The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Supreme Court Hands Trump Immigration Victory

    The nation’s top court voted Wednesday to let the Trump administration enforce a measure denying asylum to migrants who previously passed through another country without first requesting protection there. The Supreme Court’s decision allows the rule, which observers say is a dramatic shift in longstanding U.S. immigration policy, to be applied while a legal case against it continues.

    Who will it affect? While those fleeing violence and poverty in Central America appear to be the primary targets, it could also leave asylum-seekers from Africa, Asia and South America out of luck.

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    US, China Exchange Trade Concessions

    “It was a big move.” That’s how President Donald Trump described China’s decision yesterday to exempt 16 types of American imports, such as cancer drugs and animal feed, from new tariffs. In response, he announced that he’d delay a planned U.S. tax hike on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports by two weeks “as a gesture of good will.” Those tariffs will now kick in Oct. 15.

    Does that mean the trade war is ending? Not so fast, analysts warn — arguing that China’s exemption doesn’t fundamentally change its stance, while Trump’s motivations still remain unclear.

    Don’t miss OZY’s profile of the man behind Trump’s trade war.

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    Purdue Pharma to Settle Thousands of Opioid Lawsuits

    Under a tentative deal between the OxyContin manufacturer and more than 2,000 local governments, the Purdue-owning Sackler family would reportedly pay $3 billion over seven years while their company navigates a broader structured bankruptcy. Still, the specifics of the agreement — which doesn’t include an admission that Purdue’s aggressive marketing contributed to 400,000 opioid-related deaths over two decades — have yet to be determined.

    What’s next? While the agreement may help Purdue avoid an upcoming federal trial in Ohio, several state attorneys general are pressing ahead with legal offensives against the company and the Sacklers.

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    UK Brexit Report Spells Out No-Deal Dangers

    According to a five-page planning report published by the British government yesterday, a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union could lead to higher prices for food and fuel, a potential six-month disruption in medical supplies, as well as widespread public discontent. While details of the so-called Yellowhammer document had been leaked earlier, Parliament compelled the government this week to release it nearly in full.

    Is danger on the horizon? While authorities claim these “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” are outdated, the opposition Labour Party is urging a return of the suspended Parliament to review the risks — which would disproportionately affect low-income citizens.

  5. Also Important…

    Citing a spate of mysterious vaping-related illnesses, President Trump announced yesterday that his administration will ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The British government could reportedly block Hong Kong’s $36.6 billion takeover of the London Stock Exchange. And Jarrid Wilson, an American pastor known for his mental health outreach efforts, killed himself Wednesday.

    #OZYfact: Since 2015, at least one college football team that made it to the playoffs each year wasn’t ranked in the AP preseason top 10. 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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    Facebook Penalizes Netanyahu for Hate Speech 

    “Arabs want to annihilate us all — women, children and men.” That was the post that prompted the social media giant to suspend the official account of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. Facebook announced that access to the account will be denied for 24 hours since the post violated its hate speech policy. Netanyahu denied writing or approving the post, calling it a mistake from a staffer. 

    Why does it matter? While Netanyahu swears the post was unauthorized, he continues to use nationalist rhetoric and fearmongering to pander to his conservative base ahead of the next election.

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    Scientists Find Water Vapor on Habitable ‘Super Earth’

    Finding traces of water on a rocky planet is rare. But now astronomers from University College London say they’ve done just that, detecting water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18b, an exoplanet twice the size of Earth, nearly nine times as massive and about 110 light-years away. Thanks to its temperature and atmosphere, experts say it’s “the best candidate for habitability that we know right now.”

    Should we get our hopes up? The UCL study reinforces similar findings by University of Montreal researchers — who claim they’d actually collected the data but were beaten to publication.

    Check out this OZY story about America’s “space mountains.”

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    Oil Tycoon T. Boone Pickens Dies at 91

    The legendary hedge fund manager died Wednesday after struggling to recover from multiple strokes. After founding Mesa Petroleum in 1956, the Oklahoma native built a reputation for buying much larger companies on his way to becoming a billionaire. Pickens eventually shifted toward renewable energy, believing that drilling for oil wasn’t worth the damage to the planet. 

    How will he be remembered? As a man of contradictions: The Republican philanthropist donated to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, yet he also supported John Kerry’s climate plan after the Democrat lost to Bush in the 2004 election.

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    Andrew Yang May Not Win — But His Policy Plan Could

    Universal basic income is about to have its moment in the mainstream. The Democratic presidential hopeful has made paying a $1,000 monthly stipend to every American — aimed at staving off the threat from workforce automation — a central part of his pitch. Now, OZY reports, the crowded field of contenders is beginning to take the initiative more seriously, while Google users have sent the search term “UBI” to five-year highs during Yang’s debate appearances.

    So is the policy here to stay? Experts compare the conversation about UBI to universal health care: Once a pipe dream among progressives, it’s now firmly part of the Democrats’ agenda.

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    Saudi Cleric Arrested for Criticizing Western Concerts

    A Saudi human rights group announced this week that conservative religious scholar Sheikh Omar al-Muqbil was detained after denouncing the General Entertainment Authority for inviting Western pop acts. In a video that’s trending on social media, Muqbil, a professor of Islamic law at Qassim University, said the GEA was “erasing the original identity of society” by hosting stars like Mariah Carey, 50 Cent and Janet Jackson.

    Why is Saudi Arabia big on entertainment? Spending up to $64 billion on the industry over the next decade is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to attract investment and help wean the kingdom off oil.

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    France Knocks US Out of Basketball World Cup

    France handed the Americans their first major loss at an international tournament in 13 years — and snapped their 58-game winning streak — defeating them 89-79 in Wednesday’s FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. French center Rudy Gobert, who plays for the NBA’s Utah Jazz, led his squad to a victory he called “unbelievable,” adding that the upset won’t mean much unless France wins the whole tournament.

    Who else is in the final four? France will play a formidable Argentinian team on Friday in one semifinal, while Australia meets Spain in the other.

    Read OZY’s take on NBA 2K players earning as much as real-life ballers.