December 15. The new measures have also revived concerns that the clash between the world’s two biggest economies could impact global growth.

    How have the U.S responded? The White House is relaxing concerns, with Trump adviser Peter Navarro reassuring Fox Business Network that the new tariffs will not slow down growth.

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    Amazon Rainforest Fires Fuel Global Concerns

    “Our house is burning. Literally.” So tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday as fears grew about the vulnerability of the world’s largest rainforest. But his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, was having none of it: The far-right leader, who blamed environmental groups this week for starting the fires out of spite, chided Macron for attempting to make “personal political gains” by meddling in South America’s “internal matter.”

    How is the international community responding? Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which critics say encourage deforestation, could threaten more than $1 billion in conservation assistance and even a trade deal between the EU and South American countries.

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    Hong Kong Hunkers Down as YouTube Shutters Accounts

    Just days after Facebook and Twitter targeted an alleged Chinese-backed disinformation campaign, Google said it closed 210 YouTube channels conducting “coordinated influence operations” to derail the protest movement. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is bracing for more weekend demonstrations, including a “stress test” of its airport that’s aimed at choking local transportation.

    Where are protesters getting their inspiration? They’re reportedly planning a human chain like that which was pioneered by the Soviet Union’s three Baltic republics in 1989 during their push for independence.

    Check out OZY’s Flashback on the enemy Chairman Mao couldn’t defeat.

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    South Korea Cuts Intelligence Ties With Japan

    Rooted in deep-seated animosities, the evolving trade spat between the two Asian nations worsened yesterday as Seoul said it would pull out of an intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo. The deal, drawn up in 2016 and set for renewal this weekend, allowed the exchange of information about North Korea’s nuclear and military activities. Its demise could give Beijing and Pyongyang the upper hand as the U.S.-led regional security alliance suffers.

    Could the U.S. step in? Washington has already called on the two countries to mend fences, but some observers say that so far it’s failed to devote enough attention to the dispute.

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    Amid Economic Woes, World Leaders Prepare for G-7

    As France gears up to host this year’s summit in the seaside town of Biarritz, the world’s most powerful people likely have the global economy on their minds — especially after President Donald Trump called for a special meeting on the subject Sunday. Talks on climate change, one of Trump’s least favorite topics, will wait until Monday morning, while Boris Johnson will catch particular attention during his first appearance as British prime minister.

    Will they get anything done? That’s unclear: As OZY reports, these summits have recently served more as a space for speed dating among leaders looking for closer bilateral relations.

  7. Also Important…

    Two U.S. officials have confirmed that the Israeli military struck an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month. American toymaker Hasbro will purchase eOne, the company that owns popular British cartoon Peppa Pig, for $4 billion. And Chinese telecom giant Huawei has played down the effect of U.S. trade restrictions on its business.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded tech reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. radiation scale shutterstock 14192254

    Radiation-Exposed Russian Doctors Were Told to ‘Get to Work’

    Health workers say they suffered radiation exposure while treating victims of the Aug. 8 explosion of a suspected nuclear cruise missile. Responding to the accident at the Arkhangelsk military test site, medical staff said they raised concerns about radiation, but were told the victims had been decontaminated and were ordered to “get to work.” One doctor said radiation specialists “ran out of the operating room in terror” after three patients’ exposure levels measured “off the scale.”

    What’s the larger issue? Some experts believe the accident, which killed five people, exposed a program to develop an unlimited-range weapon the Pentagon has dubbed “Skyfall.”

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    Young Female Coders Report Facing Added Hurdles

    A new survey conducted by the nonprofit Girls Who Code found that female engineers face obstacles in getting internships due to their gender. More than half of respondents said they had a negative experience during the interview process or knew somebody who did. Experiences varied from being sexually harassed or rejected because of their gender, to being asked about their appearance and not their skills.

    How can this change? The nonprofit has launched an online petition to urge big tech companies to adopt fairer hiring practices by including diverse panels and gender neutral job descriptions.

    Don’t miss this OZY story about how tech is leading us to communism.

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    Fresh Rohingya Repatriation Effort Fails

    A United Nations-led push to return Rohingya refugees to Myanmar from neighboring Bangladesh failed for the second time Thursday when none of the nearly 3,500 people cleared for repatriation reported to pick-up points. Of the 295 families interviewed so far by the U.N. Refugee Agency and Bangladeshi authorities, none said they felt it was safe to return to Myanmar, where they face what critics call state-sponsored ethnic cleansing.

    What’s the next step? Authorities will continue interviewing families, hoping to convince some to return to Myanmar, but they have stressed that no refugees will be forced to do so. 

    Read OZY’s Fast Forward about how the “send them back” strategy is spreading.

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    TikTok Is India’s Funniest Security Threat

    Already banned in Indonesia and under legal fire in the U.S. and the U.K., Chinese-owned TikTok is the go-to video-sharing app for 120 million active users across India — including civil servants looking to go viral, OZY reports. Bureaucrats lip-syncing popular tunes is one thing, but police officials were less amused by SWAT teams striking poses with firearms. And a far bigger concern is the data that’s collected and potentially beamed back to China, which TikTok denies.

    Will the government crack down? The service was briefly banned in the state of Tamil Nadu for “degrading culture,” but experts suggest nationwide action will happen “only when something goes wrong.”

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    In Canada, NFL Teams Forced Onto Shorter Field

    An exhibition game in Winnipeg yesterday between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders descended into farce even before it began. The Canadian Football League’s different field dimensions prompted officials to literally move the goal posts — leaving gaping holes in the field and forcing them to shorten the gridiron to 80 yards. As a result, kickoffs were eliminated. Packers coach Matt LaFleur even benched all his starters out of concern for their safety, and Green Bay lost to Oakland 22-21.

    How much did the adjustments cost? Installing new goalposts and covering up patches in the turf reportedly ran $40,000.