The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. white house counsel greg craig and president barack obama

    Ex-Obama Counsel Indicted Over Ukraine Work

    Charges reportedly linked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s concluded Russian election meddling probe have been leveled for the first time against an Obama administration official. Gregory Craig, former White House counsel, was indicted today for allegedly lying about and concealing his work for Ukraine. The two Foreign Registration Act counts each carry maximum penalties of five years’ imprisonment.

    What’s Craig’s reaction? His lawyers issued a statement even before the indictment, saying the Southern District of New York had “thoroughly investigated” the case, decided against charges and called the new Washington, D.C.-initiated case an “abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”

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    WikiLeaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested

    British police say they’ve detained Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London after being invited inside by the ambassador. On Twitter, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno said his government withdrew Assange’s asylum “after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.” The controversial 47-year-old first took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition over since-dropped sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

    What happens next? Arrested partly on an American warrant, Assange faces extradition to the United States — where prosecutors unintentionally revealed charges against him last November.

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    Sudan’s President Ousted By Military

    Following weeks of protests demanding his resignation, President Omar al-Bashir was deposed by the Sudanese army today after ruling the African nation of 40 million for three decades. Talks were reportedly underway to establish a transitional military council that would take the 75-year-old’s place. Earlier today, the military had asked the Sudanese to tune in for an “important statement.”

    What’s next for Sudan? Experts say a peaceful transition hinges largely on the ability of the protest movement and the military to maintain a meaningful dialogue.

    Read OZY’s profile on the Sudanese model battling colorism.

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    EU Offers UK Brexit Extension Through October

    “Please do not waste this time.” So said European Council President Donald Tusk shortly after EU leaders agreed yesterday — following six hours of debate — to an Oct. 31 deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc. London will have the option to leave sooner if lawmakers manage to reach an agreement on the terms of withdrawal. But the decision means the U.K. will most likely participate in next month’s European Parliament elections.

    Will lawmakers use this time wisely? Some observers are already wondering whether the extension merely provides an extra few months of political deadlock.

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    India Kicks Off World’s Largest Election

    The first crop of 900 million eligible voters are heading to the polls in a six-week, seven-phase general election that’s seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The world’s largest exercise in democracy involves 2,000 political parties across India’s 36 states and union territories, as well as 2.3 million electronic voting machines and some 11 million poll workers.

    What can we expect? While polls predict Modi — a strongman praised by supporters for his fiery leadership — will return to power, his perceived anti-minority policies in the diverse nation of 1.3 billion could also hobble him.

    Check out OZY’s original series, States of the Nation: India.

  6. Also Important…

    The White House appears headed for another showdown with Congress after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday his agency wouldn’t meet House Democrats’ deadline to hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country must deliver a “telling blow” to countries that impose sanctions on Pyongyang by becoming more economically self-reliant. And actor Geoffrey Rush has won a defamation suit against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

    #OZYfact: Between November 2017, when Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office, and December 2018, 55 registered companies shut down — 10 percent more than over a similar period at the end of Robert Mugabe’s tenure. Read more on OZY.

    We’re listening! OZY’s launching a series about love stories — and we want to hear yours. If you’ve found yourself in an unconventional or intriguing romantic situation, send an email to and tell us all about it!


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    South Korea’s Abortion Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

    In a landmark decision today, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered the revision of a 1953 law criminalizing abortion in nearly all cases — seven years after the same court narrowly upheld the controversial measure. Current legislation punishes women who terminate a pregnancy with a $1,850 fine or one year in prison, while medical professionals who perform abortion procedures face two years behind bars.

    Why now? Observers have pointed to an “unprecedented wave of women’s rights activism” in South Korea, a highly developed nation that’s still struggling with deep-seated gender inequality.

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    Amazon Go Stores Will Accept Cash

    Give them a little credit. While the stores were intended to be a futuristic shopping experience where you don’t stop to pay — facial recognition simply tracks what you take and charges your account — an Amazon official told employees that they’ll begin accepting cash. Critics have complained that the stores discriminate against people without smartphones or bank accounts. Massachusetts and New Jersey have already banned cashless stores, and several major cities are considering doing the same.

    What’s next? Beyond banknotes, Amazon Go stores may soon accept benefits from the U.S. federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Amazon’s New York exit.

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    Is This Entrepreneur’s VR Browser the Next iPhone?

    Russell Ladson envisions a future in which users can navigate virtual reality just as easily as they currently surf the internet on laptops and smartphones. The 29-year-old has built a VR web browser called Drop that’s become one of the top downloaded titles on the HTC Vive headset, OZY reports. Some observers believe that for VR to transition beyond gaming, social norms and expectations will need to evolve, but Ladson disagrees.

    Can his vision become reality? The VR market will be worth an estimated $60 billion by 2023, and $101 billion by 2027 — while Ladson believes virtual reality is going to have its “iPhone moment” within 15 years.

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    Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines

    Yesterday researchers published details of the discovery of Homo luzonensis, named after the island of Luzon, who lived 50,000 to 67,000 years ago. The small hominin was identified from six small bones and seven teeth, which are more similar to contemporary humans than to Lucy, the famous australopithecine ancestor discovered in Africa. Luzon is the third island in Southeast Asia in the past 15 years to yield signs of ancient life.

    What does this discovery tell us? It challenges the outdated idea that humans developed in a neat linear progression from less to more advanced.

    Don’t miss the first season of OZY’s new podcastThe Future of X: Health.

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    Dozens Arrested in Final Four Sex Trafficking Bust

    No one wins this game. A five-day sting operation coinciding with last weekend’s NCAA Final Four tournament in Minneapolis has rescued 28 people, including one minor, from a sex trafficking ring. Officials from Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety said undercover officers busted 58 people, including 47 for felony solicitation of a minor.

    What’s the link between trafficking and sports? Major events that draw visitors from far and wide also draw criminals, and some suggest the Super Bowl is the world’s biggest sex trafficking event: This year’s game in Atlanta saw 169 arrests over an 11-day sting.