The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iraqi Lawmakers Vote to Oust U.S. Over Assassination

    Before mourners in Iran chanting "death to America" greeted the body of military mastermind Qassem Soleimani, assassinated in a Friday U.S. drone strike in Iraq, new threats emanated from the Florida White House. President Donald Trump tweeted that promised Iranian retaliation will be met with "VERY HARD" strikes against 52 high-level targets — the number of U.S. hostages taken in Tehran in 1979 — "important to Iran & the Iranian culture."

    How is Iraq reacting? The country's parliament passed a resolution today to expel foreign forces from the country, saying the Soleimani killing violated its sovereignty.

    OZY examines how the strike alters 2020 math.

  2. Brady, Patriots Dethroned by Tennessee

    Is this the end for the dynasty of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick? The reigning champs lost their wild-card playoff game last night to the Tennessee Titans, 20-13. New England, which failed to score a touchdown after a second-quarter first down at the Titans' 1-yard-line, hasn't finished this poorly in a decade. It's spurred speculation that Brady, who threw a late-game interception, may retire or move to another team.

    What does Brady say? Closing out his career is "unlikely, hopefully unlikely," said the six-time NFL champion, adding, "I love playing football."

    OZY examines the league's falling stars.

  3. 'Worst of It' Expected as Australians Flee Fires

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called up 3,000 army reservists to help fight out-of-control bushfires in southeastern states, where record temperatures and high winds have made evacuation too dangerous for many. On South Australia's Kangaroo Island, a father and son died after flames trapped their car, as some 100 serious fires burned across the continent. "We are in for a long night," said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, "and we are still to hit the worst of it."

    What's being forecast? Meteorologists predict more heat and wind, while the conflagrations are creating their own weather systems, spawning dry lightning and fire tornadoes.

  4. World Braces for Iran's 'Severe Revenge'

    President Donald Trump says Friday's drone strike killing Qassem Soleimani, Iran's most prominent military leader, in Baghdad was not to start a war. But the consensus seems to be that "Iran will retaliate, and the only questions are when and how," says OZY columnist and former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin. Even Trump's opponents agree Soleimani had blood on his hands in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, but they disagree on risking direct warfare and endangering a delicate Iraqi alliance.

    What's happened so far? Several rockets hit a base housing U.S. soldiers in the Baghdad's Green Zone Saturday, the Iraqi military reported, but there have been no reports of casualties.

  5. Is Belarus Orbiting Away From Moscow?

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko seems the perfect BFF for his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The 65-year-old autocrat has some of the closest ties with Moscow, and yet his nation is still causing Putin headaches. At issue is the implementation of its 1999 treaty with Russia that would create a “union,” forging a new, combined nation. Many have speculated that this entity would allow Putin to govern past his 2024 term limit.

    What’s the problem? Belarus doesn’t want to surrender its independence, despite trade pressure from the Kremlin, so it has conspicuously invited the United States and China in to do business.

    OZY looks at Belarus' transformation.

  6. shutterstock 169878767

    How Turkey Might Stay in NATO

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defied the NATO alliance by unilaterally invading Syria, claiming Greek and Cypriot territorial waters and purchasing Russian air defense systems. Now Ankara is poised to send troops to Libya, further unsettling allies, who've shut Ankara out of Mediterranean oil exploration and all but ruled out its European Union membership.

    Where might Erdogan take this? His need for foreign investment may stave off a NATO crisis, but with the imminent threat of a U.S.-Iran conflict, all bets are off.

  7. Also Important...

    The Kenyan military says it has repulsed an attack by al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab on a naval base used by the U.S. military. Six German tourists were killed when an apparent drunken driver hit them near a ski resort in Northern Italy. And the White House has refused to produce 20 emails, requested by the New York Times, regarding withholding aide to Ukraine.

    In the week ahead: Today Croatia holds a presidential runoff election. The Golden Globes will be handed out tonight. And Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show opens Tuesday.

    How do we look? Your news briefing from OZY has 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. Sheep

    Can These Seaside Sheep Save the Planet?

    Mutton from the Orkney island of North Ronaldsay is so tasty it has been shipped to Queen Elizabeth II. Sheep inhabiting the rocky North Sea shores have been woolly climate warriors since 1832, when they were cut off from grass reserved for cows. They eat seaweed instead, and scientists have discovered that the sheep belch far less greenhouse-gas-trapping methane than their pasture-grazing counterparts.

    Can this be scaled? It’s in the works: Feed companies are collaborating with researchers to devise kelp-based livestock feed to help protect the climate.

    OZY examines climate couture.

  2. Eugenics: Rebirth of a Notion

    The pseudoscience of eugenics has returned with a vengeance, most recently in a widely excoriated New York Times op-ed by Bret Stephens. In suggesting that Ashkenazi Jews had statistically higher IQs, he cited a White supremacist anthropologist, prompting the Times to delete those parts and provide a 170-word explanation. To journalist Sarah Jones, though, it was a stark reminder that the “science” of race never died.

    Could eugenics gain momentum? It already has, she writes. Gene editing and DNA-based dating apps foster an exclusionary world where some, like Jones, who has an inherited blood anomaly, would never be born.

  3. Transit's Future May Not Be an App

    Embracing tech and turning to on-demand public transit is the dream for some cities. But those that have already tried, like Singapore and Los Angeles, are ready to give up. Failures may result from firms not taking into account the needs of potential users, such as those most in need of public transport who are unable to access smartphones and the data these services require.  

    What’s the way forward? Studies show improving reliability and adding extra services to standardized transit routes are far more successful when it comes to boosting passenger numbers.

    Rewards for commuting? OZY found an app for that.

  4. The People v. Harvey Weinstein

    The disgraced Hollywood mogul’s Manhattan rape trial begins Monday, with many of his 80-plus accusers in attendance. They’ll be expressing solidarity with the women who sought the charges, former Weinstein Co. production assistant Mimi Haleyi, who maintains the producer forced oral sex on her in 2006, and an unidentified woman who says Weinstein raped her in 2013.

    What are his chances? Legal experts warn that with both women reportedly maintaining associations with Weinstein after the alleged assaults, establishing reasonable doubt regarding consent won’t be difficult for his attorneys.

    OZY reports on Hollywood’s introspective productions.

  5. UConn’s Mysterious Big Man From South Sudan

    Pulled from what is now South Sudan as a baby, Akok Akok and his family settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. As a moody youth, Akok found refuge on the parquet, playing high school basketball and becoming a top college prospect before mysteriously vanishing, OZY reports. Akok has reemerged as a walk-on forward for the University of Connecticut, where he shows flashes of offensive brilliance.

    Does he have star potential? The 6-foot-9 freshman works hard to bulk up his bony frame, while his 3.2 blocks per game and 33 percent perimeter shooting has got NBA scouts paying attention.