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Kavanaugh Confirmation Teeters | Trump to Fight Iran With UN Gavel

| The Presidential Daily Brief |
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IMPORTANT
September 22, 2018
President Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally in Las Vegas Friday. Source: Getty
Battle Lines Forming Over Kavanaugh Confirmation

It’s gotten personal. On Friday, President Donald Trump directly questioned the veracity of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that, at a 1980s high school party, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh held her down and groped her. She has until this afternoon to decide if — and under what terms — she’ll testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Meanwhile, a Guardian exposé says Kavanaugh’s female clerk applicants needed to “look like models.” Recently considered assured, his confirmation now seems imperiled, with opinion polls showing more Americans oppose than favor Kavanaugh’s placement on the high court.

Sources: Time, The Guardian, NYT, CNBC
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Trump to Chair UN Security Council Meeting

He’ll be armed. When the U.S. takes up the rotating chair of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, President Trump plans to personally wield the gavel, much to the trepidation of the world leaders who’ll be seated with him. In his first appearance at the meeting last year, he shocked his peers with a threat to “totally destroy” North Korea. This year, he plans to focus on Iran in the wake of his unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement — and this time, he controls the agenda.

Sources: USA Today, Bloomberg
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Brexit's Final Countdown

In about 200 days, Britain is to leave the European Union. But since a deal on a post-separation trade and legal relationship between the two seems increasingly unlikely, some observers fear a chaotic breakup. It raises myriad thorny issues like Northern Ireland going without currently Irish-supplied electricity and a cutoff of diabetics’ EU-produced insulin supply. Amid such uncertainty, companies are preparing for the worst — even to the point of stockpiling medicine and nonperishable food. Meanwhile, commercial losses on both sides could reach nearly $300 billion, prompting fears that Brexit could also unleash civil unrest.

Sources: Der Spiegel
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Taiwan Tries to Avoid China-U.S. Trade Crossfire

President Trump’s trade war with China has his friends across the strait worried: After all, some Taiwanese-owned electronics manufacturers operate there. In response, Taiwan is preparing to provide incentives, like relaxing land-use regulations and expanding tax breaks, to lure its China-based companies back home. Although U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports will kick in shortly, analysts aren’t expecting a huge impact on Taiwan — yet. That is, unless the trade war begins targeting consumer electronic products, which are Taiwan’s bread and butter.

Sources: OZY
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Briefly

The Week Ahead: Indian officials are worried that Sunday’s Maldives election could boost China’s influence in the Indian Ocean. Comedic actor Bill Cosby’s sentencing proceeding will begin — and perhaps conclude — on Monday. And on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the eighth time since 2015.

Know This: Gunmen opened fire on a military parade in Iran this morning, reportedly killing 24 people. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has denied a New York Times report that he considered recording his conversations with President Trump and lobbying cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, according to a fired FBI official’s notes. And Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz debated Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke Friday shortly after the well-regarded Cook Political Report declared the race a toss-up. 

We’re hiringOZY is looking for a creative and highly motivated senior events director to thrill and delight our audience through OZY Fest and other live gatherings. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.

INTRIGUING
The Problem With Weight Is Ignorance

For decades, popular thought concerning weight has barely shifted, despite research dating back to the 1960s showing that nearly all attempts to lose weight will fail, especially among women. Yet still, health care providers, the media, advertisers and popular culture insist the obesity crisis must be checked. Some observers believe the health care industry heaps blame, shame and misdiagnoses onto patients instead of helping. But while members of the heavy set are unlikely to shrink, they can become healthier — and happier — no matter what size clothing they wear.

Sources: Huffington Post
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Puerto Rico's Tax Dodgers Are Living the High Life

Thousands perished from last year’s hurricanes, and many more struggle to survive amid wrecked, impoverished lives. But for one class of residents, it’s canapés and bubbly all around: The not-quite-ultrarich have flocked to the U.S. territory since its 2012 law offering a tax haven to mainlanders. The catch? Establishing bona fide residency by severing all onshore ties. Although meant to spur development, the act has been stripped of key provisions, such as requiring transplants to buy property and hire local workers, leaving doubts that it will help the island’s economy.

Sources: GQ
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Prostitution Under Fire in Nevada

It’s a “disgusting, drug-ridden business” — when it’s illegal, says Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof. But in Lyon County, where he runs four bordellos, a midterm ballot measure could outlaw the trade. It’s been permitted since 1971, but the November initiative might just be the first crack in Nevada’s peculiar attraction, touted as boosting both tourism and tax revenues. Opponents say it enables assaults on workers, an accusation Hof’s faced himself. He denies the allegations, saying they’re aimed at derailing his state legislative campaign. Now both Hof and his industry await voters’ judgment.

Sources: BBC
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How Christian Rock Became Eternal

Though it has roots in the late 1960s, when rock and “Jesus freaks” crossed paths, Christian rock long languished on the periphery of both the music industry and the church. By the 2000s, it went mainstream, with God-loving — if not always “Christian” label-embracing — nu-metal bands like Evanescence and Creed blasting from secular radio stations and stages at some of the biggest rock festivals. That hasn’t gone away, but for churches trying to fill pews, religious hip-hop may be more likely to earn young fans’ blessings.

Sources: New Yorker
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Who Pays for College Basketball Corruption?

Starting in October, the first in a series of criminal trials will begin for cases involving bribery in college basketball recruiting. While Michigan high school hoops luminary Brian Bowen Jr. isn’t on trial, it seems that way: He’s essentially blacklisted from college ball after federal prosecutors said his family was offered $100,000 for him to attend the University of Louisville. Now he’s playing in Australia and wondering if he’ll ever get a second chance. Meanwhile, the NCAA recently surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue on the backs of players prohibited from earning a paycheck.

Sources: NYT Magazine
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