The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Washington Braces for Trump Trial

    As the Senate kicks off the main phase of its third-ever impeachment trial today, Democrats and Republicans are expected to continue wrangling over its basic rules. That's because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his plan to fast-track proceedings by giving each side only 24 hours over two days for opening arguments. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's lawyers submitted a 110-page brief describing the charges as a "dangerous perversion of the Constitution" and calling for their dismissal.

    What's next? Expect days of procedural jockeying behind closed doors — since senators aren't allowed to pipe up during proceedings.

  2. China's New Coronavirus Is Spreading

    Triggering fears of a massive epidemic compounded by travel for the Lunar New Year, a Chinese government expert says the new coronavirus strain — a pneumonia-like respiratory condition — can be transmitted between humans. The outbreak, which started in the city of Wuhan, has caused at least four deaths and sickened more than 200. Four cases have also been confirmed across Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

    What's being done? China's National Health Commission believes the epidemic can be controlled, while air, train, bus and boat passengers in Wuhan are being screened before they leave the city.

    Don't miss this OZY series on medical breakthroughs.

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    Virginia Gun Lovers Gather in Peace

    Despite fearful anticipation that the event would turn violent, thousands of gun advocates — many of them armed — rallied peacefully in Richmond yesterday to voice impassioned pleas against firearms control. Only one person was arrested, for wearing a mask in public. Among those who flocked to the Old Dominion's Capitol were out-of-state militias and extremist groups. "This sends a strong visual message," said one demonstrator carrying a massive .50-caliber rifle.

    Who were they angry at? Much of the discontent was directed at Gov. Ralph Northam, who's pushed for universal background checks and a "red flag" law, among other measures.

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    Huawei CFO's Extradition Trial Begins

    Lawyers for embattled executive Meng Wanzhou — charged by U.S. authorities with bank fraud and accused of skirting American sanctions on Iran — argued in a Vancouver court yesterday that she didn't break any Canadian laws. Meng, the 47-year-old daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in December 2018. While she remains free on bail, her case has seriously hampered relations between Beijing and Ottawa.

    How long could the case go on? Because Canada's justice system allows plenty of room for appeal, experts say a final decision could take years.

  5. Also Important...

    The World Economic Forum began in Davos today with an appeal from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg for participants to listen to younger voices. Chinese authorities have sentenced ex-Interpol boss Meng Hongwei to 13.5 years in prison for bribery. And for the first time ever, the U.S. Navy will name an aircraft carrier after an African American: decorated World War II sailor Doris Miller.

    #OZYfact: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is one of just six original Cabinet members from early 2017. 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. UN: Climate Refugees Can Claim Asylum

    According to a landmark United Nations decision Monday, refugees of climate-related catastrophes can't be forced back home if their lives are endangered. The nonbinding ruling came in the case of Ioane Teitiota, who was denied asylum in New Zealand from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. While the U.N. sided with Wellington in rejecting Teitiota's claim, it was on the basis that Kiribati still has 10 to 15 years to combat rising sea levels before it becomes submerged.

    How is this good news for refugees? The decision sets a precedent in international law that countries will have to provide asylum to those fleeing urgent climate disasters.

  2. Why Most Global CEOs Are Getting Nervous

    The number of company bosses who expect an economic slowdown this year has risen tenfold since 2018, according to a PwC survey of 1,581 CEOs from 83 countries. These days, 53 percent believe their profits will take a hit due to trade conflicts and overregulation — up from only 5 percent two years ago. Bosses in North America and Western Europe reported the highest levels of pessimism.

    Were there any surprising results? CEOs are also growing more alarmed about the toll climate change is taking on their businesses, yet the issue still didn't make it into their top 10 concerns.

  3. Lebanon Busts American Journalist

    Freelancer Nicholas Frakes was arrested in Beirut Monday night, accused of livestreaming events to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Problem is, the paper said it had "no connection" to Frakes, and that Reuters provided all its footage from the scene. Lebanon prohibits citizens or visitors from contacting Israelis, since the countries are technically at war.

    Is it safe to report from Lebanon? Press advocates warn that in recent weeks security forces have detained and beaten multiple journalists.

    Read this OZY feature about the Arab-style war on terror.

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    Ex-Universal Exec Wins #MeToo Case

    Nearly two years after being fired over allegations of "inappropriate conduct," former Universal marketing chief Josh Goldstine has reportedly won a monthslong arbitration case. The Comcast-owned studio must now pay him $20 million. Goldstine — whose lawyer said the trial “totally vindicated” his client — resorted to legal action after being unable to find work at the peak of the #MeToo movement.

    What happened? While the details haven't been released, Goldstine was reportedly ousted after an internal investigation found evidence the studio claimed was "credible and indicative of an unacceptable climate."

  5. Can the Warriors Build a Winning Legacy?

    At 10-35, the Golden State Warriors have reached a turning point: Can the team claw back to its epic highs after bottoming out this year, or is it destined to follow the late '90s-era Chicago Bulls into infamy? Observers suggest the former is more likely, OZY reports, so long as the front office uncovers hidden value in the draft and all its stars come back next year in one piece.

    How could they improve? Learning from former dynasties — such as the San Antonio Spurs, who chose wisely in the 1997 draft — will be key.