The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. ethiopianairlines

    157 Die After Ethiopian Airlines Crash

    The passenger jet, which was traveling to Nairobi, Kenya, reportedly crashed in Bishoftu, 60 kilometers from Addis Ababa where it took off this morning at 08:38 local time. Eight crew members and 149 passengers were believed to have been on board. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

    Is this usually a safe route? Yes, but the Boeing 737 Max-8 model involved is relatively new and was the same model of the Lion Air flight that crashed five months ago. The last Ethiopian Airlines accident occurred in 2010, shortly after take off from Beirut.


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    Trump Faces Fresh Challenge as Dems Dig

    After taking control of the House in January, Democrats have seized the opportunity: Last week, the Judiciary Committee launched a sweeping inquiry into potential White House corruption. Some claim Thursday’s relatively lenient sentencing of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chief, provided Trump with a measure of relief. But others believe the House probe — denounced by Republicans as a Cold War-style “inquisition” — should leave little room for optimism.

    What’s significant about this inquiry? Compared to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, observers say the House investigation is empowered to examine a wider scope of alleged misconduct by Trump and his associates.

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    UK Parliament to Vote on Brexit Deal

    Following months of often dramatic political wrangling, British lawmakers on Tuesday will deliver their final verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the European Union. An approval would set the U.K. on course for withdrawal March 29, with a permanent trade deal to be negotiated by the end of 2020. But a rejection could lead to either a no-deal Brexit or, more likely, a delay of Britain’s departure.

    Could a second referendum take place? Despite suggestions — including from the opposition Labour Party — that it’s still possible, a recent analysis found that Parliament lacks the majority to approve a new plebiscite.

    OZY asks: Would Brexit leave Germany as Europe’s sole powerhouse?

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    Turkey, Russia Struggle to Sync Forces in Syria

    Ankara and Moscow are coordinating military action in Syria — despite backing opposing forces in its protracted civil war. Both estranged from the West, the two countries are attempting to nurture a strategic and economic relationship. But as they struggle to decide the fate of Idlib, the last opposition stronghold, that’s proving difficult: Russian President Vladimir Putin recently scolded his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for allowing extremist militants to thrive instead of clearing them out as promised.

    What’s next for Idlib? Observers say an all-out assault on the northwestern province could yield grave casualties and cause a massive humanitarian disaster.

  5. amazon

    Can Amazon Convince Europe It’s Not Predatory?

    Dutch entrepreneur Peter Sorber was excited when the e-commerce giant agreed to feature his small online store. Then his listings disappeared and his revenue sank — while sales of Amazon-brand products spiked. He’s not alone: Similar complaints are the basis of an EU investigation into whether the trillion-dollar company abuses its market dominance to collect competitor data for a leg up.

    What can European authorities do? They could take a lesson from India, which recently sent Amazon shares plummeting after implementing tough new e-commerce rules.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Amazon’s escape from New York.

  6. Also Important…

    Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden topped an IOWA poll as the favored 2020 Democratic presidential candidate before officially announcing whether he’ll be running. Two more British women who fled to Syria to join the Islamic State have been stripped of their citizenship by the U.K. government. Two apparent tornadoes touched down yesterday in central Arkansas causing building damage as storms hit northeast Mississippi.

    In the week ahead: On Monday, President Trump is expected to propose deep domestic spending cuts and a boost in Pentagon funding as part of his 2020 budget plan. On Wednesday, former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort will be sentenced on two conspiracy charges, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years. And on Thursday, the Special Olympics World Games kick off in the United Arab Emirates, where some 7,500 athletes from around 190 countries are expected to compete.

    #OZYfact: Since the launch of 23andMe in 2006, more than 5 million people have used the genetic testing kit. Read more on OZY.


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    US Recycling Has Turned Out to Be Rubbish

    They’re throwing it all away. After years of information campaigns, Americans finally caught on to recycling — then China, where most U.S. recyclables were sent, levied tough new restrictions on “foreign waste.” Amid higher processing costs, many towns and cities now “can’t afford” to recycle anymore, so they’re turning to incineration and landfills to manage the estimated 61 million metric tons of recyclables Americans collect each year.

    What’s the environmental impact? Landfills release methane, while experts say incineration facilities can be more detrimental to the air than coal plants.

    Read this OZY story on how even Germans botch their recycling.

  2. egyptian women shutterstock 769185169

    Egyptian Women: Cover Up — or the Catcall Is Your Fault 

    “What were you wearing?” That’s the response Egyptian women often receive when complaining about an unwanted advance — but it’s other women, not men, asking it. Eighty-four percent of them believe that a provocatively dressed woman deserves to be harassed, OZY reports, compared to 70 percent of Egyptian men. That leaves little room for solidarity among the 99-plus percent of women who’ve reported being sexually harassed.

    Has it always been like this? Older Egyptians remember a time when wearing short skirts was the norm, but conservative politics have increasingly cemented Egypt as a patriarchal society.

  3. mark zuckerberg not smiling shutterstock 181985711

    Will the ‘Living Room’ Facebook Be Any Better?

    Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted 3,200 words explaining his aspiration to merge Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram into a more “intimate” social network. But his vision could exacerbate much of what’s helped the platform lose 15 million users since 2017, journalist Sue Halpern says, because it could provide advertisers even richer data on users and also boost anonymity for those who spread hate and misinformation.

    When can the world expect a new-look network? It could be a while: For now, it’s uncertain whether Zuckerberg’s concept for across-the-board encryption is even possible.

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    This ‘Star Wars’ Toy Thief Is Seeking Redemption

    A Star Wars toy collector for decades, Carl Cunningham befriended some of America’s top hobbyists, including one in California who allowed fans to browse aisles of valuable items unescorted. In 2017, the unemployed father sold an extremely rare missile-launching Boba Fett — never released due to its potential choking hazard — which, it turns out, had been reported stolen along with numerous other items. Admitting his guilt, Cunningham served six months’ house arrest.

    Is there a way back? Although he’s tried to atone, the collectors who’ve hounded and threatened Cunningham believe he’ll be consigned to the dark side for good.

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    The Fearless Face of US Soccer’s Future

    Can he score one for the home team? A 20-year-old New York Red Bulls midfielder, Tyler Adams might just be the megastar American soccer has been waiting for. After rising through that team’s system and turning pro in the U.S. at age 16, Adams has since moved to greener pitches, signing with Germany’s RB Leipzig. But while overseas, he’ll need to overcome past overzealous predictions of supposedly world-class U.S. talent.

    What could he bring to American soccer? If successful in Europe, Adams could return stateside to lead the national team and attract talent.

    Don’t miss OZY’s feature on the migration fueling Africa’s soccer hopes.