The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Amid Wildfires, Trump Again Threatens California Funding

    As the Golden State continues to battle wildfires that have scorched 100,000 acres and forced thousands from their homes, President Donald Trump once again threatened to cut federal funding to fight them. He praised the bravery of firefighters in a series of tweets, but also blasted Gov. Gavin Newsom, writing that fires erupt each year and it's "the same thing - and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help."

    What does Trump want California to do? He said it should stop doing a "terrible job" of managing forests — while Newsom responded that the federal government has cut management as the state has stepped it up.

    Read OZY's series on climate surprises.

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    Iraqi Protesters Attack Iranian Consulate in Karbala

    Exhibiting escalating anger over Tehran’s influence in Iraq, protesters attacked Iran's consulate in the Shiite Muslim holy city last night. They scaled concrete security barriers, replaced an Iranian flag with an Iraqi one and threw Molotov cocktails into the compound. Security forces, meanwhile, fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them, and three protesters were reportedly killed.

    Why the rage against Iran? Human rights groups allege paramilitary groups backed by Tehran have helped crack down on demonstrations in which some 250 people have been killed since early October.

    Don't miss OZY's profile of the Iraqi fighter labeled both a hero and a war criminal.

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    Trump Loyalists Balk at Testifying to House Committees

    After a series of high-profile hearings featuring administration insiders giving damning testimony about President Trump, three White House budget officials have refused to appear. They were summoned by House Democrats to testify about Trump's effort to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden. Observers say if these witnesses succeed in avoiding testifying, others may follow suit.

    Who's on deck for today? National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg, who was reportedly involved in moving a transcript of Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy to the White House's most classified computer system.

    Read OZY's Donald Dossier on the president's impeachment game.

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    McDonald's Fires CEO for Dating Subordinate

    There may be "something for everyone to love" at the fast-food giant, but this went too far. The company said Sunday that its corporate board fired CEO Steve Easterbrook, who made $15.9 million last year, because of his romance with a subordinate. Aside from showing "poor judgement," McDonald's said the relationship violated company policy. The departing 52-year-old has been replaced by McDonald's USA President Chris Kempczinski.

    What's the fallout? While Easterbrook admitted he made a "mistake," labor advocates argue that McDonald's has failed to properly address sexual harassment complaints.

  5. Also Important...

    A Congolese journalist who reported on the spread of Ebola has been stabbed to death in his home. Sportswear maker Under Armour says it's cooperating with a U.S. federal investigation and denies that its books were altered to make it look healthier. And Joyciline Jepkosgei upset fellow Kenyan running star Mary Keitany, winning the women's New York City Marathon 7 seconds shy of the record in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds.

    #OZYfact: The average age of National Hockey League fans has risen by 16 years since 2000 — the biggest increase of any major sport. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for a skilled full stack marketer who can help make OZY a household name. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. India's Capital Is Paralyzed by Smog

    It's become a "gas chamber." That's the grim assessment by one New Delhi official after the city's air quality index topped 900 Sunday, well above a healthy level of no more than 100. Residents are reporting breathing issues and sore eyes, while the city is allowing vehicles to operate only every other day. Dozens of flights have even been diverted because of the heavy smog.

    What is the government doing to clear the air? India's health minister was widely lampooned for recommending people eat carrots to prevent "pollution-related harm" — while documents revealed the environment minister had cancelled the three previous meetings to address smog.

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    As Duterte Sours on the West, Putin Swoops In

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has found an unlikely ally in Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the two tough-talking leaders share bravado, OZY reports that their recent bond is a sharp and sudden pivot from the Philippines’ traditional alliance with the U.S., a former colonizer. Under Duterte’s watch, Russian arms sales to the archipelago have skyrocketed while the West turns away from his bloody war on drugs.

    Can it last? The island nation has certainly opened to Moscow like never before, though experts doubt it can be so easily pried away from its longstanding ties to Washington.

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    Airbnb Bans 'Party Houses' — But How?

    The property rental app says it will ban "party houses" following the California shooting that left five people dead at a Halloween event attended by more than 100 people. Calling the incident in the Bay Area city of Orinda "unacceptable," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced this weekend that the company plans to flag "high-risk reservations" and create a rapid response team to take action against violators.

    How would that work? The company didn't elaborate beyond saying it has a team developing new protocols to identify potential abuses.

    OZY profiles the man creating an Airbnb for corporate relocation.

  4. Olivia Newton-John's 'Grease' Outfit Sells for $405,700

    Remember the leather jacket and black pants worn by good-girl character Sandy during the movie's closing number, You're the One That I Want? The pieces sold Saturday to separate anonymous bidders for twice the pre-auction estimate — $243,200 for the jacket and $162,500 for the pants — at the Southern California-based Julien's Auctions.

    Where does the money go? Thrice diagnosed with breast cancer, the 71-year-old actress says all proceeds will benefit the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Australia.

  5. South Africa's Rugby World Cup Stunner, in Black and White

    The Springboks secured a convincing 32-12 victory over England in Japan Saturday, claiming their third championship since the cup began in 1987. The win gave the whole nation something to cheer about while grappling with racial divisions that linger decades after apartheid ended in 1994: Before then, rugby games were segregated and Siya Kolisi, the team's first Black captain, couldn't have played in an international tournament.

    How will this title be remembered? With the image of Kolisi receiving the team's trophy, evoking the moment South Africa's first Black leader, Nelson Mandela, handed the cup to the all-White team's captain in 1995 — as dramatized in the film Invictus.

    OZY explains how New Zealand is losing its rugby stars.