The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Coronavirus Is Still Out of Control

    "This is not a drill." So said the world's top health official as the total number of infections appeared poised to break the 100,000 mark. Yet there are few signs of the global coordination the World Health Organization has demanded, with many citizens around the world expressing anger at their leaders for failing to adequately respond to the crisis. In the U.S., where 12 people have died, Vice President Mike Pence admitted the country doesn't have enough test kits.

    Is it all bad news? Despite that grim development, some observers praised Pence for his honesty — though his comments cast doubt on an earlier promise that "any American can be tested."

  2. With Warren Out, Women Ask: Now What?

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's withdrawal from the race for the Democratic nomination yesterday has left many voters with a grim realization: After a campaign that included a record number of women, the party nod will go to another white man in his 70s. And while recent polls show many Americans believe a woman should hold the top job, they also think a female candidate wouldn't be able to beat President Donald Trump in the big contest.

    What's next for Warren? Both Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are hoping for her endorsement, but the 70-year-old said she's focusing on how to "keep fighting" for middle-class families — while her peers are wondering when voters will see women as electable.

  3. Tenuous Truce Takes Hold in Idlib

    Following a six-hour meeting in Moscow yesterday, the Turkish and Russian presidents, who support opposing sides in Syria's civil war, announced a much-needed cease-fire in the only remaining rebel stronghold. As an uneasy calm descended on Idlib Friday, world leaders were hoping the truce would stick — though experts said it probably wouldn't. Dozens of Turkish troops have been killed by Russian-supported Syrian soldiers during a government offensive in the region this year.

    What's at stake? Besides producing streams of refugees, the recent fighting has risked a direct confrontation between Moscow and Ankara.

  4. stocks 14498362024 00f925704e k

    Global Investors Are Running for Safety

    Demand for government bonds is growing as fears over the financial effects of coronavirus keep rattling global markets. After America's three major exchanges all slumped more than 3 percent yesterday, 10-year yields on U.S. Treasury debt fell to record lows Friday. U.K. bonds followed suit, while European stocks opened down today — a trend U.S. markets are expected to continue.

    What's the biggest worry? Investors are particularly concerned about how Japan's and South Korea's economies will fare amid their outbreaks, with some analysts expecting Asia-Pacific’s growth rate this year to hit its lowest point since the financial crisis.

  5. Also Important...

    Facebook has removed ads by President Trump's reelection campaign because they violated the platform's misinformation policy. A British court has ruled that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, organized the abduction of his two daughters. And the World Health Organization reportedly discussed holding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics without fans.

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

    OZY Fest is coming! New York City’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. Vodka

    Booze Won't Save You From Coronavirus

    It's a wasted effort. As nationwide supplies of face masks and hand sanitizer dwindle amid growing panic over a U.S. outbreak, some have turned to alcohol as a makeshift solution to stay clean. But Tito's Vodka took to Twitter yesterday to remind drinkers that its 80-proof booze doesn't meet the 60 percent alcohol level to qualify as hand sanitizer. "It would be a shame to waste the good stuff," a spokesman said.

    What if you're pressed? If scrubbing your hands with soap for 20 seconds isn't an option, medical experts suggest using 190-proof Everclear, which is 95 percent alcohol.

  2. How A.I. Could Shape the Debate

    Computers capable of extracting evidence from reams of data and reconstructing arguments, as well as detecting spurious ones, could soon directly inform our opinions as debaters, OZY reports. IBM is already pioneering such technology, which relies on architecture that mimics the human brain by stacking layers of algorithms. It's already faced off against world-class debaters — and beaten Israel's high school champion.

    Does that mean these computers can think? While some experts believe their skill alone proves their intelligence, others say algorithms are simply following rules and lack the conscious experiences that define intelligence.

  3. NASA Lettuce

    Space Lettuce Is Apparently Delicious

    It's one giant leap for plant-kind. In a report published this week, researchers say three samples of lettuce grown on the International Space Station between 2014 and 2016 were just as safe and nutritious as Earth-grown greens. They could've just taken astronauts' word for it: The space lettuce has found its way into cosmic cheeseburgers, wraps and tacos. Kale and cabbage could be next on the menu.

    What does this mean for future missions? While food is regularly delivered to the ISS, space-grown plants could come in handy during long-haul flights — such as to Mars — for both nutritional and air filtration purposes.

    Read OZY's feature about Portugal's space dreams.

  4. shutterstock 298606079

    Publisher's Staff Walks Out Over Allen Memoir

    Following journalist Ronan Farrow's announcement that he'd cut ties with Hachette Book Group over its decision to publish a memoir by director and accused sexual abuser Woody Allen, dozens of its employees staged protests in New York City and Boston yesterday. "Everybody at the company felt betrayed," said one worker about Hachette staying quiet until a month before the book's planned publication.

    How is Hachette handling the matter? CEO Michael Pietsch reportedly tried to hold a town hall meeting with employees before they walked out, and later pledged to "engage our staff in a fuller discussion."

    Read this OZY True Story about surviving a sexual assault.

  5. Manning May Join 'Monday Night Football'

    Is he calling an audible? Legendary quarterback Peyton Manning could find himself in the announcing booth after reports emerged that ESPN's willing to offer Manning up to $20 million to call Monday night match-ups. The network's also reportedly trying to woo Al Michaels away from NBC to create a duo that could rival CBS' recent $18 million annual contract extension for ex-Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

    Why does it matter? Observers say Manning — who's been courted by networks before — is a key weapon in a TV arms race against both CBS and Fox, which employs another Cowboys legend, Troy Aikman.