The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. kobe bryant

    Kobe Bryant, Daughter Die in Helicopter Crash

    Basketball fans around the world are mourning the deaths of the legendary Los Angeles Laker and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who were among the nine killed early Sunday in a Calabasas, California, accident. Amid reports of dense fog blanketing the area at the time, experts say federal investigators will likely focus on the weather as a factor in the crash. "Everyone is in shock," said one team insider. Bryant was 41 years old.

    What's his legacy? Having led the Lakers to five NBA championships, the 18-time All Star — who retired in 2016 after 20 seasons with the team — will be remembered as a hard-working player who was equally celebrated off the court as a "brand-builder" and mentor.

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    Coronavirus Death Toll Jumps to 81

    Nearly 3,000 people have now been infected as the Chinese government extended its Lunar New Year holiday by several days, to Feb. 2, to stem the spread. Many big firms are shuttering their branches nationwide or telling employees to work from home, while Shanghai has ordered all companies apart from supermarkets, utilities and medical suppliers to close until Feb. 10.

    What's next? The director-general of the World Health Organization is in Beijing to collect more information, while Asian markets flashed signs of investor concerns and demand for safe-haven assets jumped.

    Don't miss OZY's Special Briefing on the outbreak.

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    Senate Dems Seek John Bolton's Testimony

    They're setting their sights on President Donald Trump's former national security adviser following leaked revelations from his forthcoming book about how Trump directly tied nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to political favors from Kyiv. Bolton, who submitted the manuscript of The Room Where It Happened to the White House for review on Dec. 30, has said he'll testify if he's subpoenaed.

    Why does it matter? The timing is particularly key, since the Senate's expected to vote this week on whether to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial.

    Don't miss OZY's profile of the Democrats' hired impeachment gun.

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    As UK Preps for Huawei, US Gets Nervous

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned London it's facing a "momentous decision" on letting the controversial Chinese telecom giant into its market. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give Huawei, which Washington considers a major security threat, the go-ahead at a National Security Council meeting tomorrow, but reportedly with a market share cap. Britain's intelligence community has said the company doesn't pose a significant threat as long as its role is restricted.

    What's the upshot? British officials believe the entrance of Huawei is a pro-market move that could help keep 5G technology affordable.

  5. Also Important...

    Auschwitz survivors gathered at the site of the infamous Nazi death camp Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of its liberation. Officials say the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was struck yesterday by three rockets. And Matteo Salvini, Italy's top ring-wing politician, was handed a key defeat in regional elections Sunday.

    #OZYFact: The Czech Republic is the least friendly country in Europe for Muslims, while neighboring Slovakia is one of the friendliest. 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. Israel to Israelis: Enjoy Saudi Arabia

    In a sign of thawing relations, the Israeli government issued a decree Sunday allowing its citizens to visit the nearby kingdom for 90 days for business or for religious pilgrimages. It's the first time Israel has sanctioned such trips — though crossing the border will still require a reciprocal move from Riyadh. The change comes after President Trump invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, to the White House to discuss Trump's long-awaited Mideast peace plan.

    Why so friendly? Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, countering an increasingly belligerent Iran has brought them together.

  2. New Brexit Coin Rattles Remainers

    When the U.K. debuted the commemorative 50-pence piece — engraved with the words "peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" — it was likely meant as a gesture of solidarity. But those who voted against Brexit, which is set to happen at 11 pm Friday, panned the move, with many pledging to never use the coin. More than 3 million will enter circulation Friday, with another 7 million distributed later.

    Is there more to the story? About 1 million coins were minted and stamped with the previous Brexit date of Oct. 31, but had to be melted down when the withdrawal was delayed.

    Read this OZY op-ed about Germany's post-Brexit role in Europe.

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    How India's Hospitals Are Caught Up in Protests

    As protests surge against a controversial new citizenship law and related attacks on students, emergency health care is becoming an unlikely battlefield between the government and its critics, OZY reports. More than 20 people have died in clashes, but their families are still awaiting postmortem reports from hospitals — which may be under pressure from authorities not to divulge details. Some doctors also claim they've been warned by police against treating protesters at all.

    What's the end result? The Indian Medical Association called the situation "a new low in civic life," while international health groups have spoken out against what appears to be a state crackdown on basic rights.

  4. Billie Eilish Makes History at the Grammys

    The 18-year-old singer-songwriter — the youngest person ever nominated for the four top awards at once — swept all of them last night, taking record, song, and album of the year, as well as best new artist. She was also the first woman to win all four at once. Meanwhile, eight-time nominee Lizzo walked away with three Grammys, and Lil Nas X, who was nominated in six categories, took home two trophies.

    Who else emerged victorious? Former first lady Michelle Obama won for best spoken word album, the same award her husband won in 2006 and 2008, for the audiobook of her memoir Becoming.

    Check out OZY's story about the first Black Afrikaans music star.

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    Kobe Tributes Span Sports World — and Beyond

    Athletes as diverse as tennis star Coco Gauff and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were among those who paid tribute to the basketball icon Sunday. Spectators at the NFL Pro Bowl broke out in chants of "Kobe!" during a moment of silence, while Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced his team — for which Bryant never played — would retire number 24.

    Who's speaking up outside the sports world? Commemorations came in from political leaders as far-flung as Taiwan and the Philippines, while ex-President Barack Obama lamented the loss of "what would have been just as meaningful a second act."