The Presidential Daily Brief


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    New Hampshire Feels the Bern

    With around 26 percent of the vote, Sen. Bernie Sanders has walked away the winner of the Granite State’s Democratic primary. Pete Buttigieg wasn’t far behind in second place — while Sen. Amy Klobuchar has proven she’s here to stay, OZY reports, after snatching some 20 percent. Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and ex-Vice President Joe Biden posted dismal single-digit figures.

    What’s next? As questions mount about whether Warren and Biden can last, so could unease amid moderate Democrats over populist firebrand Sanders’ increasing momentum.

    Check out OZY's exclusive 2020 election prediction model.

  2. Is Coronavirus Finally Easing Up?

    For the second day in a row, Chinese officials reported a drop in new infections — though the death toll has now reached 1,113. The country’s top medical adviser predicted the outbreak would peak this month and end “in something like April.” Officially dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization yesterday, it’s also wreaked havoc on global mail systems as reduced transportation and delays to disinfect packages mount.

    What’s in a name? Besides providing a standard for future use, experts say avoiding animal-related or geographical references helps avoid stigmatization.

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    US Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case

    In a dramatic turn of events, all four government lawyers handling the case against the notorious political operative withdrew yesterday. That’s after the Justice Department proposed a more lenient sentence — just hours after President Donald Trump tweeted complaints about the original recommendation of seven to nine years — for Stone, who was convicted of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. While three prosecutors requested reassignment, one quit his job entirely.

    What’s the bigger picture? Critics say the controversy shows how the historically independent Justice Department is under increasing sway from the White House, though a spokesperson said her agency wasn’t acting on any orders.

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    Japan’s SoftBank Faces Hard Truth

    The Tokyo-based tech conglomerate reported a 99 percent plunge in operating profit from last quarter, thanks to the $2 billion loss its Vision Fund took, mostly from a flopped investment in crisis-hit WeWork. But not all the news is bad: Yesterday’s U.S. court approval of the long-awaited merger between wireless giants Sprint and T-Mobile sent shares in SoftBank — a major Sprint investor — soaring nearly 12 percent.

    So is SoftBank in serious trouble? It’s facing pressure from American hedge fund Elliott Management, which holds a $2.5 billion stake in the group, to shake up its governance and carry out another stock buyback.

  5. Also Important...

    U.S. political upstart Andrew Yang has announced his withdrawal from the race for president. Nissan is seeking $91 million in damages from ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn, who recently fled financial misconduct charges in Japan. And the International Energy Agency said yesterday that carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector plateaued last year.

    #OZYfact: New Delhi is the epicenter of India’s ongoing protests — despite holding only 2 percent of the country’s population. Read more on OZY.

    Speak up! How concerned are you about the coronavirus outbreak? 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.


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    Jussie Smollett Is Back in Legal Trouble

    After being suddenly cleared last March of filing a fake hate crime report, the Empire actor is facing fresh legal heat as an Illinois special prosecutor revealed a new indictment against him yesterday. Smollett’s lawyer said the six new charges of disorderly conduct are “clearly all about politics not justice.” The 37-year-old is due in court Feb. 24.

    Why does it matter? It’s not just about Smollett: The charges could spell political trouble for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who’d abruptly dropped and sealed the original charges, just weeks away from an election.

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    Boeing Hits Quarter-Century Low

    Last month marked a dismal new record for the embattled planemaker, which experienced its first zero-order January in 25 years. It also delivered a mere 13 commercial jets — in stark contrast to European competitor Airbus, which sent off 31 new planes and raked in 274 orders. Last January, between the two deadly crashes of its 737 Max, Boeing delivered 46 planes and won 45 orders.

    When will the Max soar again? Company management hopes to restart production in a couple months, in time for the globally grounded jet to take flight midyear.

    OZY asks: Can high-speed trains benefit from Boeing's woes?

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    Can Solar Roads Save the Planet?

    It’s a new path to power. From the state of Georgia to eastern China, researchers and companies are developing roads that double as solar-power generators, transforming the future of energy and transportation, OZY reports. As governments and the private sector learn from the mistakes of past projects, the approach could turn the transportation industry — one of the biggest contributors to climate change — into a savior for the planet instead.

    What challenges remain? Solar streets surrounded by tall buildings or hidden under dust and mud won’t get much sun, so developers are working to maximize efficiency before photovoltaic tech hits the road.

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    Siba the Poodle Is America’s Goodest Girl

    She’s a top dog. Sporting fluffy black locks and a sense of elegance fit for a queen, the standard poodle became America’s favorite canine yesterday after winning best in show at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. “She just has this confidence in herself,” said handler Chrystal Clas. More than 2,600 pooches participated in the three-day contest — the country’s second-oldest sporting event after the Kentucky Derby.

    How else is Westminster special? It offers no prize money, while spectators are also allowed backstage for face-to-face meetings with the competitors themselves.

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    Report: Beltran Key to Astros’ Sign-Stealing

    Once considered a shoo-in for Cooperstown, Carlos Beltran could see that prospect ruined after a report in The Athletic alleged he was central to Houston’s sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season. One former teammate even claimed Beltran — the only player named in MLB’s probe — “steamrolled everybody” who tried to protest against cheating. The former star outfielder, who’s denied any wrongdoing, was dumped as the New York Mets’ new manager last month.

    How influential was Beltran? Astros teammates reportedly called him “the Godfather” and “the king,” while ex-manager A.J. Hinch recently said he feared alienating his team if he pushed back too much against the veteran player.