The Presidential Daily Brief


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    May Warns Lawmakers Could Derail Brexit

    Facing a decisive parliamentary vote tomorrow on her unpopular divorce deal with the European Union, British Prime Minister Theresa May is making a final public pitch today. Advance portions of her speech warn that lawmakers could derail Brexit altogether if they don’t approve her plan. Speaking in heavily pro-Brexit Stoke-on-Trent, she’ll also claim that failure to fulfill the 2016 Brexit referendum would cause “catastrophic harm” to people’s faith in politics. OZY columnist John McLaughlin believes tomorrow’s vote could alter the continent’s political dynamics for decades to come.

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    Trump Threatens to ‘Devastate’ Turkish Economy

    Affirming the U.S. troop pullout from Syria via Twitter yesterday, President Donald Trump also warned the U.S. would “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks U.S.-backed Kurdish forces there. Referring to what Ankara has long claimed are extremist rebels among the Kurds in northern Syria — supporing separatist militants within Turkey’s borders — a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted in response, “Terrorists can’t be your partners.” Trump’s tweet, which similarly discouraged Kurdish forces from provoking Turkey, also pledged to attack ISIS again if it stages a comeback.

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    Chinese Exports Hit Two-Year Low

    Has the dragon been tamed? In another sign of the economic behemoth’s increasingly sluggish economy, exports dipped 4.4 percent last month while imports fell 7.6 percent. Fresh data also revealed that Beijing posted a record-high, $323 billion trade surplus with the U.S. last year — troubling for policymakers because it could embolden President Trump to escalate punitive tariffs on imports from the world’s second-largest economy. Chinese negotiators are expected in Washington later this month in a bid to strike a trade deal before the current truce expires March 2.

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    Reports: Bolton Considered Striking Iran

    National security adviser John Bolton reportedly asked the Pentagon last year to draw up military options for a possible strike against Iran. While routine, the request — a response to a September attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by pro-Iranian militants — sparked concern among high-ranking officials, one of whom described the alleged enthusiasm of Bolton’s team as “mind-boggling.” Bolton has long advocated for regime change in Tehran, even calling in 2015 for the country to be bombed, but analysts now worry the revelations could further boost tensions in the region.

  5. Voice Recorders, Stabbings and Telecommuting

    Know This: Divers in Indonesia have recovered the cockpit voice recorder of the Lion Air flight that crashed last October, killing all 189 people aboard. The mayor of Gdansk, a port city in northern Poland, was stabbed at a charity event yesterday. And the CEO of the giant California utility, PG&E, has stepped down as her company faces billions in liability from deadly wildfires, some caused by company equipment.

    #OZYfact: The percentage of salaried workers who telecommute in France has more than tripled since 2006. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a dynamic and organized Media Strategist to join our growing team! Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Canada Adopts Strict Rules for Drone Use

    They’ll be well-grounded. Starting June 1, Canadian regulations will require registration and a pilot’s certificate for anyone operating a drone weighing between .55 and 55 pounds. Fliers must also be at least 14 years old, and either a citizen or permanent resident. Rule-breaking individuals face up to $2,260 in fines, while businesses would pay $11,300. The restrictions — somewhat stricter than those in the U.S. — follow a minor 2017 collision between a drone and aircraft in Canada, while the recent shutdown of London’s Gatwick airport by drone intrusions has also sparked concern.

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    Conflict-Torn Cities Are Rebuilding Better Than Before

    The kind of urban combat ISIS waged in Iraq and Syria has also offered an opportunity: When reconstruction begins, planners can re-shape urban spaces to address humanitarian and security concerns. An award-winning plan imagines Mosul, Iraq, rebuilt with efficient modular designs from plentiful rubble and mud, while open architecture and well-lit walkways could replace labyrinthine alleys in the Filipino city of Marawi. In Kobani, long neglected by the Syrian government, new infrastructure is springing up. It may take time, however, for traumatized residents to appreciate the finer points of urban renewal.

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    Legendary DNA Researcher Stripped of Honors

    Following the recent PBS documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, which rehashed James Watson’s belief in a genetic connection between race and intelligence, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory rescinded the honorary titles it bestowed upon the legendary geneticist. Watson, 90, who spearheaded the Human Genome Project, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for discovering the double-helix structure of DNA. But he’s openly espoused bigoted, unscientific views — such as linking skin color, intellect and libido, saying women are “probably less effective” as scientists as well as insisting that “some anti-Semitism is justified.”

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    India’s #MeToo Targets Prominent Director

    Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has denied allegations of sexual misconduct leveled by an assistant director of his 2018 film, Sanju. “My mind, body and heart were grossly violated,” the woman reportedly wrote to the film’s co-producer in November. One of India’s most successful directors — and the highest-profile figure among those accused since India’s #MeToo movement erupted last year — Hirani suggested the charge be taken to a “a legal body,” lamenting that it went “to the media instead.” Sanju has received six nominations, including for best director, for the March 17 Asian Film Awards.

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    Wimbledon to Erect Andy Murray Statue

    In a tribute to the British tennis champion, Wimbledon will erect a statue to Murray at the All England Club. Yesterday tournament chief Richard Lewis said Murray’s retirement — announced in a tearful address last week — was the best time to honor his “extraordinary career.” While raising faint hope that another surgical procedure could enable one final Wimbledon appearance, the two-time winner said difficulties from a hip injury could mean the current Australian Open will be his last professional tournament. Murray, 31, faces Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut today.