The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. shutterstock 555592255 wikileaks

    Assange Arrest Captures Global Attention

    Shortly after British police detained WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London yesterday, his fate became a topic of conversation around the world. While British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn asked Prime Minister Theresa May to block his extradition, President Donald Trump — who praised Assange while on the 2016 campaign trail — said, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks.” And in Ecuador, authorities said they arrested a man with “close” ties to Assange.

    How soon could he be extradited? Although he’s been charged with conspiring to hack into Pentagon computers, legal experts say it could be years before he reaches U.S. soil.

  2. sudan shutterstock 1270364794

    Sudan’s Protesters Prepare for Long Struggle

    Yesterday thousands of demonstrators ignored a curfew announced by Gen. Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf — the chief of a military council that’s replaced ex-President Omar al-Bashir — to demand a civilian-led government. Suspending the Constitution and declaring a three-month state of emergency, the military said it would rule for at least two years. Thirteen protesters were killed yesterday in clashes with security forces, bringing the total since Saturday to at least 35.

    What’s the rest of the world saying? Although the U.S. and the EU have called for a civilian-led government, key neighbor Egypt says it has “complete trust” in Sudan’s military council.

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    Uber Unveils IPO Filing Amid Caution

    Releasing the highly anticipated details of its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, the ride-hailing giant warned it may never turn a profit as it expects operating costs to “increase significantly.” Last year the company lost more than $3 billion from operations. Hoping for a valuation of up to $100 billion, Uber — which reportedly plans to sell $10 billion in stock — will likely start trading on the New York Stock Exchange in early May.

    How big will Uber’s IPO be? It’ll probably be the largest since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public with a market valuation of $169 billion in 2014.

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

  4. migrants climbing border wall shutterstock 1229072248

    White House Considered Sending Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

    As recently as February, White House officials proposed sending Latin American migrants detained while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to “small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” considered Democratic strongholds, reportedly as political retribution. Floated twice in the past six months, the idea has since been rejected, the White House said, ending “any further discussion” on the matter.

    Whose idea was it? Some sources say key adviser Stephen Miller — who declined to comment — was its chief backer, signaling a hardening stance against immigration deep within the White House.

  5. Also Important…

    Brunei’s government has defended its new Sharia law punishing adultery and gay sex with stoning as a purportedly preventative measure. The Taliban announced the beginning of a spring offensive despite its recent efforts to reach a peace settlement with the United States. And doctors in Papua New Guinea have described a “nationwide problem” of botched penis enlargements involving injections of foreign substances.

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

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  1. space x launch shutterstock 1109000222

    Israeli Spacecraft Crashes — But SpaceX Lands Boosters

    Within a few hours yesterday, private enterprise saw both cosmic failure and success. Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander, built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, crashed on the moon when its main engine failed. Shortly after, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy Rocket into orbit, while all three of its reusable boosters landed successfully for the first time ever.

    Was the moon mission a total failure? Crash aside, Beresheet showed how to reach Earth’s satellite using an energy-efficient elliptical route — and the team will still receive a $1 million Google Lunar X Prize to keep trying.

  2. Disney

    Disney Unveils New Streaming Service

    This is no Mickey Mouse operation. Netflix will face serious competition as Disney+ is set to launch Nov. 12, the company confirmed yesterday. Fresh off its purchase of 21st Century Fox, Disney will price the ad-free service — whose interface is similar to that of its chief competitor — at $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

    Should Netflix be worried? With 500 films and 7,000 series episodes in its library, Disney says it’ll likely combine subscriptions for Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+, a move that could pose a formidable threat.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Apple’s new streaming service.

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    Religious Anti-Vax Beliefs Threaten This Indonesian Province

    In Aceh, where Sharia law is in force, parents shun shots for measles and rubella because they contain pig-derived gelatin, OZY reports. Even after religious authorities rescinded a fatwa against vaccines, Aceh’s immunization rate remains below 8 percent, compared to a 70 percent national average. While most Islamic and Jewish authorities accept vaccines for the sake of public health, some ultra-Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians still oppose them.

    What can be done? With halal vaccines still as much as 20 years away, measles outbreaks in New York City and elsewhere serve as a stark reminder that anti-vax beliefs could carry a high price.

  4. China Economy

    China’s Retirement Fund Is Drying Up

    According to a government report released this week, the country’s main pension fund will be empty by 2035 due to a decline in the available workforce. China’s pay-as-you-go system relies on current workers to support existing retirees, and while the law mandates contributions from both employers and employees, enforcement has been lax. Meanwhile, despite ending four decades of the population-limiting one-child policy in 2014, China’s birth rate continues to fall.

    Can it get worse? By 2050, when each retiree will be supported by a single worker, the shortfall is expected to climb to $1.64 trillion.

    Read OZY’s profile of the Frenchman sketching a new social safety net.

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    Fatal Shooting Follows Nipsey Hussle Funeral Procession

    “We must stop this senseless violence.” So tweeted Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore after one person was killed and three others injured in a drive-by shooting yesterday that took place shortly after the memorial procession for the slain rapper. About 21,000 people — including Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Jay-Z — attended a service at the Staples Center dedicated to the 33-year-old Grammy nominee, who was shot dead March 31.

    Who else honored him? Karen Civil read a letter from President Barack Obama, who said that while many looked at Hussle’s L.A. neighborhood and saw “only gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential.”