The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Coronavirus Infects the Global Economy

    Stocks are sliding as the outbreak spreads farther afield, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 1,000 points yesterday for its biggest decline in more than two years. And there's little hope around the corner: On Tuesday, China reported 508 new cases, while South Korea — hit by a 15-fold increase in new infections inside a week — has now clocked 977, with 10 fatalities.

    How far-reaching is the economic impact? The $45 billion cruise industry's taking a beating, with dozens of routes canceled and seven ports closed, but not all the news is bad: Videoconferencing companies are seeing a boost as more people work from home.

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    Harvey Weinstein Faces Judgment Day

    That's a wrap. The global #MeToo movement scored a symbolic victory yesterday as a Manhattan court convicted the disgraced Hollywood producer of two sex crimes. "But I'm innocent," the stunned 67-year-old told his lawyers. Weinstein was cleared on two counts of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charges, and first-degree rape. He faces a minimum of five years — and at most nearly three decades — behind bars.

    What's next? Legal analysts say Weinstein's conviction proves such "complicated" cases are now more winnable than previously assumed, potentially setting the stage for more to come.

  3. Can Trump and Modi Do Business?

    President Donald Trump's first-ever visit to India appears to have paid off after he inked a $3 billion deal to provide the South Asian country with U.S. military gear. But as he sat for face-to-face talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi — with local headlines declaring the "Modi-Trump hug gets tighter" — a trade agreement between New Delhi and Washington still seemed elusive.

    Is that the only touchy topic? Also unclear is how hard Trump's willing to push Modi over India's ongoing crackdown against Muslim minorities.

    Check out this OZY story about why India's bureaucrats are quitting.

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    Israel, Gaza Hunker Down in Cease-Fire

    Following a flare-up in violence Sunday that saw several dozen rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the two sides appear to be sticking to a truce that came into effect late last night. The latest round of hostilities was set off after Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad militant believed to be installing an explosive near a border fence.

    What's the bigger picture? The most serious exchange in three months comes a week before Israel's third elections within a year, and just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to prove he can ensure Israeli security.

  5. Also Important...

    Egyptian state TV reports that former President Hosni Mubarak has died at 91. European Union ministers are expected to greenlight tough new conditions for the bloc's negotiations with the U.K. over a free trade deal. And Japan's Chitetsu Watanabe, recently named the world's oldest living man, has died at age 112.

    #OZYFact: The majority of California’s 17 million renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Read more on OZY.

    Speak up! How much do you think politicians' personal relationships affect their chances of securing major deals? 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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    Cherokees Add Seeds to 'Doomsday Vault'

    Even the best-laid plants can go awry. The Cherokee Nation has become the first U.S. tribe to send its seeds to Norway's future-proof gene bank for crop samples. Tuesday's deposit in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which includes around 60,000 new samples from around the world, is the largest since it opened in 2008 and the first since its upgrade last year.

    Are stowed seeds the answer to climate change? Some native groups disagree with the Cherokee decision, saying indigenous seeds — seen as members of the community — should be planted in their native soil to adapt to environmental changes.

    Read OZY's story on how Europe's embracing plastic to fight global warming.

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    China Jails Embattled Hong Kong Bookseller

    Read it and weep. Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who ran a Hong Kong bookshop that sold illicit titles about China's leaders, was slapped with a 10-year prison sentence yesterday for "illegally providing intelligence overseas." Gui was taken in Thailand in 2015 and jailed in China for an alleged hit-and-run, before being arrested again in 2018 and forced, critics say, into confessing.

    Why does it matter? Gui's sentence will further complicate ties between Beijing and Stockholm, which were already strained by the yearslong saga that's ensnared diplomats on both sides.

    Read OZY's feature about how China manipulates foreign firms.

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    India's Female Muslim Politicians Face Hate

    While women account for 14 percent of India's lower house of Parliament after last year's election, not everyone's seen representation improve. The number of female Muslim MPs plunged from four to just one — while they face nearly double the ethnic and religious slurs that other female politicians do, OZY reports. Trolls have also taken aim at women from marginalized caste backgrounds and those from outside the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

    How does that compare with other countries? India's female politicians also get twice the abusive tweets their counterparts in the U.S. and the U.K. receive.

  4. NASA's 'Hidden Figures' Math Whiz Dies at 101

    Historians and space fanatics are commemorating NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, a subject of the 2016 film Hidden Figures, who died Monday. She was on the groundbreaking computing team of Black women who battled racial and gender discrimination to help put humans on the moon and blast America forward in the space race. In Johnson's decadeslong career, she calculated the trajectory to launch the first American into space and helped rescue the 1970 Apollo 13 mission.

    What's her legacy? NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine credited Johnson, a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, with opening door for "women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space."

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    Thousands Honor Kobe as Widow Files Suit

    "I'm here because I love Kobe." So said Beyoncé at the Los Angeles ceremony commemorating NBA icon Kobe Bryant yesterday. She was one of 20,000 mourners to attend the Jimmy Kimmel-emceed event at the Staples Center, where legends like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal watched Bryant's widow Vanessa offer a moving tribute to her husband and daughter Gianna. Both were killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

    What's next? Vanessa has filed a 27-count wrongful death complaint against the helicopter company, alleging it permitted the flight despite poor weather conditions.