The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Bernie Sanders Sweeps Nevada Caucuses

    What happens in Vegas ... won't stay in Vegas. The populist firebrand won a decisive victory yesterday in the first presidential contest out West. "We are bringing our people together," Sanders said after a vote that tested candidates' appeal among non-White voters. The senator's victory positions him well for Super Tuesday next month, when he could pick up a whopping 634 delegates, OZY reports — nearly 300 more than his next closest opponent.

    Is it smooth sailing for Sanders now? Not exactly: Speculation will only grow over whether he's too liberal and divisive to take on President Donald Trump in November.

  2. Will Coronavirus Ever End?

    News that the outbreak might finally be losing steam in China has been tempered by a potentially more troubling fact: Infections are up elsewhere as the virus continues its global spread. South Korea, where a religious group accounts for many of the country's 433 confirmed cases, is the latest hotspot. But an alarming new outbreak is also rattling Iran, where officials say four people have died so far.

    What's next? Noting that deaths typically occur weeks after the virus first spreads, experts say a secretive country like the Islamic Republic could actually have far more cases than anyone realizes — with "a lot more deaths on the way."

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    The Far-Right Thorn in Germany’s Side

    When Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union teamed up with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party this month to help elect a regional governor, it sparked an outcry that even claimed Merkel’s anointed successor. Germany’s establishment has long excluded far-right parties to prevent a backslide into authoritarianism, but that's made it difficult to form workable coalitions. After this week’s murderous rampage by a far-right extremist, which fueled demands that AfD be monitored, the dilemma's taken on even greater urgency.

    Where else can parties turn? They might consider siding with the increasingly popular Greens, a tactic employed by political forces elsewhere in Europe.

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    How the ‘Great Google Revolt’ Failed

    It's a tech-for-tat. Once urging its workers to “act like owners” by voicing their opinions, Google has apparently been walking that back over the past year. It has curbed employees’ power to question bosses, installed guidelines forbidding “raging” debates over politics and current events, and even hired an outside firm to thwart any efforts to unionize. Those who’ve tried to fight back have been suspended or fired, accused of rocking the boat.

    What’s the bigger picture? With worker activism spreading to other Silicon Valley giants, the industry’s once-key principle of collaboration across professional classes is being tested perhaps more than ever.

  5. Also Important...

    A weeklong truce between the Taliban and U.S. and Afghan forces officially began yesterday, testing the prospects for lasting peace. Iranian authorities have begun counting votes from Friday's parliamentary election, in which hardliners were expected to snag a majority. And the British government has announced that blue, post-Brexit passports will be issued next month to replace the current burgundy documents.

    The Week Ahead: President Donald Trump heads to India Monday for his first state visit to the South Asian nation. The 2020 NFL Combine kicks off this week in Indianapolis. And former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh will be sentenced Thursday for fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion.

    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. The Pink Plant Scam of the Century

    Reality isn’t so rosy. Always on the lookout for the next photogenic accessory, social media mavens have become enchanted by the pink princess philodendron. So popular is the graceful plant that waitlists are long and prices reach into the hundreds, handing savvy scammers a lucrative opportunity. Enter the “pink congo,” another bubble-gum-colored philodendron, but one whose artificially pink leaves eventually fade — much like the excitement of easily duped Instagrammers.

    Will there be legal consequences? While nobody's been prosecuted yet, some who’ve sold the phony plants have begrudgingly come clean or lowered their prices.

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    Japan’s Artisans Aim for Modernity

    As Japan’s population ages, and its rural communities face depopulation, old-school artisans widely known as shokunin are dwindling. That’s why it’s up to a new generation to save the tradition of craftsmanship, blending the customary hyperattentive dedication to details with technology to help reinvent industries as diverse as cars and gaming to luxury accessories.

    What’s at stake? Besides deep-seated cultural pride, economic progress is also under threat: Totaling nearly $5 billion in the early 1980s, the value of shokunin output has fallen to around $850 million today.

    Read OZY’s story about the Instagrammable twist on traditional Japanese art.

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    Is Antarctica’s Stormy Sea a Friend or Foe?

    A mysterious, remote expanse around Antarctica, the Southern Ocean helps mitigate climate change by acting as a massive carbon sink. But how much carbon it consumes has long been the subject of considerable scientific debate — until now. That's because Austrian researcher Peter Landschützer is cracking the ice, OZY reports: Making use of various data points, the award-winning young scientist has pinned down how much its carbon uptake actually fluctuates, offering something of a barometer for global warming more broadly.

    Why does it matter? Landschützer’s peers say his work not only helps them understand the Southern Ocean better, but that it’s also applicable to other bodies of water.

  4. How Hollywood Outsiders Made It to Netflix

    "I can’t believe my dream came true." That's how rookie TV writer Linda Yvette Chávez described seeing her Netflix show Gentefied, which premiered Friday, come to life. With co-creator Marvin Lemus, Chávez tapped into their collective cultural background to paint a humorous and moving portrait of a Los Angeles Latinx community caught in gentrification. Selling that story, it turns out, wasn't even tough: Out of 10 pitches, the pair secured seven offers.

    What's the central struggle? Gentefied tackles the ever-shifting balance between preserving an ethnic identity and embracing American-style individualism.

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    When Cheating Becomes the Way to Win

    They're lending "trick play" a whole new meaning. Last week, Manchester City was booted from the Champion's League for two seasons over questionable accounting — not long after English rugby squad Saracens was fined millions of dollars for a similar violation. While these two scandals involve financial craftiness, unlike the technical machinations behind the Houston Astros' sign-stealing, all three reveal the same trend: Rule-bending now seems to be the norm in pro sports.

    What does that say about society? As high-level athletics become an ever more profitable industry, fans worry the same greed that's marred big business is bound to taint sports next.