The Presidential Daily Brief


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    UK to Head to the Polls in Early Election

    The U.K. Parliament ensured Tuesday that its citizens will head to the polls after voting 438 to 20 in favor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's General Election Bill. The election will be held on Dec. 12, with both the Tories and Labor confident that they can win at the polls. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to move the election three days earlier to ensure more students would be available to vote, but his proposal was rejected 315 to 295.

    Who is favored to win? The bookmakers have given the conservatives an 85.7 percent chance of winning a majority in December. But whoever wins, voters hope the election will finally solve the Brexit deadlock.

  2. Lebanese PM Saad Hariri set to Resign

    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Tuesday that he will be submitting his resignation following almost two weeks of unrest. The national unity government he presided over included the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement. The news came just hours after supporters of Hezbollah and its ally Amal attacked protesters downtown.

    What happens next? Demonstrators are celebrating Hariri's resignation, yet they vow to remain in the streets until all political figures step down.

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    House to Hear From Top Official on Trump's Ukraine Call

    A decorated Iraq War vet who's now the national security council's top Ukraine expert is due to give first-hand testimony about President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine's leader. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman reportedly says a "sense of duty" compelled him to flag the administration's dealings with Ukraine twice before. He's also expected to describe how Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, helped pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump's political opponents.

    Why does it matter? Vindman will be the first White House official who listened to Trump's call to testify in impeachment proceedings.

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    Boris Johnson Doubles Down on December Election

    "We will not allow this paralysis to continue." So said the British prime minister yesterday after Parliament failed to approve his third bid for a Dec. 12 election. He'll try once more today — this time, through a bill requiring only a simple majority. But he'll still need backing from beyond his Conservative Party.

    Why a new election? Observers say Johnson believes he'll get more cooperation from a new legislature, although there's a risk of further deadlock even after voters weigh in.

    Check out OZY's feature on Central Asia's own "Schengen" Zone.

  5. US Military Chases Post-Baghdadi Momentum

    Following the dramatic death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi this weekend, Pentagon brass aren't resting on their laurels. Officials suggest more operations are in the works — including a mission to guard Syrian oilfields, currently controlled by Kurdish-led militias, from both the terror group and the Russian-allied government. "The security situation in Syria remains complex," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters yesterday.

    Is the world safer without Baghdadi? As OZY reports, some analysts suggest his death could simply speed up the evolution of his organization's next phase, especially with more than 18,000 fighters on the loose between Iraq and Syria.

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    Reports: Saudi Aramco to Launch IPO This Week

    The world’s most profitable company is slated for a long-anticipated initial public offering Nov. 3, according to Saudi television. After the move was first mentioned three years ago, shares in Riyadh's state-owned oil company are expected to start trading on the Saudi stock exchange Dec. 11. Although Saudi Aramco will only publicly float up to 2 percent of the company, that would already make it one of the largest-ever IPOs.

    What's taken so long? Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been pushing for a $2 trillion valuation — up to double what analysts say it might be worth, considering global moves to minimize reliance on fossil fuel.

  7. Also Important...

    Thousands of Chilean protesters returned to the streets yesterday, even after embattled President Sebastian Piñera reshuffled his Cabinet. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong has been prohibited from standing in elections next month. And China has released a new code of conduct for citizens, which includes advice on everything from trash collection to proper flag etiquette.

    #OZYfact: According to some worst-case projections of melting ice, Britain's Isles of Scilly could see a 14-meter surge within a few hundred years. Read more on OZY.

    OZY needs you! Tell us about the last great film you saw, book you read, podcast you discovered or concert you went to ... and we'll share it in OZY's Weekender newsletter. Email your picks to


  1. Is This Where Modern Humans Came From?

    Spread across northern Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, southern Africa's Greater Zambezi River Basin has been identified as the origin of the earliest modern humans, according to a genetic study published Monday in Nature. One of the continent's largest lake systems, the wetland helped sustain human life for around 70,000 years, say researchers who reached their conclusions using mitochondrial DNA from modern-day subjects.

    Are the findings definitive? Hardly: They draw inferences from DNA pointing to a common ancestor, a "Mitochondrial Eve," but critics note it's a small part of diverse genetic indicators we all carry.

  2. Germany's East Wins Big With Malaysian Gamble

    The reunification of East and West Germany landed hard in the Baltic port of Wismar: Unemployment soared, sending young job-seekers west. But decades later, the town's economic rebuilding got a major boost from an unlikely source, OZY reports: In 2016, Malaysian conglomerate Genting Berhad, known for casinos and its Instagramming, jet-setting execs, decided to start building its own cruise ships in Wismar's sleepy shipyard.

    How's that working out? The firm's subsidiary, also running two other former marine manufacturing facilities, has finished one cruise liner and is working on what it says will be the largest such German-built vessel.

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    Australia Considers Face Scans to Verify Porn Viewers' Age

    Australia's Department of Home Affairs wants adult content providers and gambling sites to use face scans to verify the age of watchers before permitting access. But face verification technology won't be authorized until Parliament approves the Identity Matching Services Bill, which a joint intelligence and security committee wants redrafted to include stronger privacy protections.

    What could possibly go wrong? Some critics say a robust age verification system would require a trove of potentially hackable personal data — linking users to porn sites.

    Don't miss this OZY story about how trans porn became mainstream.

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    Hollywood Producer Robert Evans Dies at 89

    The celebrated producer of silver screen classics like Chinatown and The Godfather died Saturday, U.S. media reported yesterday. First discovered as an actor, an ambitious young Evans soon rose to become Paramount Pictures head of production before becoming an independent filmmaker. He offered a salacious account of his rise and fall in the movie business in a 1994 memoir, The Kid Stays in the Picture, which became the basis for an award-winning 2002 documentary.

    How will he be remembered? So colorful was his legendary life that one screenwriter mused: “All the lies ever told anywhere about Robert Evans are true.”

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    Manchester United Considers Acquiring French Duo

    With injured star midfielder Paul Pogba benched until at least December, the Red Devils have reportedly shown interest in recruiting French players Boubakary Soumare and Moussa Dembele. Experts say United could even be looking at 20-year-old Lille member Soumare, who also played for France at the youth level, as a potential successor to Pogba.

    Does that mean he's out? While Pogba’s injured ankle already makes his future at Old Trafford seem dicey, he's a prime candidate to move to Real Madrid next summer.

    Read this OZY feature about Qatar's soccer diplomacy.