The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Elizabeth Warren Is Dems' Favorite New Target

    Sparring onstage in the fourth primary debate, candidates for the Democratic nomination for president trained their fire on Warren, the apparent new front-runner. Many of those attacks targeted the Massachusetts senator's health care plan, while Warren fired back at what she cast as her opponents' lack of vision or determination. Meanwhile, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, once a favorite target, appeared less central than ever before.

    What's next? Sure, this OZY writer says, the dynamics shifted with last night's debate — but the real moment of truth comes later this year, when primary numbers begin to gel ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

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    Turkey's Erdogan Isn't Taking It From the US

    A day after Washington called on Ankara to halt its offensive against Kurds in northeastern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made it clear that's out of the question. Even with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set to visit Turkey, he said he'd "never declare a cease-fire." Erdoğan also dismissed the fresh sanctions announced by President Donald Trump this week.

    How is the conflict changing? Russia's taking a more active role since the U.S. troop withdrawal by carrying out local patrols — while Erdoğan's preparing for a potential trip to the Kremlin later this month.

    Check out OZY's op-ed on how American leadership has taken a hit.

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    Pence, Giuliani Say 'No' to Impeachment Probe

    As congressional Democrats continue digging into White House dealings with Ukraine, Vice President Pence and Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, indicated they won't cooperate with the probe. That prompted Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff to comment, "The evidence of obstruction of Congress continues to build." Meanwhile, a top Ukraine-focused State Department official told lawmakers he'd been pushed aside for criticizing the administration's Ukraine policy.

    How are the American people feeling? They're still split, with 43 percent supporting impeachment, 42 percent against — and 14 percent unsure.

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    Hong Kong Lawmakers Shout Down Carrie Lam

    Demonstrators aren't the only folks furious with Hong Kong's embattled chief executive: As Lam prepared to deliver her annual address to the legislative chamber Wednesday, she was heckled twice by pro-democracy lawmakers hoisting less-than-friendly placards. That forced her to withdraw and speak via video feed. In her speech she addressed the city's housing crisis, but avoided mentioning the opposition's protest-related demands.

    What specific measures did Lam promise? She pledged to build 10,000 new apartments in three years, and to offer rent subsidies for low-income families waiting for public housing.

  5. Also Important...

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been photographed riding a horse atop a sacred mountain in what observers say could foreshadow a major announcement. Three major U.S. drug distributors have reportedly agreed to cough up $18 billion to settle lawsuits over their role in fueling the opioid crisis. And an Oxford University professor is accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to Hobby Lobby, a U.S. company that's attracted criticism for aggressively acquiring similar artifacts.

    #OZYfact: The world’s first nuclear device was detonated on July 16, 1945 — and up to 3,000 visitors flock to the New Mexico site for each of its twice-yearly open houses. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    NASA Unveils Moonwalk-Friendly Spacesuit

    The U.S. space agency has revealed a prototype of its new xEMU spacesuit with improved mobility and flexibility that could let astronauts on the upcoming Artemis missions actually do the moonwalk on the moon. Newly designed gloves will also allow them to use their fingers more freely to collect samples and use instruments.

    Who will wear them? The new suit's meant to fit anyone from the “first percentile female to the 99th percentile male,” experts say — an important feature, since NASA aims to land an American woman on the moon by 2024.

    Read OZY's Flashback about when NASA thought it found bacteria on the moon.

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    Warren Won't Take Large Donations From Big Tech

    Shortly before taking the stage at the Democratic debate last night, Sen. Warren announced she won't accept donations over $200 from executives at tech giants like Google and Facebook, companies she's sworn to break up if elected. Major banks, private equity firms and hedge funds are also on that list. Warren urged her rivals to follow her example — or to at least disclose the origins of their campaign money.

    Could the plan backfire? While she's already raised nearly $25 million this quarter from small donations, some wonder whether limiting corporate cash could hamper her prospects.

  3. China Is Weaponizing Education in Tibet

    For decades, the Communist Party has used demographic changes, cultural clampdowns and brute force to control the Buddhist region. Now, OZY reports, it’s trying something new: Tightening control over access to education. Parents are being warned that their children must stop attending classes at monasteries — with one school even claiming "authorities will be covertly watching" — while Beijing has ramped up efforts to send kids to state-run boarding schools outside Tibet.

    What's the ultimate goal? Experts say these moves are aimed at carving out a loyal ruling class as authorities prepare for a future after the 84-year-old Dalai Lama.

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    Actress Felicity Huffman Reports to Jail

    The Desperate Housewives star has begun her two-week prison sentence after reporting to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, Tuesday. Huffman pleaded guilty last month to a paying a bribe to improve her oldest daughter's SAT scores. The 56-year-old Oscar nominee must also pay a $30,000 fine — twice the amount of the bribe — and complete 250 hours of community service.

    Is she remorseful? Escorted to the facility by husband William H. Macy, Huffman said she'd honor the court's decision by giving back to the community and striving to be a better role model for her daughters.

    Check out this OZY feature on four-day school weeks gaining popularity.

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    Nationals Sweep Cardinals to Make World Series Debut

    "I can't put this moment into words." So said Washington manager Dave Martinez of last night's victory over St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLCS that swept his team into a franchise first World Series. Ace Patrick Corbin whiffed 12 batters through five innings, helping the Nats to a 7-4 win. They'll visit the American League champs — either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros — in Game 1 Tuesday.

    Why does it matter? In its 15-year history, Washington hadn't won a single playoff series, losing the NLDS a disheartening four times between 2012 and 2017.