The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. saudi oil pump shutterstock 290285543

    Saudis Announce World's Largest IPO

    The country's state-owned Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, will begin selling shares for Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock market next month, the kingdom announced today. The initial public offering could be history's largest, even thought it will represent a small fraction of the company's ownership. Aramco's total value is expected to be pegged at $1.5 trillion, and last year it recorded $111 billion in revenue — nearly twice that of Apple.

    What are the caveats? Although investors seem unfazed by the kingdom's murder of a dissident journalist in 2018, its refineries were crippled by a September drone and missile attack, raising questions about Aramco's vulnerability to further assaults.

  2. Baghdadi Killing Is a Big Hit for Trump

    In the wee hours last Sunday, U.S. helicopters descended upon Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Syrian hideout, prompting the ISIS leader to blow himself and two children up. The raid was well-timed for another embattled leader: President Donald Trump, who is facing Congressional impeachment fact-finding hearings. He scored a major military victory, supported by a majority of Americans in polls. Trump will likely nurture that spirit — going as far as hosting the dog injured in the raid.

    Does this save Trump? Those same polls also show no bump in Trump’s overall image, with only 44 percent in one survey viewing him as a strong leader.

  3. mississippi sign

    Red State Elections May Not Help the President

    In otherwise deep-red Mississippi, the president saw fit to hold a rally Friday to boost the Republican candidate's chances ahead of Tuesday's gubernatorial election. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is running neck-and-neck with Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, such that there's talk of invoking an 1890 provision — created to exclude Black candidates — for state legislators to decide the contest.

    What's the upshot? A Democratic victory there, or Tuesday's demise of Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, would suggest cracks — at least psychologically — in President Trump's red line against impeachment.

  4. immigration us flag hand on fence shutterstock 719113522

    When ICE Uproots Your Town

    In August, federal authorities touted “the largest single-state immigration-enforcement operation in U.S. history,” which included putting a tenth of the workers in Morton, Mississippi, in jail or out of work. Half of the 680 people picked up in the state were soon released, but in Morton they couldn’t return to chicken processing plant jobs. Some left town, while many filtered back.

    Whats life like now? Migrant students are back at their desks, but many have one parent missing, and wonder if the other will still be there when they get home from school.

    Don't miss this OZY story on where Latinos disagree on immigration.

  5. In Africa, Putin’s Game Isn’t So Great

    Africa now hosts the 21st century’s Great Game, and Russia appears to be losing. Historically, the continent has been a passive host to foreign powers, but with greater local wealth and political clout, President Vladimir Putin’s Africa pivot is flailing, argues foreign policy expert Stephen Paduano. Beyond arming various countries’ militaries, Russia doesn’t produce much of what African nations want or need.  

    Will we ever see a Russia-Africa alliance? Analysts say Russian foreign policy tends to focus on the incumbent leadership across the continent, leading to costly and embarrassing scandals as governments change hands.

    OZY reports on Africas economic and nationalist friction.

  6. Also Important...

    A federal judge has blocked an executive order denying U.S. visas to immigrants who can't obtain health insurance. South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in Japan Saturday, beating England 32-12. And the 77,000-acre Kincade fire in Northern California is more than 70 percent contained by firefighters.

    In the week ahead: The New York City Marathon will take place today. Today and Monday, Pacific Rim nations will converge at the ASEAN Summit in Thailand — the second without the American president. And former Trump confidant Roger Stone's obstruction trial begins Tuesday.

    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. OZY Takes It to the Next Level

    We're expanding, and we couldn't have done it without you! We've just completed a $35 million Series C fundraising round — Silicon Valley-speak for a major growth spurt — led by billionaire venture capitalist Marc Lasry. This step doubles total investment in OZY and, as founders Carlos Watson and Samir Rao put it, "validates our long-standing commitment to premium storytelling and quality journalism across platforms."

    What's new and next for OZY? Always breaking out of the daily content bubble, we'll be telling more and better stories on TV, delving into scripted drama, and taking OZY Fest to multiple cities.

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    The Midwest’s Mild-Mannered Cyber-Avenger

    Michael Gillespie, a programmer who works at Nerds on Call in Normal, Illinois, creates and provides — for free — decryption keys for thousands of ransomware victims around the world. Thwarting hackers’ attempts to extort thousands of dollars, Gillespie has been honored by the FBI. Yet cancer treatment bills almost led to the foreclosure of the house he shares with his high school sweetheart and 10 pets.

    How did he survive? Fellow international ransomware fighters donated money to Gillespie’s website and got him a part-time job creating decryption tools.

    Check out OZYs look at AI cyber-warriors.

  3. Why Are Nations Feuding Over a Crappy Ocean Rock?

    Rockall lies in the North Atlantic nearly equidistant from Scotland, which claims the pinnacle tinted by avian excrement, and Ireland, whose fishing industry has relied on nearby waters for decades. Now Scottish authorities are threatening to arrest Irish fisherfolk, claiming they’ve overfished their welcome in what’s part of an economic zone legally accessible to all European Union states.

    What does the law say? Ireland cites international conventions that don’t recognize uninhabitable rocks having territorial waters, as Great Britain claims. If Brexit happens, though, the Irish will be at Scotland’s mercy.

    OZY explains how a desert nation is turning to fishing.

  4. The Next Fyre Scam Could Be a Film Festival

    Unlike A-listers invited to Cannes and Sundance, struggling indie creators must look for exposure and networking opportunities where the lights aren’t quite so dazzling. Some 3,000 movie festivals compete for submissions, 75 percent of them less than a decade old. They promise glitz and glamour, but many leave budding auteurs disappointed — and poorer for having paid registration fees, lodging and airfare. A few fly-by-night fests never even open.

    Should buyers beware? Insiders say yes, but add that platforms like FilmFreeway, which collect substantial commissions on festival bookings, could do better vetting.

  5. Soccer Is the Occupation They Prefer

    The professional soccer club named for Jordan’s Al Wihdat refugee camp has a Palestinian fan base stretching from Amman to Gaza. Players have been revered as “fedayeen,” the name for Palestinians who battle Israeli troops. But sometimes clashes with rival fans, like those of Hashemite Jordanian–supported Al Faisaly franchise, can erupt into literal violence that mirrors tensions outside the stadium.

    How do they interact with other Palestinian teams? That’s where the animosity stops, writes Palestinian journalist Omar Almasri, saying fans cheer both sides, and the teams break bread after games.

    Dont miss OZY’s feature about Afghanistans sports successes.