The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Four Americans Among Dead in Syria Blast

    A suicide bombing in the northern city of Manbij yesterday killed 19, including two U.S. soldiers and two American civilians. The attack, claimed by ISIS, targeted a restaurant popular with American patrols — and came just weeks after President Donald Trump’s decision to remove 2,000 troops from the region. Critics of the withdrawal, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, said the bombing showed ISIS was emboldened by Trump’s action. In offering condolences, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that the U.S. had “crushed” ISIS. U.S. forces have so far only withdrawn some equipment from Syria.

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    Theresa May Survives No-Confidence Vote

    The British prime minister withstood Wednesday’s bid to remove her government from power, thanks to help from Democratic Unionist Party members and Tory Brexiteers who had rejected her plan for leaving the EU the day before. Speaking outside Downing Street, May asked MPs to “put self-interest aside” and called for party leaders to join talks. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who called the no-confidence vote, refused further negotiations until the threat of a no-deal Brexit is removed. May must present a new plan to Parliament by Jan. 21.

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    Trump Cancels Pelosi’s Foreign Trips

    The Speaker of the House was notified of the cancellation a day after she asked President Donald Trump to cancel his State of the Union address because security agencies couldn’t protect the event due to the shutdown. Trump wrote the California Democrat a letter saying he felt it was better she were ”in Washington with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown.” The prime-time speech – scheduled for Jan. 29 – would give Trump an opportunity to blame Democrats for not giving him $5.7 billion for his border wall.

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    US Probes Huawei for Theft of Trade Secrets

    The Chinese telecommunications giant is being investigated by U.S. prosecutors for allegedly stealing technology from American business partners, after a civil lawsuit in Seattle found the company misappropriated robotic tech from T-Mobile. Last month, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of American authorities for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran. And yesterday, U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill — clearly targeting Huawei — to ban the export of American components to Chinese telecommunications companies that violate sanctions or export laws. China responded by calling the legislation “hysteria.”

  5. More Nukes, Investment Legend and Thai Refugees

    Know This: Yesterday the U.S. rejected a Russian offer to remain in the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty that keeps nuclear missiles out of Europe. The “father of investing,” John Bogle, who created the first index fund and founded The Vanguard Group, died at 89 yesterday. And Thailand has vowed to change its refugee policy following criticism of its handling of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun’s case.

    #OZYfact: In the U.S., the percentage of nonwhite public elementary and secondary school students is more than double the percentage of minority teachers in those schools. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a creative, organized and ambitious social media manager 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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    Activists Hand Out Fake Copies of Washington Post in DC

    “Unpresidented.” So read the headline on a satirical copy of the newspaper distributed to commuters in the U.S. capital yesterday. The stories in print — and on a website mimicking the paper’s — were dated May 1, 2019, and describe President Trump’s resignation amid global celebrations. The Washington Post quickly tweeted that the paper was not its product. Criticized for being careless in an era of fake news allegations, the anti-Trump activist behind the stunt, L.A. Kauffman, described the paper as a “dream” rather than “deception.” 

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    Study: 25 Percent of Antibiotic Prescriptions ‘Inappropriate’

    New research compared 15 million U.S. prescriptions to patients’ insurance claims from the same time period and found that prescribed antibiotics were likely appropriate in just 48 percent of cases. The University of Michigan researchers said 1 in 7 participants were prescribed the medication erroneously, often for viral illnesses, which antibiotics don’t help. One author called for a “long-term culture change” as scientists warn that widespread antibiotic use leads to more resistant bacteria. Read OZY’s take on the country that prescribes the most antibiotics in the world.

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    Most Users Don’t Know How Facebook Ads Work

    While CEO Mark Zuckerberg reassured Congress that users have total control over what data they share, a Pew Research Center study published yesterday showed 74 percent didn’t know that Facebook records their interests for ad-targeting purposes. And after being guided to the platform’s ad preferences page, 51 percent of survey participants said they didn’t like the company collecting the information. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg said efforts were underway to help people better understand settings — so that Facebook can provide “better ads.”

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    Israel Is the New Divide Between Democratic Hopefuls

    Paying respect to the pro-Israel lobby was once a necessary step for Democrats aspiring to the White House. But ahead of 2020, that step has become much quieter — if it occurs at all. Stoked by grassroots activism, polls now show Democrats nearly split on the issue of Israel and Palestine. And the guest list for this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference notably lacks many Democratic presidential contenders. Analysts think support for Israel might prove to be the divisive issue in the upcoming presidential caucus.

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    Turkey Seeks Warrant for Knicks Player 

    The Turkish government claims that New York center Enes Kanter, a vocal critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is a member of a terror group and has funded exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for a 2016 coup attempt. Prosecutors reportedly plan to issue an Interpol “Red Notice” seeking Kanter’s arrest and extradition from the U.S. — though that would require evidence of a crime committed on American soil. Since the coup attempt, Turkey has jailed 77,000 people and suspended or dismissed 150,000 state employees for allegedly supporting Gulen.