The Presidential Daily Brief


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    MPs Reject Theresa May’s Brexit Deal a Third Time

    With 344 votes to 286, British lawmakers rejected Friday the British Prime Minister’s plan to withdraw from the E.U. driving the country towards a constitutional crisis. It comes despite May’s promise to Tory colleagues that she will resign if they back her deal. The pact wasn’t enough against votes from Labour opponents and government coalition partners the Democratic Unionist Party, who were determined not to support it.

    Now what? May will have to go back to Brussels before Apr. 12 to request a further delay to negotiations, taking it beyond the current May 22 extension.



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    US Attorney General to Release Redacted Mueller Report by Mid-April

    William Barr’s plans to issue the copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election was revealed in a letter to lawmakers Friday. Addressed to Sen, Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, a Democrat, he wrote that there are “no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.”

    What’s next? After the report’s release, Barr said he would testify before each committee about the findings on May 1. and May 2.

    Don’t miss this OZY take on the Mueller Report.


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    Trump, Dems Still Feeding Off Mueller Report

    Nearly a week after Attorney General William Barr announced that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, Robert Mueller’s probe remains a political flash point. At a fiery Michigan rally yesterday, Trump revved up supporters by slamming it as a “sinister effort” to take him down, declaring “the Russia hoax is finally dead.” Democrats, meanwhile, have stepped up pressure on Barr to release Mueller’s entire 300-page report.

    Will the public see the full findings? That’s still unclear — though Barr said he’d show Congress a partial version next month.

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    Huawei Posts Profit Amid US-Led Crackdown

    Despite U.S. efforts to compel other countries to ditch Huawei products from their 5G networks over cybersecurity concerns, the Chinese telecommunications giant reported a profit of $8.8 billion last year — a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Overall revenue rose 20 percent to a record $107 billion, buoyed partially by increasing sales abroad, where revenue grew more than in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Can anything stop Huawei? The world’s largest manufacturer of telecom equipment could still face a supply disruption, prompting company officials to diversify its supplier base.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on the Huawei scandal.

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    Venezuela Bans Opposition Leader From Office

    Citing inconsistencies in his financial statements, Venezuela’s state auditor announced Thursday that self-declared president Juan Guaidó would be banned from holding future public office for 15 years — the maximum amount allowed under law. More than 50 countries, including the U.S. and most of Latin America, have backed the 35-year-old opposition leader in his attempt to oust President Nicolás Maduro.

    What’s next? Condemning the move as illegitimate, Guaidó urged his supporters to stage more protests tomorrow after days of rolling blackouts.

  6. Also Important…

    Ride-hailing firm Lyft will debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange today with a market value of about $24 billion. More than 20,000 people attended a nationally televised memorial service in Christchurch, New Zealand, honoring the victims of this month’s mosque shootings. And President Trump announced yesterday that a proposed $18 million funding cut for the Special Olympics would be abandoned.

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

    Listen Up! Get inside the minds of Lorena Bobbitt, James Holmes and John Hinckley — and explore the history of the insanity defense — with Season 4 of The Thread, the latest installment of OZY’s popular podcast. Subscribe now on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


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    Wow Air Bust Leaves Passengers Stranded

    Thousands of fliers worldwide were stranded when Icelandic budget airline Wow Air abruptly went under Thursday and canceled all its flights — becoming the eighth European airline to fail since last summer. Low-cost carriers have seen their margins hammered by fluctuating fuel costs and over-capacity. Ferrying 3.5 million passengers last year, Reykjavik-based Wow had been a boon to tourism in Iceland.

    Is cheap trans-Atlantic travel over? Not yet: American budget airlines JetBlue and Southwest are expected to introduce new routes to Europe this year.

    Read this OZY feature about why airlines are flocking to Azerbaijan.

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    HUD Sues Facebook Over Discriminatory Ads

    Claiming that its targeted ads violate the Fair Housing Act, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has sued the social media giant for “encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination” against home-seekers. That’s because the platform allegedly allowed advertisers to exclude people it categorized as “non-American-born,” “non-Christian” or “interested in Hispanic culture.” HUD is reportedly probing Google and Twitter for similar violations.

    What’s the potential penalty? The company could either be served with an injunction or forced to pay those found to have been harmed through its policy.

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    These Robots Will Watch Your Pets for Free

    Meet Laika: It’ll play with your dog, feed it treats and keep it company — all for just a battery charge. It’s among a rising number of robots powered by artificial intelligence to take care of animals, OZY reports. Others can scoop up poop and keep track of pets to prevent them from straying. In the last two years, at least six firms have developed robotic helpers to vie for a slice of the $1 billion pet toy market.

    What’s the catch? These robots might spark anxiety in domesticated animals, leading some experts to warn that a human’s role can’t entirely be replaced.

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    R. Kelly Accuser Goes Public With Assault Claims

    In an interview with CBS This Morning yesterday, Lanita Carter — one of four victims in a 10-count criminal indictment against the R&B singer — publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2003. Carter, who was 24 and working as Kelly’s hairdresser at the time, said she’d previously defended him as a “perfect gentlemen” before the assault. She said she felt compelled to go public after watching him aggressively deny the charges against him in a recent interview.

    How much jail time is Kelly facing? Each charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse carries a sentence of three to seven years.

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    Chinese Marathon Marred by ‘Uncivilized’ Behavior

    The organizers of last weekend’s Xuzhou International Marathon say they’ll vet their runners more strictly after numerous reports emerged of “shameful and embarrassing” acts during the race. Those included a female competitor who was seen riding a bicycle and spectators looting bottled water, bananas and even race tables and chairs. Footage of the misconduct went viral and sent Chinese internet commenters into an uproar.

    Was this an isolated incident? Concerned by recent cases of bad behavior, race organizers have begun deploying technology like facial recognition software to catch marathon cheaters.

    Check out OZY’s profile of a legally blind marathon winner.