The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Myanmar's Suu Kyi Refutes Genocide Accusations

    Myanmar's leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi told the International Court of Justice that genocide testimony against her nation was "incomplete and incorrect." This comes a day after hearing accounts of atrocities committed against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority, including babies being murdered and girls raped by vigilantes and troops. Suu Kyi allowed that "disproportionate force" may have been used during "cycles of intercommunal violence" that date back to the 1940s.

    Where could this lead? The complaint seeks immediate measures to protect the Rohingya, but it could take years for the court to rule on genocide accusations.

    OZY's profiles Myanmar's mercurial former heroine.

  2. Police Officer Among Six Killed in New Jersey Shootout

    A veteran detective and three bystanders were killed during an hourslong shootout Tuesday in Jersey City. Two gunmen shot Detective Joseph Seals near a cemetery when he approached them about a homicide investigation. They fled in a rental truck and holed up in a kosher deli, where they and the civilians died during a protracted standoff. An incendiary device found in the truck was removed by the bomb squad.

    What was the motive? Police reported no evidence of a hate crime or terror motive, though Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop later said the suspects “targeted the location” in a Jewish neighborhood.

  3. Pelosi 'Embarrassed' by Impeachment, Trump Says

    Battle lines have been drawn following Tuesday's articles of impeachment alleging that President Donald Trump abused his power by coercing Ukraine to help him politically and obstructed Congress by stonewalling its investigation. Addressing a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "embarrassed" by "her stupid impeachment." Meanwhile, she said the process is "about the Constitution" and avoiding "saying goodbye to a republic."

    How are Republicans reacting? They're solidly behind the president, although Trump reportedly wants a prolonged Senate trial, which he's expected to win, while Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is seeking a quick decision.

    OZY's Special Briefing breaks down the articles.

  4. Trump, Dems Shake on North American Trade Pact

    Despite their ongoing impeachment battle, or perhaps because of it, Republicans, their president and Democrats agreed Tuesday on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It keeps President Trump's campaign promise to replace the unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement while satisfying Democratic labor supporters. Speaker Pelosi said it was "much better than NAFTA" and "infinitely better" than Trump's original proposal, while the president called it the "best and most important deal ever made by the USA."

    What happens now? The full House is likely to approve the USMCA this year, while the Senate may wait until 2020 — after its impeachment trial.

  5. Also Important...

    New volcanic activity has stymied recovery efforts in the aftermath of Monday's deadly eruption of New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island volcano. The U.S. Navy has stopped pilot training for more than 300 Saudis in the wake of a trainee's deadly shooting rampage at Pensacola Naval Air Station. And Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has released a list of his consulting clients that opponents had long called for.

    #OZYFact: Approximately 25 percent of India's land area is undergoing desertification. Read more on OZY.

    Listen to The Future of X! OZY's newest podcast, in partnership with Smartsheet, fast-forwards 50 years to explore the industries and domains that will shape our world, starting with health care. Check it out here.


  1. Sydney Chokes on Smoke, Greenland Melting Faster

    As bushfires rage nearby, dangerously unhealthy air in Australia's biggest city climbed "off the chart" this week, experts said. On Tuesday, Sydney's air quality index rating spiked to 2,552 — 11 times what's considered hazardous. A healthy level is under 50. "We're living in a sea of smoke and particles," a local environmental science professor said.

    Is climate change a factor? Yes, experts say, offering more grim tidings: Greenland's ice sheet is melting much more quickly than expected — seven times faster than in 1992 — threatening to expose 400 million people to flooding by 2100.

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    'They' Is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year

    It's pronoun with a punch. Dictionary publisher and de facto guardian of the American lexicon Merriam-Webster has announced the gender-neutral pronoun is its word of 2019. "We've seen searches for 'they' grow dramatically," said editor Emily Brewster, noting lookups had tripled from last year. Interest in the genderless use of the word was stoked by events in the news, like singer Sam Smith coming out as nonbinary and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal's statement about parenting a gender-nonconforming child.

    What other words were hits? Following political upheaval, they include “exculpate,” "quid pro quo” and the equivocal "tergiversation."

    OZY considers whether genderless language can change the way we think.

  3. How China Gets Foreign Firms to Toe the Line

    The Chinese market looms large for Western companies, so it helps to join a Communist Party business committee. Officially they're meant to help foreigners navigate the country's bureaucracy, but OZY reports they've become a vital mechanism for the party to exert influence — and help foreign firms keep Chinese regulators at bay. That way, companies can avoid having to make public apologies for actions that offend Beijing, like failing to include Hong Kong or Taiwan in maps of China.

    Will companies resist? Not if they want to cash in on China's enormous market, meaning the "voluntary" committees will become even more indispensable.

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    Exxon Mobil Wins Climate Change Suit

    The energy giant might be responsible for contributing to global warming, but it didn't break the law. That's how New York's Supreme Court ruled in the state's climate-related lawsuit against Exxon Mobil. "This is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case," wrote Justice Barry Ostrager. In the nation's second such trial, Empire State prosecutors argued that Exxon didn't fully inform investors of the risks associated with climate regulations.

    Will this ruling set a precedent? While New York said it would continue to pursue such actions, the company said that would be a waste of tax dollars and would "do nothing" to fight climate change.

    OZY profiles a Spanish minister combating climate change.

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    Belichick: Patriots Wouldn't 'Knowingly' Spy on Opponents

    New England coach Bill Belichick said he had nothing to do with a team videographer filming the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline activities a week before this Sunday's game. He acknowledged his team is "competitive in every area," but said they wouldn't "knowingly, intentionally want to do anything that's across the line." The NFL is looking into the issue.

    Is this a big deal? Following the 2007 "Spygate" controversy in which Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Pats stripped of a draft pick over a similar incident, critics are calling for the league to "drop the hammer."