The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. palestinian woman argues with israeli border policeman west bank

    US: Israel's West Bank Settlements Are Fair Game

    In just a few words, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upended decades of U.S. policy yesterday by declaring Israeli settlements in the occupied territory as "not ... inconsistent with international law." The announcement, which drew fierce criticism from Palestinians, activists and politicians worldwide, was seen as a "political gift" to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's been pushing to annex the West Bank. The U.N. says those settlements violate the Geneva Convention.

    Why does it matter? The communities have long been a major roadblock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — which now seem more precarious than ever.

  2. hong kong protest shutterstock 1437457952

    Tired and Hungry, Protesters Ditch Hong Kong Campus

    Hundreds of demonstrators have left the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where they'd been barricaded since the weekend amid a standoff with police. Although around 100 remain, they seem unlikely to hold out much longer, local reports suggest, due to low temperatures and dwindling supplies. Still, activists won a rare victory yesterday when Hong Kong's high court ruled the recent ban on face masks was illegal. Beijing slammed that decision and hinted it could be overruled.

    What's next? That remains to be seen, since many protesters appeared seriously spooked by the police siege and ensuing clashes.

  3. UK's Prince Andrew Under Fire Over Epstein

    After a "disastrous" weekend interview, in which he attempted to address his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the prince is facing even more turmoil. A new Epstein accuser called on Andrew yesterday to share more information about the disgraced financier, while charities and businesses — including accounting giant KPMG — announced they'd no longer work with the British royal over his ties to Epstein.

    How bad will this get? A U.S. court could reportedly release more incriminating evidence against Epstein in coming weeks that also names Andrew.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing on the Epstein affair.

  4. wework shutterstock 1198379923

    Report: New York Attorney General Probing WeWork

    The Empire State is said to be investigating the embattled workspace startup, adding to the company's stunning reversal of fortunes in recent months. Under scrutiny, sources say, is former CEO Adam Neumann for allegedly enriching himself through dubious means. That includes leasing his own properties to the company, as well as charging his firm $6 million to use his newly trademarked "We" in its name.

    What's WeWork's current status? After recently shelving its IPO amid a serious cash crunch, the company's expected to lay off thousands of staffers around the world this week.

  5. Also Important...

    Two Western hostages were freed by the Taliban today after being held for more than three years. Central California's Hmong community is reeling after four of its members were killed in a Sunday night shooting. And the level of deforestation in the Amazon has risen to an 11-year high.

    #OZYfact: A total of 1.4 million U.S. adults identify as trans — and 16 percent of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender. 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. Vegans Sue Burger King Over 'Meatless' Patty

    A disappointed vegan filed a class-action lawsuit against the fast food giant in Florida Monday for cooking its vegan Impossible Burger on the same grill as beef burgers — and not disclosing that the patties were "contaminated" with meat residue. The suit claims Burger King violated the Sunshine State's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by advertising the patties as "100% Whopper, 0% Beef."

    Why does it matter? If such lawsuits attract enough negative publicity, they might threaten what could become a $100 billion market for fake meat within 15 years.

    Check out this OZY story about a revered Palestinian cuisine.

  2. Why Everyone in Uzbekistan Loves Telegram

    The encrypted messaging app's security and privacy features have made it a favorite for protest movements across the world, including in Hong Kong. But for users in Uzbekistan, Telegram is ubiquitous, OZY reports, replacing everything from social networks and Skype to the ordinary telephone. It's now more popular with users in the former Soviet republic — from police officers to drug dealers — than anywhere else in the world.

    How did Telegram get ahead? Uzbekistan has some of the slowest internet speeds on the planet, which makes the app's relatively small size particularly attractive there.

  3. Freed Russian Spy Offered Parliamentary Post

    "It’s a very good and interesting offer." That's how Russia’s human rights commissioner described a top lawmaker's proposition for Maria Butina to join the Russian Duma's foreign affairs committee. Butina, who spent 18 months in a U.S. prison for trying to infiltrate the National Rifle Association, was released last month. The 31-year-old was also offered a role to help secure the rights of Russian nationals abroad.

    What's next? Butina's acceptance of an official position could further irritate Washington, which is already on high alert for Russian spies.

    Read OZY's Acumen about why foreign students are flocking to Russia.

  4. "Xscape" album cover.

    Could Michael Jackson Still Face Molestation Lawsuits?

    A California appeals court indicated yesterday that it may soon reopen sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the deceased pop icon by former child stars Wade Robson and James Safechuck. The pair, who appeared in the documentary Leaving Neverland, say Jackson molested them when they were children starting in the late '80s. In a tentative ruling, the 2nd District Court of Appeals said the lawsuits, initially dismissed in 2017 due to the statute of limitations in California, be "reconsidered by the trial court."

    On what grounds? A new California law extends the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases, giving victims a longer period in which to sue.

  5. baseball generic pitch shutterstock 147286310

    Derek Jeter Headlines 2020 Cooperstown Ballot

    The New York Yankees shortstop seems likely to top the list of 32 players, including 14 holdovers from last year, up for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame next year. Experts say the 14-time All-Star, who led the Bronx Bombers to five World Series titles, is the only sure bet. Some predict he'll join former teammate Mariano Rivera as just the second unanimous Cooperstown inductee.

    Who else might join Jeter? Analysts see many first-time candidates — including Bobby Abreu, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett — as long shots, while holdovers like Curt Schilling and Omar Vizquel may pick up some votes.

    Read this OZY true story about going through hell to get into the Hall of Fame.