The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. mike pence with name tag shutterstock 479350570 cr

    Trump Names Pence as Coronavirus Chief

    President Donald Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of America's coronavirus response after facing criticism for not taking the threat seriously enough. The risk to Americans remains low, Trump said Wednesday, "because of all we've done." Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers pushed for more than $8 billion to fight the contagion, arguing that the White House proposal of $2.5 billion was inadequate.

    How bad have things gotten? As China's death toll reached 2,744, Northern California authorities identified the first infected U.S. patient without known ties to the worst-hit countries.

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    Gunman Kills 5 at Milwaukee Brewery

    It was a "horrible, horrible day." That's how Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett reacted to the brutal assault by a Miller brewing employee that killed five people Wednesday. The gunman, a 51-year-old local man yet to be identified, fatally shot himself after the killings on property owned by Miller parent company Molson Coors. Wisconsin has seen 11 mass murders in the last 20 years.

    Why did this happen? Authorities have not mentioned a motive for the attack, while Molson Coors announced that its Milwaukee brewery would remain closed to allow "time to cope" with the tragedy.

  3. Climate Activists Win London Airport Battle

    There's more than one climate that's changing. A London court has ruled that the British government illegally permitted Heathrow Airport's plans to build a third runway. The decision is a major win for environmental groups, who convinced the appeals court that authorities had neglected to consider Paris climate accord commitments when they approved the increase in Heathrow's capacity.

    Can the airport ever expand? It can, the court ruled, but only if it complies with the U.K.'s policy to limit emissions that cause global warming.

    OZY profiles the climate scientist taking the Southern Ocean's temperature.

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    Virus Prompts Telecommuting, Market Drops

    Don't come in. That's what some companies in Europe, at least, are telling their employees as the new coronavirus outbreak threatens to derail more business activity. While it's already frozen supply chains in China, the outbreak's effects are being felt elsewhere, such as London's OMG media group, which sent 1,000 employees home when one worker exhibited symptoms after traveling through Singapore.

    Are markets still reeling? Yes, with European and Japanese stock indexes dropping more than 2 percent today after five days of steep losses on Wall Street.

    OZY examines how the virus is debilitating cruise lines.

  5. Also Important...

    U.S. lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan House bill — named after 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was brutally killed by a Mississippi mob in 1955 — that designates lynching as a federal hate crime. American authorities have arrested members of the White supremacist Atomwaffen Division, accusing them of intimidating journalists and other targets. And best-selling adventure novelist Clive Cussler has died at the age of 88.

    #OZYfact: Japan's postwar efforts to cultivate trees for lumber resulted in the destruction of nearly 17 million indigenous beech trees. Read more on OZY.

    Speak up! Do you think America is prepared for a coronavirus outbreak? Why or why not? Let us know what you think by replying to this email — and we’ll feature the most interesting answers right here.


  1. Iran's Hard-liners Could Help Trump Win

    When U.S. Democrats debated in Las Vegas last week, Iran didn't come up — which was remarkable considering Tehran and Washington were at the brink of war two months ago. But that's likely to change, OZY's Butterfly Effect column observes. Friday's Iranian parliamentary elections gave hard-liners a formidable majority, meaning it's not if, but when the country will resume provoking the superpower.

    How does this affect the U.S. election? Any provocations will be a gift for President Trump, who can use them to justify his Jan. 3 drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

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    Report: Feds Searched Drivers' Photos

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials used facial recognition searches to track immigrants in a Maryland driver's license database, The Washington Post has reported. Without obtaining warrants, agents searching for undocumented residents were allowed to scour some 7 million photos for possible matches. Since 2013, Maryland has issued 275,000 special driving licenses without requiring proof of immigration status, despite federal objections.

    What's the issue? The license program was once seen as a victory for undocumented migrants, "but now it’s opened up this vulnerability," one immigration advocate explained.

    Read OZY's feature on Latin America's gateway for African migrants.

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    Earth Has a New Car-Sized Mini-Moon

    Is Elon Musk double-parked? It's not the famous cosmic Tesla, but something extraterrestrial has been sucked into orbit by Earth's gravity. The object, known as 2020 CD3, was first spotted Feb. 15 from an Arizona observatory, but astronomers have since confirmed that it is, in fact, a tiny second moon. The space rock, estimated to be 6 to 12 feet in diameter, has been orbiting for three years already.

    Will it hang around? It's not expected to: The only other asteroid known to have been caught in Earth's orbit wandered off in 2007 after 18 months.

    Check out this OZY feature about the future of data storage — in space.

  4. ABC Suspends 'Socialist' Journalist After Sting

    Maybe he could run for president. ABC News has suspended reporter David Wright after conservative group Project Veritas caught him on hidden camera describing himself as a socialist. The network said anything that damages its "reputation for fairness and impartiality" harms the news organization — and to avoid the appearance of bias, Wright will not be allowed to cover politics when his suspension ends.

    How did this happen? In the video, recorded during the New Hampshire primary, Wright chats about favoring national health insurance and narrowing the wealth gap, while criticizing his network's "self-promotional" political coverage.

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    What's Next for Maria Sharapova?

    Announcing her retirement yesterday after 28 years in the game, the Russian tennis legend is setting her sights on the future. But what it holds remains unclear: Commanding international courts since childhood, the 32-year-old now faces the challenge of building her highly successful personal brand, anchored by huge endorsements. She steps away from the court with estimated total earnings of $325 million.

    Will she still have an impact on the game? What Sharapova does in retirement, observers suggest, could reveal how other big-name athletes may fare once they put down the racket themselves.