The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. elchapo

    Drug Lord El Chapo Found Guilty

    The notorious kingpin who ran the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, and amassed a billion-dollar fortune, was found guilty on all 10 counts at his drug trafficking trial in New York Tuesday – he could be facing life in prison. A jury also heard how Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán employed hitmen and raped girls as young as 13.

    Why is this trial important? This is the highest profile Mexican drug baron to be tried in the U.S. from a drug war that’s seen around 100,000 people killed in over ten years.

    Read OZY’s story on how business is still booming for El Chapo’s cartel.




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    US Lawmakers Reach Tentative Shutdown Deal

    Top members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees say they’ve agreed “in principle” on all seven government spending bills set to expire this weekend. The deal reportedly includes $1.38 billion for physical fencing along the southern border in exchange for a 17 percent reduction in detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Democrats had fought for restricting bed space to force the administration to prioritize arrests.

    What’s President Donald Trump’s next move? The deal doesn’t provide all $5.7 billion for his border wall, so Trump could still declare a national emergency — but he’d likely face immediate legal challenges.

    Don’t miss OZY’s report on how Mexico is opening its own borders.

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    Venezuela’s Opposition Will Rally for Aid

    Critics of President Nicolás Maduro are expected to stage nationwide demonstrations today, hoping to force the embattled leader to allow crucially needed humanitarian aid into the country. Yesterday opposition leader Juan Guaidó said one delivery of nutritional supplements for children and pregnant women had made its way through, but the scale of Venezuela’s economic crisis suggests much more is needed.

    What’s the world saying about Venezuela? While the White House casts the crisis as a battle between capitalism and socialism, OZY reports that growing support for Guaidó from left-wingers around the world complicates that Cold War-style narrative.

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    Catalan Separatists Face Trial in Spain

    Today 12 defendants will appear before a panel of Supreme Court judges in Madrid to answer for their role in stoking 2017’s separatist crisis between the Spanish region of Catalonia and the federal government. Among them is ringleader and Catalan ex-Vice President Oriol Junqueras, who faces up to 25 years in prison for helping his region declare independence. All have denied charges of rebellion.

    Why is this trial so important? It’s a crucial legal test for Spain’s four-decade-old democracy, while Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also needs support from pro-independence forces to avoid potential early elections.

    Check out OZY’s reading recommendations from Catalonia.

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    ISIS Clings to Last Enclave Amid Offensive

    Coalition jets pounded ISIS positions yesterday around the eastern village of Baghouz as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces continued their push to dislodge the group from its last remaining stronghold in Syria. Some 1,500 civilians have fled the area, while dozens of SDF fighters were reportedly captured by extremist fighters — who’ve been using snipers, booby traps and car bombs to beat back the Kurdish-led offensive.

    Does that mean the U.S. withdrawal is good to go? While President Trump has claimed victory over ISIS, experts worry that a swift U.S. exit could leave room for the terror group to return, as well as boost regional instability.

  6. Also Important…

    At least 17 people are dead after a fire ravaged a budget hotel in New Delhi today. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced he’ll pull several hundred National Guardsmen from the Mexican border in defiance of the Trump administration. And British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to tell lawmakers today to “hold their nerve” and ensure a Brexit deal.

    #OZYfactIn baseball, reducing the height of the pitcher’s mound from 10 to 6 inches has no effect on pitch velocity. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is seeking a creative and highly motivated Senior Director of Events. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Dozens of Polar Bears Invade Russian Town

    It’s unbearable. Around 50 of the aggressive mammals have been terrorizing an Arctic settlement about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow. They prompted the town of Belushya Guba to declare an “emergency situation” while many of its 2,000 residents have been too spooked to even leave their homes. The Russian government, which prohibits shooting the endangered creatures, is searching for a solution.

    Why are they coming? Thinning ice in the Arctic, home to more than 22,000 seal-eating polar bears, is forcing them inland to avoid starvation.

    Don’t miss this OZY story on the Arctic’s booming tourism industry.

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    Where Is Europe’s Next Financial Capital?

    Follow the money. Amid the Brexit drama, a growing number of European cities are emerging to challenge London as the continent’s banking hub, OZY reports. Hundreds of billions in assets are moving to Frankfurt as 25 banks relocate to the German city, and hundreds of finance workers are packing up for Paris. The London Stock Exchange, meanwhile, will shift European government bond trading to Milan. But despite all the positioning, no single city has come out on top.

    How will the competition impact cities? The mad rush of financial professionals will likely lead to soaring property prices, forcing local governments to plan for those who become displaced.

  3. A man sits in front of a bright window smoking an e-cigarette and releasing a huge cloud of vapor into the air.

    CDC: Teen Smoking Spiked Thanks to Vaping

    The Centers for Disease Control, which counts vaping as tobacco use, said 4.9 million American minors used some form of tobacco in 2018 — 1.5 million more than 2017 — and the use of e-cigarettes surged 78 percent. They were the only product that saw a meaningful increase. The report, released Monday, revealed that more than 1 in 4 high school students consumed tobacco products in the past 30 days.

    What are the long-term implications? While health officials consider stricter vaping regulations, experts worry the popularity of e-cigarettes is sending the progress they’ve made on reducing youth tobacco use up in smoke.

    Check out OZY’s feature on Zimbabwe’s small-scale tobacco farmers.

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    Newspapers Drop Cartoon Over Vulgar Trump Message

    Back to the drawing board. Multiple newspapers pulled a nationally syndicated cartoon after one reader discovered an expletive-laced comment to President Trump scribbled in the corner of the Sunday comic Non Sequitur. Creator Wiley Miller explained that he wrote the message while angry at the White House, but forgot to delete it.

    Is this kind of funny business common? While the scandal appears to be a one-off incident, cartoonists haven’t shied away from taking aim at Trump. One was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last year, though allegedly not for the political nature of his work.

  5. sd

    Thailand Frees Jailed Bahraini Soccer Player

    Hakeem al-Araibi has returned home to Australia after being released from a Bangkok prison, where he’d been held since November pending extradition to his native country. The 25-year-old refugee had been facing a 10-year sentence for allegedly attacking a Bahrain police station during the Arab Spring. Al-Araibi’s case attracted supporters from around the world, including Australian broadcaster and former soccer star Craig Foster.

    Is Thailand’s asylum policy changing? It seems like it: The country vowed to reverse its strict refugee policy after a Saudi woman’s high-profile battle last month to prevent her deportation back home.