The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. new zealand mosque attack memorial shutterstock 1340368604

    World Reels After New Zealand Mosque Massacre

    Another victim has died, bringing to 50 those killed Friday in two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque attacks. Police said just one man was responsible. Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, charged with murder, is linked to a xenophobic 74-page manifesto posted before the attacks were live-streamed on Facebook and reportedly made a white power gesture in court.

    How is the world reacting? People from Auckland to Seattle placed flowers and supportive notes in front of mosques, where a man in Birmingham, England, held a sign: “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”

  2. brexit

    As Deadline Looms, Brexit Needs More Time

    In this divorce, only one side is conflicted. On Tuesday, Britain’s Parliament again rejected a Brexit agreement painstakingly negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May with other European Union leaders. A Wednesday vote rejected “crashing out” of the EU with no agreement. And on Thursday, members overwhelmingly voted to ask Brussels to extend the March 29 deadline.

    What happens now? May will seek another parliamentary vote next week. If it passes, she’ll seek a June 30 deadline. If not, she’ll seek a longer extension, which, she warns, may kill Brexit.

    Read OZY’s latest Brexit Special Briefing.

  3. siberia road shutterstock 513259999

    Russia Is Building Bridges … to Nowhere

    In Russia’s vastness, infrastructure can make life-or-death differences. Before the recent construction of one bridge, two Siberian villages were isolated for four freezing months each year. While Moscow can afford such roads, rails and pipelines, critics say they’re haphazard and lack public support outside of those who directly benefit.

    Where could it have the biggest impacts? Russia’s previously ice-locked Northern Passage is becoming navigable as global warming sets in, so the Kremlin is investing in shipping infrastructure that could transform East-West cargo routes.

    Check out this OZY story on the whitewashing of Stalin’s memory.

  4. alternative for germany anti islam anti immigrant demo shutterstock 1090816337

    Immigration in Europe: Down But Still Kicking

    Populist parties have ridden a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment into public office, but there’s one problem: Immigration is drying up. So interior ministers like the Austrian Freedom Party’s Herbert Kickl are innovating to keep the issue alive. Kickl is pushing detention of, say, a law-abiding migrant who has “an explosive belt strapped to his mind” and is calling immigration facilities “departure centers.”

    Is it working? Austrian media, especially Vienna tabloids, are migration-obsessed, and Kickl, in a leaked memo, advised police to cooperate only with friendly outlets.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the sunny face of Austria’s far right.

  5. Also Important…

    An Indian Ocean cyclone ripped into southeastern Africa this weekend, killing more than 30 people in Zimbabwe. Investigators probing last week’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet have found its stabilizers tilted upwards — another similarity with an Indonesian Max 8 crash in October. President Donald Trump has used his first veto to defeat a congressional resolution to rescind his national emergency declaration allowing him to fund a wall between the United States and Mexico. And lawyer and anti-couption campaigner Zuzana Caputova trounced the ruling party candidate Saturday in the first round of Slovakian presidential elections.

    In the week ahead: On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case alleging racial bias in drawing Virginia’s legislative districts. Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, visits his U.S. counterpart Tuesday in the White House. And Wednesday, on the International Day of Happiness, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to discuss minimizing interest rate hikes.

    #OZYfact: The world’s major oil companies budgeted just over 1 percent of their 2018 capital expenditures for low-carbon ventures. Read more on OZY.


  1. Rats

    We Live With Rats. Get Used to It

    The long-tailed rodents originated in the Asian steppes, following messy humans’ migration to Europe and the New World. In the past decade, urban rat populations have risen as much as 15 to 20 percent, and their sometimes deserved rep for being sneaky and filthy has made them a target for a host of extermination methods.

    Is there anything good about rats? They’re smart. In one study, members of genus Rattus demonstrated empathy, uncaging other rats — even when they had nothing to gain.

    Read this OZY profile on the geneticist creating gene-edited animals for our plates.

  2. shutterstock 632893931 telephone

    Robots Are Killing Telephone Service

    Like brain-craving zombies, they’re devouring your phone. Or at least its usefulness. U.S. automated calls jumped a staggering 41.3 percent from 2017 to 2018 and the Federal Communications Commission estimates that 1,500 are received every second in the country. While the federal “do not call” list deterred telemarketers in the past decade, international robocallers, whether advertising or scamming, can fool caller ID with spoofed numbers.

    Is there a solution? A new breed of apps will block robocalls, but many people are opting to simply not answer calls from unknown numbers.

  3. kenya map shutterstock 690933865

    How a Tweet Cleaned Out a Bank

    Customers of Chase Bank, Kenya’s best-known midsize financial institution (unaffiliated with its U.S. namesake), rushed to empty their accounts in 2016 after a talk show personality falsely tweeted that large sums were missing amid a fraud investigation. The rumor first began in a WhatsApp group and quickly spread on other platforms.

    Did the tweet kill the bank? It survived federal receivership, but, writes Nanjala Nyabola in Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, repercussions show just how vulnerable Kenya is to digital brush fires. “If social media can bring down a bank,” Nyabola wonders, “can it bring down a government?”

  4. hamilton shutterstock 480921733

    Broadway’s Political Renaissance Transcends ‘Hamilton’

    Can they catch the conscience of the king? Politically themed shows such as Hillary and Clinton, previewing today with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, have occupied Broadway. Hillary joins plays like What the Constitution Means to Me and Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus in dramatic consciousness-raising that famously included the Hamilton cast’s 2016 curtain-call lecture of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

    Does it pay? Hamilton is an epic hit, and even the journalistic Lifespan of a Fact — something star Daniel Radcliffe says might not have been considered “political” 10 years ago — easily recouped its $4.1 million cost.

  5. ncaa basketball shutterstock 124534162

    Legal Battle Takes a Chip Out of NCAA Compensation Rules

    They’ve scored some points. As they prepared for March Madness, college players helping enrich elite universities found a friend in federal Judge Claudia Ann Wilken last week. She ruled that the NCAA can still restrict “amateur” athletes’ compensation, but enjoined the association from prohibiting schools from providing players with computers, science equipment and even postgraduate scholarships.

    Where could this lead? Wilken reiterated charges that not paying athletes had “severe anticompetitive effects,” perhaps aiding new court challenges, while lawmakers are considering a legislative remedy. Said one players’ rep, “The game is far from over.”