The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Trump, Kim Prepare for Second Summit

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, ahead of his second meeting with President Donald Trump, who is expected to touch down today. Observers are wondering whether the larger-than-life leaders can deliver results during their two-day talks that reach beyond the vague pledges they made during their first summit last year.

    What’s Kim hoping for? Some believe he’d be willing to freeze his nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief — though others say simply showing up constitutes a win for him. Total denuclearization, as OZY reports, may well be a “pipe dream.”

    Check out OZY’s profile of the diplomats playing the long game with Pyongyang.

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    India Bombs Islamist Militants in Pakistan

    New Delhi says it targeted Kashmiri separatists with airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan today, two weeks after the jihadi Jaish-e-Mohammad group killed more than 40 Indian soldiers in a suicide attack. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said a preemptive strike was “absolutely necessary” to prevent the Pakistan-based group from staging more attacks on Indian-administered Kashmir. He said “a very large number” of terrorists were killed — a claim refuted by Pakistan’s military.

    Is this a major escalation? At the very least, experts say, it’s a clear sign that India’s serious about fighting terror in the disputed region.

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    Top Catholic Cardinal Convicted of Abuse

    In a conviction unsealed today, an Australian court found Cardinal George Pell guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s during his tenure at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. While the court convicted the 77-year-old former Vatican treasurer in December, media outlets were barred from reporting the news during a second trial, which has now been dropped. Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes.

    What does this mean for other cases? A relative of one survivor said she hopes it compels other victims to speak out, especially amid the Vatican’s public push to fight abuse.

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    Congress to Vote on Trump’s Emergency Declaration

    The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote to end President Trump’s controversial declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall — but it remains unclear whether the measure will pass the Republican-majority Senate. Either way, it’s the latest salvo in a drawn-out constitutional feud over the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government over federal spending.

    Is this a first? Yes: Congress has never attempted to cancel a declared emergency since a 1976 law handed that power to the White House.

    Don’t miss OZY’s latest installment of the Mueller Thread.

  5. Also Important…

    Vice President Mike Pence unveiled new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela yesterday. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has unexpectedly announced he’s stepping down from his post. And Russian state television aired the locations of the U.S. military facilities that Moscow would attack in the event of nuclear war.

    #OZYfact: Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first Black woman in America to earn a medical degree. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Elon Musk Angers the SEC — Again

    The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a request yesterday for the Tesla CEO to be held in contempt of court for his unrestrained tweeting. A $20 million settlement last year requires Musk to get preapproval for public statements that could impact Tesla’s valuation. But he allegedly violated that deal in a series of tweets this month, including a claim, which appeared to contradict company reports, that Tesla would make around 500,000 cars in 2019.

    What punishment will he face? Experts say the judge will likely fine Musk and warn him that further violations will get him temporarily banned from serving as an officer in a public company.

    Check out this OZY explainer on Musk’s controversial Twitter habit.

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    Oxfam Blasts Australian Fashion Brands for ‘Exploitation’

    In a new report, the charity condemns the country’s $16 billion fashion industry for the “systemic exploitation” of laborers whose work is sold at major stores such as Kmart, Target and Big W. Researchers interviewed more than 130 factory bosses and 472 female workers in Vietnam and Bangladesh, where they uncovered the widespread problem of “poverty wages.” In some cases, the garments were safeguarded more than the workers.

    How much would better practices cost? An earlier study found that by paying universal living wages throughout the supply chain, the average retail price of one garment in Australia would rise by merely 1 percent.

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    In India, Science Clashes With Politics and Faith

    A river runs through it. The restoration of a dried waterway featured in ancient epics has become a focal point in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s efforts to make India great again, OZY reports. Despite most scientists being unconvinced that the Saraswati River began in the village of Adi Badri, the government has pumped around $100 million into getting it flowing again — part of a larger campaign promoting populism ahead of national elections.

    How else does mythology influence science in India? Claims have included that ancient Indians designed jets that flew on donkey urine, as well as that one epic proves they mastered in vitro fertilization and stem cell therapy long before everyone else.

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    Avenatti Offers Another R. Kelly Sex Tape

    As the disgraced performer pleaded not guilty yesterday to 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse, attorney Michael Avenatti said he’d obtained additional footage purportedly showing Kelly sexually assaulting a minor, and would deliver it to authorities. Avenatti previously gave Illinois prosecutors a tape he said depicted the 52-year-old abusing a 14-year-old girl. Kelly is due back in court March 22 after being released on $100,000 bail.

    How are his alleged victims reacting? One says she feels “vindicated” after being widely shunned when testifying against him in 2008.

    Read this OZY story about how a rap song inspired Malawi’s #TimesUp.

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    Details Emerge of Robert Kraft’s Solicitation Charge

    The New England Patriots owner faces up to a year in prison if convicted of soliciting a prostitute, according to documents made public yesterday. The graphic affidavit alleges the 77-year-old visited a Florida massage parlor — including on the day his team won the AFC Championship — that police say is part of a sex trafficking ring. The NFL released a statement saying its personal conduct policy applies to owners too.

    Has a team owner faced legal trouble before? In 2014, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was fined $500,000 and suspended for six games after a drug bust.

    Don’t miss OZY’s story about the diversity problem in NFL management.