The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump, California Face Off in Political Feud

    The tussle between President Donald Trump and the Golden State has intensified after the U.S. Transportation Department said it would cancel nearly $1 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail project and ask California to pay back another $2.5 billion. Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed the move as “political retribution” for his state’s leading role in suing the White House over Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall.

    What’s California’s play? Under newly elected Newsom, the state’s casting itself as a bulwark against a range of Trump policies — having already filed 46 federal lawsuits against the administration.

    Read OZY’s feature about why people are flocking to California from Arizona.

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    ISIS Brides Face Legal Action at Home

    The family of a British teen who fled to Syria to join the terror group in 2015 says it will challenge the U.K. government’s move to revoke her citizenship. Shamima Begum, now 19, said she wants to come home — just like American runaway Hoda Muthana, who’s reportedly ready to face justice upon her return. “Seeing bloodshed up close changed me,” she wrote in a letter obtained by OZY.

    What’s the bigger picture? Whatever happens in their cases could set precedent for the more than 1,000 Westerners who’ve joined the terror group in recent years, OZY reports.

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    Anti-Semitism Sparks Protests Across France

    “Enough!” That’s the slogan under which French political leaders and thousands of demonstrators rallied across the country yesterday after vandals desecrated nearly 100 graves in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France with swastikas. President Emmanuel Macron promised to punish those responsible to deter copycats. Last week the French Interior Ministry reported a 74 percent spike in anti-Semitic violence in 2018.

    Where’s it coming from? It’s unclear, though questions have arisen over the anti-Semitic sentiments displayed by some yellow vest protesters in recent weeks.

    Check out OZY’s feature on the revival of Jewish communities around the world.

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    US Lawmakers Probe Nuclear Plans in Saudi Arabia

    A new report by House Democrats claims White House officials, including ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, ignored legal and ethical concerns while seeking to share U.S. nuclear know-how to build dozens of reactors across Saudi Arabia. The plans would represent the latest potentially damaging entanglement between the Trump administration and Riyadh. The House Oversight Committee is reportedly launching an investigation.

    Why the worry? Analysts say Saudi Arabia’s access to advanced nuclear technology could help fuel a dangerous arms race in the Middle East.

  5. Also Important…

    President Trump will reportedly nominate Jeffrey Rosen as the next deputy U.S. attorney general after incumbent Rod Rosenstein’s planned departure next month. British Prime Minister Theresa May is heading back to Brussels to negotiate the post-Brexit status of the Irish border. And Chinese tech giant Huawei claims it’s been embraced by India’s government despite global concerns over its products.

    #OZYfact: Swiss citizens’ trust in government has risen 17 percent since 2007 — while other countries have seen their numbers slip. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a creative and ambitious Senior Graphic Designer to join our marketing 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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    Covington High Student Sues Washington Post for $250M

    The family of Nick Sandmann, the 16-year-old depicted in a viral video facing a Native American elder at a Washington, D.C., demonstration last month, claims reporters “targeted and bullied” him to promote their “biased agenda” against President Trump. Critics claim Sandmann was taunting activist Nathan Phillips.

    What are his chances? U.S. defamation lawsuits are difficult to win, but that’s not stopping Sandmann’s lawyers: They reportedly sent letters to 54 media firms, celebrities, dioceses and lawmakers last month warning of legal action.

    Check out this OZY feature on Liberia’s push to dismantle draconian libel laws.

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    Armenia Targets Former Rulers

    This week Armenian authorities leveled fresh money laundering and tax evasion charges over an unexplained $5.3 million in assets against the son of ex-President Robert Kocharyan, who’s already under legal scrutiny himself. Sedrak Kocharyan — whose father is being prosecuted for violently suppressing protests in 2008 — claims the investigation is a political vendetta by reformist Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

    What’s behind the crackdown? The move is part of Pashinyan’s broader effort to stamp out corruption in the former Soviet republic.

    Don’t miss OZY’s profile of the Armenian arm-wrestling champ turned power broker.

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    Can Electromagnetic Pulses Put You to Sleep?

    Here come the electric sheep. Long used for pain relief, electrostimulation devices — or “electroceuticals” — are increasingly showing promising results in sleep therapy, OZY reports. Low-frequency electromagnetic fields could provide help without the side effects of sleeping pills, potentially good news for the 1 in 4 Americans who experience insomnia.

    Will this therapy go mainstream? There’s little peer-reviewed research to confirm its purported benefits, but some doctors are convinced it could soon become as common as popping a pill at bedtime.

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    Fashion Titan Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    The world-renowned German designer, publisher and photographer died yesterday in Paris of pancreatic cancer. Lagerfeld, who was celebrated for his work with Fendi and Chanel, also launched an eponymous label in 1984 and brought haute couture fashions to the mass market through collaborations with Diesel and H&M. Lagerfeld was “ahead of his time,” according to Chanel CEO Alain Wertheimer, “thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition.”

    What was Lagerfeld’s design strategy? Despite his enormous success, he reportedly rarely looked back on previous work — preferring instead “to look resolutely towards the future,” according to one obituary.

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    Manny Machado Agrees to Record Free Agent Contract

    Show him the money. The 26-year-old will reportedly ink a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres — the most expensive free agent deal ever in American sports. The signing of the four-time All-Star, who hit more than 30 home runs in each of the past four seasons, immediately improved the Padres’ odds of winning the World Series from 80-1 to 50-1.

    Is free agency a young man’s game? Observers believe Machado’s price tag represents the value teams place on young guns compared to players in their 30s.

    Read this OZY analysis of why lowering the pitcher’s mound wouldn’t matter.