The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Disputing Fauci, Trump Wants Schools Open

    On a day when a World Health Organization official warned that the coronavirus "may never go away," President Donald Trump pushed back against White House expert Dr. Anthony Fauci's cautious view on school reopenings. "I think you should absolutely open the schools," Trump told governors, saying the country wouldn't be "coming back" while they're closed. Some have taken up arms on that issue, with weapon-toting activists in Texas standing watch as businesses like tattoo parlors reopen in defiance of a state lockdown on establishments where close contact is required.

    Follow OZY's coverage of the pandemic.

  2. China Dismisses Vaccine Hacking Accusations

    A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called it "slanders in the absence of any evidence." But an official alert out of Washington, D.C., Wednesday said that universities and companies seeking ways to fight the coronavirus are being targeted by hackers with Chinese government connections. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security urged those researching vaccines and treatments to protect their work against threats, but didn't share any details on specific cases or how they were linked to Beijing. They warned that stealing intellectual property and public health data could pose a "significant threat" to America's pandemic response.

  3. FBI Probes Senator Who Dumped Stock

    The FBI has reportedly served a search warrant on Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, seizing his phone as part of an investigation into suspected insider trading. The GOP senator and his wife sold as much as $1.7 million in securities from late January to mid-February — before numerous less-informed investors lost billions of dollars in pandemic-induced market drops. Citing law enforcement sources, the Los Angeles Times reports that investigators are checking messages between the senator, whose office declined comment, and his broker, and have also served a warrant on Apple to examine data stored in its cloud.

  4. gavel court judge decision shutterstock 186812807

    Former Judge Asked to Weigh Flynn Charges

    Is justice being done? That's what Judge Emmet Sullivan seems to be asking in the case of former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn. Sullivan yesterday took the unusual step of appointing a former prosecutor and judge to counter the Justice Department, which wants to drop the charges against Flynn after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. President Trump has long sought Flynn's exoneration, raising questions of whether Attorney General William Barr is politicizing the process — something Trump backers now accuse Sullivan of doing. Judge John Gleeson will consider whether Flynn should instead face perjury or contempt charges.

  5. Also Important...

    Health officials in England have approved a promising test for COVID-19 antibodies. For the first time in 22 years, Republicans yesterday took a California congressional district away from Democrats in a special election. And Europe is planning to open its internal borders to allow summer travel.

    Coronavirus update: Nearly 300,000 people have died worldwide, with the highest fatalities in the U.S., Britain, Italy, Spain and France.

    Connect the dots! How might an invention that began as a way to dehumidify the printing process in the early 20th century influence the 2020 U.S. election? Discover the intriguing link between air conditioning and American politics in episode three of OZY's brand-new history podcast, Flashback, now the No. 3 history show on the Apple podcast charts! Listen and subscribe to Flashback — and then leave us a review — by clicking here.

Intriguing

  1. France: Delete Illegal Posts in an Hour or Else

    The clock is ticking. French legislators passed a law Wednesday that gives social media platforms one hour after being notified by authorities to remove posts that involve terrorism or pedophilia. If they fail, they'll face fines of up to 4 percent of their global revenue — which for Facebook would be around $2.8 billion. The law was attacked by free speech advocates, who worry it'll result in censoring innocent content. The law also sets a 24-hour deadline for removing "manifestly illicit" posts like racial or religious hate speech.

    OZY's Flashback reveals the deadly consequences of Henry Ford's bigotry.

  2. Frequent Flyer Miles Might Save Airlines

    They're well-grounded. Frequent flyer programs might seem like mere marketing schemes to retain customers with free flights, early boarding and other perks. But with the pandemic costing global aviation an estimated $300 billion, those loyalty programs are among airlines' best assets, OZY reports. Some 50 percent of carriers' revenue can come from credit cards that earn miles, which banks pay good money to acquire. The largest seven U.S. airlines earned nearly $4 billion from them in the first half of 2018 alone, and industry analysts expect them to trade large blocks of miles for cash to survive the crisis — if ailing banks agree.

  3. german wind turbines shutterstock 1387797554

    Renewables Surging to Pass Coal in 2020

    Time to brush off the soot. Renewable energy is surprisingly on track to surpass coal in U.S. electricity generation this year, according to this week's forecast by the federal Energy Information Administration. Thanks to a lockdown-induced drop in energy demand and low natural gas prices, sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric are combining to power a larger share of grids than expensive coal-powered plants. One environmental expert called it "an astounding milestone," considering coal plants cranked out more than twice as much wattage as renewables in 2016.

    OZY looks at Europe's struggle to replace coal.

  4. Virus Makes Woody Allen Box Office King

    Whatever works. A Rainy Day in New York had the hallmarks of failure: A disgraced director dogged by decadeslong claims of sexual abuse. Stars that donated their earnings to charity and expressed regret for participating. No U.S. release after Amazon Studios deep-sixed it. But then the pandemic shut cinemas the world over, and thanks to independent distributors the film made a globe-leading $330,000 in recently reopened theaters in South Korea, which has mostly contained the coronavirus. That's a first for Allen's cerebral fare, and not likely to be repeated once in-person showings become more widespread.

  5. Japanese Sumo Loses Wrestler to COVID-19

    He was tragically outmatched. Pro sumo wrestler Kiyotaka Suetake, known as Shobushi, died yesterday in Tokyo of multiple organ failure brought on by COVID-19, the Japanese Sumo Association announced. The 28-year-old fourth-tier competitor became ill April 4, but hospitals turned him away until four days later, when he began coughing up blood. By April 19, he entered intensive care and never recovered. Hakkadu, head of the association, said Shobushi was "fighting to the very end." Several other wrestlers have tested positive, and an upcoming sumo tournament has been cancelled.

    Discover this ancient sport in an OZY multimedia piece.