The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. pelosi

    House Democrats Pick Nancy Pelosi as Their Leader

    The California Congresswoman ran unopposed as the nominee for speaker in a Democratic caucus election Wednesday that took place behind closed doors. The first woman speaker of the House however, first nominated in 2007, may have tougher competition in January when the whole House votes including the Republicans. She will need 218 votes to win but some Democrats have vowed they won’t vote for her.

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    Dow Jones Industrial Average Surges 600 Points

    After the Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell commented that the central bank could slow interest rate increases, stock markets made a drastic turn. The Dow climbed 617.70 points, or 2.5 percent, its biggest one day gain since March, while the 30-stock index had its second best day of the year, up 1,000 points this week. The S&P 500 moved up 2.3 percent and tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted 2.95 percent. Powell’s comments are a break from last month’s suggestion the Fed was a long way off reaching equilibrium.

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    Republican Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff

    Following a campaign tainted by racial controversies, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will become the state’s first elected female senator after beating Democrat Mike Espy yesterday 54 percent to 46 percent. Appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to fill Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat after his resignation in April, Hyde-Smith — who OZY profiled earlier this year — had attracted widespread criticism for a recent comment about attending a public hanging, despite her state’s history of lynchings. “Thank you for stepping up, Mississippi,” she told supporters. Her victory seals the GOP’s 53-47 majority in the Senate.

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    Report: Lion Air Plane ‘Not Airworthy’ 

    Indonesian investigators concluded that the Boeing 737, which crashed last month with 189 people aboard, wasn’t airworthy even before its second-to-last flight. A preliminary report released today describes how pilots battled to stop the plane’s nose from repeatedly dipping down because of incorrect sensor readings. The crew of the previous flight reported the same problem, but mechanics did not repair the sensor. Boeing has declined to discuss the crash, though it previously said the procedure for overriding the malfunctioning sensor was included in flight manuals.

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    Chinese Geneticist Defends Work, Reports New Pregnancy

    Amid growing concerns from the international scientific community, He Jiankui took to the podium at a Hong Kong genome summit today to say he’s “proud” of his role in reportedly helping create the world’s first gene-edited babies. The highly controversial practice is banned in most countries, and many scientists have condemned He’s claim that he altered the CCR5 gene in twin girls born this month. One critic said, “We still need to understand the motivation for this.” The Shenzhen-based researcher claims another pregnancy related to his work is in its early stages.

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    Trump Threatens to Scrap GM Subsidies

    “I am here to protect America’s Workers!” So tweeted President Donald Trump yesterday, repeating his disappointment in General Motors’ plans to shutter several U.S. plants and lay off nearly 15,000 employees. Trump said he’d cut federal subsidies for the automaker, specifically targeting those for electric cars — a threat that appears to refer to a $7,500 income tax credit for buyers that was due to expire soon anyway. The company has lobbied Congress for an extension on that credit. GM stock closed 2.6 percent lower after the president’s comments. 

  7. Ukraine, Mexico and Paul Manafort

    Know This: Russia has announced that it’s beefing up its anti-aircraft defenses in Crimea amid rising tensions with Ukraine. Mexico said it would award Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, the Order of the Aztec Eagle for helping negotiate a new trade pact between the two countries. And at least 22 people were killed in an explosion at a chemical plant in northeastern China.

    Read This: According to a report in The Guardian, Paul Manafort met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London several times — but President Trump’s former campaign manager denies the meetings ever took place.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a creative and ambitious video editor with an eye for visually compelling stories. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Massive Australian Steer Saved by Size

    Have you herd? Standing nearly as tall as Michael Jordan and weighing more than a Mini Cooper, Knickers the 7-year-old Holstein Friesian from Western Australia is simply too big for the slaughterhouse. “He was lucky enough to stay behind,” said owner Geoff Pearson. But Knickers’ gain is a major loss for hamburger lovers: The massive animal could’ve reportedly made around 4,000 patties. Although he misses the Guinness World Record by several inches, Knickers is now internet-famous — as well as the most popular steer on the farm.

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    This Media Mogul Is Changing African Broadcasting

    Keep watching. American-born Nigerian Biola Alabi is transforming the continent’s TV and film industry with a focus on locally produced content instead of imported Western fare. The 45-year-old producer has launched several new channels and helped establish awards known as the “African Oscars” — all while busting deep-seated stereotypes in “Nollywood.” Some critics believe her style is too influenced by the West and “not local enough.” Regardless, the ambitious Alabi believes her primary mission is to push broadcast media as a transformative and educational force in her country.

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    Unicorns Existed, But Climate Change Killed Them

    New research in Nature Ecology & Evolution reveals the 7,700-pound hairy rhino, also known as the “Siberian unicorn,” was still stomping around Eurasia 39,000 years ago. Paleontologists previously believed the animal, which sported a single three-foot-long horn, died out around 200,000 years ago. But an amino acid-extracting procedure confirmed Elasmotherium sibiricum lived much later, and that plummeting temperatures during the Pleistocene ice age — not proto-human hunters — were to blame for its demise. Only five out of 250 known rhino species still exist.

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    ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Creator Dies at 57

    Stephen Hillenburg died Monday after battling ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Starting his career as a marine biology teacher in California, Hillenburg first created some of the characters that would later populate SpongeBob’s world of Bikini Bottom as teaching aids. After becoming an animator, he worked on the Nickelodeon show Rocko’s Modern Life during the mid-1990s before creating SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. In a statement, Nickelodeon said Hillenburg’s crowning creation would be long remembered for “the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination” it promoted.

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    Firebomb, Flares Spark Melee at Greek Soccer Match

    Things got heated. Greek riot police responded to skirmishes between fans of AEK Athens and Dutch club Ajax ahead of their match yesterday at Olympic Stadium in Athens. As players prepared to take the field, Greek fans tossed flares and a firebomb at their Dutch rivals — resulting in a fireball exploding in the stands. Police stepped in to prevent retaliation, and photos showed them clashing with Ajax fans with bleeding head wounds. Outside the stadium, hooligans also reportedly blocked traffic. Ajax went on to win 2-0.