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Scores Die in Indonesia Quake | Trump Flips Story on Russia Meeting

| The Presidential Daily Brief |
IMPORTANT
August 6, 2018
Residents on the Indonesian island of Lombok spent the night outdoors after a deadly earthquake. Source: Getty
Quake in Indonesia Leaves 91 Dead

A 6.9-magnitude temblor struck the island of Lombok on Sunday, damaging thousands of buildings while killing scores of people and injuring hundreds more. Felt in neighboring Bali, site of one fatality, it’s Lombok’s second major earthquake in a week after a 6.4-magnitude event killed 17 on July 29. The island is a popular tourist destination, and while authorities said no foreigners were killed, about 1,000 were evacuated from the nearby Gili Islands and at least one airline added extra flights out of the area. Authorities say the death toll is expected to rise 

Sources: Reuters, BBC
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Trump: Son Met With Russians for Information on Clinton

After long denying that a 2016 meeting between his campaign team, including eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and Russian representatives was not about Hillary Clinton, President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that it sought to “get information on an opponent.” Trump described it as “totally legal and done all the time in politics,” and while it’s routine to gather opposition research, obtaining it from foreign operatives is illegal. The meeting is key to the ongoing special counsel investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election.

Sources: WSJ (sub), Reuters, NYT
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Six Held Over Alleged Assassination Attempt in Venezuela

After a flying drone apparently tried to kill President Nicolas Maduro Saturday during a nationally televised address, authorities say they’ve arrested six “terrorists” believed to be involved. A group called Soldiers in T-shirts has claimed responsibility for the attack, which Maduro blamed on the “far-right,” dissidents exiled in the U.S., and Colombia’s president, who issued a statement calling the charge “absurd.” Witnesses say they saw a drone explode, but some are skeptical of the government’s claims, while journalists covering the incident say government interrogators confiscated their cameras.

Sources: Washington Post, AP
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Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador Over 'Interference'

Last week, Saudi Arabian authorities reportedly arrested two prominent women’s rights activists as part of an ongoing crackdown on dissenters, prompting Canada’s Foreign Ministry to tweet that it was “gravely concerned” urged the activists’ “immediate release.” Saudi Arabia has recalled its envoy to Ottawa, suspended trade between the two nations and given the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the kingdom. Canada hasn’t yet commented on the change, also announced on Twitter. Riyadh has recently permitted cinemas and women drivers, but analysts said it won’t be pressured to hasten reforms.

Sources: The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC
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Briefly

Know This: Police have rescued 11 starving children from a desert compound in New Mexico. Apple has taken down the podcasts of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Chinese state media lambasted President Trump’s trade policies as a “street fighter-style deceitful drama of extortion and intimidation.” And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Guatemala and Belize: Check out the archaeological wonder — and mystery — of this ancient Maya cave and its crystal skeleton.

Read This: Overall, 71 percent of defectors from North Korea are women — and while they risk everything to get to the outside world, they have to struggle with culture shock, disappointment and loneliness once they reach it. 

Talk to Us: Tell us how you really feel. Our electrifying TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each week we’re posting a provocative question, and we want you to weigh in. This week: Should everyone be required to be an organ donor? Email thirdrail@ozy.com with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.

INTRIGUING
Disappearing Reservoir Drives Arizona Senate Race

Thanks in part to climate change, a decades-long drought has visibly depleted Arizona’s Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir and a key source for irrigating the Grand Canyon State and slaking the thirst of Phoenix residents. That’s made the lake’s water-sharing scheme a critical issue in this year’s Senate race, provided the candidates can articulate answers to the long-neglected problem. While water policy can be a dry and lifeless talking point, it’s also a major concern for more than two-thirds of Americans — none more so than in Arizona’s parched valleys.

Sources: OZY
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No, Starbucks Isn't Taking Bitcoin

It was a tempest in a grande cup. Despite news that Starbucks is part of a new cryptocurrency collaboration with the Intercontinental Stock Exchange, called Bakkt, the coffee chain says it has no plan to start trading bitcoin for lattes anytime soon. In fact, Bakkt’s purpose is to make it easier to convert cryptocurrency into conventional currency — which Starbucks does accept. Currently Bitcoin transactions can cost more than $10 and take 30 minutes to process. Analysts say Bakkt could someday help liberate customers from dependence on bank cards for point-of-sale purchases.

Sources: Quartz, Gizmodo
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UK Home Secretary Accused of Buying Immigrants' Silence

Two separate newspaper investigations have reported that Sajid Javid offered to fast-track compensation for British-Caribbean citizens mistreated by U.K. immigration practices — in exchange for non-disclosure agreements. If true, that contradicts a promise the son of Pakistani immigrants made to Parliament last month, in which he pledged the government would not force members of the so-called Windrush generation, forced to prove their status after a recent immigration law change, to sign “anything like that.” The opposition Labor Party called it “totally unacceptable” and demanded that compensation be distributed unconditionally.

Sources: The Independent, The Guardian
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Demi Lovato Opens Up About Drug Use

The singer got personal over Instagram about her struggles with addiction, in her first public statements after reportedly being hospitalized for a drug overdose late last month. “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” Lovato wrote, explaining her “illness is not something that disappears or fades with time.” The pop star marked six years of sobriety this year, after a history of eating disorders, addiction and depression, but in June released the track “Sober,” which alluded to renewed substance abuse. Lovato will now reportedly enter a drug treatment facility.

Sources: People, Mashable
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Ohio State Coach Investigation to End in Two Weeks

The inquiry into how star Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer handled a domestic violence complaint against former assistant Zach Smith — who was fired last month — will end within 14 days, according the university. Smith’s ex-wife says she had told several people close to Meyer, including his wife, about abuse she allegedly endured from her former husband. Meyer, who was placed on administrative leave last week, said Friday that he “failed” by denying knowledge of the allegations against Smith. Ohio State’s season is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

Sources: ESPN, Bleacher Report
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