The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Amy Klobuchar Calls It Quits, Backs Biden

    Just a day after Pete Buttigieg ducked out of the race, the third-term Minnesota senator announced she won't be seeking the Democratic nomination for president anymore, either. Klobuchar had positioned herself as a moderate and pragmatic alternative to many of her peers in the once-crowded field of contenders. But the 59-year-old wasn't able to parlay her "Minnesota nice" persona to national prominence.

    What's next? After promptly endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, Klobuchar leaves Senate colleague Elizabeth Warren the last remaining female senator vying for the nomination.

  2. US Clocks Second Coronavirus Death

    The Seattle suburb of Kirkland has become the focal point of a potential American outbreak after a local hospital recorded its second death Sunday. New York, Florida and Rhode Island all reported their first infections, bringing the U.S. total to 87 — with around 89,000 cases worldwide and more than 3,000 deaths. Coronavirus seems to be easing its grip on China, but cases in South Korea, which recorded nearly 500 new infections Monday, are still surging.

    What's America doing about it? The government's releasing tens of thousands of test kits, while genetic analysis of the Kirkland cases suggests the virus has been spreading undetected there for weeks.

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    Dems, Minus Mayor Pete, Prep for Tuesday

    A day after Biden's commanding victory Saturday in South Carolina's primary, upstart contender Buttigieg announced he's out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Those two developments promise extra drama during Super Tuesday, when 14 states will dole out more than one-third of convention delegates. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's polling well in many states, is still making moderates nervous.

    What does Biden's revival mean? Following his decisive Palmetto State win, OZY reports, the 77-year-old has a 16 percent chance of securing a majority of delegates before the convention — up from merely 1 percent just two weeks ago.

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    North Korea Fires First Missiles of 2020

    It's a blast from the past. According to South Korea's military, the Hermit Kingdom sent up two short-range projectiles from its east coast today, shattering a three-month lull in missile testing. Leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly presiding over combined military drills that kicked off Friday — and following through on his promise late last year to push forward with major launches.

    Why now? Some experts believe Kim's interested in shaking up the status quo with both Washington and Seoul, since both are currently in the midst of election campaigns.

    Check out this OZY Special Briefing about North Korea's economic potential.

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    Battered Global Stocks Begin to Rebound

    Markets in Asia and Europe, in addition to the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures, have bounced back after a bruising week marked by fear over the financial impact of coronavirus. Analysts are now waiting to see whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month — one of several stimulus efforts around the world to stem the economic shock of the quickly spreading illness.

    Which indicators matter? Back-to-back reports that Chinese manufacturing has hit a record low amid the outbreak could still fuel investor concern about the world's second-largest economy.

  6. Also Important...

    Israelis head to the polls today for the third time in less than a year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to hang on. Police in the Philippines say a gunman has taken dozens of people hostage inside a Manila shopping mall. And Australia's summer has officially been recorded as the country's second-hottest ever.

    #OZYFact: The world’s longest rolex, a Ugandan street snack, included about 100 eggs, 11 pounds each of wheat flour and onions, 13 pounds of tomatoes and two liters of cooking oil. Read more on OZY.

    Speak up! Are you worried about North Korea's missile launches? 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 later in the week.


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    The Louvre Falls Victim to Coronavirus

    Nothing to see here. The world-renowned Paris museum closed yesterday amid fears that its 2,300 employees would be under threat from droves of international visitors. Particularly worrying is the arrival of workers from northern Italy, a European coronavirus hub, to collect artworks from a recently concluded Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. "The risk is very, very, very great," said an employee union representative.

    How busy is the Louvre? Last year, it received some 9.6 million visitors, while the Leonardo exhibition drew a record 1.1 million people on its own.

    Check out OZY's dispatch from India's Arvind Indigo Museum.

  2. Did Jailed Uighurs Make Your Smartphone?

    According to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Chinese authorities have transferred some 80,000 detained members of the Muslim minority group to dozens of factories that produce goods for companies like Apple, Nike and Sony. Some 83 global companies are said to be relying on forced Uighur labor as part of their supply chains, the report claims.

    What are working conditions like? The think tank, which created its list by comparing Chinese reports of work-transfer programs to companies' supplier lists, says laborers are constantly monitored and subjected to "ideological training."

    Read this OZY feature about China's crackdown on religion.

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    Argentina Awaits Contentious Abortion Bill

    In an address to lawmakers yesterday, newly minted Argentinian President Alberto Fernández said he'd send them a bill legalizing abortion within 10 days. The Peronist's pledge was met with cheers from thousands of supporters outside the building. If it passes, the bill would make Argentina — where officials estimate up to 500,000 illicit abortions take place each year — Latin America's largest country to legalize the practice.

    Will Fernández's bill succeed? That remains to be seen: Similar legislation was voted down in the Senate in 2018, while the highly influential Catholic Church also poses a threat to abortion reform.

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    This Algorithm Could Mute Copyright Lawsuits

    "Maybe melodies are just math." That's the logic driving two musician-programmers who believe they've found the answer to the costly and controversial copyright lawsuits that often rock the music industry. Noah Rubin and Damien Riehl developed an algorithm capable of generating 300,000 melodies per second — eventually creating every single combination possible — which can then be spit out as copyrightable MIDI files and cleared for public domain use.

    Are they available to the public? Both the algorithm and a collection of MIDIs, released under a Creative Commons license, have already been posted to Github and the Internet Archive.

  5. The MMA Journeyman Who Shocked Everyone

    He's punching above his weight. Combat athlete Clay Collard isn't exactly a household name, but that doesn't seem to matter much. The on-again, off-again UFC fighter — who keeps returning to his roots in boxing — is always down for a bout. That's especially the case if it's against an extra challenging opponent, OZY reports. "I take lumps," he says, "and get paid." These days, that's more likely to be in the ring than the cage.

    What's next for Collard? An upcoming million-dollar fight in the MMA's Professional Fighters League could help him prove he's more than just a journeyman.