The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Israel’s Prime Minister Faces Corruption Charges

    Plans to indict Benjamin Netanyahu were announced today by the country’s attorney general who said the premiere would be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The developments come just 40 days before the country’s election and are a result of a two-year investigation into dealings the Likud Party’s leader had with businessmen including a Hollywood producer and the telecom giant Bezeq.

    What’s Netanyahu’s move? He can challenge the charges at a hearing. Considering the 69-year-old’s defiance during the investigation, he may well still stand in April’s polls.

    Read OZY’s story on how the debate over Israel could separate 2020 contenders.


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    Michael Cohen Faces Congress in Public Testimony

    Disbarred yesterday as a convicted felon, President Trump’s former personal attorney described his ex-boss as a “racist” and a “cheat” to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. In his highly anticipated five and a half hour testimony, Cohen said Trump knew confidant Roger Stone contacted WikiLeaks, and that he “knew of and directed” plans for a Trump Tower Moscow. But the former fixer stopped short of proving Trump colluded with Russia. Cohen reports to prison May 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence.

    How will Trump defend himself? The White House has dismissed Cohen as a “disgraced felon,” while other Republicans will likely cast him as an untrustworthy source on the president’s dealings.

  3. Iranian F-14 fighter jets, like the ones pictured here, have reportedly hit ISIS targets in Iraq.

    In Escalation, Pakistan Says It Downed Indian Jets

    A day after India bombed “terrorist” sites in northwestern Pakistan — the first strike on its neighbor in decades — the Pakistani military claimed it shot down two Indian fighters and captured two pilots, while New Delhi confirmed the loss of one jet and a missing pilot. The strikes across the de-facto border over disputed Kashmir are the most direct conflict between the nations since they became nuclear-armed.

    What are the global consequences? As OZY reports, this complicates the geopolitical balance in South Asia, where the U.S. is negotiating its withdrawal from Afghanistan while China’s building a major shipping route through Pakistan.

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    Trump, Kim Meet Over Dinner

    President Donald Trump has exchanged handshakes and small talk with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as their two-day summit kicks off in Vietnam. Hours before their second meeting, Trump sought to woo his counterpart by referring to him as “my friend” and claiming Pyongyang faces a “great opportunity” to economically thrive like their host country. Meanwhile, local vendors in Hanoi are doing brisk business selling all manner of souvenirs commemorating the summit.

    What’s on the agenda? Trump is expected to pitch his vision of a modernized North Korea without its nuclear weapons program.

    Check out OZY’s latest Donald Dossier on Trump’s second round with Kim.

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    Nigerian President Re-Elected After Delayed Vote

    “Let this nation move forward.” So said the campaign spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, declared the winner earlier today of last weekend’s election after securing 56 percent of the vote. The 76-year-old has pledged to continue fighting corruption in Africa’s largest economy and overhaul its infrastructure network. His billionaire rival, Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the outcome.

    Will the results stand? Despite Abubakar’s claims that they were “incorrect and unacceptable,” experts believe he’ll likely fail to prove in court that the vote was marred by fraud.

    Read this OZY opinion piece on why Nigeria’s election was “a spectacle of despair.”

  6. Also Important…

    House Democrats approved a bill yesterday blocking President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Cardinal George Pell has been jailed as he awaits his sentence for abusing two choirboys. And the planned merger between AT&T and Time Warner cleared its final legal hurdle yesterday after a U.S. court rejected the Justice Department’s bid to overturn the $80 billion deal.

    #OZYfact: In a recent survey, 84 percent of EU consumers said it’s important that fashion brands do something to address global poverty. 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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    Facebook Bans British Far-Right Activist

    They’re taking extreme measures. Tommy Robinson was booted from the social network and its Instagram subsidiary for violating community standards by promoting “organized hate.” Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had posted Islamophobic material, Facebook claims, calling for violence against Muslims. Already banned from Twitter, Robinson claims he simply showed people “the truth.”

    Is Facebook getting tougher on hate speech? Last year alone, its crackdown forced far-right groups Britain First and the Proud Boys, as well as Infowars’ Alex Jones, off the platform.

    Check out OZY’s feature on the European far-right’s obsession with paganism.

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    Vietnam’s Art Scene Gets Creative With Gender

    Although discussion about women’s identity in the conservative communist country remains rare, a growing number of female artists are speaking up at cafés and art galleries, OZY reports. From staging performance art to sculpting, these artists are rejecting stereotypes and traditional roles in a country where gender equality is guaranteed by law — but where there’s still no word for “feminism.”

    What does the state say? While work lacking “cultural and moral values” is censored from official venues, observers say these artists could still help alter Vietnamese gender assumptions in the long term.

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    Scientists Turn CO2 Back Into Coal

    Current carbon capture methods transform the greenhouse gas into a liquid, but that’s expensive and doesn’t provide safe storage. Now, researchers in Australia say they’ve gotten liquid metals to convert gaseous carbon into solid form, according to a paper published in Nature Communications, allowing for secure underground storage. One researcher explained that the process is “efficient and scalable,” and a step toward “rewinding the emissions clock.”  

    Could the coal be used? Yes: Since it holds an electrical charge, it could be used as a supercapacitor for vehicles.

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    Emma Thompson Hailed in #MeToo Fight vs. John Lasseter

    The acclaimed British actress wrote Skydance Media to explain why she quit its animated film Luck last month: The production company hired Lasseter, Pixar’s former creative chief, who left that post after allegations of inappropriate behavior. In her letter, the two-time Oscar winner said things wouldn’t change in time to protect her daughter’s generation if she and others didn’t speak out.

    How have people reacted? Social media users hailed Thompson’s gesture as “brilliant,” while the founder of advocacy group Women and Hollywood called it “one [of] the most significant moments” in the #MeToo movement.

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    Will Olympic Athletes Unionize?

    Silence is no longer golden. A meeting last week between the Athletes’ Advisory Council, made up of former Olympic competitors, and newly appointed U.S. Olympic Committee chief Sarah Hirshland hints that athletes are gearing up to assert their rights. Also in attendance was Donald Fehr, known for helping strengthen unionizing efforts involving the Major League Baseball Players Association.

    What do they want? With international sports becoming ever more professionalized, athletes are seeking greater influence and a higher status within an organization they believe has long neglected them.

    Read OZY’s tale of how football’s fastest man scored at the Olympics.