The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. UK, France, China Move Toward Reopening

    France cautiously allowed its citizens out this morning after 55 days of mass quarantine, though those in problem regions like Paris won't see businesses open yet. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recently recovered from COVID-19 himself, unveiled a "conditional plan" to ease restrictions, saying those who can't work from home can now go back to work, but should avoid public transportation. He hopes to begin reopening schools and businesses in June, but stressed that he'd be guided by scientific models. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, thousands visited the newly reopened Disneyland, complete with mandatory masks and social distancing.

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    White House to Warn About Vaccine Hacking

    President Donald Trump's administration is reportedly preparing to accuse the Chinese government of trying to steal research related to coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The White House has long complained of Chinese state theft of intellectual property, though this warning — expected to be issued in the coming days — would likely further ratchet up tensions with China, especially given Trump's repeated insistence, not backed up by evidence, that the virus originated in a Chinese lab. COVID-19 has thus far killed nearly 80,000 Americans and more than 282,000 people globally.

    For all OZY's coronavirus coverage, click here.

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    19 Dead as Iranian Missile Strikes Own Ship

    An Iranian support ship got too close to a target yesterday during training exercises in the Gulf of Oman and was accidentally struck by a missile in an incident regional media say was likely due to "human error." At least 19 sailors died and another 15 were wounded. Just a few months ago, another Iranian missile misfire hit a Ukrainian jet and killed 176 people. Iran is also currently dealing with heightened tensions with the United States, and with a devastating coronavirus outbreak and an accompanying economic crunch.

  4. US Meat Exports Continue Despite Shortages

    Someone's hogging. While coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants across the U.S. have forced closures and shortages, pork exports to China have quadrupled since mid-March, according to the Department of Agriculture. That's despite a 40 percent drop in the number of pigs killed each day. Chinese purchases of U.S. meat were increasing before the pandemic — and Smithfield, the world's biggest pork processor, has been Chinese-owned since 2013. But with U.S. meat prices expected to jump 20 percent by the end of May, some are arguing that the domestic market should take priority.

    Read OZY's dossier on COVID-19's effect on the food supply.

  5. Also Important...

    A Texas medical supply company says it offered to make 1.7 million N95 masks per week for the Trump administration in January and was ignored. South Korea is closing down newly reopened nightclubs after a wave of infections. And comedian Jerry Stiller, father of actor Ben Stiller, has died at 92.

    Coronavirus update: White House economic advisers say the unemployment rate could climb above 20 percent next month as the economy continues to suffer from the pandemic.

    OZY needs you. Our Weekender newsletter uses recommendations from our readers, and we want to hear from you! Send an email to to tell us about the books, films, podcasts and recipes getting you through lockdown, and we’ll share them with the whole OZY audience.


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    Musk Sues California County Over Lockdown

    Incensed that he can't reopen his Tesla factory during a pandemic, Elon Musk has filed suit against Alameda County for enforcing lockdown rules — despite assurance from the county supervisor that they were working on an agreement to let the plant restart within the week. Musk also vowed to move the electric car company's headquarters to Texas or Nevada. Of course, just a few days earlier he also tweeted a promise to sell nearly all of his physical possessions. "Devoting myself to Mars and Earth," he wrote. "Possession just weigh you down."

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    Airlines Emphasize Cleanliness Over Perks

    Flying high? Try flying hygienic. Delta, Southwest and other airlines once trumpeted in-flight amenities, but now it's all about showing how well they can disinfect the plane via fogging machines and conduct preflight temperature checks, OZY reports. Most airlines are now requiring all crew and passengers to don face masks for the flight — perhaps hoping to not just contain the spread of disease but to lure back customers wary of getting on a plane during a pandemic. Still, it's an uphill climb: The airline industry is expected to lose upwards of $300 billion this year.

  3. Study: Men Twice as Likely to Break Lockdown

    Call it a Y Not chromosome. A survey of young people in the U.K. found that half of men aged 19-24 had defied Britain's lockdown protocols to see friends or family, double the number of women who had. And in the group most prone to rule-breaking — men aged 19-21 — 22 percent had been fined or arrested for their conduct, also double the proportion of their female peers. While it's known that men take more risks, researchers say, the study shows governments need to better explain the reasons for lockdowns to persuade young men to comply.

  4. 'Double Rainbow' Viral Video Star Dies at 57

    Paul Vasquez, famous under the online handle Yosemitebear for a joyful viral video in which he whooped about seeing a "double rainbow all the way across the sky," passed away at a California hospital over the weekend. The cause of death was not made public, though Vasquez had recently posted on social media about getting tested for COVID-19. In a May 3 post he wrote, "If it’s the virus and it’s my time to recycle I look forward to coming back to a new body and starting over."

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    UFC Returns With Contracts Banning Criticism

    They want you to pull your punches. UFC returned Saturday with the first major U.S. sports event during the pandemic, staged in an arena of 15,000 empty seats. But the fighters — appearing without masks — reportedly had to sign waivers forfeiting their prize money if they spoke disparagingly about the UFC's safety measures. The waivers also release the organization from liability if fighters contract the virus. The UFC said everyone involved was tested before the event, and middleweight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza was dropped from the bill after testing positive Friday.

    Read OZY's dossier on how the coronavirus could change sports.