The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iraq flag cracked shutterstock 1134705704

    Iraqi Protesters Storm US Embassy in Baghdad

    The compound has been evacuated after supporters of an Iranian-backed militia descended on it Tuesday, angry about an American airstrike this weekend that killed 25 members of the Kataeb Hezbollah. Reporters on the scene detailed rock-throwing protesters and chants of "No, no, America!" and "No, no, Trump!" The militia vowed retaliation for Sunday's strike, which itself was a response to what Washington says was the killing of an American contractor in a recent Kataeb Hezbollah rocket attack.

    Why does it matter? The flare-up is the latest potential flashpoint in relations between the U.S. and Iran — and exacerbates Iraq's already precarious political situation.

  2. carlos ghosn nissan shutterstock 527950831

    Carlos Ghosn Flees Japan for Beirut

    Citing a "rigged Japanese justice system," the disgraced ex-Nissan chairman has shocked the business world by secretly decamping to Lebanon. A lawyer for Ghosn, who was out on bail while facing financial misconduct charges in Tokyo, said he only learned of his client's move from the news. The once-celebrated auto exec had faced severe court-imposed restrictions on his movements since his arrest last year, and it's unclear how he fled the country.

    What are Ghosn's plans? Now that his imminent Japanese trial is apparently out of the picture, he says he'll "finally communicate freely with the media" about his plight.

  3. Thousands Escape Australian Town Amid Fire

    Some 4,000 residents of Mallacoota, a coastal town in eastern Victoria, fled their homes and accommodations and gathered on the beach to escape a wall of flames early today. "There's no way in or out," said one local beneath blood-red skies and air thickened by ash. Officials say 12 people have died in the monthslong crisis as bushfires continue to ravage across Australia, sparked by drought conditions and spread by high winds.

    How are authorities fighting the fires? In addition to dispatching thousands of firefighters since September, they've also sent in the military and received help from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.

  4. huawei shutterstock 1056947945

    Huawei Posts Record Revenue Despite US Pressure

    The embattled Chinese telecom giant says it raked in $122 billion in revenue in 2019, an 18 percent increase from last year. Still, that's lower than the 19.5 percent growth reported in 2018. Chairman Eric Xu conceded that 2020 will be "difficult" for the company — an acknowledgement of the Trump administration's pressure campaign against Huawei, which the White House has described as a national security threat.

    What challenges does the company face? It'll likely contend with a growing list of countries blocking its gear from their markets while also developing its new Harmony operating system.

  5. Also Important...

    The man who police say stabbed five people celebrating Hanukkah in a New York town last weekend has been charged with federal hate crimes. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to make a New Year's address that could spell out his intentions after Washington missed his deadline for easing up on demands for denuclearization. And Sharon Stone says she was kicked off popular dating app Bumble on suspicion that her account was fake.

    #OZYFact: One in 10 adults over 50 experiencing homelessness say they were physically or sexually assaulted in the last six months. Read more on OZY.

    How do we look? We've changed your daily news briefing from OZY: It's the same great summary of headlines from around the globe — with a new, sleeker design. Let us know what you think in an email to


  1. China Jails Embryo-Editing Scientist

    He Jiankui was sentenced Monday to three years in prison and fined $430,000 for practicing medicine without a permit. The Shenzhen biophysics professor oversaw a team of researchers last year that said they altered the embryos of twin girls to disable a gene that lets HIV infect cells. The global scientific community condemned the secret experiment as an abuse of gene-engineering methods, and China was criticized for failing to regulate its researchers.

    Could He return to scientific research? That seems unlikely, since China has barred him from working in reproductive technology.

  2. ubershutterstock 663032134

    Uber, Postmates Sue California Over Labor Law

    The tech firms moved against California’s landmark AB5 in a Los Angeles federal court yesterday, arguing that it violates the rights of app-based workers. Supporters of the law, which takes effect Wednesday, say gig-economy companies abuse contractors by shirking labor obligations and minimizing pay. But firms like Uber argue it could hurt employees' flexibility by requiring a certain amount of logged hours.

    What's next? The ride-sharing giant has said it'll seek a referendum next year to exclude it from the law.

    Read this OZY feature about the hottest ride-sharing spinoffs.

  3. Are Western Activists Defending Dictators?

    Eager to argue against Western imperialism, big-name intellectuals, writers and activists are finding themselves on the same side as the world’s strongmen, OZY reports — and unwittingly parroting their propaganda. Whether in China, Iran or India, they dismiss protests against autocratic governments as Western schemes, which often falls in line with the regime's own messaging. For example, activists have accused Syria's Nobel Peace Prize-winning White Helmets of being affiliated with terror groups, a view pushed by Russia.

    What's to be done? This OZY writer suggests that speaking to those directly affected by state repression is the only way to gain insight into their hopes and fears.

  4. Rep. John Lewis Diagnosed With Cancer

    The civil rights icon and 17-term congressman from Georgia received support from across America Monday following news of his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. The 79-year-old Democrat, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, has been one of President Donald Trump's fiercest critics and promised to continue serving while undergoing treatment. “I’ve been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” Lewis said. President Barack Obama hailed his "incomparable will to fight."

    What's the outlook? Despite recent medical advancements, data shows that only 3 percent of stage 4 patients survive more than five years after being diagnosed.

  5. Mariah Carey Makes Billboard History

    As of the Jan. 4, 2020, Billboard Hot 100, the 49-year pop star has topped the chart in four different decades, becoming the first artist to do so. Her 1994 holiday anthem "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been atop the Hot 100 since Dec. 21 this year. The tune became her 19th No. 1, after she amassed 14 in the 1990s and four more in the 2000s.

    Who did she beat? Carey surpassed eight different artists who each appeared in three different decades, including Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears.

    OZY asks: Is the music industry ready for a trans star?