The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Coronavirus Death Toll Now Worse Than SARS

    As of Saturday, the epidemic surpassed the 774 killed by SARS in 2002-2003 — and Sunday was its deadliest day yet, with 97 deaths. More than 900 patients have died out of the 40,171 who've gotten sick. Two foreigners, American and Japanese, are among the fatalities in China, while a quarantined cruise ship anchored in Yokohama, Japan, has reported 130 passengers are infected. The World Health Organization is sending a team of experts to Beijing help contain the virus.

    What other effects has it had? It's dragging down the global economy: limiting travel, slashing airlines' revenue and prompting exhibitors like Amazon to pull out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

  2. Heavy Rains Douse Australian Bushfires

    And then they came. The heaviest rains in 30 years drenched Sydney and surrounding New South Wales state, causing floods but also filling drought-starved reservoirs — and bringing blessed relief from bushfires that have devastated the region. More than 15 inches of rain fell over four days, extinguishing 30 fires including the Gospers Mountain Blaze that had scorched more than 1.2 million acres. Seventeen others continue to burn, but are expected to be out by the end of the week.

    What's the downside? Australia's Bureau of Meteorology warned that burned areas are especially susceptible to flooding.

    OZY discovers how California schools fight fire with the sun.

  3. Trump's $4.8T Budget Targets Safety Nets

    President Donald Trump's budget proposal to Congress today will reportedly make sharp cuts in social safety net programs, such as stripping $292 million from Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. The $4.8 trillion budget also slashes $11.7 billion from foreign aid, including an anti-HIV program, adhering to Trump's "America First" stance. The cuts are intended to shrink the federal deficit, estimated at $1 trillion in the current fiscal year.

    How will this play out politically? Trump has proposed such cuts before, but he's reached deals with Congress to spend more and exceed spending limits set in 2011.

    OZY's Donald Dossier looks at the debt issue.

  4. Sanders Protests New Iowa Delegate Count

    It's a Pete peeve. The Democratic Party released new caucus results Sunday that gave one more national delegate to former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That brings his total to 14 compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders' 12 — even though the Vermont senator won the popular vote. Now the Sanders campaign wants a partial recanvass, and as OZY reports, the party is in panic mode.

    What are the implications? With major media outlets refusing to call a Hawkeye State winner, it could be that the victor of tomorrow's New Hampshire primary will be known before Iowa's.

  5. Also Important...

    Helped by the jet stream and a powerful storm, a British Airways Boeing 747 flew from New York City to London in under five hours, shattering the subsonic record for crossing the Atlantic. Irish republican party Sinn Féin showed surprising strength in Saturday's parliamentary elections, matching the two dominant parties. And the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter probe launched late Sunday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

    #OZYFact: Nigeria has only one doctor for every 6,000 of its inhabitants. Read more on OZY.

    Speak up! Do you think any of the Democratic candidates for president could beat President Trump in November? Let us know what you think by replying to this email — and we’ll feature the most interesting answers right here later in the week.


  1. 'Parasite' Wins Historic Best Picture Oscar

    Subtitles have crossed the border. Last night the South Korean black comedy thriller became the first non-English language film to capture the top Academy Awards honor. It was an "opportune moment in history," said Parasite producer Kwak Sin-ae. Director Bong Joon-ho also accepted statuettes for best international film, best original screenplay and best director. The top acting awards went to Joaquin Phoenix for his Joker portrayal and Judy star Renée Zellweger.

    Are foreign films mainstream now? Streaming and diversity efforts are cracking the wall, said one veteran producer, calling Parasite's victory "a huge breaking of a psychological barrier."

  2. The Feds Are Buying Phone Location Data

    Your privacy is on the line. That's according to a Wall Street Journal investigation that found the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been purchasing mobile phone location data to nab undocumented migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border since 2017. It buys anonymized data from Virginia-based Venntel, which collects marketing information with users' permission from apps like games and weather forecasts.

    Can they do that? In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that authorities need warrants to tap cell providers' data, but DHS lawyers say that doesn't apply to buying publicly available data — setting up a likely court challenge.

    OZY tags the most privacy-conscious nation.

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    Russia Occupies Syria's Ancient Heritage

    Russia's involvement in Syria has gone beyond bombing rebel-held neighborhoods and propping up President Bashar Assad, OZY reports. They're aiming to rebuild the ISIS-blasted ancient city of Palmyra, and two Russian tour operators are ferrying federation citizens in for a look around. In Homs, a flashpoint for the rebellion, pro-Kremlin Chechens have reconstructed a historic mosque.

    Why bother? Experts suggest that beyond the economic boost to the ravaged nation, the effort might coax the rest of the world to join in with restoration, thus lending legitimacy to Assad's regime.

  4. Switzerland Votes for LGBTQ Protections

    "Remain respectful." That's what Switzerland's justice minister advised after nearly two-thirds of the population voted to extend an anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation. The change was approved by Parliament in 2018, but challenges by conservative groups, which argued it restricts free expression, forced a public vote. The law prohibits denigrating, inciting hatred or discriminating against people on the basis of sexuality.

    How gay-friendly is Switzerland? According to the Rainbow Map, which shows 49 European nations' respect for LGBTQ folks, it ranks 28, but it's likely to move up after this weekend's vote.

    Don’t miss this OZY story about British LGBTQ attitudes.

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    Boston Inks On-Again, Off-Again Betts Deal

    Mookie Betts is officially taking his four Golden Gloves and three Silver Sluggers to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal was completed Sunday after a week of chaos — with the three-team blockbuster trade brought to the table and taken off again because one piece of the deal, Minnesota Twins pitcher Brusdar Graterol, wasn't considered starter material after Boston checked his medical records.

    So what's the deal? L.A. gets Betts, pitcher David Price, an outfielder and cash; Boston gets Graterol, outfielder Alex Verdugo and infield and catching prospects; and Minnesota gets pitcher Kenta Maeda, cash and a prospect.