The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Security Law Reignites Hong Kong Protests

    The battle is rejoined. Wearing masks to prevent coronavirus and identification by authorities, protesters returned to Hong Kong's streets today. But this time it was Beijing's new security law that prompted them to face police tear gas barrages. While mass demonstrations killed last year's city-initiated extradition bill, the new law's being imposed on the semiautonomous territory — drawing a call from current and former officials from 23 nations for governments to oppose it. But observers doubt activists and diplomats can stop the measure, which permits mainland Chinese agencies to operate within Hong Kong to "prevent, frustrate and punish" security threats.

  2. Airliner Crash in Karachi Kills 97

    A Pakistani airliner crashed Friday into a residential area in the country's largest city, Karachi, killing nearly 100 people. Two of the Airbus A-320's passengers survived and were hospitalized after the crash of Pakistan International Airlines flight 8303, which was coming from Lahore and approaching Karachi's main airport when its pilot radioed, "we have lost engines" before crashing short of a second landing attempt. One survivor told of being blinded by smoke while hearing screams before leaping 10 feet to escape the flaming wreck. It was unclear if anyone on the ground was killed, and the cause of the crash is being investigated.

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    Trump Goes to War Against Lockdowns

    As Americans fret over spending Memorial Day weekend in isolation, states continuing to restrict large gatherings are coming under attack. On Friday, that escalated with a warning from President Donald Trump that "heavy-handed" shelter-in-place orders, like the one in Los Angeles, could be challenged as illegal. But that stance, including a demand that churches be allowed to open, has been interpreted as a response to Trump's weakening poll numbers — even among core supporters like white evangelical Christians. And they're also questioned by those looking at new research showing continued epidemic-level coronavirus spread in 24 states.

    Follow OZY's pandemic coverage.

  4. Biden's 'You Ain't Black' Comment Sparks Storm

    "I shouldn't have been so cavalier." That's how presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden explained his latest gaffe to the U.S. Black Chambers. But that may not help the former vice president with African-Americans after what he told syndicated radio host Charlamagne Tha God Friday: "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump then you ain't black." Now President Trump's campaign is launching a $1 million advertising campaign centered upon the remark in a bid that may not switch many votes, but could keep disenchanted voters at home on Nov. 3.

  5. America Returns to Space, Wondering Why

    A pandemic won’t poke holes in plans to see an American on the moon again. Long-term investments, like the hundreds of millions of dollars plugged into research, are one reason to stay on course. But terrestrial priorities are hard to ignore. Diplomacy, particularly when it comes to the International Space Station, national security concerns and federal contracting bureaucracy perversely make astronauts essential workers as they prepare for next Wednesday’s first U.S.-based crew launch in nine years. Private firms like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic point to the contracts to continue operations — which have the added imperative of keeping investors happy. 

  6. Also Important...

    As the U.S. COVID-19 death toll nears 100,000, the New York Times filled today's front page with names of the dead. Waves as high as 26 feet are expected to slam the western coast of Australia along with what's left of tropical cyclone Mangga. And a survey of 96,000 coronavirus patients around the world indicates that those taking hydroxychloroquine, which President Trump says he's taking, are less likely to survive.

    In the week ahead: This weekend is the start of Eid-al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S. And "We Are One," starting Friday, features films from the world's top festivals, including Cannes and Sundance.

    Tune in: In challenging times like these, learn how pioneering celebrities like Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy and hip-hop star Sophia Chang battled through adversity to thrive on Defining Moments With OZY on Hulu.


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    The ‘Normal’ We Yearn for May Be Unfamiliar

    Income inequality was at its highest since the Great Depression — and that was before the pandemic. Now, journalist Anne Helen Petersen writes, Americans’ consumption-driven culture is threatened. Isolation and unemployment have taught us how to live without. Rather than patriotically purchasing to revive the economy as people did after 9/11, benefiting billionaires, as one rural Utah resident puts it, “this time the billionaires can do the heavy lifting.” Revolving credit dropped 31 percent from February to March while savings rates have grown — in both cases more than they have in decades — indicating the “normal” that Americans return to won’t be the same.

  2. Can Potty Distruptors Breed Health and Wealth?

    In teeming slums from Kenya to South Africa, some brave entrepreneurs aim to spin feces into gold, monetizing what comes out of desperately needed toilets, OZY reports. That means outfits like Fresh Life have to convince landlords in Nairobi to host its 3,000 toilets; others cart excreta to processing plants where it breeds flies for animal feed before fertilizing crops. In Cape Town, another enterprise aims to make construction bricks out of urine. It controls pollution and disease, but it’s still unclear if that can compete with the norm of letting things fall where they may.

  3. Battling Against the Black Amputation Epidemic

    “Amputation Prevention Center,” read the billboards put up by Dr. Foluso Fakorede along the Mississippi Delta. The Nigerian-born cardiologist has made it his mission to save Black patients’ limbs, which are amputated three times more than those of other Americans. But within months, the coronavirus began its deadly dance, with those in Fakorede’s community bearing the brunt of that too. Unequal health care, bias and public health cuts conspire to deprive African Americans, who suffer disproportionately from diabetes, of their legs from a largely preventable surgery. The solution? Vascular care, to improve blood flow, and more Black specialists whom patients trust.

    OZY examines bereavement inequality.

  4. HBO Max Tries to Win the Game of Streams

    The streaming service HBO Max is coming online Wednesday at a unique juncture in entertainment history. Never before has content been so in demand and yet never before have Americans, 15 percent of whom are now jobless, been so squeezed in the streaming wars. With beloved old acquisitions like Friends and network-defining shows like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones, HBO Max hopes to lure lots of eyeballs and not simply wither under the flaming breath of Netflix. But the pandemic has paralyzed all production as the industry scrambles to find new content to carve out sustainable fiefdoms fit to survive an endless winter.

  5. At 40, Pac-Man Is Still Going Strong

    It started with pizza. Specifically, Shakey’s, the California franchise that invaded Japan and provided game designer Toru Iwatani with the inspiration for the yellow circle with the missing “slice ” for a mouth in 1980’s Puck-Man. Iwatani’s employer, Namco, enjoyed some success at home in Japan, but it was gobbled up in the U.S. (as a harder-to-vulgarize Pac-Man) and elsewhere. More than $1 billion in quarters were dropped in the arcade machines in its first year, cementing Japan’s international cultural imprint and bringing a child- and female-friendly cuteness to video gaming that refuses to get old.

    OZY delves into the game’s yakuza influences.