The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. California Copes With Sick Ship Emergency

    COVID-19 has hit 78 nations so far, among them the U.S., where 11 have died. California, which has more cases than any other state and recorded its first death Wednesday, has now declared a state of emergency. Authorities are holding a cruise ship with at least 21 cases offshore near San Francisco. But some passengers had left the ship after a previous voyage, including the state's first coronavirus fatality, and federal health authorities are anxiously tracking others down.

    Are we learning about the disease? Much about it remains unknown, but the World Health Organization is urging affected countries to increase testing in order to better understand the virus.

  2. Bloomberg Out, Warren Mulls Options

    Yesterday's withdrawal of billionaire Mike Bloomberg from the Democratic race leaves firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders and a rejuvenated ex-Vice President Joe Biden to dominate the primaries. Biden's once-moribund candidacy was jolted back to life as he won 10 of 14 Super Tuesday states out from under front-runner Sanders. Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, lagging in distant third, is weighing her campaign's future and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has picked up just one delegate.

    What's next? Ahead of Tuesday's Michigan primary, a new poll shows Biden, with Bloomberg's endorsement, leading by seven points in what's supposed to be Sanders' working-class heartland.

    OZY asks homeless voters if they can make a difference.

  3. syria map shutterstock 237618850

    New Deaths as Putin, Erdogan Confer on Syria

    Can this be solved with a handshake? An airstrike blamed on Russia reportedly killed at least 15 people in a village in northwestern Syria early today, hours before a Turkish-Russian summit on the violence. Opposition activists said the dead included children whose families were sheltering at a poultry farm.

    What will leaders discuss? Russian President Vladimir Putin, backing Damascus, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose troops support rebels, hope to forge a deal that will hold the fate of 3 million people trapped in Idlib province.

    OZY visits the Moscow skyscraper that's housing Syria's elites.

  4. Stocks Soar on Biden Wins, Stimulus Efforts

    Joe Biden may not be a billionaire, but Wall Street was singing his praises yesterday in its peculiar voice: Buying up stocks such that both the Dow and S&P 500 indexes surged more than 4 percent. That rally was followed by smaller increases across Asia, where investors' exuberance was pegged to hopes that central banks would add economic stimuli after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates in the wake of coronavirus-induced economic concerns.

    Is this sustainable? It's unlikely — and European stocks and U.S. stock futures were already angling downward Thursday morning.

  5. Also Important...

    U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of threatening two Supreme Court justices over a pending abortion case. The International Criminal Court has ruled that an investigation of alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan can proceed. And Indian authorities have restored limited internet access to Kashmir after a seven-month blackout.

    #OZYfact: Support for Israelis over Palestinians among Americans has fallen to its lowest level in a decade. Find out more on OZY.

    We're hiring! OZY's award-winning visuals team seeks a highly creative visual intern for a 10-week paid internship. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.

Intriguing

  1. Former UN Chief Pérez de Cuéllar Dies at 100

    Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the United Nations secretary-general who presided over remarkable peacemaking for a decade beginning in 1982, died Wednesday. An unlikely dark horse candidate for the job, the man who brokered an end to the Iran-Iraq conflict in 1988 died at home of natural causes in his native Peru, his son said. The career diplomat also helped alleviate conflicts in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mozambique and El Salvador.

    What else did he accomplish? After inheriting a failing institution, he revived the U.N. peacekeepers, who won the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize.

    OZY exposes how Nigerian Jews are caught in conflict.

  2. Portugal Positions Itself ... in Space

    Like its famed seafaring explorers, Portugal is aiming for new worlds. It's launched a space agency and is leveraging its Azores islands to enter a global space industry that's expected to grow to $558 billion in six years, OZY reports. Conveniently situated between Europe, Africa and the Americas, the island of Santa Maria is set to host a new spaceport that will be well-suited to launching the small satellites that are now proliferating as communications platforms.

    Does it have a shot? While space is hot, so is the competition: Britain and Norway are planning new launch sites — and even tiny Luxembourg is looking skyward.

  3. Flybe Grounds Flights as Travel Skids

    British airline Flybe, Europe's biggest regional carrier, is going out of business and passengers have been told not to come to airports unless they've found alternative flights. The company was already struggling, narrowly avoiding collapse in January, but the spread of coronavirus "made a difficult situation worse." Britain's Transport Ministry said its staff would help passengers at airports served by Flybe.

    What are the implications? A drop in travel caused by official restrictions and passengers' concerns has hurt many carriers, leaving smaller, less stable airlines at the virus' mercy.

    OZY revisits the birth of discount airlines.

  4. Ailing Revenues Delay 'James Bond' Release

    He'll have to die another day. Coronavirus has quarantined filmdom's greatest spy, forcing the postponement of No Time to Die from April to November. The 25th installment in the James Bond franchise — and Daniel Craig's final outing as 007 — faced gloomy prospects in virus-beset places like Hong Kong and Taiwan, where theater revenues have been slashed nearly in half.

    Could other films do the same? Observers see this as a preview for upcoming releases, especially for films like Disney's Mulan, which aims to appeal to Asian theatergoers.

    OZY remembers an Oscar-eschewing pioneer.

  5. Wallenda Brings High-Wire Act to Volcano

    How do you top balancing on a cable over the Grand Canyon and Times Square? A volcano, of course: Nik Wallenda, scion of the legendary Flying Wallendas circus family, yesterday traversed a high wire 1,800 feet above a lava lake in the cone of Nicaragua's Masaya volcano. For ABC's prime-time special Volcano Live! With Nik Wallenda, the 40-year-old daredevil donned goggles and breathing equipment to protect him from the wafting toxic vapors as he made his 31-minute crossing.

    Was that all? The derring-do also featured his wife, Erendira, whose aerial ballet on the wire included hanging by her toes.