The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Kazakhstan Plane Crash Leaves 12 Dead

    A domestic Bek Air flight between the Central Asian country's two main cities crashed shortly after takeoff early Friday, killing at least 12 of the 98 people on board. Rescue workers are combing through the site near Almaty International Airport, where the Fokker 100 aircraft slammed into a concrete barrier and a two-story building. Expressing his condolences to victims' families, President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev said those responsible for the crash would be "severely punished."

    How did passengers react? One eyewitness reported that her fellow travelers were relatively calm during the incident.

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    Netanyahu Wins Party Primary in Landslide

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handily defeated rival Gideon Saar on Thursday to remain leader of his Likud party. But while it's an important victory for the country's longest-serving leader, it doesn't exactly bode well for polarized Israel: Facing yet another general election in March, voters still appear split over whether the recently indicted Netanyahu deserves a fourth term.

    What's next? To stay in power, Bibi will need to draw votes away from Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White party — though experts say he appears reinvigorated for the challenge.

    Read OZY's profile of the strategist trying to make Netanyahu cuddly.

  3. Death Toll Rises in Philippines Typhoon

    The number of confirmed deaths from Typhoon Phanfone rose to 28 Friday, while another 12 people remain missing. The storm — one of at least seven typhoons to hit the Philippines this year — tore through the central part of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday. It forced around 43,000 people into temporary shelters after destroying dozens of homes and flooding eight regions.

    Is any other country in the way? Phanfone is now moving over the South China Sea toward Vietnam, but meteorologists say it'll weaken before making landfall.

    Check out OZY's feature about donor fatigue from climate change.

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    Amazon Claims Record Holiday Shopping

    The online retailer's stock jumped more than 4 percent yesterday — its best day since January — following a company statement claiming it was Amazon's "fastest holiday yet." The number of same-day and one-day Prime deliveries reportedly quadrupled from the same period last year, the result of an $800 million effort to bolster that service. Shoppers also bought "tens of millions" of Amazon devices from the $926.5 billion company.

    Will this boost its bottom line? Analysts say the customary post-holiday report is more of a PR move than a meaningful look at Amazon's financial health.

  5. Also Important...

    The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a tour helicopter carrying seven people that went missing in Hawaii late Thursday. Japan says it'll send sailors to the Middle East to defend its oil ships. And Bruce Lee's daughter has sued a Chinese fast food chain for $30 million for using her father's image without permission.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    How do we look? You may have noticed changes to your news briefing from OZY. The same great summary of headlines from around the globe, with a new, sleeker design. Let us know what you think by replying to this email.


  1. Wikipedia Is Coming Back to Turkey

    The country's Constitutional Court voted 6-4 Thursday that blocking the popular online encyclopedia — prohibited there since April 2017 — violates the right to free speech. Authorities had banned the site as a national security threat over entries that accused Ankara of supporting terrorist groups. Wikipedia refused to delete the articles, arguing that doing so would amount to censorship. It's unclear how soon access will be restored.

    Why does it matter? Rights groups call the ruling a rare victory in a country that remains one of the world's most frequent violators of press freedom.

  2. Indian Protests Dent Train Ticket Sales

    As the Indian government cracks down on nationwide protests against its controversial new citizenship law, train travel is taking a serious hit. One ticket booking platform clocked a 50 percent drop in sales during the last week of December, down to 2.8 million from last year's 6.84 million during the same period. That could be partly due to several countries advising their citizens against traveling to India.

    Are there any other effects? Tourism to several major cities and states is also suffering, with visitors to coastal Goa falling by nearly 50 percent.

    Don't miss this OZY feature on Europe's revival of night trains.

  3. Homelessness Comes to US College Campuses

    For some American college students, finding housing can be harder than their classes, OZY reports: One recent survey found that 1 in 10 students experienced homelessness within the past year, and most campuses are unable to guarantee housing. The California State University system hopes to change that, introducing off-campus housing coordinators tasked with helping the most at-risk students find a home — and obtain a degree.

    Is your state next? Some are experimenting with similar solutions, including offering various subsidies and finding extra space at nearby universities.

  4. Masked Men Firebomb Brazilian Comedy Group

    The office of Porta dos Fundos, a comedy group that portrayed Jesus as gay in a Netflix Christmas special, was attacked by three masked men with Molotov cocktails. A security guard put out the fire and no one was injured in the Tuesday incident. Around 2 million people signed a petition against the show, The First Temptation of Christ, in which Jesus brings his presumed boyfriend home to meet the Holy Family.

    What's the bigger picture? Critics say Brazil — a largely conservative Catholic country — suffers from widespread homophobia, and President Jair Bolsonaro famously said he'd rather have a dead son than a gay one.

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    NFL Player Makes $1M After Stat Correction

    "I earned it." That's how New York Giants linebacker Markus Golden reacted to becoming $1 million richer this week after his half-sack of Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins last Sunday was converted to a full sack. That's because it triggered a contract incentive for the 28-year-old — who's also the first Giant since 2014 to record double-digit sacks in a single season.

    What's next for Golden? He could have a bright future as a free agent after his one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Giants ends.

    Read this OZY story about how a punter changed pro football forever.