The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    Coronavirus Claims Global Stocks

    Having spread to 47 countries, the outbreak's continuing to rattle global markets too, prompting the S&P 500's biggest plunge in almost nine years yesterday and promising more pain ahead. "Sell now and worry about the consequences later," said one investor. Already threatening the global supply chain, coronavirus could also infect consumer consumption — which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy. The World Health Organization says the virus "has pandemic potential."

    Does that mean economic chaos? Analysts say markets can cope with short-term disruptions, but will remain volatile so long as there's no end in sight.

  2. Dozens of Turkish Troops Die in Syria Strike

    Thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed late Thursday in a Syrian government airstrike on the rebel-held province of Idlib, marking Turkey's largest single-day loss since entering the conflict in 2016. Russia, whose military has helped President Bashar Assad's regime fight the rebels, denied participating in the attack — though it said Turkey failed to flag that its troops were fighting alongside opposition forces.

    What's next? A "full-scale confrontation" between Ankara and Damascus could be coming, observers fear, while some reports said Turkey had lifted border controls to let Syrian refugees flood into Europe.

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    Hong Kong Busts Pro-Democracy Tycoon

    "We have to go on." That's what prominent publisher Jimmy Lai said Friday after being arrested in Hong Kong, along with two opposition politicians, for joining an anti-government march last year. Lai's Next Media runs the critical Apple Daily newspaper, and the 71-year-old self-made billionaire has been a key patron of the pro-democracy movement. The three were released pending a May 5 court appearance and could face five years in prison.

    What's the current state of Hong Kong's protests? They've mostly tapered off as fears of coronavirus keep locals away from mass gatherings.

    Read this OZY feature about how Taiwan's welcomed Hong Kong's protesters.

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    South Carolina Preps for Bernie, Biden Show

    Ahead of tomorrow's Democratic primary, the Palmetto State is preparing for what could be a battle between national front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders and local favorite ex-Vice President Joe Biden, who's relying on South Carolina to stay in the running. "Right now I think it’s a dog-eat-dog fight," said one voter leaning toward Sanders. For now, the firebrand senator seems reluctant to embrace the unifying spirit many moderate Democrats are hoping for.

    Can Sanders take the fight to Trump? According to this OZY op-ed, it's unclear whether Americans are in the mood for a political revolution a mere four years after they backed an anti-establishment revolt.

  5. Also Important...

    The U.S. Navy claims a Chinese warship fired a laser at an American surveillance plane last week over the Pacific. Police in Milwaukee say they've identified the five victims killed by a gunman at a Molson Coors brewery. And the death toll in New Delhi's sectarian clashes has risen to 38.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

    OZY Fest is coming! New York’s biggest and boldest festival of cutting-edge music, comedy, conversation and food is returning to Central Park July 25. Among this year's guests will be Miguel, Tan France, Dulce Sloan, Andrew Yang, Alex Rodriguez — and many more. Get your tickets today at ozyfest.com.

Intriguing

  1. Scientists Spot Another Big Bang

    It's what you'd call an explosive discovery. Combining data from observatories around the world, a group of astronomers have detected what they say is the largest cosmic explosion since the Big Bang. The intergalactic blast — which simmered for hundreds of millions of years — was triggered by a dust- and gas-sucking supermassive black hole located in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, nearly 400 million light-years away.

    How big was it? Defying experts' belief when evidence was first collected in 2016, the explosion measured five times bigger than the previously recorded largest blast.

  2. Amazon Pulls Products Over Virus Claims

    That's an order. The online retail giant said it has dropped more than 1 million products from its platform for making false claims about coronavirus — plus tens of thousands more for price gouging. Among the dubious outbreak-related products still available on Amazon are books like Jesus vs. Satan: The Origins of Coronavirus and Military Virus Apocalypse: Biological Warfare, Bioweapons and China Coronavirus Pandemic.

    How serious has the price gouging been? The price of face masks has soared in recent days, with a 10-pack that typically cost $41 being offered for $128.

    Don't miss OZY's feature on whether click-and-collect can challenge Amazon.

  3. Canada to Royals: We Won't Cover You

    The Canadian government has announced it'll no longer foot the estimated $25 million annual bill to protect Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after they officially quit public life this spring to live in the Great White North. But it remains unclear who will pick up the tab after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which called their situation "unique and unprecedented," end their assistance to the U.K.'s Metropolitan Police after "Megxit."

    What do Canadians think? The move will probably be a hit, since recent polls suggest only 20 percent believe taxpayers should pay for the wayward couple's security.

    Don't miss OZY's Special Briefing on Megxit.

  4. Roman Polanski Pulls Out of 'French Oscars'

    Fearing a "public lynching," the disgraced Polish director said he won't show up at tonight's César Awards in Paris. Though his new film, An Officer and a Spy, received 12 nominations, public outcry over the 87-year-old — convicted of statutory rape against a 13-year-old in 1978 — has consumed the run-up to this year's event. Earlier this month, the 21-member César committee resigned en masse as activists decried the allegedly stagnant, male-dominated organization.

    What's next? It remains to be seen if this development could help boost the French #MeToo movement, which observers say has lagged behind its American counterpart.

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    He's the Best Striker You've Never Heard Of

    Thanks to his two-footed proficiency, exceptional heading and killer instinct in the box, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski of German powerhouse Bayern Munich is one of the most well-rounded goal-scorers in soccer. He was the first player in league history to score in the first nine games, OZY reports, and he's the only one in the world averaging more than 4.5 shots per game with an above-average expected goal percentage. Think of him as the soccer world's James Harden.

    What's next for Lewandowski? He was sidelined with a fractured tibia this week, but Bayern should have him back in plenty of time for the league quarterfinals in April.