The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. New Evidence Complicates Impeachment Trial

    With the Senate set to begin its impeachment trial in earnest tomorrow, Democrats and Republicans are arguing over including evidence that's surfaced since the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, also said he fears U.S. intelligence agencies are withholding evidence regarding Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine for political favors.

    How are Republicans preparing? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly planning a "kill switch" rule that could dismiss the articles of impeachment quickly if Democrats try to prolong the proceedings.

    OZY's Donald Dossier examines some of the new evidence.

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    Virginia Braces for Gun-Rights Rally

    The state's recently Democrat-tilted government, which is considering stricter gun control, is on high alert today. That's because neo-Nazis, White supremacists and far-right militia members are expected to attend an annual gun rights demonstration in Richmond. Gov. Ralph Northam has declared an emergency and temporarily banned weapons near the Statehouse, and even a leading Virginia Republican warned that extremists aren't welcome in Richmond.

    What's the latest U.S. gun violence? At least three Sunday shootings claimed two lives each: Two police officers in Honolulu, two concertgoers in San Antonio and two bar patrons in Kansas City.

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    World Leaders Push Libya Cease-Fire

    During a summit in Berlin Sunday, several world powers said they'll restrict arms shipments into Libya and push its warring factions toward a full cease-fire. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey — who support opposing factions — joined the leaders of France, Italy and Britain as well as the U.S. secretary of state in pledging to observe an existing U.N. arms embargo.

    What lies ahead? Fayez Sarraj, prime minister of Libya's U.N.-recognized government, and rebel leader Khalifa Hifter are sending representatives for imminent talks in Geneva.

    OZY examines how refugees face torture in Libya.

  4. New Coronavirus Spreads Beyond China

    In two days, 136 more patients have been diagnosed with a mysterious new respiratory illness, Chinese authorities reported. Meanwhile, today South Korea joined Japan and Thailand, each of which has reported a case, showing the virus is crossing borders. Little is known about the illness, but health authorities have said it's a strain of coronavirus — like the SARS epidemic that killed 774 people in the early 2000s. Experts believe the new outbreak may have infected as many as 1,700 people.

    Are there financial implications? Analysts said a new SARS-like crisis would hurt China's retailers, suppressing economic growth at a time when it's already dragging.

  5. Also Important...

    Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, secured her fortune by buying up government oil, diamonds and other industries while her father was president of Angola, according to newly leaked documents. Nashville singer-songwriter David Olney, whose work was recorded by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, collapsed onstage Saturday and died at age 71. And China, the world's largest producer of plastic bags, is moving to restrict their use.

    #OZYFact: Some 8 million tons of fresh devotional flowers, often contaminated with pesticides, are dumped annually into India's rivers. 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.


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    SpaceX Hits Milestone for Crewed Launch

    When a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a crew capsule exploded 90 seconds after its Florida launch Sunday morning, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk rejoiced. That's because the unmanned Crew Dragon capsule, designed to transport humans into space, had already successfully separated — demonstrating its ability to bring astronauts safely back to Earth in case of a serious launch failure.

    When will humans go up in the capsule? Musk said both NASA and SpaceX believe it could happen in the second quarter of this year.

    NASA's administrator appeals on OZY for help reaching for the stars.

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    NY Times Endorses Two Democratic Candidates

    Approaching the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, the newspaper's editorial board broke with convention and endorsed two presidential hopefuls, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. The process has been private for 160 years, but this year the Times' documentary series The Weekly, which airs on FX and Hulu, revealed its deliberations and taped interviews with candidates. The paper said that at this "perilous moment," both Warren's "radical" and Klobuchar's "realist" platforms "warrant serious consideration."

    Will this help the candidates? Perhaps. The last Democrat it endorsed for president, Hillary Clinton, won the nomination, but its GOP choice, John Kasich, did not.

  3. Kashmir's Social Media Ban Hits Women's Purses

    The lifeblood of an estimated 4,000 female-run small businesses in Kashmir has been cut off by the Indian government. Entrepreneurial artists there had used social media to reach buyers, but New Delhi's clampdown on communication, which came along with revoking the region's semi-autonomous status in August, cut their access. For Kashmiri women, OZY reports, the shutoff has forced many businesses to rebuild from the bottom up.

    Will they log on again soon? India's Supreme Court recently called the blackout an “abuse of power,” but it has yet to demand a reversal.

  4. 'Parasite' and 'Mrs. Maisel' Nab Top SAG Awards

    Becoming the first non-English language film to do so, director Bong Joon Ho's South Korean black comedy thriller Parasite won the top movie prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night. On the small screen, streaming services led the way: Netflix's The Crown took best TV drama and Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel scored the best comedy award, beating out Fleabag — which even some Maisel cast members praised.

    Who were the top actors? Joaquin Phoenix won for his Joker performance, while Renee Zellweger, who not only acted but sang as Judy Garland in Judy, received the best actress statuette.

    OZY profiles a Black actor who changed Hollywood.

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    Chiefs to Meet 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

    Kansas City is going to the Super Bowl after defeating the Tennessee Titans 35-24 to win the AFC Championship yesterday. They'll face San Francisco, who last night won the NFC title by crushing the Green Bay Packers 37-20. In a game where quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only completed six of eight pass attempts, the 49ers ran the ball 42 times. Raheem Mostert stole the show, gaining 220 yards and scoring four touchdowns.

    What's special about the S.F.-K.C. matchup? The Feb. 2 game is the Chiefs' first Super Bowl appearance since they won in 1970, while the Niners have won five times — most recently 25 years ago.