The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Parents Face New Charges in College Admissions Scam

    Actress Lori Loughlin, her husband and 14 other parents were hit with a fresh indictment today in the largest-ever U.S. college admissions scandal. Yesterday, TV star Felicity Huffman was among the 13 parents and one coach who pleaded guilty to federal charges. Prosecutors will reportedly seek shorter sentences for them. In total, 50 people were charged in the scandal.

    How are universities responding? A month after Yale yanked an offer to one student with fake credentials, Stanford expelled another — suggesting schools are increasingly on guard.

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    Trump Expands Homeland Security Purge

    A day after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced out, the White House announced the departure of Secret Service Director Randolph Alles — the latest victim of a domestic security shake-up within President Donald Trump’s administration. “They are decapitating the entire department,” one DHS official reportedly said. Sources suggest the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services may be the next to go.

    Who’s pulling the strings? Some believe hard-line adviser Stephen Miller, who’s pushed some of the administration’s most controversial immigration policies, is now orchestrating Trump’s DHS purge.

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    Israelis Vote as Netanyahu Seeks Fifth Term

    Mired in a corruption scandal and facing a centrist challenger, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to eke out a victory in what observers say could be the closest election in years. With former military chief Benny Gantz putting up a tough fight, Netanyahu has leaned on his strongman credentials, recently announcing that he’d annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he’s elected.

    Who will win? Recent polling suggests the prime minister and the right-wing coalition he’s cobbled together could pull through — a result that would make Netanyahu Israel’s longest-serving leader.

    Don’t miss OZY’s profile of the tag team trying to unseat Bibi.

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    US Targets EU Goods With Tariffs

    In a decision analysts say could further strain trans-Atlantic ties, the Trump administration said yesterday it’s considering slapping tariffs on more than $11 billion worth of European goods, from dairy products to aircraft parts. That’s in response to “harmful” EU subsidies to European planemaker Airbus, which Washington believes are inconsistent with World Trade Organization policy.

    Could China and Europe find common ground? That’s certainly what Brussels and Beijing are hoping to do this week as they kick off a summit with an eye toward collectively challenging Trump’s “America First” approach.

    Check out this OZY story on the future of maritime trade.

  5. Also Important…

    A U.S. federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a Trump administration policy forcing Latin American asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. Nine pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, including leaders of the so-called “Umbrella Movement” of 2014, were found guilty today of public nuisance. And ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn blamed the financial misconduct charges against him on a “conspiracy.”

    #OZYfact: A 2004 appearance on Dr. Phil helped launch U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren toward political stardom. Read more on OZY.

    Vote for us! OZY’s been nominated for two Webby Awards this year — and we’d love your help to win. Go to and cast your vote for The Thread for best podcast miniseries, as well as Unapologetic for best social content series. But hurry! Voting ends April 18.


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    Europe’s Far-Right Parties Are Joining Forces

    Italy’s ruling League party and the nationalist Alternative for Germany announced plans in Milan yesterday to form a euroskeptic, far-right bloc, hoping to claim a majority of European Parliament seats. The Danish People’s Party and Finland’s populist Finns Party have signed on, while League’s traditional allies, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France and Austria’s ruling Freedom Party, have yet to join the new European Alliance of Peoples and Nations.

    Can the EAPN create a united front? Although the parties appear ideologically aligned, especially on immigration, they could find it challenging to agree on other issues, such as economic policy.

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    Pinterest Valuation Lower Than Expected

    In its updated filing for an initial public offering yesterday, the image-sharing social media platform pegged its average value at $10.6 billion — nearly $2 billion lower than during its previous valuation round on the private marketplace two years ago. Pinterest will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a price range between $15-17 per share.

    Why the lower valuation? Experts say that by pricing its shares low at the outset, the company could attract more investors while also better understanding what it’s worth on the open market.

    Read OZY’s profile of the Siberian entrepreneur who wants to challenge Uber.

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    Toy-Sharing Schemes Are Redefining Playtime

    They’re game changers. Companies in the U.S. and beyond are increasingly offering subscription services that allow parents to rent toys for their kids each month — at a much lower cost than buying them — before recycling them back into the system, OZY reports. It’s also environmentally friendly, since the toy industry is expected to contribute more than 1 million tons of plastic waste annually by 2023.

    Won’t kids notice their missing toys? One entrepreneur suggested that realizing their time with a toy is temporary will make it even more precious to a child.

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    Drug-Resistant Superbug Infects Hundreds in US

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says it’s tracked 587 cases of Candida auris, a deadly and largely drug-resistant fungus, with most cases reported in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. The fungus, which one epidemiologist described as “pretty much unbeatable,” not only causes severe infections, but is also extremely resistant to cleaning products — meaning hospitals have trouble disinfecting rooms.

    Should you be worried? While C. auris is mostly a threat to the very young, the very old and people with weak immune systems, experts warn that even otherwise healthy patients could need high doses of multiple antifungal medications to beat it.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, Health Disrupted.

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    Virginia Tops Texas Tech to Win First NCAA Title

    After a spectacular collapse last year, when Virginia became the tournament’s first No. 1 seed to fall to a 16 seed, the Cavaliers have found redemption — in dramatic fashion. Overcoming a late Red Riders surge, sophomore De’Andre Hunter tied the score with 12.9 seconds in regulation time and UVA held on through overtime to earn its first national title 85-77. Hunter led all scoring with 27 points, while Final Four MVP Kyle Guy added another 24.

    Can they keep the momentum going? With veteran coach Tony Bennett set to retain a handful of superstar players, oddsmakers are already predicting UVA will repeat in 2020.