The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. stanford bikes

    TV Stars Implicated in College Bribery Scandal

    The Justice Department Tuesday charged around 50 people in a scheme involving wealthy parents who bribed officials to get their kids into some of the most elite colleges and universities in the country. The accused allegedly paid an admissions consultant to facilitate false test scores and help pass certain students off as athletes when they were not. Television stars Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame and Lori Loughlin from Full House are among those charged.

    How far-reaching is the scam? Parents reportedly spent between $200,000 to $6.5 million in crimes dating back to 2011, involving institutions such as Georgetown, Yale University, Stanford University, UCLA and others.

  2. Theresa May brexit shutterstock 1239919585

    Parliament Rejects Theresa May’s Brexit Deal

    With 391 votes to 242, the U.K.’s Prime Minister did not secure enough support for her plan to withdraw from the E.U. A new vote will now take place on Wednesday to determine whether the U.K. will still leave the Union by Mar. 29, on schedule, without a deal. If that fails, another vote will take place on Thursday to decide if Brexit should be delayed.

    What are the implications? May has warned that Brexit would likely be lost forever if MPs do not back this deal, an opinion voiced by European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker.

    Read OZY’s take on whether the powerful German economy will break up the E.U.

  3. boeing shutterstock 514875412

    Airlines Ground Boeing Max 8 Jets After Crash

    Germany, Britain and France have now joined more than a dozen air carriers — together with the Chinese and Indonesian governments — in ordering their 737 Max 8s grounded, following the death of 157 people in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. Boeing shares dropped 5 percent yesterday as investigators began studying the plane’s flight recorders, but the company warned against speculating over the cause of the crash while the probe is underway.

    Where else is pressure coming from? Pilots themselves have expressed concerns over the Max 8’s safety, with one union spokesman saying, “Everybody should be looking at this.”

  4. algeria flag shutterstock 302854796

    Algeria’s Leader Backs Down Over Protests

    Following weeks of demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced yesterday that he won’t seek a fifth term in office — a response, he told Algerians, “to the urgent demand that you have made of me.” The ailing 82-year-old, who has seldom been seen in public since a 2013 stroke, said next month’s elections would be postponed to promote “tranquility and public security.”

    What’s next for Algeria? While many citizens celebrated, analysts warned that Bouteflika’s regime is propped up by a wide-ranging bureaucracy and security apparatus that won’t be easy to change.

    Check out this OZY feature on Algeria’s massive defense budget.

  5. venezuela opposition protest shutterstock 1313264783

    US Pulls Remaining Embassy Staff From Venezuela

    Citing the “deteriorating situation,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would withdraw all its Caracas-based diplomatic staff from the chaos-stricken country, which has suffered from widespread power outages in addition to its protracted political crisis. In a televised address yesterday, President Nicolás Maduro blamed the U.S. “imperialist government” for orchestrating the blackout, which has claimed 15 lives since last week.

    What are Maduro’s opponents doing? The National Assembly approved a national emergency decree by opposition leader Juan Guaidó that could pave the way for foreign intervention, though U.S. officials say that’s still unlikely.

  6. Also Important…

    President Donald Trump offered his $4.75 trillion federal budget — the largest in U.S. history — to Congress yesterday. Chinese lawmakers are urging the government to reconsider its family planning rules to reverse the country’s flagging birth rates. And a British-led scientific expedition has broadcast live, TV-quality video footage from 200 feet under the Indian Ocean.

    #OZYfact: In 1950, the town of Ellenton, South Carolina, was uprooted en masse to make way for a plutonium and tritium processing plant for America’s H-bomb. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY’s looking for an ambitious and creative podcast producer. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


  1. LA Smog air pollution shutterstock 646569637

    Report: US Whites Cause Pollution — and Minorities Breathe It

    A new study published by health journal PNAS confirmed that America’s Black and Hispanic communities are far more likely than White ones to experience dangerous levels of air pollution, leaving minority groups at higher risk of health problems. But researchers went further: Relying partly on census data, they found that consumption habits by White Americans cause much of that pollution.

    How deadly is poor air quality? It’s America’s single largest environmental health risk, reportedly causing more deaths each year than accidents and murders combined.

  2. credit card

    British Bank Tests Payment by Fingerprint

    Hoping to avoid the need for PINs or signatures, NatWest will begin a trial with 200 customers next month using a new type of payment card with a built-in fingerprint scanner. Contactless payments are already ubiquitous in the U.K., allowing shoppers to simply tap their cards onto readers for charges under $40, and requiring a PIN — or now a print — for pricier purchases.

    What are the risks? While faking a fingerprint is possible, the biometric payment method is more secure than a PIN, especially because the data is stored locally on the card, rather than in a hackable central database.

    Read OZY’s profile of the economist trying to change the meaning of money.

  3. puppy dog shutterstock 1148849894

    Dog Owners Are Spending Big on Pet Dental Care

    Will a dental stick a day keep the vet away? That’s what many dog lovers believe these days, OZY reports, as they’re increasingly caring for their canines’ canines. In 2017, pet owners spent a staggering $5.2 billion on their furry companions’ dental needs — with dog owners twice as likely as cat people to shell out the big bucks for prime dental care.

    Is it really necessary? Perhaps more than you think: Over 80 percent of dogs will develop gum disease before they turn 3, prompting vets to suggest dental wipes as the most practical solution.

  4. kpop

    K-Pop Star Seungri Busted in Prostitution Probe

    The 28-year-old singer in the popular South Korean group Big Bang announced yesterday that he’d immediately retire from showbiz after police charged him with seeking to hire prostitutes for foreign investors at his private club. He posted on Instagram that retiring was meant to prevent further damage to his boy band — which has sold more than 140 million records — or its talent agency, YG Entertainment.

    How big is this scandal? YG shares sank nearly 16 percent on the news, while Seungri is banned from traveling abroad and his mandatory military service, which was set to begin this month, is likely to be postponed.

    Check out this OZY profile of the Korean singer reviving French jazz.

  5. zidane

    Zinedine Zidane Returns to Coach Real Madrid

    He’s got career goals. The French-Algerian soccer legend is back with the Spanish club after Santiago Solari became the second manager sacked in less than a year. Solari’s predecessor, Julen Lopetegui, lost his job on the eve of the World Cup last year. Zidane, who led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles during his first stint with the team, has signed a three-year contract.

    What’s his top task? The 46-year-old is charged with turning around a team that underperformed this season, especially after star Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last summer.

    Don’t miss OZY’s story about the Paraguayan star lighting up U.S. soccer.