The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump's Lawyers: So What If He Did It?

    "It cannot be impeachable." That's how Alan Dershowitz, one of President Donald Trump's lawyers, characterized his client's alleged pressure on Ukraine for political favors during the Senate impeachment trial yesterday. Instead of refuting the claim, as Trump himself has repeatedly done, Dershowitz said the president had the "public interest" in mind while pursuing reelection.

    What's next? Democrats are still hoping to sway their Senate GOP colleagues ahead of tomorrow's vote on whether to allow witness testimony.

    Read OZY's Donald Dossier about how Trump runs for a third term.

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    Coronavirus Is Now in Every Chinese Region

    With the death toll at 170 — and a confirmed case in far-flung Tibet — the outbreak has now hit every region in mainland China. As the World Health Organization meets again today to reconsider whether to declare a global health emergency, experts are urging it do just that. “At this point," said one Johns Hopkins researcher, "a de facto emergency exists." Meanwhile, evacuations from Wuhan, the epicenter, are ongoing.

    How's China handling the outbreak so far? While the government's earned praise for acting more quickly and transparently than during the SARS epidemic, some analysts say President Xi Jinping is putting himself at political risk by not appearing more hands-on.

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    Tesla Profits Electrify Investors

    They're charged up. The electric carmaker logged its second straight quarter of profit yesterday, sending its stock soaring in after-hours trading thanks to what some analysts said were "game-changing" results. Tesla also said it now expects deliveries of its new Model Y compact SUV in April — several months ahead of schedule. A new $2 billion factory in Shanghai, which the company says is running smoothly, could eventually roll out 250,000 cars per year.

    How does Tesla stack up against others? While it recently sped past Volkswagen as the world's second-most valuable carmaker, it faces a long road ahead before leading in profits per vehicle.

  4. Australia Heat Wave Raises Wildfire Risk

    With most of New South Wales facing three days of "severe" to "extreme" heat, authorities are bracing for another uptick in fire danger there, as well as in the nearby states of Victoria and South Australia. Saturday could be particularly bad before a potentially cooler Sunday brings relief. Meanwhile, NSW officials announced that they've launched a six-month probe into the causes of the bushfires that have ravaged the region since last year.

    What are the damages so far? They top $1 billion, including some 2,400 destroyed homes across 14.8 million scorched acres — in addition to 25 lives lost and around 1 billion animals killed.

  5. Also Important...

    Vanessa Bryant has made her first public statement since her husband, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday — saying her family is "completely devastated." Japan has issued arrest warrants for three men who helped ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn flee criminal charges there. And U.S. agents have uncovered the longest-ever drug smuggling tunnel under the Mexican border, measuring nearly three-quarters of a mile.

    #OZYfact: The first Pilates studio was an internment camp. 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.


  1. People Are Confusing Coronavirus With Beer

    Beer isn't the healthiest beverage out there, but it's not nearly as damaging as the virus that's infected thousands in China and beyond. Still, skeptics of the popular Mexican brand aren't so sure: Google search data shows inquiries for "corona beer virus" and "beer virus" have jumped dramatically in the past week, particularly in North America. While the coronavirus and Corona beer are totally unrelated, both trace their names to the Latin word for "crown."

    Are people really that confused? Another explanation might be that Google erroneously auto-completes searches for "corona."

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    Why Gender Matters at the Pharmacy

    It's a hard pill to swallow. According to a recent study of Dutch medical data, women are nearly twice as likely to report an adverse reaction to medication compared to men. That's partly because far more drugs appear to have a severe effect on women, OZY reports, and because women are often more alert to certain side effects. It's also part of a broader biological puzzle about how men and women present different symptoms for the same ailments, such as heart attacks.

    What's the solution? Experts say they need more research to better tailor medications to patients' needs — in addition to more diverse clinical trials.

  3. Russia Frees Israeli-American. What's the Catch?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned New Jersey-born Naama Issachar yesterday, easing a minor diplomatic spat between the two countries. The 26-year-old was slapped with a 7 1/2-year prison sentence last April after being convicted of drug smuggling. Reports suggested Israeli officials signed over part of a Russian Orthodox church in Jerusalem in exchange for Issachar's freedom, but both sides denied that claim.

    So why was she released? The Kremlin called it a "humanitarian" move, while an Israeli official believes it was a goodwill gesture toward the United States.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing about Israel's new political influencers.

  4. Polanski Honor Ignites French #MeToo Furor

    French feminists are furious after "fugitive rapist" Roman Polanski topped the list of nods for the César awards, aka the French Oscars. The director got 12 nominations for An Officer and a Spy, despite still being wanted stateside for fleeing the country after his 1978 statutory rape conviction. Since then, five other women have accused Polanski of rape or sexual assault. The group Dare to Be Feminists promised to protest outside the Feb. 28 ceremony.

    What's the French film academy saying? It plans to steer clear of taking "moral positions" when doling out awards — unlike its American counterpart, which expelled Polanksi two years ago.

  5. Houston Hires Baseball's Oldest Manager

    Play ball, boomer. After sacking former manager A.J. Hinch over the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, the club has signed a one-year deal with veteran skipper Dusty Baker. The 70-year-old has been out of baseball since being fired by the Washington Nationals in 2017, but he's got plenty of experience: In 22 managerial seasons spread across four National League teams, he posted a lifetime winning percentage of .540, made the playoffs nine times, and led the San Francisco Giants to the World Series in 2002.

    When will Baker hit the field? His first game will be a March 26 home matchup against the Los Angeles Angels.