The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Trump Announces Immigration Ban

    President Donald Trump declared via Twitter that he plans to suspend immigration to the U.S. in order to protect American jobs and fight the coronavirus. An executive order, which commentators say is unprecedented in its scope, is reportedly being drafted and could be signed Tuesday. It's not clear how much a ban will slow the virus, given that the U.S. leads the world in both confirmed cases and deaths, which have surpassed 42,000.

    What are states doing? Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee have all announced loosening of lockdown restrictions, despite concerns from public health experts.

    Check out OZY's comprehensive coronavirus coverage.

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    Reports: Kim Jong Un Faces Health Threat

    There are conflicting reports that suggest the North Korean dictator may be seriously ill. South Korean website Daily NK reported that Kim is recuperating in a villa after an April 12 heart procedure, while CNN cited U.S. intelligence sources saying Kim "is in grave danger." But South Korean officials and state media expressed skepticism of the reports.

    What do we know for sure? On April 15, Kim missed a key event, the birthday of his grandfather and national founder Kim Il Sung, who died of cardiac complications, as did his son and successor, Kim Jong Il.

  3. Israeli Politicos Agree on Unity Government

    After a political crisis lasting more than a year and three elections in rapid succession, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to form a unity government with his chief rival, Benny Gantz. Their coalition will see Netanyahu in power for the first half of a three-year term, after which he'll hand over to Gantz. The deal is expected to be officially signed next week following Israel's Independence Day.

    How did we get here? Neither politician has been able to form a governing coalition on his own, and the urgency of the coronavirus outbreak finally forced them to reach a compromise.

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    No Demand, No Storage: Oil Goes Negative

    For the first time ever, you couldn't sell it. Worldwide lockdowns have depressed demand for petroleum so much that producers have run out of places to store it. That caused U.S oil prices to sink into the negative Monday, meaning buyers would be paid to take it and figure out what to do with it. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract for May delivery sunk to minus $40 a barrel.

    What's happening today? WTI for May recovered overnight, rising to $1.10 a barrel, but one analyst warned that without major production cuts "it would cause a lot of trouble" for credit, banking and employment markets.

    OZY's Butterfly Effect looks at Russia's shale offensive.

  5. Also Important...

    As it locks down to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Zimbabwe is also fighting malaria outbreaks that have killed 131 people — compared to three reported COVID-19 fatalities. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is $187 million behind President Trump in campaign fundraising. And even though it wouldn't begin until Sept. 19, Germany has canceled Oktoberfest because of the pandemic.

    Coronavirus update: The U.S. is facing a shortage of CO2, best known for carbonating soft drinks and beer, but also essential to public drinking water filtration.

    Join the conversation! Check out the second part of a special edition of OZY's Black Women OWN the Conversation focusing on interpersonal relationships during pandemic lockdowns. Tune in tonight at 11 p.m. ET on OWN, and join the conversation at #BlackWomenOWN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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    Chile to Issue First Immunity Passports

    The South American country has been more aggressive with testing than others in the region — and will now be the first in the world to issue documents certifying the immunity of those who've already recovered from COVID-19. Health officials say about 4,600 Chileans are eligible, and more people can apply to be tested for antibodies and receive a card. The program was meant to begin Monday, but has been postponed a few days.

    Is it that simple? Of course not: Health experts say there's little definitive information about the strength or duration of coronavirus immunity, so the passports may actually endanger people.

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    Hundreds of Amazon Workers to Strike Today

    They're thinking outside the box. With 75 confirmed cases spread across half of the company's U.S. facilities, an estimated 300 workers say they won't show up beginning today. They claim Amazon's refused to offer enough paid sick leave and that it hasn't adequately cleaned contaminated facilities. Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board is looking into allegations that Amazon retaliated against workers for speaking out against subpar coronavirus protections.

    Will the strike make a dent? Amazon's business is booming during quarantine. It plans to hire 75,000 people in the U.S., on top of the 100,000 it hired last month.

  3. Pandemic Response Leaves Out Deaf Community

    The message isn't getting through. Among those impacted by the pandemic, deaf people and those with limited hearing face a communication gap that many authorities are failing to bridge, OZY reports. In the U.S., local news isn't live-captioned in smaller markets, and while sign language interpreters appear at official press conferences in all 50 states, they often aren't included in TV broadcasts.

    What would improve the response? Advocates say the World Health Organization should establish an international sign for the virus and the White House should provide interpreters for all COVID-19 briefings.

    Suffering in Silence

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    Shake Shack Returns $10M Coronavirus Relief

    They're hardly small fry. The burger chain, which has 189 U.S. locations and 8,000 employees, received $10 million from the federal aid package for coronavirus-impacted small businesses — a fund that ran out last Wednesday. Now Shake Shack says it'll return the cash, though it can't be reallocated until Congress approves more money for the program.

    Is Shake Shack an outlier? Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and Potbelly, both massive chains, each got $20 million by applying through multiple subsidiaries — but neither has said they'll return the money.

    Discover OZY's suggestions on how to spend your stimulus check.

  5. Djokovic Might Quit Before Vaccinating

    At this point it's academic, as there's no COVID-19 vaccine yet and no tennis being played. But the sport's No. 1 male competitor, Novak Djokovic, is pushing back against a popular sentiment that vaccination should be a prerequisite for resuming tournaments. In a Sunday online chat with fellow Serbian athletes, Djokovic, 32, said he was "opposed to vaccination," and "if it becomes compulsory ... I will have to make a decision."

    Will it be required? It's purely speculative, but retired French star Amelie Mauresmo's tweet — "No vaccine = no tennis" — echoed the sentiments of many.

    OZY explores how athletes are responding to coronavirus.