The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. China Mobilizes Against Coronavirus

    Facing what they call "wartime conditions," Chinese officials are doubling down on their battle against the outbreak. With the death toll topping 600, they've launched a house-to-house effort in epicenter Wuhan to collect the sick and take them to quarantine centers. They're not mincing their militaristic words, either: "There must be no deserters," said Vice Premier Sun Chunlan.

    Will there be a turning point? Perhaps not the kind China's hoping for: A flood of anger and grief gripped social media following reports that whistleblowing doctor Li Wenliang — silenced by the government after his early warnings about the virus — has died.

  2. donald trump thumbs up shutterstock 1087344797

    Trump Claims Victory by Blasting Critics

    "We went through hell." That's how President Donald Trump described living through months of impeachment proceedings in a freewheeling hourlong White House address yesterday. Celebrating his Wednesday acquittal in the Senate, he lashed out at the "vicious and mean" Democrats and the "dirty cops ... leakers and liars" that allegedly conspired to sink his presidency. He targeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lead investigator Rep. Adam Schiff, both of whom he called "horrible" people.

    Is the Ukraine scandal over? New details about Trump's alleged pressure on Kyiv for political help are still coming out — in addition to ex-national security adviser John Bolton's forthcoming book.

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    White House: US Killed Top Al-Qaida Leader

    President Trump announced yesterday that a recent U.S. counterterrorism operation in Yemen resulted in the death of Qassim al-Rimi. The founder of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Rimi was behind December's deadly shooting at a U.S. Navy base in Florida by a Saudi aviation trainee that killed three sailors. While reports of his death had circulated in recent days, Trump gave no other details about the operation.

    Why does it matter? Thanks in part to its attempts to organize strikes inside the U.S., AQAP is considered al-Qaida's most dangerous branch — so the loss of its leader could be a heavy hit.

  4. Credit Suisse CEO Quits Amid Spying Scandal

    He went down in one fell snoop. CEO Tidjane Thiam stepped down from his post at the Swiss lender yesterday, sending shares down more than 4 percent Friday. Despite his claims that he wasn't aware that two top executives were being surveilled last year, Thiam — who'd been cleared by outside investigators of any responsibility in the matter — had faced months of pressure to resign.

    What's next? His successor, Thomas Gottstein, will become the first Swiss national to head the bank since 2002.

    Don't miss OZY's original series, Unconventional CEOs.

  5. Also Important...

    With all results from Iowa's caucuses finally reported, Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders remain locked in a virtual tie — with Buttigieg up by just 0.1 percent. Heavy rains in southern Australia are helping local firefighters by reducing the number of wildfires in New South Wales by almost a third in one day. And Antarctica has clocked its hottest-ever temperature, reaching 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious, Washington-based political reporter to cover the 2020 presidential election — and beyond. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. Bumblebee

    Bumblebees Are Buzzing Toward Extinction

    Soon they could bee gone. Populations were already on the decline due to habitat loss, diseases and pesticides, but now global warming is seriously testing bumblebees' physical tolerance. In North America, researchers studying 66 species of the fuzzy pollinators — who thrive in cooler temperatures — clocked a nearly 50 percent drop in their numbers since 1974. Concerned gardeners, the study suggests, should plant more trees and shrubs to give overheated bumblebees shade.

    Why does it matter? Losing pollinators has a ripple effect across ecosystems, threatening food crops and other organisms that rely on them and jeopardizing $15 billion worth of agriculture in the U.S. alone.

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    Is Apple Bullying Indie Repair Shops?

    When the tech giant started letting small-time repair shops use real Apple parts last year, it was hailed as a step forward for the so-called "right-to-repair" movement. But many have apparently soured on the program after seeing the contract: It reportedly imposes hefty restrictions — like unannounced inspections and audits — to make sure everything's up to snuff. If Apple finds "prohibited products" were used in more than 2 percent of sales, businesses could face a $1,000 fine for every transaction during an audit period.

    Is it all rotten? While some shops have refused to sign the contract, others say it helps ensure their repairs and products aren't slipping in quality.

  3. tokyo olympics banner shutterstock 308772806

    Coronavirus Claims China's Olympic Dreams

    While many of the world's premier athletes are fine-tuning their training routines ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, Chinese competitors are slightly distracted. Facing quarantine overseas or at home, they're unable to train together, OZY reports — and are unsure if they'll even be allowed to compete. As global concern about the virus grows, so does China's fear that it won't be able to reverse its ignominious third-place showing in the 2016 Summer Games.

    How are officials handling it? In keeping with the country’s approach of downplaying crises, they insist that training plans remain on track despite state media reports of disruptions in athletes' schedules.

  4. Record-Breaking NASA Astronaut Returns

    She's down to Earth. After 328 days, Christina Koch is back home — having spent more time in space than any other female astronaut. Besides breaking Peggy Whitson's record of 289 days, Koch also clocked the second-longest single U.S. mission, behind Scott Kelly's 2015 trip. Her stay on the International Space Station featured six spacewalks, including the first ever with an all-female crew, and spanned 5,248 orbits of the Earth.

    What's next for Koch? She'll assist NASA in researching how astronauts can spend similarly long periods of time elsewhere around the solar system.

  5. NBA Teams Trade Up Before Deadline

    As the NBA trade deadline approached Thursday, teams dribbled their way toward winning lineups. The Los Angeles Clippers snatched up defensive forward Marcus Morris, keeping him away from the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Miami Heat boosted their title chances by grabbing forward Andre Iguodala from the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Any curious moves? The Golden State Warriors traded high-scoring guard D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for former top draft pick Andrew Wiggins — a strange choice, analysts say, since he's failed to live up to his hype.

    Don't miss this OZY story about how Kobe Bryant became a global citizen.