The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Senate Finally Sets Impeachment Rules

    Following a marathon session of squabbling, the Republican-controlled upper chamber voted to block documents related to President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, as well as subpoenas for White House officials. The raucous day ended with an exchange between House prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers that was vicious enough that Chief Justice John Roberts stepped in to scold them. The trial resumes this afternoon.

    Who's winning? Some pundits think both sides are harming themselves, with Democrats simultaneously claiming their case is airtight and demanding more evidence — while Trump's lawyers might struggle to contest the facts without new witness testimony.

  2. China's New Coronavirus Is Now Stateside

    As cases quickly stack up in China — where at least 440 have been infected with the pneumonia-like illness — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed America's first instance of the virus also known as 2019-nCoV. A Washington state man in his 30s was diagnosed after traveling to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the outbreak began. Authorities there have urged locals not to travel in or out of the city, while the CDC has expanded airport screening of passengers arriving from China.

    What's next? A World Health Organization panel will meet today to determine whether to declare a global public health emergency.

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    India's Top Court Delays Citizenship Ruling

    Protesters in the South Asian nation have vowed to push on after its Supreme Court gave authorities another four weeks to explain a controversial citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government will now be forced to reply to more than 140 petitions challenging the law's validity, after which a five-judge bench will likely rule on the matter.

    Why is the law so divisive? While officials claim it helps migrants from select religious minorities by granting them Indian citizenship, critics say it betrays India’s secularism by excluding Muslims solely because of their faith.

    Don't miss OZY's feature about Bollywood actresses breaking with Modi.

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    Netflix Strong Globally, Weak Locally

    As it grapples with new contenders in a quickly crowding market, the streaming giant said it gained 1.2 million more overseas subscribers than expected last quarter, adding 8.3 million. But it also fell about 180,000 subscribers short of its 600,000 target in the U.S., and far below the 1.5 million it added in the same period of 2018. Netflix now boasts 167 million subscribers, of which 60.4 million are U.S.-based.

    Why does it matter? That mixed performance could rattle investors — once wooed by Netflix's lighting-fast subscriber growth — as companies like Disney, Comcast and AT&T all elbow in on the market.

  5. Also Important...

    Prosecutors in New York will make their opening statement today in the rape case against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In a ruling that's expected to attract widespread criticism, South Korea's military has decided to expel a transgender soldier. And a new study sheds light on what experts believe is a 2.23 billion-year-old asteroid impact crater, the world's oldest.

    #OZYfact: Oil- and diamond-rich Angola has a 94 percent poverty rate among rural households. 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.

Intriguing

  1. Did MBS Hack Jeff Bezos' Phone?

    According to The Guardian, the Amazon founder and world's richest person received a malware-infested video file via WhatsApp from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's personal phone number in May 2018. "Large amounts" of data were reportedly stolen from Bezos' phone, though what was taken and why remain a mystery. The U.N. is expected to comment on the allegation today.

    Why does it matter? This could raise more questions about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — who was employed by the Bezos-owned Washington Post — and about last year's National Enquirer leak of details about the billionaire's private life.

    Read this OZY Special Briefing on how Saudi Arabia remains untouched.

  2. Darfur's Killers Flock to Foreign Conflicts

    The Sudanese paramilitary outfit known as the Rapid Support Forces is making a fortune by leasing its soldiers to fight in regional wars, OZY reports. The group, which spearheaded the genocide in Darfur 15 years ago, has sent more than 40,000 troops to fight with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and with UAE-backed forces in Libya. Until recently, it patrolled Sudan's borders as part of an EU initiative to stifle migration.

    What's the bigger picture? As the RSF grows richer and more powerful, experts worry it could undermine Sudan's democratic transition.

  3. Brazil: Glenn Greenwald Is a Criminal

    The American investigative reporter who facilitated the Edward Snowden leaks has been accused of helping tap the phones of Brazilian officials as part of an investigation for The Intercept last year. His story, based on leaked documents and chat messages, unveiled a web of corruption ironically within Brazil's anti-corruption task force, known as Operation Car Wash. Greenwald maintains that he's innocent.

    How are Brazilians reacting? President Jair Bolsonaro's supporters are cheering the charges, but press rights groups have accused the government of trying to suppress free speech.

  4. Kenya Invaded by Plague of Hungry Bugs

    Millions of desert locusts have devastated crops in northeastern Kenya this month, and the U.N. fears the destruction — potentially Kenya's worst locust damage since 1957 — could spawn a crippling food crisis in coming months. Local farmers have already lost nearly all their grass and crops, and authorities are now blanketing infected villages with insecticide.

    How serious is this crisis? While Kenya's been hit the hardest, the hoppers appear to be heading south and could descend on Uganda and South Sudan by next week.

    Check out this OZY story about Gabon's warriors fighting for a greener future.

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    Jeter, Walker Slide Into Baseball Hall of Fame

    Five years after retiring as a five-time champion, New York Yankee Derek Jeter secured his spot yesterday in Cooperstown. Meanwhile, Canadian-born Larry Walker, five-time All-Star and 1997 MVP, was finally elected in his last year of eligibility. While Jeter may be the most popular shortstop the Bronx Bombers ever hired, he still fell one vote short of a unanimous selection — a feat only achieved by his former teammate, Mariano Rivera.

    How does voting work? Hall of Fame hopefuls have 10 years of eligibility to pick up 75 percent of the 397 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.