The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. climate change

    World Laments US Withdrawal From Paris Climate Deal

    Following Washington's formal notice yesterday that it's ditching the global pact to cut greenhouse emissions, officials from France and Japan were among those to publicly express disappointment. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the agreement as a "straitjacket" that would place an "unfair economic burden" on the United States, and argued for a "realistic and pragmatic model."

    What's next? Global diplomats are planning around America's absence — though it won't be finally determined until after next year's presidential election.

    Read this OZY feature about why climate change is wearing donors down.

  2. Ex-Ukraine Ambassador Felt Targeted by Trump

    According to transcripts released yesterday, Marie Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators last month she felt targeted by White House efforts to set up a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that excluded her. Yovanovitch, who was suddenly pulled from Kyiv in May amid a smear campaign against her, also claimed Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, suggested that tweeting her support for President Donald Trump might save her job.

    Why does it matter? Her testimony sheds light on the level of hostility she felt as a career diplomat caught in what's been described as an "attempted shakedown" of a foreign partner.

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    Iran Steps Further Away From Nuclear Agreement

    The already-collapsing 2015 pact is under more duress after Tehran revealed plans today to power up 1,044 centrifuges with uranium gas on Wednesday. The announcement came a day after Iran's nuclear chief said it had doubled the number of active advanced centrifuges. It also followed demonstrations in Tehran marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover, which sparked a 444-day hostage crisis.

    Is there any way back? While this week's developments speed up Iran's access to weaponized nukes, experts say they also put political pressure on Europe to let Tehran sell its oil.

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    US-China Trade Deal Hinges on Tariff Rollbacks

    "Both governments have to give to get." That's how a senior U.S. Chamber of Commerce official described the final hurdle before Beijing and Washington can end their trade war. Ahead of a potential "phase one" deal, the White House is reportedly considering scrapping tariffs on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese imports while also delaying other levies set to take effect Dec. 15.

    Who will hammer out the deal? Analysts say it may come down to Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping personally striking an agreement.

    Don't miss OZY's Fast Forward about the GOP's revolt against elite tax cuts.

  5. Also Important...

    Turkish authorities say they've captured the sister of deceased ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Several Iraqi protesters were killed yesterday in clashes with police. And former Trump confidant Roger Stone goes on trial in Washington today on charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

    #OZYfact: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning a $18.7 billion development package to support the transition away from coal. 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 weekender@ozy.com.

Intriguing

  1. Canada Has Lead-Laced Water Too

    A sprawling year-long investigation conducted by nine universities and 10 media groups found higher levels of lead in the drinking water of several Canadian cities than in Flint, Michigan. In 12,000 tests since 2014, 33 percent of samples exceeded the national safety guideline of 5 parts per billion.

    What's next? Authorities in some provinces and cities have pledged immediate action, since even at low levels lead exposure can cause serious health problems.

    Don't miss this OZY story to learn about the plan to quench world thirst.

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    Can New Branding Help Facebook?

    Facebook Inc. has unveiled a new logo to differentiate the parent company from its social media platform. The new design, printed in capital letters that change from blue to purple to green, hints at its ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp in order to boost Facebook's flagging reputation. It even considered changing the parent company's name entirely, but feared that would have attracted more controversy.

    Will the new logo help? Perhaps not: Trust in WhatsApp's encryption could decline with its open affiliation with Facebook, which is often criticized for failing to safeguard privacy.

  3. Germany Could Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

    Health Minister Jens Spahn submitted a bill Monday to ban supposedly therapeutic attempts to force LGBT minors to become heterosexual. The legislation, which would impose a steep fine and up to one year in prison for practitioners, would still allow adults to seek conversion after proving they weren't deceived or coerced into doing so. Rights groups have praised the move, while Spahn — who is openly gay — hopes it'll promote self-acceptance.

    Are LGBT rights in danger? Germany clocked a nearly twofold increase in homophobic attacks between 2013 and 2018.

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    Nigeria's First Oscar Contender Runs Into Trouble

    Citing its predominantly English dialogue, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disqualified Lionheart, Nigeria’s first entry in the best international film category. With fewer than 12 minutes of dialogue in the Igbo language of southeastern Nigeria, the 94-minute film falls short of foreign-language Oscar requirements — but could still contend for overall best picture.

    How did the filmmaker respond? Actor-director Genevieve Nnaji slammed the decision, noting that English is an official language of linguistically diverse Nigeria and also "acts as a bridge" for many locals.

    Read OZY's feature about how Nigeria's Jews are getting caught in a new war.

  5. Here's How Paris Is Creating a Cycling Boom

    A generation ago, few Parisians cycled around their city. But now that’s changing, OZY reports, thanks to new infrastructure, bike sharing and public transit frustrations. The City of Light saw a 54 percent increase in cyclists over the past year, with 5 percent of residents now biking to work or around the city. And with officials focused on a plan vélo, more change is sure to come rolling in.

    Will Paris become the city of cycling love? Parisians still complain that safety regulations haven't caught up with the realities of cyclists and motorists sharing the streets.