The Presidential Daily Brief

important

  1. fire flames shutterstock 528158368

    Indian Factory Ignites as Workers Sleep; 43 Die

    Fire swept through factory in New Delhi early today, killing 43 people thought to be workers sleeping between shifts. The blaze, which also left 16 hospitalized, broke out in a multi-level garment-making business in the city's crowded old quarter. One man at the scene said his brother called to say he was trapped inside by fire and had not been heard from since. A local police official said the fire was accelerated by plastic packaging material.

    What's the cause? That's being investigated, along with whether the small manufacturer was operating legally. A February New Delhi hotel fire started in an illegal rooftop kitchen, killing 17.

    Death Trap

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  2. Trump Won't Offer Impeachment Defense in House

    President Donald Trump signaled Friday that he would not offer a defense before the House of Representatives, which announced its official impeachment proceeding last week. A White House letter called adopting articles of impeachment, anticipated this week, "a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats." It also urged that the House vote quickly, so the Republican-controlled Senate could proceed with a trial.

    What happens next? Democrats reportedly expect to approve impeachment before Christmas, while observers debate whether the process will help or hurt either side in 2020 elections.

  3. Saudi Ties Frayed After Trainee Kills Three on Florida Base

    A Saudi Air Force officer fatally shot three people at a Florida airbase Friday morning, further complicating U.S. relations with Riyadh. It's not clear what motivated the shooter, identified as pilot trainee 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who opened fire in a classroom building before a sheriff's deputy fatally shot him. Hours earlier, a twitter post in Alshamrani's name said America had become "a nation of evil" and quoted Osama bin Laden.

    How have leaders reacted? President Trump said the Saudi king called with condolences and denounced the attack, which didn't represent "the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people so much."

    Fatal Invitation

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  4. With Brexit in Mind, Britons to Vote Thursday

    Polling indicates a majority Conservative win, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson could still face an unruly Parliament if the margin isn’t decisive enough. Every Conservative candidate has backed his plan to pass a bill withdrawing the U.K. from the European Union by the end of January. Labour and Remain supporters have turned to the unpopular leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has vowed to negotiate a softer landing. 

    Who else is involved? Two former prime ministers, Labour’s Tony Blair and the Conservatives’ John Major, are urging voters to support anti-Brexit candidates, regardless of party.

    OZY examines Labour’s Indian exodus.

  5. Germany Walks Tightrope With Alleged Russia Hit

    Germany took its time investigating the August assassination of a former Chechen rebel on its soil. The victim was an asylum-seeker who opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his appointed Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. The detained suspect entered the country with a fake Russian identity, and last week Germany finally fingered the Kremlin and expelled two of its diplomats.

    Is that it? Berlin doesn’t want to burn its bridges with Moscow, but if it doesn’t take decisive action, thousands of Chechens in Germany are likely to live in fear.

    Read OZY’s feature on the erosion of Putin’s base.

  6. Also Important...

    U.S. unemployment dropped to a half-century low of 3.5 percent in November with the addition of 266,000 jobs. Iraqi protesters and police were among at least 20 people killed by unidentified gunmen in Baghdad Friday. And Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has reached a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of devastating 2017 and 2018 California wildfires.

    In the week ahead: On Tuesday, Nobel prizes will be awarded in Stockholm and Oslo. The deadline for forming an Israeli governing coalition and avoiding the country's third election in 11 months is Wednesday. And the U.N. climate conference in Madrid ends Friday.

    The Future of X is here! OZY's new podcast, in partnership with Smartsheet, can show you how we'll collaborate in the workplace. Find out how to tune in here.

intriguing

  1. With Climate Change, Netherlands Are Everywhere

    Should we have paid attention to the windmills? As coastal populations face the flooding that accompanies rising oceans, they’re increasingly interested in Dutch engineering. With half the country, which suffered catastrophic inundation in 1953, below sea level, the Netherlands has been forced to innovate ways of controlling water. Along with its iconic dikes, it has constructed two of the planet’s biggest storm surge barriers.

    What are the results? Norfolk, Virginia, and Hurricane Katrina–ravaged New Orleans are working on implementing some of Holland’s newest flood-control ideas, like slowing, storing and circulating stormwater while recharging groundwater.

    OZY explains why Iowa cares about climate change.

  2. Meet India’s Doctor of Platonic Love

    Asexuals — those who do not experience sexual attraction — struggle to find love on dating apps, where connections gravitate quickly toward sex. Dr. Pragati Singh is trying to change that, OZY reports. She’s building a community for asexuals called Indian Aces, providing support in a society where marriage and procreation are imperatives for many. Singh has developed a “Comprehensive Sexuality Model” to help the curious define their identities.

    How can she help? Recognizing that finding an understanding partner can improve emotional well-being as well as physical safety, Singh aims to develop a platonic dating app. 

  3. a micro chip of computer hardware

    When E-Waste Gets E-Tracked

    The Basel Action Network fitted recycled LCD monitors with GPS bugs and tracked some to Hong Kong, where workers often risk poisoning from chemicals like mercury that are released when the displays are broken up. Most disappointing was that the monitors first went to Seattle-area recycler Total Reclaim — a firm BAN had commended for its ethical disposal record. BAN Director Jim Puckett said he felt “betrayed” and two Total Reclaim executives went to jail for fraud.

    What’s the lesson? It’s costly and difficult to handle e-waste, and what’s needed, Puckett says, is for the devices to be designed for easy recycling.

  4. Female K-Pop Stars Live on a Razor’s Edge

    It’s a precarious pedestal they live on. The suspected suicides of two beloved K-pop stars, Sulli and Goo Hara, are recent evidence of that. Journalist Junhyup Kwon posits that such female celebrities must “be pure like a virgin and pretty like a doll,” facing a backlash once relationships are exposed, their beauty lapses or they resort to plastic surgery.

    Isn’t that the price of fame? Perhaps, but it’s a very unequal and misogynistic one: Male K-pop stars aren’t nearly as constrained, and Kwon believes fans need to support their female counterparts’ liberation — and mental health.

  5. USC Star Plays Posthumous Defense vs. CTE

    Days after former star University of Southern California defensive back Kevin Ellison wandered onto a freeway in front of a speeding van, his family donated his brain. Ellison had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but his mother suspected that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a devastating neurodegenerative disease believed to result from the kind of hits football players routinely take.

    What were the results? Boston University researchers confirmed CTE in September, and with the help of similar donations, they hope to determine how to prevent cases such as Ellison’s.

    Read OZY’s look at rules that are changing the game.