The Presidential Daily Brief

important

  1. US to Boost Mideast Troop Presence

    Following violent protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad yesterday, the Pentagon said it would deploy 750 extra soldiers to the region as "an appropriate and precautionary action." Tuesday's attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission by supporters of an Iranian-backed militia marked a fresh escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. President Donald Trump tweeted that "Iran will be held fully responsible" for any damage or fatalities.

    Could ties with Iraq suffer too? Trump also expressed frustration over the Iraqi government's apparent failure to stop the protesters from storming into Baghdad's Green Zone.

  2. a North Korean leader holds a card in his hand

    North Korea Flouts Missile Test Moratorium

    With the U.S. missing his Dec. 31 deadline to ease pressure on Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Wednesday he'd resume testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. While he didn't commit to a specific timeline, Kim pledged his country would reveal a new "strategic weapon" soon. The threat follows 18 months of largely fruitless diplomacy between the two nations.

    How big is North Korea's nuclear arsenal? It's estimated to have several dozen bombs — though it hasn't yet developed the capacity to deliver them via intercontinental ballistic missiles.

  3. Australian Wildfires Claim More Lives

    Authorities in the southeastern Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria say several more people have died in recent days as wildfires continued tearing through the area. The death toll since September has now reached at least 17, while hundreds of homes and properties have been damaged or destroyed.

    Is the worst over? Temperatures are expected to soar again this weekend, prompting authorities and citizens to step up relief efforts.

    Read this OZY story about Eastern Europe's fire fatality problem.

  4. stocks stock exchange shutterstock 571232122

    Global Stocks Close Out Year With Gusto

    The benchmark S&P 500 closed out 2019 yesterday having gained nearly 29 percent this year — its strongest performance since 2013 — and ended the decade up 190 percent. Netflix and Apple were among the strongest performers. Meanwhile, both the Stoxx Europe 600 and Shanghai Composite finished 2019 at least 22 percent up.

    Why does it matter? Once jittery about an imminent global economic slowdown, investors appear more hopeful than a year ago that they'll be able to avert that financial storm.

  5. Also Important...

    Demonstrators in Hong Kong gathered Wednesday for a massive New Year's Day march following a night of clashes between police and protesters. A video has emerged of Pope Francis pulling himself away from a woman who grabbed him during a New Year's Eve celebration in Vatican City. And Palau has become the first country to ban environmentally unfriendly sunscreen.

    #OZYfact: The number of jobs for solar panel installers is projected to grow 63 percent by 2028. 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 inquiries@ozy.com.

intriguing

  1. OZY Hunts for America's Missing Votes

    For the past several decades, 40 percent of U.S. voters haven't been turning up at the polls — but who are they? This year, OZY's taking a deep dive into previous elections to answer that question. For some, staying home is due to voter suppression, not their own disengagement. Elsewhere, Democrats have taken key voting blocs like African Americans for granted by failing to offer them a persuasive message. Impeachment, meanwhile, could help drive Republican-leaning voters to the polls.

    Why does it matter? The party that best taps into America’s missing 40 percent will lay claim to the White House in November.

  2. Why Africa's Richest Woman Is in Trouble

    An Angola court has frozen the assets of Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the country’s former president, as well as those of her husband and the chairman of Banco de Fomento Angola, amid government claims that they stole $1.14 billion from state coffers. Dos Santos, who amassed a fortune totaling more than $2 billion during her father's reign from 1979 to 2017, has professed her innocence and vowed to fight the charges.

    What's the bigger picture? Critics say the freeze against members of the former ruling family is part of a wider campaign by current President João Lourenço to crack down on graft.

  3. Chinese Pneumonia Cases Prompt SARS Fears

    Authorities say 27 people in central China's Hubei province have been infected with an unidentified strand of pneumonia, sparking fears of another outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Seven patients are in critical condition, and local hospitals have issued an emergency alert. Individuals who have contracted the unexplained virus have been isolated and placed under medical supervision.

    How serious was the first outbreak? In 2003, 775 people died out of around 8,000 infected with the highly contagious virus.

    Read this OZY feature about Mongolia's pollution problem.

  4. shutterstock 269516258

    Publishing Giant Sonny Mehta Dies at 77

    The head of American publishing house Alfred A. Knopf died from complications of pneumonia at a Manhattan hospital Monday, his family said. Mehta, a Cambridge graduate who began his publishing career in London, became the group's third editor-in-chief, succeeding Robert Gottlieb in 1987. He helped cultivate literary legends like Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison, and also commissioned a range of popular titles including Fifty Shades of Grey and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    How will Mehta be remembered? Colleagues called him "a friend to writers, editors, and booksellers" who "cared deeply" about those who worked with him.

  5. antonio brown vs redskins 2016

    Antonio Brown Slams 'Publicity Stunt' Invite

    A week after the New Orleans Saints invited the rabble-rousing wide receiver for a workout, he dismissed the opportunity as a "publicity stunt." Team sources described the session — Brown's first with an NFL team since his Sept. 20 release from the Patriots amid sexual assault allegations — as "due diligence." But in a video message on social media Monday, the 31-year-old free agent said "it is what it is" and pledged to "keep competing."

    What's next for Brown? His future remains uncertain as he awaits the results of an NFL investigation, which could lead to discipline from the league.