The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. gun arm holding handgun shutterstock 1277098357

    Armed Parishioners Kill Texas Shooter

    "Good people raised up and stopped it." That was how Tarrant County's sheriff described the end to a shooting attack during a livestreamed Sunday service at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The gunman fatally shot two people before two security volunteers returned fire and killed him. "Within six seconds the shooting was over," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Authorities have not revealed the gunman's name or motive.

    What will people learn from this? Patrick praised recent state law changes that make it easier to carry concealed weapons in church — an example likely to go viral as America debates gun control.

  2. US Strikes Iran-Backed Forces

    U.S. warplanes struck Kataib Hezbollah forces in Iraq and Syria two days after a rocket attack on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk killed an American civilian contractor. Sunday's strikes on five targets, including weapons caches, killed several commanders among 25 fatalities from the group, which is allied with Iran, a U.S. military spokesman said.

    Who's this aimed at? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who appeared at the briefing at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, blamed Iran for the attack, while an expert warned that such actions could sour the Iraqi-U.S. relationship.

  3. Bank of England Chief Issues Climate Warning

    On a BBC show guest-edited by climate activist Greta Thunberg today, Mark Carney said businesses need to quickly shift toward climate-friendly strategies to avoid a catastrophic 4 degree Celsius global temperature increase. In what he called a "tragedy of the horizon," the bank's outgoing governor, who's been appointed U.N. special envoy dealing with climate and finance, warned that fossil fuel investments had become a liability.

    Are companies changing their ways? Goldman Sachs announced it won't finance Arctic oil drilling, and insurance giant AXA plans to stop insuring new coal construction projects.

    OZY explores climate donor fatigue.

  4. Taliban Agrees to Cease-fire for US Withdrawal

    Sources in the militant group said Sunday that their ruling council has agreed to a short break in hostilities to give American troops a chance to withdraw from Afghanistan. It's expected that Taliban leaders will agree to the provision, which is a step toward bringing 12,000 U.S. service members home and ending America's longest war after 18 years. U.S. officials haven't commented.

    What other issues remain? Washington insists that Afghanistan not be used as a base for terrorist groups and requires the Afghan government — so far sidelined in the Qatar peace talks — be included in final negotiations.

    OZY profiles the militant group's hidden moderate.

  5. Also Important...

    Police haven't announced a motive in Saturday's machete attack on a Hanukkah celebration in suburban New York, but it's heightened fears of increased anti-Semitic violence. Russia says President Vladimir Putin thanked his U.S. counterpart Sunday for intelligence that helped thwart plans for a New Year's terror attack. And North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly called for "offensive measures" to assure security.

    #OZYFact: Between 2009 and 2018, nearly 1.1 million Americans with disabilities got divorced, almost twice as many as got married. Read more on OZY.

    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.

Intriguing

  1. Fires Spark Debate on Sydney New Year Display

    As thousands flee bushfires in southeastern Australia, pressure is mounting to cancel the globally watched harbor fireworks celebration. Sydney, the first major city to ring in the new year, has been granted an exemption from a broad fire ban and plans to go ahead with its display. But more than 270,000 have signed an online petition saying the pyrotechnics and smoke would "traumatize" fire-weary residents.

    What else is being done? While drought and historic record heat have been blamed for the crisis, Australian conservatives have opposed declaring local climate emergencies.

    Australia is drying up. Learn more with OZY.

  2. OZY Investigates Love

    For much of humanity, there's no more compelling experience than that feeling that makes our hearts flutter and floods dopamine into our bodies. OZY has spent months looking into the many shades of romantic relationships, what they do to us and the restrictions society puts on them. That includes our award-winning first investigation exposing cold bureaucratic barriers for the disabled that force loving couples to divorce.

    Is it all doom and gloom? Like love itself, there are also splendors, like the global rise of romance tours and apps that establish relationships before you see a photo.

  3. Wilders Revives Muhammad Cartoon Contest

    "Mission accomplished. End of contest." So tweeted Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders after reviving his infamous competition for a few hours and deeming a glowering visage of the Prophet Muhammad the winner. Wilders cancelled another contest in August after receiving a death threat. Offensive depictions of the prophet sparked deadly riots in Islamic nations in 2005 and the 2015 terror attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12.

    Isn't this free expression? Critics note that Wilders, who leads the Netherlands' largest opposition party, has been jailed for inciting hatred and lives under 24-hour government protection.

    OZY profiles Wilders' Spanish comrade-in-arms.

  4. Spotify Suspends Political Ads in US

    The music streaming service said it will ban political ads in 2020 because it doesn't have the resources to "responsibly validate and review" them. The move, which applies to Spotify's U.S. podcasts and its ad-supported tier with 141 million users, comes after Twitter banned campaign ads and Google limited microtargeting. Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Republican National Committee were among Spotify's advertisers, but a source said it received minimal revenue from such ads.

    Is this permanent? Perhaps not. Spotify said it hopes to improve its review capacity and reconsider the ban.

    OZY explains how a Facebook ad ban could hurt Democrats.

  5. le bronshutterstock 388256944

    AP Names LeBron James Male Athlete of Decade

    No NBA player won more games or scored more points in the 2010s than King James. At the start of the decade, he took his talents to Miami to win two titles before returning home to deliver Cleveland its own NBA championship. James, 35, has also started a school, launched an HBO show and advocated for college athletes, and he's used his platform to raise awareness about pressing issues in America, including racial inequality and police brutality against Black men.

    Who's AP's female choice? That's 38-year-old Serena Williams, of course, who dominated tennis this decade, winning a stunning 12 Grand Slams and 37 singles titles.