The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Thai Soldier Goes on Killing Rampage

    A Thai military officer reportedly killed a superior and stole weapons and a Humvee Saturday before going on a killing spree in central Thailand . The death toll in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima reached 26, with 57 people wounded, before security forces shot the gunman dead this morning in the Terminal 21 shopping mall after a 12-hour standoff. Identified as Jakraphanth Thomma, the officer posted messages on Facebook during his rampage, which the social network removed.

    Why did he do it? Thomma is believed to have been angered by a property deal in which he felt cheated.

    OZY reports on the rise of the terror manifesto.

  2. Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses SARS

    Fatalities from the virus have passed 800, exceeding the 774 people killed in 2002 and 2003 by SARS, which also started in China. Among those who didn't survive are an American and the first non-Chinese patient to die, in Wuhan, coronovirus' epicenter. Some 3,700 passengers are quarantined off of Japan on the British-flagged cruise ship Diamond Princess, where six passengers were found to be infected.

    How fast is it spreading? On Saturday, 2,656 new cases were reported in China, a 20-percent decline from Friday's infection tally.

    OZY examines the outbreaks Olympic impact.

  3. Trump Fires Impeachment Witnesses

    By some accounts, this has been President Donald Trump's best week ever, with all but one Republican senator acquitting him Wednesday on both impeachment articles approved by House Democrats. On Friday, Trump tied up some loose ends by firing two administration members who testified during House Democrats' impeachment investigation that their boss had withheld aid to Ukraine to prompt political favors.

    Whom did he fire? Major campaign donor Gordon Sondland forfeits his European Union ambassadorship, while Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted out of his National Security Council post on his way to a Pentagon assignment.

  4. All Eyes on New Hampshire

    After this week's digital caucus counting controversy, who could blame New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu for saying, "we're not Iowa!" and "you can't hack pen and paper." Eventual Iowa results did put virtually tied leaders Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, who's approaching national front-runner status in OZY's presidential primary projections, in last night's Democratic debate hot seat in Manchester, N.H. Democratic rivals, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, questioned their viability against a formidable incumbent Republican.

    Who's got the Granite State edge? Buttigieg is reportedly polling ahead of Sanders, the senator from neighboring Vermont, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Biden.

  5. Election Meddling? Call Estonia

    Its cyber defenses rely on both its IT-savvy “nerd reserves” as well as ordinary Estonians. After a devastating Russian-orchestrated cyberattack took the Baltic nation offline in 2007, it got serious about fighting back. The Estonian government offers free training for political parties and candidates to recognize breaches and has developed a safe mode of online voting now used by 40 percent of the population.

    How extensive are these measures? Even elementary school kids are lectured on the subject, and government agencies stage cyber-crisis drills to hone their preparedness.

  6. Also Important...

    A gunman reportedly wearing Afghan military uniform opened fire in Afghanistan eastern province of Nangarhar Saturday, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding six others. Ireland is counting ballots from Saturday's parliamentary elections, from which exit polls suggest three parties, including republican Sinn Féin, are nearly tied for the lead. And Robert Conrad, star of the 1960s "The Wild, Wild West" and several other series, has died at the age of 84.

    In the week ahead: The 92nd Academy Awards will be handed out tonight. On Monday, the Trump administration is due to submit its 2021 budget proposal to Congress. And on Friday, China is scheduled to cut tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods in half.

    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.


  1. Who Will Save France’s Cafés?

    You can’t even cry into your café au lait. That essential French cultural touchstone, the village café, is dying. While the republic has grown in population, its cafés have gone from some 200,000 in 1960 to 38,000 in 2016. While tourists sustain famous Parisian haunts, the classic rural gathering spot has declined with the closing of factories and other employers that once dotted the countryside. Some even blame the lack of such venues for the popularity of the yellow vest movement.

    Is there any hope? A social services nonprofit is working on reviving café culture — supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s embattled government.

    OZY makes the argument for laptop-free cafés.

  2. He’s Set Sails for the Heavens

    Astronautics guru Dave Spencer may be immersed in hard, practical science, but he’s still a romantic who sees space as but another ocean to be explored — with sailing ships. Spencer is leading the team that has put LightSail 2 into orbit, propelled by a shiny, boxing-ring-size sail that’s boosted by solar photons, OZY reports. The nonprofit Planetary Society crowdfunded the $7.5 million cost of the breadbox-size (before unfurling) spacecraft.

    Where is it headed? The craft is orbiting Earth for now, but the Planetary Society’s founder calls it “the only technology that can take us to the stars.”

  3. Shutterstock 1099824407

    We Still Don’t Know Why Vaping Kills

    Did they vanish in the haze? Last September, President Donald Trump vowed “very, very strong” action to protect youth from the dangers of vaping. Others followed suit: Massachusetts banned electronic cigarettes temporarily, Walmart cleared its vape shelves and India banned such products. While vaping-linked deaths were the impetus, medical science is still puzzled about how harm comes to users.

    What are the theories? Initial findings that THC, not tobacco-extracted vaping, was prevalent among victims helped calm the storm, but strictly nicotine vapers have also succumbed, leaving researchers in a fog.

    Read this OZY look at e-cigarettes’ genetic implications.

  4. MOR Becomes Radio’s Fast Lane

    In London, radio still rules. Millions of Brits tune in regularly even as streaming services snowball. While it’s not No. 1 in town, Magic Radio’s so-called MOR, or “middle of the road,” aka easy listening, playlists, “from George Michael to Lionel Richie,” have earned it iconic status. To get on its playlist is to be remembered forever in Britain’s music canon, says rapper Stormzy, unapologetically.

    Who listens to this stuff? Its prime audience is women ages 35 to 55, among 4.2 million fans who seem immune to the digital revolution.

  5. How Shoes Became the New Steroids

    There’s a spring in their step — literally. Nike never asked World Athletics if its new Vaporfly shoes violated the governing body’s competitive running regulations in 2016. Then the records began to fall, culminating in October with Kenyan phenom Eliud Kipchoge unofficially breaking the two-hour marathon barrier wearing Nike prototypes. Equipped with energy-returning carbon-fiber plates, the shoes boost performance by 4 percent, Nike claims.

    Is it legal? This week, World Athletics allowed the enhancements, but soles can’t exceed 40 millimeters thick or incorporate more than a single rigid plate, meaning Nike’s new Alphafly is legal.

    OZY profiles an ultraorthodox mom with Olympic aspirations.