The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Coronavirus Upends Daily Life

    As the pandemic continues, citizens around the world are coming to grips with the extent of its reach. In the U.S., pro sports leagues have been suspended and many employees and students are being told to stay home. The virus is even reaching the homes of world leaders: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is self-quarantining after his wife tested positive, while Australia's home minister is also sick.

    Could Mother Nature help? While experts are hoping COVID-19 behaves like the seasonal flu, tapering off as the weather warms, outbreaks in Argentina, Brazil and Singapore suggest that might not be the case.

    Don't miss the latest installment in OZY's Coronavirus Central series.

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    Officials Plan Moves as Markets Tank

    It's more than they can bear. After Wall Street experienced its darkest day since 1987 Thursday, policymakers scrambled to find ways to ease the global financial crunch. U.S. Congress will consider a massive rescue package later today — which includes beefed-up unemployment benefits and paid sick leave — while central banks in Japan and Europe said they'd ease lending and step up bond-buying.

    Will stimulus efforts help? Analysts say it's the right move, but warn that "the fear of the unknown" trumps what might otherwise be logical responses to policy intervention.

    Read OZY's Special Briefing on whether free cash can save us from recession.

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    US Retaliates for Deadly Iraq Strike

    A day after a rocket attack on an Iraqi base killed two American troops and a British soldier, U.S. forces said they carried out airstrikes across the country against the Iranian-backed Kataeb Hezbollah militia. Another militia claimed a civilian airport was struck too, but there was no immediate confirmation of that. In a statement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said his agency would continue taking "any action necessary" against threats to U.S. forces.

    What's next? Some say the latest violent tit-for-tat could lead to renewed public protests over the American presence in Iraq.

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    Chelsea Manning Freed After Suicide Attempt

    The former U.S. military intelligence analyst who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks was released from jail yesterday. After being in custody since May for refusing to testify before a grand jury, a judge determined that Manning's testimony is no longer needed — a day after her lawyers said she tried to kill herself in the Alexandria, Virginia, facility. She is reportedly recovering in a local hospital.

    Is she off the hook? Manning, who'd served seven years in prison before her 35-year sentence was commuted in 2017, still faces more than $250,000 in fines over her insistence on staying silent.

  5. Also Important...

    The International Energy Agency says the coronavirus outbreak could derail the world's turn toward clean energy by slowing investment. Cambodia and China will hold joint military exercises Saturday involving thousands of soldiers. And a French surgeon accused of sexually abusing 349 children goes on trial today in the western city of Saintes.

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

    Coronavirus Tip: OZY shows you how to work from home without losing your mind.


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    Russia's New Base for Meddling: Africa

    Facebook and Twitter announced they've removed dozens of accounts linked to what they say is a Russian influence operation based out of Ghana and Nigeria to stoke U.S. racial tensions. The disclosures coincide with a CNN investigation into the apparent meddling, which reportedly fueled commentary on everything from Black history to police brutality.

    What's the bigger picture? Experts say Russia's using "proxy groups in increasingly creative ways," since some apparently aren't even aware who they're working for — though Twitter warned there are plenty of domestic trolls too.

    Read this OZY feature about America's election problems.

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    Qantas Pays Back Hundreds of Workers

    Expect fewer delays now. After reporting a massive payroll problem last year, the Australian airline will dish out $4.5 million among more than 600 employees whose paychecks had been too light for years. Individual payouts will range from a few thousands dollars to nearly $90,000 in at least one case. But it gets better: Qantas apparently overpaid some employees by a total of about $13.8 million — funds it says it won't recover.

    Why the debacle? Australia's not-so-simple labor laws might be to blame, since the problem came from employees being misclassified and getting the wrong benefits and compensation.

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    Can Corporate Giants Save Health Care?

    They're thinking outside the big box. From Amazon to Walmart, some of America’s largest companies are launching alternative health care initiatives, OZY reports, promising better quality than Medicare and lower costs than the traditional private market. These pursuits — think Uber Health instead of a regular ambulance, for instance — are also poised to shake up the political debate ahead of the November election.

    What's next? As America’s health care system scrambles to cope with coronavirus, this new model will come under scrutiny to see whether it's better suited to respond to major crises.

  4. Coronavirus Cripples Entertainment Industry

    From Disney theme parks around the world to music and film festivals, coronavirus-related cancellations are sending the entertainment industry into a tailspin. Besides Broadway dimming its lights, movie theaters in California and New York are mulling crowd control measures, such as staggered seating, while theater owners wonder whether they'll have to shutter completely.

    How much money is at stake? Analysts estimate the global box office could lose $10 billion this year — to say nothing of the effect on the $26 billion live events industry.

    Read OZY's op-ed about why the NBA season suspension matters.

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    US Soccer Chief Quits Over Legal Dispute

    Carlos Cordeiro has stepped down as U.S. Soccer Federation president after a bombshell court filing this week deeply disparaged the women's national team. As part of its defense in a gender discrimination suit brought by the female players, the organization argued that it's "indisputable science" that they're less talented than their male counterparts. Cordeiro claimed he hadn't reviewed the document's language, and said he "would have objected" to it.

    What's next? Vice President Cindy Parlow Cone will replace Cordeiro and face the challenge of changing what the women's team describes as "blatant misogyny" and a "sexist culture."