The Presidential Daily Brief


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    America Finally Has a Stimulus Deal

    Senate leaders and the White House finally agreed on a $2 trillion package to cushion the economy from the chaotic effects of coronavirus. "Help is on the way," said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In addition to expanding unemployment benefits and investing $150 billion in the health care system, many Americans will receive $1,200 checks. Businesses of all sizes — including cities, states and wholesale industries — will receive a collective $870 billion in loans or funding.

    Are any strings attached? Democrats scored a major victory when the White House agreed to boost scrutiny into how the federal cash is spent.

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    India Is the Latest to Lock Down

    "This is the only way to save India." So said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while ordering his country's 1.3 billion citizens to stay inside for three weeks in an effort to fight coronavirus. But it remains unclear how effective the measure — the largest in world history — will be, especially considering nearly one-third of the population is thought to live in slums with little or no access to running water.

    What other challenges does India face? Experts say it's not testing enough people, which suggests its mere 500 confirmed cases are just a fraction of those infected.

    Check out this OZY feature about South Asia's COVID-19 time bomb.

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    Boko Haram Kills Scores of African Troops

    In an all-night attack near Lake Chad this week, the Islamist group killed 92 Chadian soldiers in what President Idriss Déby Itno said late Tuesday was the deadliest offensive yet against his military. It wasn't the only devastating demonstration of force by Boko Haram: On Monday at least 50 Nigerian troops were killed in another assault in the northern Yobe state.

    What's the bigger picture? After launching its insurgency in northeast Nigeria in 2009, the group has expanded its regional footprint into nearby Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

    Read OZY's story about the Nigerian conflict that's deadlier than Boko Haram.

  4. Germany's Economy Flashes Warning Signs

    Europe's largest economy is now "in shock," according to the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research. Business morale in Germany has reached its lowest point in 11 years — and logged its steepest drop since the country's reunification in 1990. The report followed recent news that business activity in the eurozone has collapsed, hitting a record low.

    What will Europe do? Much like in the U.S., analysts say the continent's leaders face a vexing dilemma over just how much to close off the EU's deeply interconnected economies.

  5. Also Important...

    Britain's Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus. Armed militants have stormed a Sikh religious complex in the Afghan capital of Kabul. And Russia’s Kuril Islands were hit with a 7.5 magnitude earthquake today, setting off a tsunami warning that has since been canceled.

    OZYfact: Santia Deck is the first athlete in women’s football history to sign a multimillion-dollar contract. Read more on OZY.

    Coronavirus Update: More than 425,000 cases have been confirmed across 170 countries and regions, leading to nearly 19,000 deaths.


  1. COVID-19 Partygoer Gets ... COVID-19

    It's nothing to celebrate. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has a message for the group of 20-somethings who attended a recent "coronavirus party" in the Bluegrass State: "Don't be so callous." At a press conference Tuesday, he announced that one of the attendees has now tested positive for COVID-19. Beshear encouraged his fellow Kentuckians "to be much better than that."

    How are states fighting coronavirus? With the U.S. staring at an impending shortage of health workers, they're easing restrictions on which medical professionals are allowed to help out.

    Follow OZY's continuing coverage of the COVID-19 crisis.

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    Is Singapore's Virus-Tracking App a Spy Tool?

    Thanks partly to TraceTogether, the island nation has contained its local coronavirus outbreak and kept its schools and businesses open. Part of the government's high-tech approach to fighting the disease, the smartphone app exchanges Bluetooth signals among users and flags those diagnosed with COVID-19 to health authorities. Now Singapore's making the technology available to other countries.

    So what's the problem? Critics wonder whether some governments are going too far with that sort of tech, sparking what could be a lasting debate over the balance between protecting public health and personal privacy.

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    The Woman Feeding South Africa's Poor

    "This could be our finest hour or a total disaster." So says the 43-year-old founder of a South African grocery delivery app that could change how her country's lower-income population is fed, OZY reports. As a coronavirus-driven state of emergency grips South Africa, Jessica Boonstra's Yebo Fresh is uniquely positioned to service the 30 million people — far beyond the company's base in Cape Town — that can't get to mainstream retailers.

    What's next? The pandemic presents the biggest challenge yet for Boonstra, who's had to rent a second warehouse amid expectations of a tenfold increase in orders.

  4. COVID-19 Claims Theater Icon Terrence McNally

    The four-time Tony Award-winning playwright behind Broadway hits like Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! died yesterday of complications related to coronavirus. The 81-year-old cancer survivor, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony last year. "He is the epitome of love and friendship," said Chita Rivera, who'd starred in several of McNally's productions.

    What's his legacy? He'll be remembered for smartly balancing the humorous and dramatic while also shining a light on gay life in America.

    Don't miss OZY's dispatch from a play in total darkness.

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    The Olympics Are Postponed. What's Next?

    There's no game plan for this. Although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended weeks of speculation yesterday by announcing the Summer Games will be postponed until next year, the decision answered few questions. Among them: How will the delay affect athletes' career plans and training schedules? How much money does Japan stand to lose? And could it change how, or even whether, countries organize such big-ticket events?

    How are the Japanese taking it? Few were surprised at the decision, and none are probably more disappointed than Abe — who saw the games as a chance to showcase Japan's comeback after years of slow growth.