The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. New China Coronavirus Cases Easing

    The virus officially called COVID-19, which has killed 1,665 and infected more than 68,000, is now a fatal pathogen in Europe, with a Chinese tourist dying in a Paris hospital. But the contagion's spread, which jumped last week when Chinese authorities changed their counting method, appears to be easing, with some 2,000 new cases reported today, compared to earlier counts near 3,000.

    How's China handling things? Its restrictions on citizens' movement are reminiscent of Mao-era edicts, while the government has portrayed President Xi Jinping as taking charge from the beginning — two weeks before he spoke of it.

  2. Iranians to Vote Friday

    It’s not a democracy, but the elections Iran puts on Friday still have meaning. President Hassan Rouhani has criticized the decision to disqualify more than 9,000 prospective candidates, but he has nonetheless encouraged Iranians to ensure the turnout is high to show support for the Shiite Muslim theocracy. It’s a crucial vote for Rouhani, who faces pressures at home for failing to deliver on promises and pressure abroad to curb the country's well-armed proxies.

    Who will win? As is often the case, it’s a struggle between moderates and hardliners, seen as strengthened by recent clashes with the United States.

  3. Sudan Comes in From the Cold

    Can they shed their rogue-state rep? Since Sudanese activists and its military leaders collaborated on a new government last summer, the country’s been on a worldwide charm offensive, culminating last week with the head of its governing body meeting secretly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Seen as a potential move to get the country off a terror states list, it meshes with Khartoum seeking United Nations help, rather than clashing with peacekeepers.

    Whats the biggest shift? Most surprisingly, deposed President Omar al-Bashir appears headed to the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide.

    OZY reports on Darfurs continued suffering.

  4. What Climate? Oil Is Bigger Than Ever

    It's all-consuming. The world is battling the apparent ravages of climate change, including Australian bushfires, killer storms and crop losses, but humanity is thirstier than ever for petroleum. Global demand hit a record 100 barrels a day last year. Oil-burning sources of power generated 34 percent of the world's energy, with coal and natural gas combining for half. Since the 1980s, oil consumption has risen 62 percent.

    What's needed? In order to keep global warming in the safe zone, the International Energy Agency says humankind will need to cut oil use by 67 percent in the next 20 years.

  5. Also Important...

    Houthi rebels claim more than 30 civilians were killed in a Saturday air raid shortly after a Saudi fighter jet went down in the same area. Mississippi has declared an emergency and urged thousands to evacuate in anticipation of historic flooding. And Dennis, one of the strongest nontropical cyclones ever, has slammed into Britain after killing two people and churning out 100-foot waves.

    In the week ahead: President Trump will tell NASCAR drivers to "start your engines!" at the Daytona 500 in Florida today. A thinning field of Democratic presidential contenders will debate each other Wednesday in Las Vegas. And on Thursday, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone is to be sentenced for obstruction and lying to Congress and witness tampering after his prosecutors resigned amid charges of presidential influence over the case.

    Spill it! For months, OZY’s been telling unconventional love stories with our Love Curiously series. Now we want to hear yours: Email to tell us about the most memorable date you ever went on — romantic, dramatic or just plain bizarre — and you could win a free pair of tickets to OZY Fest!


  1. When Rape Becomes Clickbait

    It was labeled “Teen crying and getting slapped around.” When Rose Kalemba saw it on the popular Pornhub website, shared by high school classmates, she felt sick. Even though it was evidence of her rape at age 14, getting the site to take it down was a struggle, she told the BBC. Only when she pretended to be an attorney threatening legal action did the video finally disappear. Her story has inspired dozens of women to share similar experiences.

    What does Pornhub say? Its owners say Kalemba’s “horrific allegations” occurred under previous management, but the site continues to host violence-themed clips.

  2. Instagram’s Reviving a Kyrgyz Tradition

    On the steppes of Kyrgyzstan, nomadic hunters have employed a form of falconry to feed themselves, training eagles to track and dispatch game. But during decades of Soviet rule, the traditional practice all but died out. Today, OZY reports, the sport is enjoying a revival, thanks to hunters with an eagle in one hand and a smartphone in the other. Instagramming falconers are racking up followers, some of whom want to carry on this ancient practice.

    Whos leading the way? The country’s celebrity archer, a 2018 World Nomad Games gold medalist, Aida Akmatova has given newbies something to shoot for.

  3. How the CIA Scammed the World

    For the better part of the 20th century, governments from South Asia to South America trusted a single company — Crypto AG — to encrypt their most secret communications. But none of them, including Iran, India and Pakistan, knew the company was directed by the CIA and West German intelligence, a Washington Post investigation now concludes.

    What did they learn? In what the CIA called “the intelligence coup of the century,” it and the National Security Agency eavesdropped on everything from Iranian chatter during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis to Argentine communiques from the 1982 Falklands war.

    OZY explores Chinese snooping on U.S. military bases.

  4. Entrance to Auschwitz.

    Must Historical Novels Be True?

    Heather Morris’ bestselling novels The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey are billed as fiction, but their success rides on claims of their authors’ exhaustive historical research. Those who’ve also looked into the book’s real-life characters have blasted the stories’ veracity, raising a question: Should historical novelists be obliged to disclose where the story diverges from history?

    Is there a lesson here? Author Christine Kenneally suggests that the “fiction” label doesn’t absolve writers of responsibility when it comes to depicting the lives of real people using their actual names.

  5. The Champs That Refused to Die

    With the loss of superstar Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors’ hopes of defending their NBA championship were pronounced dead. So how did they manage the longest winning streak in Canadian pro sports history? Even when star players were sitting it out with injuries, the team stormed forward. President Masai Ujiri says this is a team that is “going to die trying” for a second championship.

    Can they take it the whole way? Three more faceoffs with Milwaukee will be a major challenge, but if Toronto goes down, it’ll be swinging.

    Meet the WOAT with OZY.