The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Joe Biden on Assault Allegation: "[It] Never Happened."

    While the former VP's campaign and surrogates have vehemently denied a decades-old sexual assault accusation from former staffer Tara Reade, the presumptive Democratic nominee himself only broke his silence on it today. "This never happened," he said in a statement. There had been rising calls for Biden to address the allegations, including from potential running mates like Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Yesterday, President Trump said he thought the 77-year-old candidate should respond but cautioned that the claims could be untrue.

    Rose McGowan tells OZY Biden is too toxic to be the Democratic nominee.

  2. Trump Blames Wuhan Lab for Virus

    Though President Donald Trump says he has seen strong evidence that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, he hasn't provided the public anything to support that claim — and investigations into the facility haven't found any proof of it. Most scientists are still united in thinking the virus's origin was natural transmission from a bat or another animal. Still, Trump has vowed economic retaliation against China, which may take precedence over his efforts at a trade agreement.

    Read OZY's dossier on how the virus could affect Chinese transparency.

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    Russian Prime Minister Has Coronavirus

    As Russia's total number of COVID-19 cases soared above 100,000, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said he himself has tested positive. In office since January, Mishustin will be temporarily replaced by his deputy while he goes into self-isolation. Though President Vladimir Putin initially congratulated himself for mitigating the spread of the virus, yesterday saw a record number of new confirmed cases in Russia. Putin has been working remotely since the beginning of April, shortly after visiting a coronavirus hospital in Moscow.

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    Amazon Complains of Costs as Workers Strike

    Amazon has enjoyed a massive surge in profits during the pandemic, with record first quarter sales of $75.5 billion. But the company warns that its operating expenses have gone up too as it's had to increase safety measures for both workers and the packages going into consumers' homes. Meanwhile, Amazon employees — who have protested since the start of the pandemic that they're not operating in safe conditions — are part of a megastrike today that also involves workforces at Target, Walmart and Instacart.

  5. Also Important...

    More than 30 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment. The normally 24-hour New York City subway will close nightly to be disinfected. And a Japanese aquarium is encouraging people to video call their eels so they don't forget humans.

    Coronavirus update: Passengers on the three biggest U.S. airlines are now required to wear masks to minimize the spread of the virus.

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


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    Chunk of Moon Could Be Yours for $2.5M

    Promised someone the moon lately? You're in luck. The fifth largest piece of the moon on Earth, a 30-pound rock about the size of a soccer ball, fell in Northern Africa as part of a meteor shower, probably after being knocked off by a comet or asteroid. Now it's been listed for private sale and is expected to go for at least $2.5 million. Only about one in a thousand meteorites originate from the moon, according to Christie's auction house.

    Read OZY's coverage of the future of living on the moon.

  2. Zoom Misrepresented Its Soaring Growth

    While Zoom seemed to be one of few companies actually benefiting from the lockdown, the picture isn't quite as rosy as it said. Despite some notorious security issues, the company posted last month that its daily active users had jumped from 10 million in December to 300 million in April. But it turns out Zoom was counting meeting participants, not individual users — likely a vastly inflated number since people can be in multiple meetings per day. The company quietly corrected the post, but when questioned said it was a "genuine oversight."

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    India's Internet Gap Strains Education

    They're struggling to connect to the material. India has the world's second largest education system after China, and its 1.5 million schools are shut during the coronavirus lockdown. But fast, reliable internet isn't readily available in rural India, or even in pockets of major cities, and teachers are having to get creative, OZY reports. They're sending class materials via WhatsApp or recording lectures and emailing them to students who don't have the bandwidth to livestream. There's a lesson beyond education, experts say — that India's infrastructure needs a boost before it vaults into the digital future.

  4. Scammers 'Cast' for 'Crazy Rich Asians' Sequel

    After a famous international open call for the 2018 blockbuster, it makes sense the creative team would repeat the experiment. Except a now-deleted ad posted by "casting associate" Alan Baltes for Zoom auditions — costing actors $99 each — was a fraud, and actual Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is not happy. He called it "a malicious scam" and warned, "Don't mess with Asian actors during our surge or we will bite back!!" Chu's notified Warner Bros. lawyers — and says that actual sequels are coming, though casting hasn't started yet.

    OZY examines the impact of Asian-targeted racism.

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    NASCAR Races to Reopen This Month

    They've got the green light. NASCAR has not only announced its return on May 17, but it'll be packing seven races into 11 days. It's one of the first big sports organizations with a concrete scheduled return post-lockdown (the UFC is coming back May 9), but there will be some obvious changes: Teams have to wear face masks, there will be random temperature checks ... oh, and there won't be an audience in attendance. Still, drivers and crew aren't getting tested for COVID-19, NASCAR says, because they don't want to hog scarce tests.

    Read OZY's coverage of NASCAR luring in millennials via fantasy sports.