The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. South Dakota Plane Crash Kills Nine

    A small turboprop plane crashed in South Dakota Saturday, killing nine people, including two children. The pilot was among the fatalities when the single-engine Pilatus PC-12 went down about a mile after taking off from Chamberlain airport on its way to Idaho. Three passengers survived and were taken 140 miles for treatment to Sioux Falls, where they are reported to be in critical condition.

    What caused the crash? There's been no official word, but weather was reportedly snowy to the point where federal aviation investigators are having trouble reaching the site.

  2. police line shutterstock 56280433

    London Knife Killer Was Terror Convict

    Usman Khan, imprisoned in 2012 on charges he tried to set up a terror training camp in Kashmir, was released last December. He was identified as committing a deadly terror attack Friday in Central London — where he was invited among other "reformed" parolees. Wearing a fake bomb vest, he stabbed several people, two fatally, at a prisoner rehabilitation conference before rushing to London Bridge to be tackled by bystanders and shot dead by police.

    What now? With the Dec. 12 election looming, it quickly became political, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asserting that he had long argued against early release of violent criminals.

  3. us troops in afghanistan

    The President Goes to Afghanistan

    In a rare war-zone visit, President Donald Trump swooped into Afghanistan on Thanksgiving to visit troops and announce renewed peace talks with the Taliban. After a failed bid for a U.S. peace conference, Trump called off negotiations in September. The Islamic militant group, which governed the country in the 1990s, "wants to make a deal," the president said, although the U.S.-backed Afghan government remains on the sidelines.

    Are the Taliban on board? They've said they're "ready to restart" talks, but brushed off Trump's assertion that they "want to do a cease-fire."

    OZY security analyst John McLaughlin warns of drifting U.S. policies.

  4. House Judiciary Committee to Hold First Impeachment Hearing

    Wednesday’s first public hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee marks a new phase in the impeachment process, featuring legal and constitutional experts. President Donald Trump has been invited to testify, but is expected to decline, with one possible reason being his trip to the NATO summit in London. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has nonetheless urged Trump to show up or stop complaining about proceedings.

    How long does Trump have to decide? The president must notify the committee by Friday if he wishes to attend or present a defense.

  5. Iraq flag cracked shutterstock 1134705704

    Iraqi PM Quits After Bloodiest Demonstration Day

    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced his resignation Friday after the deadliest day in weeks of anti-government protests claimed 40 lives. The move came after the nation's top Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, asked Parliament to choose a new leader after the death toll in clashes between protesters and security forces rose to more than 400.

    What was the reaction? Baghdad's Tahrir (Freedom) Square erupted in singing and dancing, but demonstrators said it was "just the first step" toward sweeping economic and government reforms.

    Read this OZY analysis about ISIS's future viability.

  6. Also Important...

    Eleven people were wounded by gunfire, two critically, in New Orleans' French Quarter early today. American composer Irving Burgie, who wrote the breakthrough Calypso hit, Day-O, has died at age 95. And holiday weekend travelers face major delays from storms across the northeastern U.S. today.

    In the week ahead: Today is World AIDS Day. The two-week UN Climate Change Conference will begin Monday in Madrid. And on Thursday, President Trump and the first lady will light the National Christmas Tree.

    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. Microscopic view of infant mosquiito in bluish tone

    How a Fatal Error Crippled Vaccination Campaigns

    French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi developed Dengvaxia, the world’s first shot to prevent dengue fever, which kills 20,000 people a year. But while launching it in the Philippines, the company neglected to adequately warn that the shot should only be administered to those previously infected. The uninfected risked contracting an especially severe dengue. Now company executives and others involved in the campaign face charges in the deaths of 148 children.

    Are they guilty? It’s complicated, but one thing is certain: The tragedy is expected to prevent Dengvaxia from reaching those it can help, while stoking distrust of other lifesaving vaccines.

  2. She Sees the Good in the Former East Germany

    Journalist Anne Ramstorf remembers being called a Zoni, a derogatory term for eastern Germans. She was born after East and West Germany rejoined, OZY reports, but has nonetheless observed misguided perceptions of the formerly communist east. Western Germany still dominates the media and often presents easterners as poor, xenophobic siblings. These perceptions motivated Ramstorf to feature open-minded and creative easterners in her podcast Eastwards: An Ode to the East.

    Is it really that rosy? Critics say Ramstorf obscures the east’s failings, including a very real rise of intolerance, but she says most eastern inhabitants “support an open and free society.”

  3. The Venture Capitalist Who Says His Babies Must Be Stopped

    Roger McNamee was firmly in the Silicon Valley tent, building a reputation and a fortune investing in the future of tech. Now he’s making his name warning policymakers and the rest of us of the dangers of social media — especially Facebook, which he invested in. McNamee’s crusade illustrates the latest area of competition in Silicon Valley, that for moral superiority. 

    Will he win? McNamee has known Nancy Pelosi for 20 years and has chatted up Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren — who is keen to use antitrust law to break up tech monopolies.

    OZY meets the lawyer taking on Facebook.

  4. The Painful Truth of Russian Jokes

    Vladimir Putin: “I would like to discuss Ukraine. Donald Trump: “What’s Ukraine?” Putin: “Thanks, Donald!” No, this exchange isn’t from a subpoenaed transcript. Rather, it’s an example of political humor recalled by Leon Aron, a scholar of his Russian homeland. Anekdoty survive from Soviet times, when they were the only channel for truth as citizens perceived it — to the point where the CIA collected the jokes.

    Is Putin the butt of such jokes? Frequently. One popular line has the Russian leader being quizzed by an Estonian border guard: “Occupation?” Putin: “Not today. Just tourism.”

    OZY predicts the end of self-effacing humor.

  5. Could NCAA Hoops Be Wide Open?

    Supremacy in college basketball’s top division is rarely a mystery. This season was no exception, with five-time champion Duke firmly rated No. 1 — until this week. For the first time in 19 years, the Blue Devils lost at home to a nonconference team, Stephen F. Austin. It was as if the visitors’ star, Bahamian Nathan Bain, had summoned Hurricane Dorian. The storm destroyed Bain’s family home, now to be rebuilt with $123,000 in postgame donations (Duke haters?).

    Where do things stand? Kentucky was also ranked No. 1 and Michigan State No. 3 when they suffered surprising November losses, offering a panoply of championship scenarios.