The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump Signals Caution Over Iran

    “I hope not.” That’s how President Donald Trump responded yesterday to a question about whether Washington is careening toward war with Tehran. In a closed-door meeting this week, he reportedly told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan he’s not interested in a conflict. That’s despite rapidly deteriorating relations fueled in part by hawkish aides like national security adviser John Bolton.

    How is the rest of the world reacting? While U.S. allies are warning against war, Iran’s network of battle-hungry proxies — like Lebanon’s Hezbollah — could complicate efforts to tamp down regional saber-rattling.

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    Taiwan Approves Same-Sex Marriage

    Today the self-ruled island became the first state in Asia to legalize gay marriage as lawmakers voted in favor of government-sponsored legislation. The most progressive and LGBT-friendly of three draft bills submitted for review, it was passed just a week shy of a Constitutional Court deadline to comply with a 2017 ruling.

    How soon will it take effect? The new measure, which also offers some adoption rights, kicks in next Friday — when Taiwan will join more than two dozen countries allowing same-sex marriage.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on India’s landmark gay rights ruling.

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    Trump’s Immigration Plan Faces Uncertain Future

    Young, well-educated and fluent in English — those are the kinds of immigrants President Trump would prioritize in his proposed overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, unveiled yesterday. Led by son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the plan is aimed at attracting wider support among Republicans, but has been slammed by some in Trump’s conservative base.

    Will it become reality? Although it’s likely to fail in Congress due to Democratic opposition, the plan could play well among voters in Trump’s reelection campaign.

    Check out OZY’s feature on the Dreamers Democrats can’t agree on.

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    Boeing Seeks Return to Skies After Software Fix

    The Chicago-based planemaker says it’s fixed the software glitch implicated in two recent deadly crashes of its embattled 737 MAX jet — and tested it on more than 200 flights. But the plane will face further scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration before it’s deemed airworthy: Regulators are requesting more information about the update, and once they’re happy, the next step is a certification test flight.

    How long will that process take? While an FAA spokesman says the agency’s not rushing, Boeing believes any requests for details won’t take much more work.

  5. Also Important…

    Lawmakers in Missouri are expected to approve a ban today on abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. Amazon has become British food-delivery service Deliveroo’s largest investor after helping to raise $575 million. And no major injuries were reported after an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a California warehouse yesterday.

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

    OZY Fest is back! Join OZY in New York’s Central Park July 20-21, where some of the biggest names and boldest thinkers — from John Legend and Trevor Noah to Stacey Abrams and Malcolm Gladwell — will help make this year’s OZY Fest the most memorable yet. Click here before Sunday for access to a limited number of presale tickets.


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    Only Small Fraction of Pledged Notre Dame Donations Paid

    Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit revealed that only $15 million of the $1 billion pledged to rebuild the ravaged cathedral has been delivered. He disputed a statement from a French heritage foundation that said it would stop collecting for Notre Dame because enough money had been raised. Aupetit said $10.6 million had been donated from French and foreign nationals, mostly from the U.S., and another $5 million was received from major donors.

    How much will restoration cost? Architects have begun making proposals — which include a rooftop pool, a glass spire and an urban garden — while the archbishop highlighted that there’s still no clear budget for the work.

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    ‘China’s Google’ Logs First Ever Quarterly Loss

    Thanks in part to a slowing economy, Chinese internet giant Baidu faces a rocky road ahead after reporting a Q1 net loss of $47.5 million. Surging research and development costs and investment in video streaming contributed to its first quarterly loss since going public in 2005, and American repository shares fell 8 percent yesterday in extended trading. “For senior managers, saying ‘I have tried’ is not enough,” CEO Robin Li said in a memo to employees.

    How big is Baidu? Although it commands 70 percent of China’s search market, rivals like Alibaba and Tencent are challenging its dominance through so-called “super apps.”

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    This Rapper Is Shaking Up Mideast Hip-Hop

    Nasser Shorbaji — better known as Chyno — broaches topics as heavy as war, exile and identity in his music, OZY reports. From his base in Beirut, the half-Syrian, half-Filipino rapper has released three albums while bouncing around the region performing. Although he raps in English, the 34-year-old is also the mastermind behind the Middle East’s first Arabic-language battle rap competition, called Arena.

    What’s next for Chyno? He’s mentoring young Arabic-language rappers and hopes to nurture Syria’s rap scene once the war ends.

    Read this OZY story about Mongolian hip-hop.

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    Renowned Architect I.M. Pei Dies at 102

    Best known for his iconic glass Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the celebrated Chinese-born American modernist has died, his son reported yesterday. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the prestigious Pritzker Prize, Pei was famously modest: “I think it’s all right,” he once said of his work. Pei continued working well into his 90s, and his 2008 Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has become a national symbol of Qatar.

    Isn’t Pei’s Paris pyramid familiar? Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Washington’s National Gallery of Art and Japan’s Miho Museum share similar sleek designs.

    Don’t miss this OZY dispatch from Kiev’s stunning art gallery.

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    Boxer Deontay Wilder Under Fire for ‘Body’ Comments

    The 33-year-old will face a World Boxing Council hearing after recent comments that he’s “trying to get a body on his record.” Wilder made the threatening remarks ahead of Saturday’s bout against Californian Dominic Breazeale in New York. The WBC says the comments are “against the spirit of our sport,” though it’s not the first time the Alabama native has talked so tough — even regarding Saturday’s fight. Wilder previously said, “If he dies, he dies.”

    Is there more to this story? Prefight trash talk is common, but Wilder and Breazeale have been particularly acrimonious since a nasty 2017 hotel skirmish.