The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Michael Cohen Under Investigation Months Before FBI Raid

    Unsealed documents Tuesday reveal that Special Counsel Robert Mueller obtained warrants to search the former fixer’s digital data trail in July 2017, months before federal investigators searched his home. Four search warrants for content associated with email accounts and an iCloud account used by the 52-year-old were attained, giving prosecutors a great deal of information even before the April 2018 raid.

    How has this ended? The FBI intensified an investigation into Cohen’s finances and his work on behalf of Trump. After pleading guilty to several violations he has been sentenced to three years in prison.

    Check out OZY’s latest podcast on Mueller’s various investigations.

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    New Zealand Reflects as Shooter’s Profile Emerges

    “He was polite.” That’s how the vice president of a New Zealand gun club described the 28-year-old Australian suspect in last week’s massacre at two mosques in Christchurch. Ordering a probe into what preventative measures authorities could have taken, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to “absolutely deny” the white supremacist the platform he was seeking by refusing to say his name — and urged others to do the same.

    What do we know about the suspect? He typically went alone to the Bruce Rifle Club, which had previously been reported to police over concerns about the mental stability of its members.

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    May’s Brexit Deal Faces Fresh Crisis

    Days before British Prime Minister Theresa May had hoped to secure parliamentary approval for her divorce deal with the European Union, Speaker John Bercow derailed that plan. He refused to schedule a third vote on it without significant changes to the deal — a move that’s reportedly angered Downing Street. May will now likely head to a Brussels summit this week, ahead of Britain’s scheduled March 29 withdrawal, with a request for a longer extension.

    Why is that an issue? It would mean the U.K. must take part in elections to the European Parliament in May, for which it would need to spend more than $130 million.

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    Hundreds Feared Dead in Mozambique After Cyclone

    After flying over land ravaged last week by Cyclone Idai, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique said more than 1,000 people could have died in the disaster, while another 100,000 remain in danger. Rescuers were only able to reach the port city of Beira, where Idai made landfall last Thursday, several days later. “No building is untouched,” said one U.N. aid worker. Meanwhile, at least 98 are dead and hundreds missing in neighboring Zimbabwe.

    How does Idai compare to other storms? Observers say the cyclone was the worst to hit southern Africa in nearly two decades.

    Read OZY’s Flashback on the plane crash that shook South Africa.

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    Dutch Police Probe Deadly Tram Shooting

    Prime Minister Mark Rutte says authorities are still searching for motives behind an attack in Utrecht yesterday that left three dead and five injured. Police now have three people in custody, including the 37-year-old suspected shooter, but have not yet determined whether it was terrorism or a personal dispute.

    How did authorities respond to the shooting? Coming just days after the Christchurch mosque massacre, it sparked authorities to lock down the country’s fourth-largest city, while trains were blocked from entering the central station.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing about when terror strikes at tranquility.

  6. Also Important…

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to meet President Donald Trump today during his visit to the U.S. to promote increased trade and friendlier diplomatic relations between the countries. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told a federal judge that Tesla CEO Elon Musk never sought pre-approval for his tweets after agreeing to a deal last year requiring him to do just that. And in court yesterday, the suspect charged with killing alleged Gambino crime family boss Francesco Cali last week flashed pro-Trump messages scrawled on his hand.

    #OZYfact: Fettuccine Alfredo was first created in 1914 to combat morning sickness. 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.


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    Was Jack the Ripper a Polish Barber?

    British scientists say DNA analysis has positively identified Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish immigrant who was the prime suspect at the time, as the notorious killer who murdered at least five prostitutes in the slums of London in 1888. The Victorian-era cold case was purportedly solved by matching the killer’s DNA with traces left on the shawl of one of his victims.

    How conclusive is DNA evidence? Other forensic scientists cast doubt on the results as “terrible science and terrible history,” questioning the DNA analysis method and noting the shawl could easily have been contaminated.

    Read OZY’s Flashback on the legendary murder of Hex Hollow.

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    Artificial Intelligence Takes Control of Home Fitness

    Exercise smarter. A growing number of fitness firms are turning to artificial intelligence to offer affordable, personalized training at home — relying on technological advances unavailable at the start of the decade, OZY reports. Although AI-powered training plans and wall-mounted devices that track reps can’t replicate the accountability or empathy of humans, many fitness fans say they’re seeing positive results.

    How big is the financial potential? In the last five years the U.S. personal training industry has attracted $9 billion in revenue, while the global equipment market alone could reach $12 billion by 2022.

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    Whale Found With 88 Pounds of Plastic in Stomach

    The D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, Philippines, studied a Cuvier’s beaked whale that died over the weekend and found 16 rice sacks, multiple plastic bags, nylon ropes and other waste lodged in its body. “Plastic was just bursting out of its stomach,” the museum’s curator said, explaining that it died of starvation and dehydration. He plans to publish a full list of items from the whale’s stomach to highlight the danger of disposable plastics contamination.

    How bad is the problem? UNESCO believes plastic pollution kills 100,000 marine mammals each year, and the Philippines is second only to China for the amount of plastic it discharges into the ocean.

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    Warner Bros. Chief Steps Down Over Scandal

    That’s all, folks. CEO and Chairman Kevin Tsujihara resigned yesterday after allegations that he inappropriately helped advance the career of British actress Charlotte Kirk, with whom he was reportedly having a romantic affair. Kirk, who insisted the 2013 relationship was consensual, is accused of pressuring him to help land her roles. Tsujihara denies aiding her, and an investigation is underway.

    Are there wider ramifications? The studio chief said he quit to avoid being a distraction on the heels of an $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner. 

    Read OZY’s profile of the Hollywood stunt performer demanding change.

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    UK Soccer to Honor NZ Mosque Shooting Victims

    Britain’s Football Association announced yesterday that it would pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch massacre before England’s Euro 2020 qualifying match against the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium Friday. Along with the Premier League and the English Football League, the FA had faced criticism — including from the former chair of its race equality board — for not honoring the victims last weekend.

    Is this a tradition? Premier League teams wore black armbands and played the French national anthem following the Paris terror attacks of November 2015.

    Read this OZY feature about the man who brought soccer joy to Brazil.