The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. WHO: Pandemic Is 'Speeding Up'

    Don't let that line for ice cream fool you. Because of incautious reopening in some areas, "the pandemic is actually speeding up," the World Health Organization warned yesterday. Even in California, which locked down early, "our luck may have run out," said one San Francisco medical expert. With 2.6 million U.S. infections detected, more business reopening plans, even in holdout Arizona, have been delayed as contagion sweeps the Sun Belt. Authorities' ability to contain the virus is vital, warned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Monday, for an economic recovery that's "extraordinarily uncertain."

    Follow OZY's pandemic coverage at Coronavirus Central.

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    Roberts Joins Supreme Court Liberals on Abortion

    Writing that he must abide by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling he disagreed with, Chief Justice John Roberts stood with four liberal justices to strike down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law Monday. That statute effectively left only one provider in the state, a New Orleans doctor who met its requirement of having admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where abortion procedures take place. Roberts' surprising turn is a stunning defeat for conservative evangelical Christians, who were counting on President Donald Trump's two Supreme Court appointees to validate strict red-state abortion laws.

  3. China Passes Hong Kong Security Law

    Beijing just got a lot closer. The National People's Congress approved a law that criminalizes "subversion" or an "act of secession" in Hong Kong, whose semi-autonomous government had no say. The widely condemned move triggered Washington to halt high-tech trade with Hong Kong. Joshua Wong, a leader in pro-democracy protests that have roiled the city since last summer, said on Facebook that he was quitting his political party. But he planned to continue the struggle personally — "until they silence and wipe me out."

    OZY's Butterfly Effect sees China emboldened by U.S. weakness.

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    White House Downplays Russian Bounties

    Even Republicans on Capitol Hill are questioning their president in the wake of reports that Russia paid bounties to Taliban members for killing U.S. troops and their allies. While President Trump has professed ignorance, he should have been briefed immediately on anything "that would endanger our service members," according to Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry. AP is now reporting that the White House knew about the bounty effort last year, but officials have sought to downplay both the severity of Russia's actions and whether the commander-in-chief knew about them.

  5. Also Important ...

    Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, has pleaded guilty in more than a dozen "Golden State Killer" murders. Belgium's king has expressed his "deepest regrets" for "injuries" inflicted upon the Congo, where an estimated 10 million Africans are believed to have died as a result of late 19th century Belgian occupation. And the U.S. Congress has begun investigating federal authorities' removal of protesters near the White House on June 1 to enable a presidential photo op.

    Coronavirus update: Jacksonville, Florida, where President Trump moved the Republican National Convention because of North Carolina's pandemic restrictions, now requires masks for indoor events.

    How far will you go for racial equality? Check out some of the big ideas curated by OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson for how America can move forward from here.


  1. COVID-19 Drug Costs Above $3,000 Per Patient

    It's totally reasonable, say industry analysts. But to the rest of us, it's shocking: California-based Gilead Sciences, maker of antiviral drug and potential COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, said Monday it would charge privately insured Americans $3,120 for a five-day course. Some will pay less, such as patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid and those in other countries. "Outrageous," declared Rep. Lloyd Dogget, arguing that without taxpayers investing $99 million in development, "this drug would have been abandoned." The company, backed by independent analysis, argued that it's a bargain, considering the potential savings of $40,000 in medical care.

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    India-China Fight Sparks TikTok Ban

    This just got real. While India and China have avoided a shooting war in the wake of a deadly hand-to-hand skirmish on their disputed Himalayan frontier, New Delhi aims to put a world of economic hurt on its antagonistic neighbor. Yesterday it banned wildly popular TikTok, WeChat and other China-based apps as "prejudicial to sovereignty and security." Even outside of India many have misgivings about TikTok, which reportedly hasn't kept its promise to stop accessing clipboard info from the app's Apple version — yielding snippets that could include login credentials.

    Read OZY on why TikTok gives India laughs ... and nightmares.

  3. Men Are More Partial to Exes, Study Says

    He didn't deserve you. That's not just happy hour banter; it's backed by social science. Recent research in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that heterosexual men are 10 percent more likely to view their exes favorably than women, OZY reports. And that's rooted in history, experts say. A legacy of misogyny has left women "historically preconditioned to feeling like a victim," so if something was lacking in a relationship, "it's the guy's fault." But critics note the study focused on participants under 40, and maturity — and time — might put former flames in a better light.

  4. Christie's Sells 'Looted' Igbo Art

    It's all out in the open. Christie's Paris sold two sacred Nigerian sculptures yesterday, despite Princeton professor Chika Okeke-Agulu's assertion that they were looted by a French art collector in the 1960s. Okeke-Agulu, a member of the Igbo People whose artists created these works, says they're "stained with the blood of Biafra's children," referring to the breakaway region where over a million people died as Nigeria crushed its independence attempt. The auction house contended the statues were legally obtained and sold them for $239,000 — somewhat less than expected.

    OZY checks out the repatriation of looted Iraqi treasures.

  5. NBA to Paint 'Black Lives Matter' on Courts

    There are only five players per team, it's played on a hard surface — and now there's another distinction between the NBA and the NFL, where players have struggled for years to express their views on civil rights. The basketball league and its players' union plan to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the floor of all three arenas where pandemic-regulated play is scheduled to resume next month. The WNBA's said to be mulling the same thing for their Florida restart, replete with "Say Her Name" warm-up shirts honoring Breonna Taylor, who was slain in her home by Louisville police.