The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iran Fires On Jet-Downing Protests

    Security forces used tear gas and live ammunition Sunday against demonstrators chanting "death to the dictator" and demanding the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Protests erupted after authorities admitted Saturday that they'd mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane packed with Iranians. Tweeting in Farsi, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed America would "stand with you," while the chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard apologized. Meanwhile, a missile barrage hit an Iraqi base hosting U.S. forces, but no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    How are these protests different? Unlike November's brutally suppressed demonstrations, these involve some conservative, normally pro-government Iranians.

  2. Weekend Storms Cause 12 Deaths in US

    This weekend's wind, rain and ice battered the American South and Midwest, causing 12 fatalities, choking transportation and leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity. Icy roads caused accidents that killed a policeman and a firefighter in Texas and a truck passenger in Iowa. Meanwhile, a tornado killed three people in Alabama and strong winds in Louisiana hurled a mobile home, killing two, and toppled a tree, crushing a man in his bed. In Chicago, more than 1,200 flights were canceled.

    Is it over? While the storms diminished Sunday, northern states are experiencing winter conditions that could snarl highways and cause accidents.

  3. prince harry and megan markle square shutterstock 790059514 (1)

    Royal Family to Discuss Future of Sussexes

    Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry are gathering today at the country estate of Sandringham to weigh “a range of possibilities” for rebellious Harry and his wife Meghan, who is expected to phone in from Canada. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whose income and security expenses come from taxpayers, plan to reduce their royal duties and become financially independent.

    What lies ahead? Buckingham Palace says the queen wants the situation resolved in “days, not weeks,” but cautioned that changes won't happen overnight.

    OZY wonders if the royal couple's move will backfire.

  4. Ford's China Sales Plummet for Third Year

    In a sign of the country's weakening economy, Ford Motor Co. reported a 26.1 percent drop in Chinese sales last year, to 567,854 vehicles, down from its peak of 1.27 million in 2016. The decline began with a modest drop in 2017, followed by a massive 37 percent fall-off in 2018. The Michigan-based automaker has been working to reverse that trend and has seen its higher-end product sales stabilize.

    What's the 2020 outlook? Ford expects sales to continue falling this year, as lower consumer demand and higher emissions standards cast a pall over automotive showrooms.

    Read OZY's take on how China manipulates foreign firms.

  5. Also Important...

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that he'd seen no evidence that four U.S. embassies had been targeted by Iran, which President Trump cited as a reason for ordering the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Retired Pope Benedict has written a defense of Catholic priests' celibacy as Pope Francis considers allowing them to marry. And Oscar nominations are due out this morning in Los Angeles.

    #OZYFact: An estimated 44 percent of Nigeria's population lives in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.90 per day. Read more on OZY

    OZY is hiring! We're looking for a strategically minded email growth manager to engage and expand our 3 million-plus subscriber fanbase. Read the job description and discover other opportunities on our jobs page.


  1. Philippines Volcano Prompts Mass Evacuation

    Half a million people have been ordered to evacuate near Manila, fearing an explosion by the Taal volcano around 40 miles south of the Philippine capital. The small volcano spewed a column of ash nine miles into the air Sunday and began emitting streams of lava. Taal, which rises from a lake, last erupted in 1977 and its 1911 blast killed 1,335 people.

    How serious is the threat? The volcanic alert level is now 4 out of 5, meaning an "explosive eruption" could be hours or days away.

    OZY explores a Mayan village frozen in time by a volcano.

  2. Black Churches Seek New Way to Survive

    Is the U.S. still a nation under God? Two-thirds of Americans identify as Christian, OZY reports, but that’s a 12 percent drop within a decade. A recent Pew Research study found Black Christians are the most stratified, with two-thirds of older folks embracing historically Black denominations, compared to just 41 percent of millennials. For those aging parishioners, the dwindling number of houses of worship is an existential crisis.

    How are churches responding? They're welcoming integration as more worshippers seek congregations that reflect their diverse communities, rather than staying, as one cleric put it, "boxed into one culture."

  3. Japanese Billionaire Seeks SpaceX Romance

    Lonely tycoon Yusaku Maezawa tweeted Sunday that he's looking for a new girlfriend to accompany him on a trip around the moon. The 44-year-old already paid an undisclosed amount to be SpaceX's first private passenger in a planned 2023 mission. Maezawa, who became astronomically wealthy selling his ZoZo fashion company, explained that his cosmic dating adventure will be documented in a TV series called Full Moon Lovers.

    What are his conditions? Applicants to be Maezawa's potential life partner must be at least 20 years old and a firm believer in world peace.

    OZY profiles a space anthropologist.

  4. Palestine Answer Prompts 'Jeopardy!' Outrage

    Holy Land geography isn't easy. When U.S. game show Jeopardy! asked where the Church of the Nativity is located, contestant Katie Needle answered, as required, in the form of a question: "What is Palestine?" But host Alex Trebek gave the points to a competitor who countered with Israel. Twitter exploded with outrage because the church is located in Bethlehem, which is in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

    Who's right? The area is administered by the Palestinian National Authority, but it's not recognized as a sovereign government and is subject to Israeli control, so there are arguments for both answers.

  5. Aaron Rodgers Green bay Packers shutterstock 83582323

    Packers, Chiefs Advance in NFL Playoffs

    Green Bay withstood Seattle's second-half rally last night to beat the Seahawks 28-23 and advance to the NFC championship. Earlier in the day, the Kansas City Chiefs fell 24-0 behind the Houston Texans, but surged back 10 minutes later, eventually prevailing 51-31 to qualify for the AFC championship. They're the first team to win a playoff game by 20 points after being 20 points down.

    What are this Sunday's matchups? The Tennessee Titans, who eliminated the Baltimore Ravens in an upset Saturday, will visit K.C., while the San Francisco 49ers, who drubbed the Minnesota Vikings, host Green Bay.

    OZY incorrectly reported that the Titans will host the Chiefs in next week's AFC championship game. The Chiefs will be hosting the Titans.