The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Typhoon Kills 19 in Japan

    Ninteen people have died in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, which flooded 14 rivers, collapsed a railroad bridge and flipped vehicles while rescuers hoisted flood-trapped residents from rooftops on Japan's Honshu Island. A woman in her 70s died after falling from a rescue helicopter. After fearing the tempest would rival the death and destruction brought by a 1958 typhoon that killed 1,200 people, it appeared that more modern infrastructure and safety measures had mitigated the storm's impact.

    Is the worst over? After making landfall Saturday evening near Tokyo, Hagibis had moved offshore by this morning, leaving authorities to assess the damage.

  2. Turkey Hits US Post as It Attacks Syrian Kurds

    As Kurdish forces battled a Turkish onslaught in northern Syria, Ankara ignored attempts by U.S. officials to blunt the attack. Enabled by President Donald Trump's decision to move American forces out of the line of fire, the offensive still managed to hit a U.S. military outpost with artillery. The Pentagon said no Americans were harmed, but the post has been evacuated.

    What's being done to stop the violence? Defense Secretary Mark Esper said "serious consequences" would result from Turkey's actions, which could include fresh sanctions, and Trump has suggested negotiating a truce.

    OZY's security columnist lays out why Trump's Syria move damages U.S. credibility.

  3. shutterstock 644495302

    US, China Reach 'Phase One' Trade Deal

    Investors breathed a sigh of relief Friday when President Trump announced a "phase one" deal between American and Chinese negotiators to begin easing an ongoing trade war. China has agreed to significantly increase its stateside agricultural purchases, better regulate intellectual property and open its doors more to U.S. financial institutions. Washington would in turn delay Tuesday's planned tariff increase on Chinese goods.

    How did markets react? The Dow surged on the news, ending the day up 1.2 percent, mirroring other Wall Street indexes, but the devilish details of the deal are yet to be decided, and officials haven't signed anything.

  4. The Queen to Brave Brexit Battleground

    Queen Elizabeth II will give what may be one of her most eventful speeches to Parliament on Monday. The constitutional monarch is expected to highlight British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s priorities, including improving health care, policing and education. She’ll speak three days before Johnson meets EU officials — and has threatened to walk out if they don’t satisfy his demands for a Brexit deal.

    What’s next? If lawmakers vote to reject his agenda, Johnson will be under immense pressure to resign, yet he may seek a vote on an early election instead.

    OZY flashes back to when a referendum solved one of Europe's problems.

  5. Rudy Giuliani, shown here at Trump Tower in late 2016, debuted a new defensive tack yesterday to shield President Trump from campaign finance violation accusations. Source: Getty

    Giuliani Reportedly Under Investigation

    Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, is reportedly being probed by the office he once ran as U.S. attorney in New York. The New York Times reports that federal investigators are trying to determine if the outspoken lawyer violated lobbying disclosure laws by allegedly boosting the efforts of a Ukrainian prosecutor to oust Washington's ambassador to Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch.

    What's going on with the House impeachment probe? The anonymous Ukraine whistleblower has muddied the investigation by asking to submit written testimony, rather than appear for questioning, while the White House has reportedly again mistakenly sent its talking points to Congress.

    OZY's Donald Dossier takes you in a DeLorean to 2017.

  6. Also Important

    An under construction New Orleans hotel collapsed, killing two people Saturday. Coming in with a time of 1:59:40, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to be clocked running a 26-mile marathon in under two hours. And gunmen stormed a mosque in Burkina Faso Saturday, killing 16 people.

    In the week ahead: Poland is holding parliamentary elections today, with the ruling nationalist party expected to strengthen its mandate. Margaret Atwood is a top contender for this year's Booker Prize, to be announced Monday. And on Tuesday, U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls will debate each other for the fourth time.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded tech reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. Did a Human Write This?

    New Yorker author John Seabrook challenged OpenAI, the nonprofit artificial intelligence firm that recently got $1 billion from Microsoft, to help him write an article. Skynet, as it turns out, isn't coming for the English majors. The company’s GPT-2 composer could uncannily mimic Seabrook’s writing style when it came to finishing sentences or even paragraphs, but its prose eventually devolved into nonsense.

    Whats its potential? GPT-2 and its rapidly developing cousins, already helping us complete Gmail sentences, can generate convincing social media posts — learning from other bots in an endless feedback loop.

    OZY examines apps that use AI to ward off depression.

  2. Agnes Chow Isn't Afraid of Beijing

    Agnes Chow Ting loves to let loose at Japanese karaoke bars. But the 22-year-old is instead busy fighting for democracy for Hong Kong, OZY reports. Chow, whom Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam calls “little girl,” has been able to do the unthinkable — rattle Xi Jinping’s communist China by becoming a popular protest leader. The girl who started fighting for her rights at age 15 is not ready to back down.

    How might this end? A court has allowed Chow to run for public office, but if Beijing’s patience wears out, she might end up a political prisoner instead.

  3. The Tech Boom Is Deafening

    Arizona is a great place for data centers that serve some of the world’s most important digital concerns, but not so great for a good night’s sleep. With increasing reliance on technology, sources of distracting hums and buzzes are multiplying. Legislation has done little to help; and small anti-noise agitators are finding themselves drowned out, while scientists have yet to figure out why some of us suffer more.

    Is there any hope for quiet? Neighbors of a giant data center outside Chandler, Arizona, have forced it to sound-baffle its data centers’ chillers, raising hopes for calm after the shouting.

    OZY asks: Do you have exploding head syndrome?

  4. Greener Pastures for Gaming Addicts

    It’s a waiting game to enter ReStart Life, and an expensive one. For $50,000, the first U.S. residential rehab specifically treating gaming addiction helps hardcore Fortniters and Red Dead Redemption fans break their habit. Recognized by the World Health Organization, although not by the top U.S. psychiatric authority, gaming addiction is treatable, the program says. It stars by “de-teching” patients in the great outdoors on its Pacific Northwest spread, having them hike and tend the ranch’s flora and fauna.

    Then what? The second phase reintroduces patients to society with group therapy and independent living, aiming to put them back in the world — but not the massively multiplayer variety.

  5. How Top Football Concussion Data Became Suspect

    Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz is the founder of one of the top sports concussion research centers at the University of North Carolina. And as a leading sports concussion researcher, Guskiewicz has collaborated with the NCAA and NFL to improve player safety. But his findings are now in question after an academic paper published in June revealed that Guskiewicz mysteriously failed to account for the high rates of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders among his football-playing test subjects.

    Does the data still have value? Some say yes, but failure to disclose subjects' conditions suggests research that sports associations have long turned to may be deeply flawed.