The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Kamala Harris to Withdraw From Presidential Race

    Senator of California Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she is pulling out of the 2020 Democratic Presidential race after slumping in the polls in recent months. Harris's campaign enjoyed a strong start, but her inability to communicate a clear strategy to voters proved to be a major set back. Pressure from major donors was another issue, with Harris fearing that she could loose vital financial support if she failed to make gains in the polls.

    What's the big picture? Harris falling out may be a gain for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was directly ahead of her in the polls.

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    Turmoil, Tensions Mark NATO Summit

    "Are we waving in celebration or do people think we are drowning?" That's what one senior European diplomat asked as the military alliance prepared to mark its 70th anniversary in London today. With members squabbling over cash and a failure to cooperate, NATO is facing a precarious political future. French President Emmanuel Macron even called it "brain dead" last month after Washington's troop withdrawal from Syria paved the way for a unilateral Turkish offensive.

    What's on the agenda? When officials meet at Buckingham Palace, they'll discuss the military threat from China and consider space as a new arena of warfare.

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    North Korea Offers Stark Warning to Washington

    Less than a week after its latest weapons test, the Hermit Kingdom warned the Trump administration that it's "entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift" it will get. The comments by North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs served as a stark reminder that the year-end deadline to strike a nuclear deal is fast approaching. Talks between the two sides have suffered since February.

    What "gift" could the U.S. receive? Some observers suspect it could be a satellite launch or another intercontinental ballistic missile test.

    Read this OZY op-ed about why North Korea is keeping its nukes.

  4. Taxes

    US Threatens Tariffs on French Goods

    The Trump administration says it's preparing to levy taxes of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French imports like Champagne, cheese and handbags in response to France's digital services law. The White House claims the measure, enacted in July, unfairly targets major American tech firms like Apple and Google by levying a 3 percent tax on revenue earned in France.

    Is this a done deal? Producers and consumers will have a chance to weigh in on the tariffs in Washington next month, while tech sector representatives are hoping a settlement can still be reached.

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    Reports: Barr Disputes Inspector General's Finding on Russia

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr reportedly disagrees with his own department's assertion that the FBI had enough cause to launch a probe into suspected collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016. If Barr goes public with his complaint, it could buoy Republicans' claims of a politically motivated investigation — but also fuel criticism that the country's top lawyer is openly siding with the president. Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report is due next week.

    Will Barr pipe up? That remains to be seen, especially since he's said to have praised Horowitz's work in the past.

  6. Also Important...

    In her first British TV interview, Virginia Giuffre repeated her allegations that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew. Iranian state media said police had killed "rioters" in multiple cities during recent gasoline-related protests. And jury selection begins today in the defamation lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

    #OZYfact: Support for the Labour Party has declined by 12 percentage points among British Indians since the 2017 general election. 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


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    Amazon Joins Quest for Quantum Computing

    Yesterday the tech giant's cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, unveiled tools that will allow select researchers to build and test quantum algorithms. Amazon Braket follows similar — but more advanced — steps by IBM and Google, which have developed prototype quantum processors they hope will offer unmatched power and speed to revolutionize everything from financial markets to electric cars.

    Are we close to the quantum age? While researchers have been exploring quantum technology for almost a decade, experts say we're still far from applying it to everyday tasks.

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    Netherlands: Russia Let MH17 Suspect Escape

    Dutch authorities say Russia allowed a key suspect in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to flee back home to a region of rebel-held Ukraine. Vladimir Tsemakh was sent to Russia in a prisoner exchange after his arrest by Ukrainian authorities, but Moscow says it lost track of him before it could honor the Dutch extradition request.

    Could Tsemakh be arrested again? His return to a part of eastern Ukraine that remains outside of government control would dash those hopes, but the Netherlands is proceeding with a case against four other suspects starting March 9.

    Don't miss this OZY story to find out why Russia is making Stalin great again.

  3. The World Can Learn From Argentina's Trans Rights Record

    With a 2012 law allowing Argentinians to select their own gender on official forms without the need for transition surgery, the South American nation took the lead in trans rights in the region. And that was just the beginning, OZY reports. That same year, Argentina expanded medical access to hormonal treatments and gender reassignment surgery, and Buenos Aires opened the world’s first high school for transgender students.

    How deep is the change? Trans nurses, teachers and public figures are becoming more visible, but violence and discrimination remain deeply ingrained: Last year, 59 trans Argentinians were murdered.

  4. Is a Cure for Pancreatic Cancer at Hand?

    Scientists from Tel Aviv University say they've identified a molecule that eradicates up to 90 percent of pancreatic cancer cells in mice in just 14 days. The notoriously treatment-resistant cancer typically proves fatal within five years, but scientists hope molecule PJ34 could be a game-changer — especially since it appears to have no adverse effect on healthy cells. In parallel studies, researchers said the molecule was also effective against other aggressive forms of cancer.

    What's next? Researchers expect to test the treatment on pigs for two years before seeking FDA approval for human trials.

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    The Patriots Can't Find a Decent Kicker

    After cutting Kai Forbath yesterday following a failed extra point attempt in their 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans, New England is searching for its fifth kicker this season. The unfortunate streak began when veteran starter Stephen Gostkowski injured his hip and had surgery in October. Now the Pats are left without a kicker on their active roster.

    What will they do now? They're likely hoping the season's third kicker, Nick Folk, will recover quickly from his emergency appendectomy last week.

    Don't miss OZY's story about the punter who changed pro football.