The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Dozens Dead in New Zealand Mosque Massacres

    In what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” at least 49 people were gunned down during Friday prayers at two mosques in the eastern city of Christchurch. Dozens more were injured in the country’s worst ever terror attack. Police have three suspects in custody, noting that they had not previously been on watchlists, and said explosive devices found in their cars had been defused.

    What do we know about the suspects? One of the alleged gunmen, a 28-year-old Australian who reportedly livestreamed the attack, previously published an anti-immigrant manifesto detailing his plans.

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    Theresa May Preps Her Final Brexit Push

    Will they love it or leave it? After lawmakers voted yesterday to ask the European Union to extend the U.K.’s withdrawal period beyond March 29, the British prime minister is preparing a final effort to sell her divorce deal, hoping to avoid a delay beyond June 30. Meanwhile, a European Commission spokesman said any approval of an extension depends on unanimous support from EU leaders.

    Will Brussels agree? Although exasperated EU officials have repeatedly signaled their frustration with London, experts say their final decision will depend on economic and political calculations at home.

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    US Senate Rebukes Trump With ‘Emergency’ Vote

    President Donald Trump appears poised to issue his first veto since taking office after a dozen Republican senators joined their Democratic counterparts yesterday in a largely symbolic vote to block his declaration of an emergency along the southern border. Yet if Trump does veto their resolution, lawmakers probably won’t have enough votes to override it.

    So why does it matter? Not only are the political optics unfavorable for Trump, but some say the defeat highlights his failure to negotiate with members of his own party.

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

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    Will North Korea Rethink Missile Tests, Talks?

    Despite the “mysteriously wonderful” chemistry between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a top Pyongyang diplomat claimed Friday that Kim’s still mulling whether to stick to his country’s moratorium on nuclear tests and missile launches. Citing an “atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” allegedly created by top U.S. diplomats, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Kim would soon announce his decision — including on whether denuclearization talks would continue.

    What’s happened since last month’s talks? After Trump backed away, claiming Pyongyang wanted all U.S sanctions lifted, reports have emerged of North Korean efforts to rebuild a key launch facility.

  5. Also Important… 

    The Israeli military says it hit around 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip today in retaliation for a rocket attack on Tel Aviv. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sued Volkswagen and its former CEO for defrauding American investors in its recent emissions scandal. And India’s second-richest man is donating nearly $7.5 billion worth of shares in his tech company to charity.

    #OZYfact: The number of robocalls in the U.S. increased by an estimated 41.3 percent from 2017 to 2018. Read more on OZY.

    Try This! Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.


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    Tesla Rolls Out Model Y SUV

    Elon Musk unveiled the electric carmaker’s new compact SUV Thursday at his design studio in Los Angeles. At $47,000, Tesla’s fifth model may turn out to be its best-selling – at least that’s what Musk is hoping with this foray into the U.S. market’s most popular category. Last year, in its first full year of production, Tesla’s Model 3 sedan became the best-selling electric vehicle in the world.

    When will the Model Y be delivered? It’s due to hit the road in 2020, but Tesla famously struggled for several years to make good on its Model 3 delivery promises.

    Check out OZY’s explainer on whether Musk can tweet Tesla into the black.

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    Telegram Gains Millions of Users During Facebook Outage

    He didn’t keep this private. The company’s Russian founder announced Thursday that his instant messaging service gained 3 million users in just 24 hours after Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps sustained a daylong outage. In a subtle dig, Pavel Durov touted his platform as having “true privacy and unlimited space for everyone.”

    Is this bad news for Facebook? Since WhatsApp — Telegram’s closest competitor — is integral to Facebook’s master plan for private messaging, Telegram’s rapid user growth could pose a threat.

  3. Joko Widodo the president of Indonesia

    China Looms Over Indonesia’s Presidential Election

    As rumors swirl about China rigging next month’s vote, OZY reports that a social media misinformation campaign is threatening to derail the re-election of Indonesia’s pro-China president. Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been accused of benefitting from forged ballots smuggled in from China, pushing communism in Indonesia’s schools and allowing illegal Chinese immigrants to flood the country.

    How can he hang on? Mindful that ties with China have cost leaders in the Maldives and Malaysia their jobs, Jokowi must balance a tough stand against Beijing’s mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs while also welcoming its cash for badly needed infrastructure projects.

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    Kids in US, Australia, NZ Join Global Youth Climate Strikes

    Students in more than 100 countries are walking out of school today as a message to adults that they’re not doing enough about climate change. In the U.S., Minnesota’s Isra Hirsi, daughter of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, is one of three organizers of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, which has organized 150 protests around the nation.

    How did this movement start? Teenage activist Greta Thunberg first protested outside Sweden’s Parliament last August, but her #FridaysforFuture campaign went viral after she spoke at a December summit in Poland.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, The New Frontiers of Climate Change.

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    Santa Anita Park Reels After 22nd Racehorse Dies

    Shortly after the main track reopened for training at the famed California track, 3-year-old Princess Lili B suffered a catastrophic injury, breaking both her front legs, and was euthanized Thursday — making her the 22nd horse fatality there since Dec. 22. The park recently suspended racing after the spate of deaths, which remains unexplained.

    What are track officials doing about it? Signaling a “seismic shift” in safety, they’ve enacted two rules: prohibiting race-day medication and limiting the use of whips.

    Read this OZY profile of a jockey on the verge of stardom.