The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Trump Declared Not Guilty for Abusing Power

    The Republican dominated Senate voted Wednesday to acquit President Donald Trump of both articles of impeachment. Trump's campaign quickly pointed to the acquittal as vindication that the president didn't abuse his power to cheat in the upcoming election. However, Republican Senator of Utah Mitt Romney concluded otherwise, making him the only politician in U.S history to vote to impeach a president from the same party.

    What's next? The presidential election of course. And come November, voters will decide whether to award an impeached president a second term.

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    Trump Touts 'Great American Comeback'

    "We have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny." Those are the words President Donald Trump used to describe what he said has been unbridled economic progress during last night's State of the Union address. More notable moments included Trump — who surprisingly didn't mention impeachment — bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demonstratively tearing up a copy of the president's speech.

    What else did Trump say? On the foreign policy front, he promised to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro and hailed the U.S. killings of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.

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    Buttigieg, Sanders Lead in Bungled Iowa Poll

    Partial figures from Iowa's chaotic caucuses showed former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and populist firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders snatching 27 and 25 percent of the delegates, respectively. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden trailed in third and fourth places. But some analysts aren't counting Biden out, suggesting Iowa's muddled results could keep the onetime front-runner in a long slog straight to July's Democratic convention.

    How serious was the caucus meltdown? OZY columnist and former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin believes the debacle showed the world the U.S. isn't "the efficient, well-organized superpower that many assumed we were."

  4. Coronavirus Fatalities Still Stacking Up

    China has now logged 490 deaths and more than 24,000 confirmed infections in the weekslong outbreak. It's hit the high seas too: Ten people on a Japanese cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus, leading to a mandatory 14-day quarantine for the vessel's 3,700 passengers and crew. Meanwhile, officials in epicenter Wuhan are rushing to build temporary hospitals as locals report overcrowded conditions.

    Is new treatment on the way? Chinese researchers say they've found a medication called remdesivir to be "highly effective," and the Wuhan Institute of Virology said it's filed for a patent on the unlicensed experimental drug.

    Read this OZY feature about why the future of nanoscience is in China.

  5. Ford Stock Slides as Carmaker Bleeds Cash

    They're braking the bank. After reporting a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion yesterday, shares in the Detroit-based carmaker tumbled more than 9 percent in after-hours trading. The outlook for 2020 isn't exactly rosy, either, with Ford saying it expects operating earnings of $1.20 per share at the most — below analysts' expectations of $1.26. "This company has to change," CEO Jim Hackett told reporters.

    How are Ford's competitors faring? Tesla, for one, closed Tuesday up nearly 14 percent, with its $160 billion market value more than quadruple that of Ford's $36.4 billion.

  6. Also Important...

    Cathay Pacific Airways has ordered its 27,000 workers to take turns ducking out for three weeks' unpaid leave amid the coronavirus outbreak. The United Nations says more than half a million Syrians have been displaced as fighting in the rebel enclave of Idlib grinds on. And Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to ask his followers whether the electric carmaker should build a gigafactory in Texas — with 80 percent supporting the move.

    #OZYfact: Egypt is home to some 15 million stray dogs and cats. 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

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    Twitter Targets 'Deceptive' Fake Media

    They're beating a hasty retweet. The microblogging giant announced Tuesday that it'll begin alerting users about manipulated photos, deepfake videos and other "altered or fabricated" media. It also promised to ban any fake content that poses a significant threat to public or personal safety. The changes, which launch March 5, come after Twitter solicited opinions from users, experts and academics last year over how to mitigate the problem of misinformation.

    How accurate will it be? Miscaptioned photos could get stuck in a "gray area" that won't be flagged — and could therefore potentially be exploited.

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    Refugees Conquer Germany's Job Market

    New figures from the German government show that nearly half of all refugees who arrived since 2013 snagged a steady job within five years, compared to 44 percent in the previous two decades. The Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research credited Germany's commitment to integrating newcomers by prioritizing language learning. Still, there's room for improvement: Only 29 percent of those who found jobs were women.

    Why does it matter? Some might say those numbers vindicate German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to welcome more than 1 million refugees in 2015.

    Don't miss OZY's story about the German state saying "jawohl" to migrants.

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    This Scrappy Space Team Dreams of Lunar Life

    Fly them to the moon. Stocked with barely more than a dozen young researchers and students, a European Space Agency unit called Spaceship EAC is paving the way for life on Earth's satellite, OZY reports. Focusing on new, crazy ideas rather than short-term projects, the Germany-based squad has its eye on space mining, recycling materials and energy — and in general, prepping for the moon's unforgiving environment.

    What's their biggest challenge? Oddly enough, politics: NASA's ambitious goal of returning to the moon by 2024, for instance, relies on the whims of the White House.

  4. Study: Last Year Most Diverse in Film Biz

    According to a University of Southern California research center, 2019 was a record year for diversity in Hollywood. Forty-three of the 100 top-grossing movies featured a female lead or co-lead — a 13-year high — though only three were over the age of 45, down from 11 in 2018. Meanwhile, 31 films had a lead or co-lead from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, up from 27 a year earlier.

    Is that a picture of progress? Experts say it's still not enough, given that women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, while people of color comprise 39.6 percent.

    Ready OZY's feature about diversity marring female medical research.

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    Did the Red Sox Really Trade Mookie Betts?

    The baseball world has been tossed into a frenzy by reports of a three-team blockbuster deal that would send the 2018 American League MVP to the Dodgers. Joining Betts in Los Angeles would be Cy Young winner David Price, while Boston would grab Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol. Minnesota would walk away with starter Kenta Maeda. All those moves are contingent on medical checks.

    What are the teams' endgames? The Dodgers are hell-bent on a winning year, while the cost-cutting Sox are saving $27 million on Betts' 2020 salary alone — though disappointed fans worry they're striking out before the season even begins.