The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    US House Delivers Articles of Impeachment

    Setting the stage for President Donald Trump's trial in the Senate, which kicks off with procedural formalities today, the lower chamber also appointed seven Democratic lawmakers to make their case against him. "It’s not partisan. It’s patriotic," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decried the "factional fever" he claims has tainted the process.

    What's on Trump's mind? While he dismissed the proceedings as a "hoax," some allies suggest he's split between wanting a swift conclusion and a prolonged trial to publicly defend himself.

  2. With Shake-Up, Putin Preps for Transition

    Pledging constitutional changes during his state of the nation address yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin prompted his government to resign. While it's unclear what his next move is, analysts say the surprise shake-up is aimed at paving the way for the 67-year-old — who's ruled Russia since 2000 — to remain in power after term limits force him out of the presidency in 2024. Tax chief Mikhail Mishustin, a political unknown, was tapped as new prime minister.

    How would things play out? By constitutionally boosting the powers of Parliament and the prime minister, Putin could remain Russia's top dog by wielding influence through one of those channels.

  3. US, China Sign Initial Trade Pact

    President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He inked an 86-page, eight-chapter document at the White House yesterday, easing the trade war that's hobbled their economies. Yet despite Beijing's agreement to tighten intellectual property rules and buy $200 billion in U.S. goods, serious issues remain unaddressed. Those include state subsidies for Chinese firms and commercial cybertheft.

    What's next? With American tariffs still in place on some $370 billion in Chinese goods, the two sides will need to work out the other thorny issues, though another deal is unlikely before November's U.S. election.

    Check out OZY's feature about how China manipulates foreign firms.

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    Philippines Volcano Continues Rumbling

    The Pacific nation's Taal volcano — which erupted last weekend for the first time since 1977, belching ash for days — appears to have eased its intensity. But it may not be finished: Amid lighter tremors and smaller plumes, officials and seismologists warned Thursday that it could blow again. "We’ve lost everything," said a resident of one of the four northern Philippine towns that police have cordoned off.

    What are the scenes like? Images have emerged depicting a ravaged landscape of damaged houses, caked with ash and littered with bodies of trapped horses and livestock.

  5. Also Important...

    An indicted associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed the U.S. president "knew exactly what was going on" as Giuliani pressured the Ukrainian government for political help. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suggested the Chinese territory's "one country, two systems" framework could last beyond its 2047 expiration if protests don't ruin it. And Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi has shocked the country by announcing he'll take a two-week paternity leave.

    #OZYfact: African American caregivers are about four times more likely than White ones to spend more than a third of their income on care costs. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.

Intriguing

  1. Study: Last Decade Hottest Ever

    Humanity has just survived the hottest decade ever recorded, according to research from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Their data also found that 2019 was the second hottest year since scientists began tracking global temperatures in the 1950s. Meanwhile, massive wildfires from Australia to the Amazon leave researchers warning that more disasters will come.

    How do severe temperatures affect our health? Extreme heat kills 1,300 people in the U.S. alone each year, and if the climate warms to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, another 2,000 will die.

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    Toyota Bets Big on Flying Taxis

    The Japanese carmaker has contributed $394 million to Joby Aviation, a California-based aerospace firm hoping to build a fleet of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles for ride-sharing purposes. Toyota's investment brings Joby's latest round of funding to $590 million and gives it a serious boost of confidence. "This agreement sets our sights to the sky," said Toyota chief Akio Toyoda.

    What's next? While Joby is now the most generously funded eVTOL designer on the market, it still faces serious regulatory challenges over safety.

    Read OZY's profile about the man plugging in all the driverless electric cars.

  3. Poland's Rainbow Culture Wars Hit the Streets

    Conflicts over rainbow-colored roundabouts and benches are pitting the LGBTQ community against Poland’s conservative majority. The fiercely Catholic country has remained resistant to demonstrations of pride, OZY reports, leaving it an outlier in largely tolerant Europe. But activists are standing firm in the face of conservative outrage. In Kielce, organizers behind proposed pride benches vowed that if they're vandalized, they'll be restored like "a phoenix from ashes."

    Why does it matter? Advocates say it's crucial that the LGBTQ community becomes more visible in everyday life in order to counteract conservative antagonism.

  4. Whitney Houston, B.I.G. Tapped for Rock Hall

    They died young, but their legacies remain. Houston, who succumbed to an overdose in 2012, made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame cut after being nominated four times. Charismatic Brooklyn rapper Notorious B.I.G., gunned down in 1997 at age 24, will join her. Other honorees include T. Rex, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and the Doobie Brothers.

    What makes this year's induction different? The May 2 ceremony in Cleveland will be televised live for the first time, and will rely heavily on tribute performances for the deceased honorees.

    Don't miss OZY's profile of the Syrian rapper hoping to return home.

  5. oger Federer of Switzerland reacts to winning the second set during his men's singles quarter-final tennis match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 2, 2014.

    Tennis Stars Raise $3.5M for Australian Fires

    Inspired by Australian star Nick Kyrgios pledging $200 per ace, fellow athletes — Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Coco Gauff and Rafael Nadal, among others — raised nearly $3.5 million during yesterday's Rally for Relief exhibition. Some stars played matches against volunteer fire personnel in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, which will host the Australian Open later this month. Federer and Nadal each donated $172,625.

    What did the players say? Federer described the disaster as "hard to watch," while Kyrgios said he "got goose bumps" after learning of the total amount raised.