The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Violence Feared After India's Top Court Enables Temple

    India's Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Saturday that enabled construction of a Hindu temple on the site of the 16th-century Babri Mosque, destroyed in 1992, then triggering sectarian violence that killed some 2,000 people. The court also ruled that Muslims can rebuild the mosque on an alternative to the site in Ayodhya in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, revered as the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

    How might this be received? Muslims fear a surge of Hindu nationalism, and the country is on alert, with rallies banned, schools closed and 4,000 security officers sent to the contested area.

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    The Impeachment Before Christmas

    "If they want it, I'll give it to them." That's what President Donald Trump says about a "second" call to his Ukrainian counterpart, now being sought in the House impeachment inquiry. Trump's accused of withholding U.S. aid to the country to exact favors to help his 2020 election effort. Meanwhile, his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, didn't show up on Capitol Hill Friday under White House orders not to.

    Where's the process headed? It's shifting from closed-door testimony to televised public hearings, bringing back three diplomats who've already fingered the president.

    Read OZY's latest Donald Dossier on Trump's resilience.

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    Supreme Court to Mull Trump's Attempt to End DACA

    On Tuesday, the Trump administration will ask the nine justices to reverse lower courts that have blocked an executive order scrapping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Judges will hear arguments on three cases that preserved Barack Obama's 2012 decision to create DACA without congressional approval.

    Will they side with Trump? The Supreme Court's conservative majority might uphold Trump's decision, but the president maintains that Democrats and Republicans could then craft a deal to protect "dreamers" who arrived in the country as children.

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    The Next Brexit Mess Could Be Trade

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pitch to voters in next month’s snap election is simply that his Conservative Party is the only guarantee that the U.K. will leave the European Union as promised. But this is misleadingly simple, writes journalist Tom McTague. Brexit will trigger fresh deadlines and nettlesome trade talks expected to require years, not the 12-month transition period now agreed upon. 

    Where could that lead? In the absence of an improbably quick trade deal, many expect another Brexit crisis in 12 months to avoid economic calamity.

    Read OZY's Flashback about a referendum that solved a problem in Europe.

  5. Also Important...

    "Unprecedented" brushfires in Australia's New South Wales state have killed three people. Spain holds parliamentary elections today after the ruling socialist party, which won the most seats in April, failed to form a governing coalition. And Iran says it has found a massive new oil field equaling a third of its previously known reserves.

    In the week ahead: Romania holds its presidential election today. The children's television program Sesame Street marks its 50th anniversary today as well. And Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the migrant charged with murdering Iowan Mollie Tibbetts, is expected to testify in a Wednesday evidence hearing.

    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. Will Iceland's Bitcoin Burglars Become Rich?

    Sindri Thor Stefansson was a "naughty boy" growing up, but nobody predicted he'd become the island nation's most famous thief. A bitcoin mining computer haven because of its chilly temperatures and low crime, Iceland's thriving industry was an easy target for Stefansson and his gang. One mine they burgled had no security and a ladder near an open window.

    Were they caught? Yes, and re-caught after Stefansson, who's serving four and a half years, escaped and became something of an Icelandic folk hero. But authorities never found the 550 computers he stole, which could still be mining bitcoin for the thieves or an accomplice.

  2. She's Leading Germany's Fight for Legal Abortions

    Germany won't legalize abortions, and Kristina Hänel is fighting to make sure everyone knows that. The procedure's been decriminalized, but the government clings to a century-old ban that carried the death penalty during the Nazi regime, OZY reports. At 63, the grandmother and doctor is battling charges stemming from detailing her abortion services online — hoping the European Court of Human Rights can compel changes to the law.

    Does anyone care? The issue hasn't resonated much in Germany, but the far-right AfD party is stoking those fires, advocating "family policies" that drive more "native" births as an alternative to migrant labor.

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    Your Health Insurance Is Housing the Homeless

    A doctor who's spent a quarter century working with the poor and the homeless, Jeffrey Brenner recently became an executive at UnitedHealth Group, America’s largest health insurer. Seeing the homeless in and out of hospitals, costing thousands, he's decided to provide homes in Phoenix for Medicaid patients, which his company is contracted to care for.

    Isn't that crazy? Not entirely. One patient's costs went from $13,000 per month down to around $2,000 — results that could have profound policy implications.

    Don't miss this OZY piece on homelessness-fighting artificial intelligence.

  4. 'The Economist' Defined a Wounded Liberal World Order

    The staid periodical has championed laissez-faire liberalism since its 1843 founding. But it's also been a cheerleader for the establishment, no matter how illiberal its aims, writes Alexander Zevin in his book, Liberalism at Large, on sale Tuesday. That's included tolerating slavery, military intervention, assassinations and Russia's oligarchy. Now the magazine laments the fracturing of the world order its core philosophy has built.

    Where does that voice originate? From the playing fields of Eton and other elite institutions — a homogeneity The Economist is only now trying to mitigate.

    OZY visits Bremen, the rich little city with big inequality.

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    Will London Become the NFL’s New LA?

    Last week, Chargers owner Dean Spanos angrily denied that his team was relocating to where "football" is another sport. This first high-profile contemplation of such a move raises the specter, opines sportswriter Conor Orr, that London could be the next shining city for itchy NFL franchises. Teams already rotate games there, and there's a nascent English fan base for the game.

    Would they really move there? Of course not, writes Orr. Owners could simply feign interest — as they did for the years Los Angeles was vacant — as a tactic for exacting concessions out of hapless host cities.