The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. global warmingshutterstock 324590741

    Climate Talks End Without Carbon Market Framework

    International climate talks concluded today without agreement on regulating carbon markets. Representatives of nearly 200 nations who'd gathered in Madrid for two weeks did concur on urging greater "ambition" on cutting emissions that cause global warming, as well as helping poor nations hit by climate-related flooding, fires and other conditions. But they couldn't come to terms on how countries and businesses would be able to offset each others' emissions , believed key to controlling atmospheric carbon.

    What now? The delegates agreed to come up with carbon market schemes in time for the next climate conference, a year from now in Glasgow, Scotland.

  2. As Impeachment Looms, Trump Wins a Convert

    House panel approved articles of impeachment along party lines Friday against President Donald Trump. They allege abuse of power by trying to coerce political favors from Ukraine and obstruction of Congress in stonewalling its investigation. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called it the "shameful end" of a "desperate charade." Democrats in the full house will likely approve the nation's third presidential impeachment this week, though a trial in the GOP-run Senate is expected to acquit Trump.

    Are there other developments? Yes, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who opposes impeachment, has reportedly told Trump he'll switch from Democrat to Republican.

  3. Britons Break the Brexit Deadlock

    "Brexit is going to happen and we have to live with it." That was how a staunch anti-Brexit former minister summed up Thursday's U.K. election. Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to tour areas where his Conservative Party snatched longtime Labour Party seats among its 47 gained. The opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has said he will resign after Labour lost 59 seats its worst defeat since 1935.

    Whither Brexit? Johnson vows that Britain will leave the European Union next month, but he'll have the rest of 2020 to negotiate future trade and other ties, minimizing the chance of a feared "hard Brexit."

  4. Why Some Jews Fear U.S. Anti-Semitism Order

    President Trump signed an executive order last week allowing anti-Semitism to be targeted as "national origin" discrimination. The Civil Rights Act's Title VI guards against discrimination at federally funded institutions but does not cover religious bias. Many interpreted it as a way to muzzle pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel expression on college campuses, while helping bigots question Jewish Americans' loyalty.

    Is it that simple? No, writes legal scholar David Schraub, who notes that the "national" identity standard was used by the Obama administration and is a necessary anti-discrimination tool, even if Trump's motives are suspect.

    OZY meets Iceland’s only rabbi.

  5. MBS Finally Gets His $2 Trillion Oil Company

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was convinced his state oil company Aramco was worth $2 trillion when he announced plans to sell a small portion of its ownership in 2015. Wall Street bankers joined the effort, hid their doubts about that lofty amount and failed to woo skeptical global investors. The reportedly angry Saudis scrapped plans to sell stock on a major exchange, pressuring wealthy Gulf potentates to invest in a domestic IPO, with a $1.7 trillion Aramco valuation.

    How did it go? After a week of trading, the prince got the last laugh, as Aramco's valuation reached $2 trillion.

  6. Also Important...

    A matnitude 6.9 earthquake collapsed a three-story building and killed at least one person in the southern Philippines today. China has cancelled the broadcast of an Arsenal soccer match, citing German player Mesut Özil's calling detained Chinese Uighurs "warriors." And North Korea says it has conducted a "crucial test" linked to its nuclear program.

    In the week ahead: On Tuesday, the U.S. House may vote on a $1.3 trillion budget bill to avert a government shutdown. On Thursday, seven Democratic presidential hopefuls are scheduled for their sixth debate in Los Angeles, but a labor dispute could keep candidates away. And Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker comes out Friday

    The PDB is changing! In a few days, you will see improvements in your daily news briefing from OZY. The same great summary of headlines from around the globe is getting a sleeker design. Let us know what you think at any time by replying to your email.


  1. With US Ex-Officials' Help, Big Emir Is Watching

    They came to fight terror. But a Reuters exposé alleges former White House officials and NSA operatives did something else for the United Arab Emirates: spying on everyone from women's rights campaigners to U.N. diplomats. What came to be known as Project Raven was launched by Richard Clarke, the 9/11-era counterterrorism czar who worked for Democratic and Republican administrations. Its subsequent incarnations hacked targets as diverse as Arab Spring protesters and international soccer officials.

    Does it still exist? Yes, and Congress and federal authorities suspect its former D.C. denizens of sharing the nation's spycraft.

    OZY explores Arab states' "war on terror."

  2. caveshutterstock 625401632

    The Lessons of Neolithic Cave Painters

    Presumably, our ancestors going back 10,000-plus generations decorated the famous caves in Lascaux, France, and similar ones around the world. But unlike selfie-obsessed modern hominids, they left only crude depictions of themselves amid the richly detailed images of megafauna such as lions and aurochs, a giant paleo-cow, observes author Barbara Ehrenreich. They were not, she writes, masters of their environment, and may have even found that funny.

    What can we learn from paleolithic art? We are still at the mercy of our planet, Ehrenreich posits, and may not survive unless we can see ourselves in that context.

  3. The Temple That Demands Human (Hair) Sacrifices

    The Tirupati Balaji temple is the world’s richest and most visited, all for Lord Balaji, a form of the Hindu god Maha Vishnu. Struck by a stone, he had a bald spot and a woman offered her hair to cover it. The story launched a lucrative tradition, OZY reports. Temple barbers daily shave up to 80 heads of hair, offered to Balaji. The temple then auctions it, and in February alone made $1.6 million selling 157 tons to make wigs and weaves worldwide. 

    Are women allowed? Yes, and to accommodate those uncomfortable being shorn by men, in 2006 women barbers were permitted to work among the 1,320 haircutters on duty.

  4. Why Journalists Are Battling Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jewell’

    In his latest film Richard Jewell, Hollywood director Clint Eastwood has been heavily scrutinized for portraying reporter Kathy Scruggs as offering sex for FBI leaks. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist wrote that Jewell was a prime FBI suspect in the 1996 Olympic bombing. But Jewell, a security guard who heroically aided attack victims, was eventually exonerated by investigators.

    Is the portrayal accurate? Scruggs' colleagues insist she was ethical and diligent, regretting her "scoop" until the day she died from a 2001 painkiller overdose.

    Don't miss OZY's feature about teenage Kyrgyz muckrakers.

  5. When Winning the Heisman Becomes Too Much

    University of Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam had the world at his feet in 1994 when he won the coveted Heisman Trophy, which was announced again yesterday. But a string of injuries and disappointments left him searching for a spot in the NFL and, having peaked at 21, he became deeply discouraged. Despite plans to break into the marijuana business, Salaam killed himself inside his car in December 2016, the burden of college football's top award weighing heavily.

    What can we learn from his story? That the tremendous expectations of early-career stardom are something few 20-somethings are equipped to handle.