The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Bloomberg Drops Presidential Bid, Backs Biden

    After spending more than $500 million on the race and winning only the tiny territory of American Samoa, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign Wednesday morning, endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden. A late entry into the race, the billionaire ex-Republican shot up the polls with an unprecedented advertising blitz. But outside his TV ads, he was an ineffective campaigner easily torched on the debate stage.

    What's next? "Defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it," Bloomberg said in a statement — as he prepared to unleash his bottomless checkbook on Biden's behalf.

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    Joe Biden Wins Big on Super Tuesday

    After taking an electoral battering last month, the former vice president swept the South — plus Massachusetts and Minnesota — during yesterday's 14-state contest, jolting his campaign back to life. The quest for the Democratic nomination is now effectively a two-man race after Sen. Bernie Sanders won California, the biggest prize of the day. Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren finished third in her home state and Mike Bloomberg's big spending only earned him one victory: American Samoa.

    What's next? As OZY reports, Democrats will be confronted with a communications clash as stark as it gets, pitting Biden's personality against Sanders' policy proposals.

  3. Coronavirus Mortality Rate Spikes

    The World Health Organization has announced the outbreak's mortality rate — previously believed to be around 2 percent — is actually 3.4 percent. That's many times deadlier than seasonal flu, though it's also harder to catch. Over the past 24 hours, Italy has reported a sharp increase in fatalities, which have reached 79, and nine are now dead in Washington state. Meanwhile, the World Bank has pledged $12 billion to help developing countries contain their outbreaks.

    What's to be done? Warning that the "hoarding and misuse" of goods like face masks hurts the global effort, the WHO urged a 40 percent boost in production of medical supplies.

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    Trump Talks to the Taliban

    President Donald Trump became the first U.S. leader who's known to have parleyed with the Islamist group after chatting yesterday with its chief negotiator. But as the two sides talked, violence continued in Afghanistan despite ongoing efforts to secure lasting peace — with the Taliban reportedly carrying out dozens of attacks against Afghan troops Tuesday in one province alone. Today, the U.S. struck back at the group after an 11-day lull.

    Why does it matter? Some say the phone call is a boost for the Taliban, since that kind of "major deliverable" wasn't offered by previous U.S. administrations.

    Don't miss this OZY op-ed about Afghanistan's precarious position.

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    What Comes After the Fed's Rate Cut?

    Markets around the world mostly rose today after an emergency interest rate cut Tuesday by the U.S. Federal Reserve sparked fresh volatility. The Fed's first such move since the financial crash of 2008 fueled concerns that the central bank can't shield the U.S. economy from the financial effects of coronavirus on its own. Now, the European Central Bank might be compelled to cut its own already record-low rates.

    Could that help? Some economists aren't sure it's the answer, arguing that monetary moves are better for alleviating problems caused by a lack of demand than addressing the supply shock that coronavirus has caused.

  6. Also Important...

    The death toll from yesterday's deadly tornadoes across Tennessee rose to at least 24. Several European Union leaders voiced their support for Greece Tuesday as the country struggles to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey. And Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara became only the fourth and fifth women to win the esteemed Pritzker Prize for architecture.

    #OZYfact: The slowest marathon in history took more than half a century to complete. Read more on OZY.

    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.

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    Pornhub Posts Its First Non-Adult Film

    The 115 million daily visitors to the massively popular porn site will be treated to something different today as it releases a feature-length documentary called Shakedown. Running for free throughout March before eventually hitting iTunes, the film chronicles the lesbian strip club scene of Los Angeles during the early 2000s. It's based on 15 years' worth of footage by filmmaker and artist Leilah Weinraub as she navigated the Southern California subculture.

    Why Pornhub? The site says it's interested in becoming a platform for open-minded artists that would never find themselves on YouTube or other mainstream video-hosting sites.

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    Coronavirus Hasn't Torched Olympic Ad Sales

    It might not ad up. Despite lingering uncertainty about whether the games will actually take place as planned, Comcast-owned NBC announced that it's raked in a record $1.25 billion in U.S. advertising for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — with 90 percent of ad space already gone. That tops the $1.2 billion sold during the 2016 Rio Summer Games. So far, both Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and the International Olympic Committee say they're not worried about the event being called off.

    But what happens if it's canceled? NBC is covered by insurance and other "contractual protections," Roberts says — though the network likely wouldn't bank any profit.

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    Now India's Christians Are Under Attack

    Long casting Muslims as an unwanted religious minority, India's conservative Hindus are increasingly taking aim at Christians, OZY reports. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group affiliated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP — has been boosting its political footprint in the state of West Bengal. Next it could take its strategy, which includes forced conversions, nationwide.

    What happens then? Some worry that recent attacks on Christians could be replicated across India, or that right-wing Hindus might target Christian educational organizations.

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    Farrow Drops Publisher Over Allen Memoir

    That chapter's closed. Prominent journalist Ronan Farrow has cut all ties with the Hachette Book Group after it went ahead with plans to publish a memoir by scandal-plagued director — and his estranged father — Woody Allen. Farrow, whose sister Dylan says she was molested by the filmmaker as a child, claims Hachette failed to reach out to her for comment on the denial Allen offers in the book.

    What else does he say? Farrow claims the publisher hid its decision from him while they were working on his entertainment industry exposé, Catch and Kill.

    Check out OZY's feature on Africa's own #MeToo movement.

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    Tiger Woods Tapped for Hall of Fame

    He could be joining the club. Alongside fellow pros like Johnny Farrell, Padraig Harrington, Dottie Pepper and Sandra Palmer, the golfing legend became a finalist for the World Golf Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 Tuesday. The 82-time PGA tour winner, who turns 45 in late December, just makes the cut after the organization recently lowered its age of eligibility from 50 to 45 — or three years after retirement.

    What's next? Following the 26-person nominating committee's decision, a slimmed down, 20-person selection board will make the final call next week.

    Read OZY's True Story about the childhood trauma that made a golf legend.