The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. us troops in afghanistan

    Afghan Peace Talks Unravel, Secret Taliban Visit to US Nixed

    A spectacle was planned: President Donald Trump hosting his Afghan counterpart and the Taliban at Camp David to finalize a peace accord. But in Saturday tweets, Trump announced the gathering was canceled, along with the talks, after a car bomb near Kabul’s U.S. embassy killed an American soldier last week. Meanwhile, critics expressed dismay that the Taliban, which harbored al-Qaida as it planned the 9/11 attacks, would be America’s guest days from the tragedy’s 18th anniversary.

    Could talks resume? Neither side has ruled them out, but one emerging alternative is a U.S. troop drawdown without an agreement.

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    Business Warnings Grow Amid Brexit Tumult

    As a chaotic no-deal British departure from the European Union becomes more likely, U.K. businesses are preparing for the anticipated financial repercussions. Brexit warnings in annual reports in the last six months have more than doubled. Meanwhile, accounting firm KPMG predicts that quitting the EU without prior arrangements will spark a British recession in 2020, with the economy contracting 1.5 percent.

    What’s the latest on Brexit? Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking lawmakers for a “last chance” vote on snap elections — before he suspends Parliament for four weeks beginning on Friday.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on Johnson’s desire for an election.

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    Iran Sells Oil From Tanker Spotted Near Syria

    Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 was impounded and released by Gibraltar — despite U.S. protestations — when Tehran promised not to violate the EU’s Syria sanctions. Now Iran says the tanker has sold its cargo in the Mediterranean, not long after satellite images showed it near the Syrian port of Tartus.

    What else is going on? Reports suggest Tehran’s “secret atomic warehouse” mentioned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago has been inspected by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, and test results show traces of uranium that Iran so far hasn’t explained.

    Read OZY’s analysis of U.S.-Iranian escalation.

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    Pentagon Admits Flight Crews Stayed at Trump Resort

    Despite multiple U.S. airbases being available for refueling, a military supply flight stopped at an airport in Scotland this spring on its way to Kuwait. The unusual visit, reported by Politico, included the plane’s crew staying at President Trump’s luxury Turnberry resort near Glasgow. A letter from House investigators alleges that the Pentagon has spent $11 million on fuel at an airport near the resort, where revenue has ballooned after losing $4.5 million in 2017. What’s the response? Military officials say the stopover “might be allowable but not advisable” and are reviewing procedures, while critics are saying it’s another instance of tax dollars enriching Trump’s businesses.
  5. Also Important…

    With winds topping 112 mph, Typhoon Faxai has killed two people and injured 40 near Tokyo. Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has become the third candidate to challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination. And four people are missing after a 656-foot cargo ship turned on its side off Georgia’s Atlantic coast.

    #OZYfact: African American lesbian and bisexual women have far lower odds of depression than their White and Latina counterparts. Read more on OZY.

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


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    India Locates Spacecraft After Hard Landing on Moon

    Everything was going according to plan Saturday as the Vikram lander approached the moon’s south pole — but just 1.3 miles from the surface, India’s Space Research Organization lost contact. On Sunday, ISRO said its Chandrayaan-2 orbiter spotted Vikram, though the lander is still not communicating. A successful landing would have made India just the fourth country to reach the moon.

    Is it a total loss? Not at all: The orbiter that carried Vikram continues its mission, bearing the highest resolution camera to circle the moon, and it has enough power for at least a year.

    Check out this OZY Flashback on how India’s space program started in a church.

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    Australia Orders ISPs to Block Sites Hosting Massacre Video

    The Australian eSafety commissioner has directed six major internet service providers to continue blocking eight unnamed websites still hosting videos of the March Christchurch mosque massacre and the accused gunman’s manifesto for an additional six months. “Website blocking is not a universal solution to online harms,” Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said, noting that it would only be used “in extreme cases.”

    What’s changed? ISPs had been blocking 43 sites since shortly after the attack, though until today’s edict they lacked the legal authority to do so.

    This OZY Special Briefing explores the complications of regulating morality online.

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    China Lays Out the Welcome Mat for the Taliban

    Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political office based in Qatar, made a surprise visit to Beijing in June — evidence of China’s increasing leadership role in the effort to end America’s longest war. And peace might be the only thing the U.S. and China agree on at the moment, OZY reports. While trade tensions between Beijing and Washington keep escalating, both powers see a stable Afghanistan as politically and financially crucial.

    Where else will Beijing wield its power? While relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have long been strained, China is its biggest economic and military benefactor — and could help bring it to the table.

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    Venice Film Festival Stuns as ‘Joker’ Wins Top Prize

    The irony would not be lost on its protagonist. Shocking the film world, the festival bestowed its coveted Golden Lion prize on Joker, the first film based on a comic book character accepted into competition. Many had seen even submitting the supervillain’s origin story as a risk for Warner Bros., though Joaquin Phoenix’s chilling portrayal — perhaps the character’s darkest yet — earned an eight-minute standing ovation after its premiere.

    Was that the only controversy? Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy won runner-up, despite the fact that the director remains a fugitive after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old in 1978.

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    Rafael Nadal Wins 19th Grand Slam at US Open

    His era ain’t over. A day after Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu wrested the women’s title from Serena Williams, Nadal outlasted Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to secure his fourth U.S. Open championship Sunday. “So difficult, so tough,” the Spaniard said after the four-hour slog, adding, “the nerves were so high after having the match almost under control.”

    Where do things stand? Nadal, 33, now is just behind 38-year-old Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Novak Djokovic, the youngest of the “Big Three” at 32, has 16.

    Read this OZY piece on the Big Three.