The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    US Threatens to Cut Off WHO Funding

    In a letter to the World Health Organization, President Donald Trump said he would withdraw U.S. funding permanently unless the group can "demonstrate independence from China." Trump already suspended funding over what he deemed an inadequate response to COVID-19, which has killed more than 317,000 people. While the U.S. has long been a huge source of WHO funding, China pledged a $2 billion donation Monday. Some see this as China stepping into a global leadership role as the U.S. steps back — while others call it Beijing's attempt to distract from its early missteps in handling the pandemic.

  2. Trump Says He's Taking Dubious COVID-19 Drug

    While there's no evidence it prevents coronavirus — and doctors have warned of deadly side effects — President Trump said yesterday that he's taking malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, despite testing negative for COVID-19. China's Global Times taunted that it's "witchcraft" while U.S. politicians expressed concerns given Trump's age and physical health. Meanwhile, U.S. company Moderna reported encouraging results from early human vaccine trials, and the Trump administration is expected to announce a $354 million contract for new Virginia company Phlow to manufacture COVID-19 medicines, an industry now largely based overseas.

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    India, Bangladesh Evacuate Ahead of Cyclone

    More than 2 million people are packing up and leaving their homes as a super cyclone bears down on the Bay of Bengal. State governments have been asked to offer temporary shelter to tens of thousands of displaced Indian migrant workers who've been returning to their home states, largely on foot, due to the coronavirus lockdown. Forecasters say Cyclone Amphan is expected to weaken by the time it makes landfall on Wednesday, but that could still mean winds of up to 124 mph.

    Find out about the history of India's hydroxychloroquine factory.

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    Uber Cuts 3,000 Jobs as Ride-Hailing Falters

    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, demand for ride-hailing has plunged 80 percent — and Uber is feeling the pain. Earlier this month, it cut 3,700 employees, and now it's letting another 3,000 go, altogether equaling a 25 percent cut to its workforce in just two weeks. The company's stock jumped 9 percent at the news. In a letter to employees, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said "maybe we can wait this damn virus out" and cited strong branches of the business like Uber Eats, which has seen a huge jump in traffic during the pandemic — though it continues to lose money.

  5. Also Important...

    Police in Myanmar have seized the region's biggest-ever haul of synthetic drugs. U.S. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating President Trump's attempts to sell arms to Saudi Arabia when he was fired. And a family of baby foxes has brought Torontonians out of lockdown.

    Coronavirus update: The crisis is forcing opioid addicts to find new dealers — and creating new dangers for them.

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

Intriguing

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    Texas Begins First Virtual Jury Trial

    The U.S. Supreme Court has been hearing cases via conference call since early May, but Texas has now marked another pandemic-era milestone: The first American jury trial via videoconference. At stake is insurance company State Farm's alleged refusal to pay out a 2017 storm damage claim. Judge Emily Miskel began livestreaming jury selection on YouTube yesterday, coaching potential jurors on the ins and outs of using Zoom. Next, the jury will hear a shortened version of the case and deliver a non-binding verdict.

    Read OZY's defense of using robot judges.

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    As Airlines Struggle, Economy Class Takes Off

    Fasten your seat belts, it's going to get weird. The modern aviation industry has focused on low prices above all else for economy class, slashing amenities even while business class gets more luxurious. But with the industry in free fall (and business travel, responsible for 30 percent of revenue on international flights, particularly expected to drop off), OZY reports that economy passengers can expect more perks as airlines compete for their business. Some innovations, like redesigned cabins and sleeping berths for long-haul trips, could even play into new social distancing norms.

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    Is a Measles Outbreak Next?

    They're literally throwing away their shot. In the middle of a deadly global pandemic, routine visits to the doctor have taken a backseat ... and with them essential childhood vaccinations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from Michigan and found the vaccination rate for kids there decreased 21.5 percent in 2020. Less than half of five-month-olds had their shots. Logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 have likely added to a general decline in vaccinations in recent years — but the CDC warns that this trend could put the U.S. at risk of a deadly measles outbreak.

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    Stop Breathing on Munch's 'The Scream'

    It's inspiration vs. respiration. Researchers trying to determine why the colors of Edvard Munch's 1910 masterwork are fading have found a culprit — and it's us. The low-quality paint Munch used is especially sensitive to moisture, so generations of viewers breathing on it are damaging its yellow pigments. The painting, which was stolen in 2004 and recovered two years later with some water damage, will need to be sealed somehow. But the Munch Museum in Oslo is still trying to figure out how to share it with the public while protecting it from art-lovers screaming back at it.

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    Soccer Team Sorry for Sex Doll Incident

    It could be worse than empty stands. South Korea's FC Seoul dotted its fan-free stadium with lifelike masked mannequins during a game Sunday — but the club has formally apologized after many viewers pointed out that they looked like sex dolls and some were holding signs referencing adult sites. The club is blaming the supplier for what it says was a misunderstanding, but insisted the faux fans were "not for sexual use." The K-League, which has strict rules against suggestive ads, is looking into the incident.

    Read OZY's dossier on how the virus is affecting the sports world.