The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    China Proposes New Hong Kong Security Law

    They're not mincing words. While protests last summer pressured Hong Kong officials to scrap a controversial extradition law, China is now moving to impose a "treason, secession, sedition and subversion" law on the semi-autonomous territory. The measure is now before the rubber-stamp National People's Congress, Beijing's most important political gathering, and could bypass territorial approval. That would essentially destroy the "one country, two systems" framework adopted when Britain relinquished control of Hong Kong in 1997. U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to react "very strongly" if the law goes through.

    This OZY op-ed points out Trump's China symbiosis.

  2. Trump Doffs Mask, Experts Slam Research Cut

    President Trump wasn't just any visitor. That might explain why, when he traveled to a Michigan Ford plant repurposed to make ventilators for COVID-19 patients, he defied factory rules and refused to wear a mask when facing the media. "I wore one in the back area," Trump said, adding, "I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it." Meanwhile, 77 Nobel laureates have requested a probe into the National Institutes of Health's recent cancellation of a $3 million grant to an American group researching coronaviruses in China. They argue that such work is vital for fighting the pandemic.

  3. US Jobs Report Casts Shadow Over Recovery

    After 2.4 million more Americans filed new unemployment claims last week — bringing the pandemic total to 38 million — experts' economic recovery predictions seemed to darken somewhat. Even normally upbeat White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow called indicators "downright bad." Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell echoed other central bankers in calling it a "downturn without modern precedent" with a "whole new level of uncertainty." Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are pushing to extend a $600 weekly unemployment benefit until January, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes it, calling it a "crazy policy" that might discourage people from working.

    OZY's Butterfly Effect hacks the lockdown economy.

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    US to Exit Pact Aimed at Averting War

    Citing Russian violations of the 2002 Open Skies Treaty, which allows more than 30 nations to conduct unarmed cross-border observation flights, President Trump said he intends to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. "Russia didn't adhere to the treaty," he explained. Other signatories have been notified that Washington will exit in six months. A Russian Foreign Ministry official called it "another blow" to the "already weakened" system to foster security in Europe, referring to last year's U.S. withdrawal from a 1987 nuclear arms treaty. Trump said the decision wasn't the end, expressing confidence that "we'll make a new agreement."

  5. Also Important...

    Survivors in India and Bangladesh are sorting through the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan, which killed 84 people Wednesday. Canadian authorities have leveled terrorism charges against a teenager in a woman's murder they say was inspired by the misogynistic "incel" movement. And Brazil's COVID-19 death toll has exceeded 20,000.

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

    Watch live! Please join OZY CEO Carlos Watson as he hosts entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Providence Health System President and CEO Dr. Rod Hochman to discuss health care after COVID-19 on The Future of Health: Business Impacts, at 8 p.m. Pacific tonight. Watch it live on YouTube and learn more on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Intriguing

  1. Fauci Crushes Trump in Latest Pandemic Poll

    Joe Biden's got nothing on this immunologist. It's a shame Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's star infectious disease expert, isn't running for president: A Quinnipiac University poll published yesterday shows 68 percent of voters approve of the 79-year-old doctor's handling of the coronavirus crisis. That's 27 points higher than President Trump's pandemic handling score, which dropped five points from just 46 percent approval in April. Fauci's numbers have also declined — but are still better than Congress, governors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    OZY profiles a scientist using rabies research to find a coronavirus vaccine.

  2. Vaccine Arms Race Won't Save US

    America's going "Warp Speed" to find a coronavirus vaccine, but Star Trek's spirit of cooperation seems to be lost on Washington's pandemic warriors, according to OZY's latest Butterfly Effect commentary. President Trump has compared the effort to the race for an atomic weapon during World War II, but what's needed, argues OZY Senior Editor Charu Sudan Kasturi, is cooperation. Competition will only make it harder for the U.S. if another nation gets there first — and France has already warned pharma giant Sanofi against exporting a potential vaccine. It also won't encourage transparency when the next pandemic erupts.

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    Facebook to Let Half of Staff Work From Home

    Just don't spend all day on social media, OK? CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that many of his 48,000 employees will soon be allowed to work from home permanently, and within a decade half the workforce will be remote. Facebook's move illustrates how lockdowns have opened employers' eyes to remote work — after years of resisting what Big Tech's own innovations have made easier. But the vision isn't universal: Zuckerberg says working from home is for "experienced employees rather than new college grads," who'll need in-person training.

    Learn more about the work from home tsunami by reading OZY's new series.

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    Long Island Man Killed During Zoom Chat

    "It was horrible that they had to witness this." So said a Long Island detective of the 20 Zoom call participants who watched 72-year-old Dwight Powers of Amityville, New York, fall from view and then heard what may have been his final breaths. Witnesses called 911 and described seeing a naked man moving around the room after Powers disappeared. Police have arrested his 32-year-old son on a second-degree murder charge, accusing him of fatally stabbing Powers and fleeing out a second-floor window, though his motive is still being investigated.

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    Longtime White House Butler Dies of COVID-19

    Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, who began working at the White House as a cleaner in 1957 and rose to become doorman and then butler, has died of COVID-19 in Virginia at age 91. Jerman served 11 presidents — from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama — and became a butler thanks to his rapport with first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. "She trusted him with her children, and he would ensure they had everything they needed,” Jerman's granddaughter said. Former first lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to his "kindness and care" serving "the country he loved." She added, "We were lucky to have known him."