The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Iran Strikes Back With Rocket Attacks

    President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that no Americans were killed in Iranian missile attacks on military bases housing U.S soldiers in Iraq. Compared to his threats in the last few days, Trump spoke in a more conciliatory tone. He ruled out military retaliation, but promised to slap more sanctions on Iran, although he didn't detail any specific measures.

    How about the Nuclear Deal? Trump urged world powers to ditch a deal that the U.S pulled out of in 2016. He vowed to never let Iran build a nuclear weapon and said that he wants to craft a new deal. However, Iran has rejected renewed talks.

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    Ex-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn Breaks his Silence

    Carlos Ghosn spoke to reporters Wednesday after escaping house arrest in Japan late last month. Speaking from Lebanon, Ghosn said that he had been under 24-hour surveillance in Tokya while he awaited trial for financial misconduct. Ghosn blamed Nissan for his arrest and claimed that he was presumed guilty before the trial began. And despite an international warrant for his arrest, Ghosn vowed to clear his name.

    But how did he escape? Ghosn didn't disclose that information, yet the Wall Street Journal reported that he evaded airport security by hiding in a box used to carry audio equipment.

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    Meghan and Harry Step Away from Royal Family

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Instagram Wednesday that they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal family. The statement read that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry intend to become financially independent while still fully supporting the Queen. The move means that the couple will now split their time between North America and the U.K.

    How involved will they be? It's unclear whether the couple will attend official public appearances, but the decision effectively means that they have resigned from official duties.

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    Plane Crash Kills 176 Near Tehran

    The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 passenger jet crashed shortly after taking off from the Iranian capital's Imam Khomeini Airport. Officials from both countries believe a mechanical malfunction may have been to blame. Warning against "speculation or unchecked theories," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was cutting short a visit to Oman. Most of the passengers were Iranian or Canadian nationals.

    What are experts saying? One aviation analyst said the plane appeared to have been in good condition, and that the fragmentation of debris showed "either there was an intense impact on the ground or something happened in the sky."

  5. McConnell Ready to Start Impeachment Trial

    Skirting a key demand by Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday he's got the necessary votes to kick off President Trump's impeachment trial without calling witnesses. For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly said she won't hand over her chamber's impeachment articles until she knows more about how the hearings will proceed.

    Are witnesses totally out of the picture? McConnell says he'll consider allowing testimony once the first phase of the trial is over, effectively leaving it up to Pelosi to break the weekslong stalemate over the trial rules.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing on the impeachment charge that really matters.

  6. Saudi Aramco Suffers Amid Iran Turmoil

    Shares in the Saudi oil giant opened at $9.06 Wednesday, down 12 percent from their peak — and the lowest point since the firm started trading last month. Still, they're hovering above the IPO price that valued the world's largest public company at $1.7 trillion. Oil prices have surged against the background of flaring tensions in the Middle East, but appeared to steady Wednesday at around $69 per barrel.

    What's next? For now, analysts say, investors are treating the ongoing turmoil as a "Cold War type situation" that's unlikely to spill into an all-out conflict.

  7. Also Important...

    Today ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to make his first public appearance since he fled from Tokyo last week. Amid a standoff with security forces, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó was once again sworn in yesterday as the head of the National Assembly. And the annual Consumer Electronics Show has drawn criticism for hosting Ivanka Trump because she "is not a woman in tech.”

    #OZYfact: In Utah, the governor’s office and business groups are hoping to create 25,000 new jobs in rural areas. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally-minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. Can Legalizing Weed Help Save Wildlife?

    California’s wildlife has a few major enemies: climate change, habitat loss — and so-called "trespass grows," or cannabis grown on illegal sites. There, rat- and insect-killing chemicals have had a disastrous effect on local food chains. But legalizing cannabis, this OZY writer argues, could turn things around by wresting cannabis cultivation out of national forests and onto agricultural lands.

    Has it worked before? Data from Oregon shows that legalization helped reduce the number of trespass grows, which account for around 70 percent of California's black market cannabis.

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    Boeing Recommends 737 Max Simulator Training

    Reversing its earlier position that additional training was unnecessary, the Chicago-based planemaker recommended yesterday that pilots should undergo flight simulator practice before flying the troubled 737 Max. Boeing changed tack after a number of pilots failed to follow the correct procedures during tests last month. Whether simulator training will be required is up to the Federal Aviation Administration and international regulators.

    Who's footing the bill? A recent deal with Southwest Airlines would force Boeing to pay a $1 million rebate per plane if flight simulator training was necessary.

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    Astronomers Redraw Map of Milky Way

    Harvard astronomers have announced the discovery of the largest structure in our galaxy, reshaping our view of the Milky Way. The Radcliffe Wave, an undulating gaseous structure that's 9,000 light-years long and 400 light-years wide, is made of interconnected stellar nurseries that were previously assumed to be part of another system called Gould's Belt. The team used data from the European Space Agency's Gaia probe and other measurements to create a detailed 3D map of interstellar material.

    What else does the study reveal? According to one of its authors, the Radcliffe Wave is close enough that our sun interacts with it, crossing its path "like we are 'surfing the wave.'"

  4. 'Prozac Nation' Author Dies at 52

    Elizabeth Wurtzel, who shot to fame with her best-selling 1994 memoir that illuminated clinical depression at a time when such discussions were still taboo, died yesterday of breast cancer. Though panned by some critics as being overly confessional and self-absorbed, she's credited with stirring conversation about drug use and sex in an unapologetic style that hooked readers. "I made a career out of my emotions," the New York native said.

    How are fans reacting? They thanked Wurtzel for her honest writing, while prominent political commentator Ian Bremmer described her as "such a force of nature."

    Read this OZY feature about the art of ironing out depression.

  5. Sadio Mane Named Top African Soccer Player

    The Senegalese forward, who scored 30 goals last year and helped Liverpool win the Champions League title, beat out Egyptian teammate Mohamed Salah for the Confederation of African Football award. Mané is only the second Senegalese player to win the honor. It concludes a blazing 2018/2019 season during which the 27-year-old also won the Premier League Golden Boot Award.

    What's next for Mané? He's attracting attention from Real Madrid, while analysts believe he could even succeed Barcelona's Lionel Messi as the world's best soccer player.