The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. IG Report on Russia Probe Exonerates, Knocks FBI

    Mistakes were made — some of them serious. But the Justice Department's inspector general issued a report today that lent no credence to charges that the FBI acted upon a vendetta against President Donald Trump. But it said its probe into the Trump 2016 campaign's contacts with Russian operatives did seriously mishandle an application for a wiretap.

    How has the administration reacted? Attorney General William Barr praised Inspector General Michael Horowitz, but said the report shows the Russia investigation was based on the "thinnest of suspicions" that didn't "justify the steps taken."

  2. New Zealand Volcano Eruption Leaves 5 Dead

    Authorities confirmed five deaths and say that figure is expected to climb as around two dozen remain missing after White Island's volcano erupted Monday afternoon. Of an estimated 50 visitors, 23 have been evacuated, many with burn injuries. "The island is unstable," said a national police official, explaining that rescue operations have been halted. Residents of surrounding communities in the Bay of Plenty have been urged to remain indoors.

    What's the impact? Local experts say it is unlikely any ash or other material will reach the mainland, describing it as a “throat-clearing” rather than a full eruption.

    OZY considers New Zealand’s famous humility.

  3. FBI Treating Pensacola Navy Shooting as Terrorism

    While the motive is still unclear in Friday's fatal shooting of three sailors at Naval Air Station Pensacola, the FBI is now handling the incident as terrorism. Authorities say the shooter, Mohammed Alshamrani, posted tweets criticizing the U.S. shortly before the rampage. The 21-year-old was a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who had trained at the base since 2017.

    Are there any other leads? Not that authorities are revealing, but Alshamrani reportedly made a formal complaint seven months ago that he was "infuriated" when an instructor gave him the nickname "Porn Stash."

  4. north korean unha 9 rocket model voa news us government

    After 'Test,' Kim Resumes Trump Taunts

    After a long and seemingly cozy relationship between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, the name-calling has resumed. Kim called the American leader a "heedless and erratic old man" responding to Trump's more measured weekend tweet saying Kim risked their "special relationship" established during now-halted denuclearization talks. That came after Sunday's announcement from Pyongyang of an unspecified "very important test."

    Where might this lead? It's suspected that the test was a solid-fuel rocket engine that could speed launches of long-range ballistic missiles — which might be the next step in re-escalation.

    OZY's security expert handicaps denuclearization.

  5. US mexico trade shutterstock 294126485

    White House, Dems Close In on North American Trade Pact

    They may be embroiled in a fierce battle over impeachment, but both the Trump administration and House Democrats appear to share one desire: to approve a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. After conferring for months, Democratic leaders and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are reportedly close to reaching a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    What issues remain? Mexico recently accepted Washington's demand that only North American steel be used in automaking — as long as the rule isn't implemented for five years — but it's balking at allowing American labor inspectors south of the border.

  6. Also Important...

    Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold his first summit today in Paris with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, attempting to end fighting in eastern Ukraine. Saudi Arabia has ended gender segregation in restaurants. And "Lucid Dreams" rapper Juice Wrld has died at age 21 after suffering a seizure at Chicago's Midway airport Sunday.

    #OZYFact: Some 8,000 people in Toronto are considered chronically homeless. Read more on OZY.

    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.

Intriguing

  1. Finland Picks World's Youngest Leader

    At 34, Transportation Minister Sanna Marin has effectively become Finland’s youngest-ever prime minister and the world's youngest sitting leader. She was chosen by the Social Democratic Party on Sunday evening to replace Antti Rinne, who resigned last week over his handling of a postal strike. Marin is expected to be confirmed in a formal vote early this week, when Finland's five-party governing coalition will be headed exclusively by women, with three under the age of 35.

    What next? Marin says she aims to rebuild trust with constituents and sharpen Finland's focus on fighting climate change.

    OZY examines China's moves in Nordic nations.

  2. Exam Tilts Against Minority Psychologists

    Non-White psychologists are a rarity in the U.S., where just 5 percent are Black, 5 percent Hispanic and 4 percent Asian. Unlike other professions, the roadblocks aren’t in higher education, where minority psychology students perform well; rather it's the $700 post-education Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology that divides, OZY found. Research suggests non-Whites who take the exam are 2.5 times more likely to fail. 

    What's the issue? Some experts blame a failure to recognize cultural perspectives — like the importance of family bonds — and say the discrepancy lets down minorities in need of help.

  3. Australian Troll Ruling Scares News Media From Facebook

    Companies Down Under are now keeping their most polarizing stories off social media to avoid legal action. A June court ruling made media outlets liable for users' defamatory comments on their posts, and Facebook does not allow companies to turn off comments or moderate them before posting. The Australian Broadcasting Corp., Guardian Australia, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald all say they now limit what they share on the platform because of the law.

    What might come of this? Experts worry that reputable sources withdrawing from a place where many people get their news will only empower unreliable and biased outlets.

  4. 'Sesame Street' Mourns Big Bird Actor Caroll Spinney

    Sesame Workshop said the actor and puppeteer who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 49 years died Sunday at 85 after living with dystonia, a muscular disorder. He retired last year after it became difficult to balance the Big Bird costume. Spinney, who colleagues called an "artistic genius" with an "outsized heart," was with the show from the first episode in 1969 after meeting Muppet creator Jim Henson at a puppetry festival.

    How is he being remembered? Spinney died hours before Sesame Street was recognized for lifetime achievement in the arts by Kennedy Center Honors, where cast members wore yellow feathers in tribute.

    OZY met the Syrian Muppet changing kids' lives.

  5. Anthony Joshua Reclaims Heavyweight Titles

    The 6-foot-6 British boxer reclaimed multiple titles by beating Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr. in a unanimous decision Saturday night, but not everyone was a fan. Fighting near Riyadh, Joshua danced around the out-of-shape champion, scoring jabs and hooks while avoiding powerful confrontations. After the loss, Ruiz, who surprised the boxing world by beating Joshua in June, said he'd partied too much and trained too little since.

    Why are people upset? Human rights advocates decried holding the fight in such a repressive nation, and Joshua didn't help by explaining his no-knockout strategy as a different way to "decapitate" Ruiz.