The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Vaccine Front-Runners Emerge From Pack

    Out of hundreds of efforts to create a coronavirus vaccine, at least eight are in the human trials stage — but health officials warn that even on an accelerated timeline, there's unlikely to be enough for everyone until at least 2021. That's an economic issue too, said U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell yesterday, since some sectors of the global economy are unlikely to recover at all until a vaccine is ready. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned there may never be a vaccine and other methods to control the virus must be put into place.

    Check out all OZY's coronavirus coverage.

  2. Coronavirus Overwhelms Brazil

    The health system in São Paulo is threatening to collapse completely, the mayor says, with 90 percent of beds filled as Brazil became the country with the fourth-highest number of infections worldwide over the weekend. It now trails only the U.S., Russia and the United Kingdom. But President Jair Bolsonaro — who is under investigation, as is his senator son — still hasn't named a replacement health minister since the previous one resigned Friday after less than a month on the job. Brazil now has the world's worst-performing currency and stock market, which may be contributing to Bolsonaro's sliding approval ratings.

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    Report: Fired Official Was Probing Pompeo

    Though it's not entirely clear why President Donald Trump fired Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, sources now say the independent federal watchdog was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been using government staffers to run errands and walk his dog. Pompeo has long been hounded by allegations of improper use of such resources, but Linick's firing — one of four in recent weeks — could bring it to the forefront as congressional Democrats launch an investigation. It's unlawful to fire inspectors general, who are meant to be independent appointees, as political retaliation.

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    Jack Ma Resigns From SoftBank Board

    With Japanese tech group SoftBank reporting a record $13 billion operating loss this year, Alibaba mogul Jack Ma is stepping down from its board. Officially, the Chinese billionaire is leaving "for personal reasons," but some are questioning who could replace him and square off with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. Meanwhile, Japan has officially entered recession — and while it hasn't seen many deaths from COVID-19 compared to other countries in the region, there are fears of a vicious second wave.

    Read OZY's coverage of Japan's punishing work culture.

  5. Also Important...

    The U.S. immigration agency says it needs a $1.2 billion bailout. Eleven firefighters have been injured in a blaze at a hash oil factory in Los Angeles. And Albanians protested and were dragged away by police Sunday as their national theater was demolished by authorities.

    Coronavirus update: 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli asked to be let out of prison — where he's serving time for securities fraud — to work on a coronavirus cure. But the judge wasn't having it.

    We heard you! Responding to our question about whether you're comfortable with contact-tracing apps tracking you, Laura W. said, "I’m not comfortable with the government having this use of data because it feels too much like a snippet out of 1984 or some other futuristic book. What else could this data be used to track in the future?"


  1. new york cathlic church shutterstock 272747969

    Priest Offers Distant Blessings Via Squirt Gun

    The Lord moves in hilarious ways. Michigan priest Rev. Tim Pelc went viral on Twitter in recent days for his drive-thru blessings, performed the week before Easter, using a squirt gun full of holy water sprayed at passing parishioners. Pelc, 70, wanted to find a way to adapt ancient traditions while social distancing, and consulted with a doctor before performing the blessings to make sure they wouldn't spread COVID-19. His church has also been livestreaming Sunday services, and says it may continue even post-pandemic due to the huge virtual attendance.

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    The Next Trade War: Data Localization

    All politics is local — and increasingly, so is information. The data of giant populations in emerging markets like India and Nigeria is valuable, and the governments of those nations want it to stay stored within their borders, OZY reports. That's different from regulations like Europe's GDPR, which governs the privacy of users' information rather than the physical location of servers storing it. Still, the U.S. won't give up the data supremacy that it's accustomed to without a fight — and big American companies like Amazon and Google are helping wage the battle.

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    Humpbacks Returning to Pre-Whaling Numbers

    More like comeback whales. The 19th-century whaling boom reduced the population of these massive marine mammals from 27,000 to just 450 — but a recent study found that since whaling was largely banned in the 1980s, populations have rebounded to 93 percent of what they once were. This isn't just an animal issue, but a climate change one: Since each humpback can store up to 37 tons of carbon in its body, more whales help to reduce planetary emissions.

    Read OZY's deep dive into the orcas who teamed up with human whalers.

    Did a Whale Write This

  4. Comic Icon Fred Willard Dies at 86

    Recently best known for his association with director Christopher Guest, Willard was a comedy staple beginning in the late 1960s, with appearances in This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and the Anchorman films. On the small screen he was nominated for Emmys for his roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family. Though Willard died of natural causes Friday, his screen persona hasn't quit: He appears in the upcoming Netflix series Space Force, which is set to debut May 29.

    For all things comedy, check out OZY's Laughing Matters series.

  5. Live Golf Returns to TV in Charity Game

    Green means go, right? Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson teamed up to beat Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in Sunday's TaylorMade Driving Relief skins tournament in Florida, raising more than $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief. One viewer was President Trump, who called in to NBC's coverage of the charity game to complain, "I'm getting a little tired watching 10-year-old golf tournaments where you know who won." While many sports are cautiously returning without fans — as the first four PGA events plan to do this summer — Trump said he hopes to see "big, big stadiums loaded with people" before long.