The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iran Makes Arrests in Plane Downing

    As protests plague the Islamic Republic following last week's accidental downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, Iranian authorities say they've detained several suspects. They offered no other details, though President Hassan Rouhani called for "a special court" to try the case. "The entire world will be watching," he said.

    Will Iranians forgive? While the downing has galvanized anger against the government, observers also argue the admission could be "a watershed moment" for Iran, since locals aren't used to officials shouldering blame.

    Read this OZY story about why U.S. college students want peace with Iran.

  2. hackers shutterstock 356278754

    Russians Hack Biden-Linked Gas Firm

    A U.S. cybersecurity firm says it detected successful attempts by Russian military hackers to infiltrate the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump. While it's unclear what they were trying to steal from Burisma, where Joe Biden's son was a board member, researchers said it's the same group that hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

    Why does it matter? Information from Burisma could provide clues about Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine — which Trump and his supporters claim were corrupt — and tarnish his father in the 2020 election.

  3. Queen Backs 'Transition' for the Sussexes

    Following last week's surprise announcement by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that they'd step back as senior royals, Queen Elizabeth announced Monday that she's "entirely supportive" of the decision. In a statement released after an allegedly fraught 90-minute summit at her Sandringham estate, the queen said there would be a "period of transition" as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex split time between the U.K. and Canada.

    What's next? Buckingham Palace said final arrangements regarding the "complex" issues of the couple's security detail, titles, finances, and more would be sorted out "in the coming days."

  4. chinese yuan shutterstock 508013581

    US: China No Longer 'Currency Manipulator'

    Citing China's display of "transparency and accountability," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced yesterday that his department would drop the country from its list of currency manipulators. Coming just days before the two sides are scheduled to sign the first part of their hard-fought trade agreement, the move — which pushed the yuan to a five-month high Tuesday — is aimed at easing tensions as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He heads to Washington.

    Have tempers cooled down? While some U.S. officials had criticized the designation in the first place, others say lifting the label is too lenient.

  5. Also Important...

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren has accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of saying he doesn't think a woman can win the U.S. presidential election. Rival Libyan leaders have left Moscow without agreeing on a Russian- and Turkish-brokered cease-fire. And Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig has sued The New York Times, claiming it defamed him by saying he approved of accepting donations from sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

    Note: OZY incorrectly reported yesterday that the Tennessee Titans will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC championship game. The Chiefs will be hosting the Titans.

    #OZYfact: The Iowa Democratic Party will report three different tallies for this year's caucuses. 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. jeff bezos shutterstock 1399561364

    Bezos Slammed for Australia Fire Donation

    The multibillionaire Amazon founder's relatively modest $690,000 donation to wildfire recovery efforts Down Under has sparked accusations that he's a cheapskate. Critics have noted that Jeff Bezos, with an estimated net worth of $117 billion, makes more money every five minutes than the sum he donated. Meanwhile, Metallica, Chris Hemsworth, Elton John and Kylie Jenner each gave donations comparable to that of the richest man in the world.

    Is that really so little? One critic calculated Bezos' pledge to 0.000009 percent of his annual income, which is like donating about 55 cents if you make $63,179 — the median U.S. income in 2018.

  2. Hit Man Admits Killing Slovak Journalist

    At the beginning of a high-profile trial Monday, Miroslav Marček said he was hired to murder 27-year-old investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová in 2018. Three other defendants — including tycoon Marián Kočner, accused of plotting the assassination — pleaded not guilty. Kuciak worked for the online outlet Aktuality uncovering tax fraud and corruption that implicated oligarchs in Slovakia.

    What's the bigger picture? Amid renewed attention on high-level graft, newly elected President Zuzana Čaputová has vowed to crack down on corruption.

  3. ocean shutterstock 660400513

    Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2019

    The temperature of the world's oceans last year was 0.075 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature recorded between 1981 and 2010, according to a new study. The pace of warming has also increased 500 percent since 1987. Lead author Lijing Cheng equates the amount of heat pumped into the oceans over the past 25 years to that of 3.6 billion atomic bomb explosions.

    Why does it matter? Experts say warmer waters mean more intense storms — or, as one researcher described it, "weather on steroids."

    Check out OZY's feature about how climate change is wearing down donors.

  4. Bollywood's Leading Ladies Get Political

    Amid protests over India's controversial new citizenship law and right-wing attacks on students, women in Bollywood are speaking out while their male counterparts play it safe, OZY reports. For example, Deepika Padukone, one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, is risking it all to lead the charge in decrying violence against dissent. But that means she's now more likely to appear in street protests than on the silver screen.

    Where are the men? Some analysts suggest India is undergoing seismic shifts in gender relations that have led to "a certain level of male anxiety."

  5. LSU Beats Clemson for National Title

    With five passing touchdowns and one rushing score, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow led the LSU Tigers to a resounding 42-25 victory over the reigning national champs. Before a virtual home crowd in New Orleans last night, LSU also broke the other Tigers' 29-game winning streak and are now 3-1 in national titles.

    What's next? All eyes will be on top talent Burrow, the presumptive No. 1 NFL draft pick, as he moves to the next level.

    Read this OZY story about how "cupcake" matchups are saving college football.