The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Trump Bars Europeans as Pandemic Declared

    It's no hoax. To stop the spread of coronavirus, President Donald Trump blocked travel from continental Europe Wednesday. The 30-day ban won't prohibit Britons or Americans from entering the U.S., as long as they travel through certain airports with enhanced screening. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization finally pronounced COVID-19 — which has infected at least 125,000 and killed more than 4,600 — a global pandemic.

    How are other countries coping? German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered the dire prediction that coronavirus would infect two-thirds of citizens, but urged them to "not overload" medical facilities.

    Learn more at OZY's Coronavirus Central.

  2. stock market down shutterstock 311358326

    Stock Skid Reaches Bear Market Territory

    After a series of historic one-day drops in Wall Street indexes — driven by the coronavirus and cascading oil prices — the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 5.9 percent Wednesday to cross the bear market threshold. That's a 20.3 percent decline from its recent peak on Feb. 12. The S&P 500 is just shy of bear territory, but that's of little comfort to investors who have lost a combined $5 trillion.

    Can this be stopped? Probably not today: Stocks in Asia and Europe, along with New York futures, dropped after the WHO's pandemic announcement, while in the U.S., officials proposed stimulus measures to help turn the tide.

  3. Feds Arrest 600 in Sweep of Jalisco Cartel

    Law enforcement agents in Los Angeles and across the nation culminated a six-month drug trafficking investigation yesterday targeting a notorious narcotics syndicate. They arrested some 600 suspected members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said is responsible for "the pain of addiction and the scourge of violence" by bringing meth, cocaine, heroin and synthetic opioids into the U.S. from Latin America.

    Did they nab the kingpin? No, but feds have offered a $10 million reward for suspected leader Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera.

    OZY profiles another drug kingpin.

  4. Iraq flag cracked shutterstock 1134705704

    Iraq Missile Attack Kills US, UK Troops

    Two Americans and a Briton were killed and a dozen other personnel injured in a rocket attack on a military base north of Baghdad Wednesday night, according to a statement from the U.S.-led coalition. Iraqi security forces later recovered a truck mounted with rocket launchers that was believed to have been used in the assault. It came just days after two American soldiers were killed fighting ISIS forces in northern Iraq.

    Who’s responsible? One U.S. official noted that "ISIS doesn't have this capability,” while others suggested that based on the weapons and tactics, the attack could be the work of Iran.

  5. Also Important...

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a Senate-approved bill to limit President Trump's power to wage war against Iran, though the president is expected to veto it. Southern California authorities are investigating the Tuesday death of Josie Harris, the ex-girlfriend of boxer Floyd Mayweather and a victim of a 2010 assault by the fighter. And satellite data shows the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were three decades ago.

    #OZYfact: Women who used marijuana before sex reported having satisfying orgasms twice as often as non-users. Read more on OZY.

    Coronavirus Confidential: Manuel Veniani, a 40-year-old mastering engineer, tells OZY how he knew something was wrong well before he — and the rest of Italy's 60 million inhabitants — were locked down.

Intriguing

  1. #MeToo Activists Rejoice at Weinstein Sentence

    "I literally cried tears of amazement." So said actress Mira Sorvino, one of the disgraced Hollywood mogul's many accusers, of the 23-year prison sentence he received Wednesday after being convicted of sexual assault and rape last month. Speaking before sentencing, Harvey Weinstein said he felt "deep remorse" for the victims, but that he and other men were "confused about all of this."

    What's next? Calling the prison term "obscene," Weinstein's lawyers say they plan to appeal, while he still faces other charges in California.

    OZY profiles a rape victim taking on cyberbullies.

  2. idlib syria child with destroyed tank shutterstock 1203193720

    Syrian War's End Game Plays Out in Idlib

    For a province the size of Delaware, it's seen more than its share of carnage. OZY security columnist and former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin writes that Idlib is witnessing the bloody closing chapter in Syria's civil war, which is 9 years old this month. Russia, Iran and the U.S. all have stakes in President Bashar Assad's push to reclaim the area from al-Qaida offshoot Hayat Tahrir al-Sham's 20,000 fighters, who are aided by Turkish forces.

    What's the fallout? Some 700,000 refugees and rebels are being pushed across the border with Turkey, which is channeling them toward Europe — into yet another crisis.

  3. boing headquarters shutterstock 620918123

    Boeing Stock Tanks Amid New Cutbacks

    They're grounded. Already feeling the effects of two deadly 737 Max crashes blamed on faulty software, Boeing yesterday became the poster child for how coronavirus is harming manufacturing. Five workers at its Everett, Washington, plant have tested positive, prompting co-workers to self-quarantine. Meanwhile, the company announced a hiring freeze and new overtime limits, worrying fearful investors.

    How bad is it? Yesterday Boeing, which is burning through a $13.8 billion loan to cushion its earlier crisis, saw shares plunge 18 percent — its worst hit in four decades.

    OZY looks at how cruise lines are suffering too.

  4. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson Have COVID-19

    Atlanta, we have a problem. While on location in Australia, the beloved film icon and his singer/actress wife tested positive for the new coronavirus. Hanks, who was working in the country's Gold Coast region on Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Elvis Presley biopic, shared the news via an Instagram photo of a latex glove atop a biohazard bag. He explained that the couple experienced colds, body aches, chills and slight fevers before being tested.

    What's the prognosis? Hanks said they'll be "tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires," adding that the situation demands a "one-day-at-a-time approach."

  5. NBA Suspends Season After Positive Test

    They're on the ball. Just as the Oklahoma City Thunder prepared to host the Utah Jazz last night, word arrived that a Jazz player — reportedly All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who was not in the arena — had "preliminarily tested positive" for coronavirus. The game was called off and the league announced that it was suspending play after Wednesday night's matchups, barely a month before the playoffs.

    Is the season over? That's still to be determined: The league had discussed holding televised games in empty arenas, but with the virus in at least one locker room, that appears unlikely.

    OZY examines how the virus might affect the Olympics.