The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump, Governors Clash Over Reopening

    Governors on both coasts announced yesterday that they'll coordinate plans for eventually lifting coronavirus restrictions and restarting their economies. But President Donald Trump, eager to reopen the country sooner, wasn't having it: Claiming his authority is "total" on the matter — citing "numerous provisions" in the Constitution — he said only he could decide when that happens. Trump also lashed out at criticism that the White House bungled its pandemic response, declaring, "Everything we did was right."

    What would reopening look like? It would likely involve gradually easing measures like the definition of "essential" businesses while closely watching the infection rate.

  2. India Extends World's Largest Lockdown

    With global coronavirus cases nearing 2 million, the South Asian nation of 1.3 billion extended its restrictions until May 3. In a televised address Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India — where the number of infections has surpassed 10,000 — has already "greatly benefited" from the lockdown. He added that restrictions in certain areas would soon be lifted to help impoverished workers who rely on daily wages.

    Where are measures easing up? Thousands of small stores are opening up across Austria, while some Spanish firms are back in business and Danish children head back to school.

    Follow OZY's extensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

  3. Bernie Backs Joe Biden for President

    A week after suspending his own bid for the Democratic nod, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a surprise appearance in a Biden livestream Monday to throw his support behind the ex-vice president. The former rivals shared warm words while acknowledging their ideological differences, but pledged to work together "to make Trump a one-term president," as Sanders said.

    But will his supporters embrace Biden? Pundits say that depends on whether the presumptive nominee actually adopts some of Bernie's policies, like single-payer health care, rather than simply pandering to the firebrand's fans.

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    Storms Kill Dozens Across American South

    At least 33 people are dead after dozens of tornadoes and violent storms continued tearing through the U.S. southeast, leaving more than 1 million homes and businesses without power. "No one is used to this," said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves — who claimed the storms were the worst in a decade. In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey relaxed lockdown orders to allow locals to seek refuge.

    What's next? Another 40 million people along most of the Eastern Seaboard remain at risk of severe storms through Tuesday evening.

    Read this OZY story about how climate change is wearing donors down.

  5. Also Important...

    North Korea has fired suspected cruise missiles ahead of parliamentary elections in the South — and founder Kim Il Sung's 108th birthday. A Trump-backed Wisconsin Supreme Court judge was defeated in state elections by liberal challenger Jill Karofsky. And the XFL has filed for bankruptcy after only five weeks of games.

    Coronavirus Update: Though it has reported 3,231 infections, Qatar has experienced only seven COVID-19 deaths.

    Speak up! Which new skill, talent or ability have you been developing while quarantined? Let us know by replying to this email — and we’ll feature the most interesting answer right here later in the week.


  1. Wildfires Knock on Chernobyl's Door

    Hundreds of firefighters in Ukraine are battling blazes less than a mile from the notorious nuclear power plant. Authorities say the flames won't reach the defunct reactor — the site of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986 — or nearby waste storage facilities. But activists say the wildfires, which have been burning for 10 days, are much worse than the government's letting on. "The situation is critical," said one local tour guide.

    What's the primary danger? Despite repeated claims by officials that radiation levels in capital Kyiv are normal, experts worry that smoke contaminated with radioactive particles is wafting into populated areas.

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    Is Amazon Back to Business as Usual?

    Order up! The online retail giant will reportedly let third-party sellers, which account for 58 percent of its sales, begin shipping nonessential items again. But quantities will still be limited to let Amazon continue prioritizing household staples and medical supplies. Meanwhile, the company's hiring another 75,000 workers across the United States.

    Does that mean business is booming? With its shares up 17 percent this year, analysts say Amazon's wide-ranging product portfolio makes it resilient enough to weather the pandemic.

    Read OZY's feature about how local cafés are serving you through the crisis.

  3. The Latest Racial Gap: Bereavement

    Research shows that Black Americans are three times more likely than their white peers to lose multiple family members before turning 30. But while racial gaps in life expectancy and mortality rates are well-documented, experts are only beginning to explore how "repeated bereavement experiences" affect the Black population. They say losing family members is a mortality risk itself, OZY reports — and one that doesn’t touch all racial groups equally.

    Is there a solution? Researchers believe authorities should track the aftereffects of deaths on grieving families, and boost "bereavement care" for survivors.

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    Disney Hunkers Down With More Credit

    Can this kingdom stay magic? The entertainment conglomerate now has access to around $13 billion in credit after sealing a one-year $5 billion deal with Citibank last week. While its Disney+ streaming service has done brisk business with much of the world locked indoors, Disney's uniquely exposed to the pandemic's financial fallout, with its theme parks closed, movie theaters shuttered and sporting events called off.

    How much cash could it lose? Last year, parks and consumer products alone raked in $26.23 billion — around 37 percent of its total revenue.

    Don't miss OZY's Special Briefing on whether sports leagues will lose value.

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    In Florida, Wrestling Is 'Essential'

    Gov. Ron DeSantis has deemed WWE an "essential business" in the Sunshine State, meaning it can broadcast live shows, but without crowds. Although wrestlers were originally hit by the state's shelter-in-place order, a spokesperson for DeSantis said he was convinced to let them back into the ring "because they are critical to Florida's economy."

    Will other sports get back in the game? They're welcome in Florida as long as they have a national audience and events are closed to the public — which might be good news for UFC president Dana White, who's jonesing to resume fights.

    Don't miss OZY's Special Briefing on whether sports leagues will lose value.