The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. rep. ilhan omar under fire shutterstock 1341075254

    Debate Rages Over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 Comment

    To conservatives, it minimizes the terror attacks. To liberals, the outrage over Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s reference to 9/11 as “some people did something” is out-of-context incitement of Islamophobia and even deadly violence. The New York Post juxtaposed her picture and the burning Twin Towers, while President Donald Trump tweeted attack footage interspersed with video of Omar’s speech.

    What could come of this? Omar’s fellow Democrats have disciplined their Muslim colleague for inflammatory Israel rhetoric, but this time, top party members defended her, warning that such vitriol will further incite deadly hatred against her and Muslims generally.

  2. Shutterstock 1190733121

    Ending 11-Year Drought, Tiger Woods Wins Fifth Masters

    The magic and the tears have returned. The multiracial phenom who turbocharged golf as a spectator sport, then fell into a decade-long physical, emotional and reputational slump, staged what’s being called history’s greatest comeback at the prestigious competition today. Woods, 43, nearly dropped off the radar before arriving at Augusta, Georgia, but broke out of a five-way tie to win his fifth Master’s Tournament by one stroke.

    What’s different this time? Woods hugged his son Charlie — in the same place he hugged his father, who died in 2006, upon his first Master’s triumph in 1997.

  3. Assange protest shutterstock 1116388910

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    With a photogenic cat, he resembled an Ian Fleming-inspired villain. But Julian Assange, arrested Thursday at London’s Ecuadorean embassy after his 2,487-day asylum was revoked, is a hero to many of various political hues — even journalists. He founded Wikileaks, which is both lionized for exposing government secrets like NSA cyber-surveillance and reviled for reportedly helping Russians meddle in U.S. elections.

    What’s next for Assange? It appears he’ll be extradited from Britain to the United States to face military hacking conspiracy charges, while Swedish authorities are re-examining rape charges dropped for technical reasons.

  4. Joko Widodo shutterstock 1041813985

    Indonesia Preps for World’s Largest One-Day Vote

    India may have a larger electorate, but more than 190 million Indonesian voters can cast ballots in a single day. Thousands of local positions and over 500 parliamentary seats will be decided Wednesday. President Joko Widodo is expected to win a second term, but challenger Prabowo Subianto is preparing to contest results amid irregularities already being reported and has urged supporters to demonstrate if he loses.

    What’s in it for millennials? Young progressives are planning a mass campaign to register protest votes against both candidates, known as golput.

    Read OZY’s coverage of President Joko Widodo’s pivot away from secularism. 

  5. us border barbed wire shutterstock 643588558

    Trump Accused of Offering Pardon in Border Shutdown Bid

    Has he crossed a line? The New York Times reports that while urging his Customs and Border Protection commissioner to close the U.S.-Mexico border, he said he’d pardon him in the event of legal trouble. He soon named that official, Kevin McAleenan, to replace ousted Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of Homeland Security, which has denied the Times report.

    What else is happening with immigration? Trump has also set social media alight with his abortive threat to dump the burgeoning population of asylum seekers into “sanctuary cities,” whose officials say they’d be happy to receive them.

  6. anti brexit protesters shutterstock 1342204046

    Brexit Goes on Holiday

    The pressure’s off. The European Union and Britain agreed last week to extend the deadline for their divorce from yesterday to Oct. 31, allowing time to work out a post-Brexit relationship and avoid the U.K.’s “crashing out” of the bloc. That left Prime Minister Theresa May, who continued to negotiate with Labour Party rivals on Friday, facing the anger of her own conservative party members.

    What’s next? Many believe the six-month delay allows time for a new Brexit referendum, but Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said he didn’t think there would be enough time to organize a vote.

  7. india ss 5

    Have 120 Million Indian Voters Disappeared?

    Next Thursday, millions will vote in the national election’s second of seven phases. But many may not get the chance, as voting rights campaigners are finding swaths of the electorate missing from electoral rolls, reports journalist Soumya Shankar. They’re disproportionately Muslim and unlikely to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and low-caste Dalits.

    What can be done? A new app that checks users’ status has helped re-register some 40,000 voters, but with an estimated 120 million citizens disenfranchised, a much bigger effort is needed.

    Read this OZY op-ed on India’s electronic voting.

  8. Also Important…

    Tornadoes killed two people as they moved across Texas Saturday with a storm system that now threatens much of the U.S. East Coast. Protest leaders in Sudan have met with the country’s new military regime and are demanding a civilian government in the wake of longtime President Omar al-Bashir’s ouster. And the world’s largest airplane, designed to cheaply loft satellites into orbit, has made its first test flight over California’s Mojave Desert.

    In the week ahead: Global warming appears to be the defining issue of today’s Finnish parliamentary elections. A rainy Boston Marathon is set for Monday. And this week is Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and culminating in Easter seven days later.

    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.


  1. china surveillance shutterstock 18086623

    Are Uighurs Guinea Pigs for Chinese Tech?

    There’s no place to hide. Wherever they turn these days, Xinjiang province’s minority Uighurs face cameras and digital surveillance. Anything they do or anyone they contact that suggests a threat to security algorithms — like wearing Islam-associated clothing or failing to employ enough Mandarin in communications — could land them in detention or bar them from public places.

    Is it just about thwarting extremism? Beijing insists so, but the facial recognition and other surveillance tech being perfected in Xinjiang is being sold in places like Zimbabwe, where it’s slated to track citizens’ movements.

    Read this OZY story about India’s national ID woes.

  2. Peru lake shutterstock 1096927493

    One Ordinary Guy Is Suing to Save the Climate

    He’s got nothing else. Saúl Lliuya’s Peruvian Andes community faces the constant threat of annihilation. Global warming is weakening glaciers above a lake and could cause a devastating flash flood in the villages downstream. He can’t stop the world’s industry from polluting, so, after connecting with German climate advocates, he sued RWE, Germany’s largest energy utility.

    Could it make a difference? The suit alleges that RWE creates 1 percent of the emissions raising global temperatures, and thus threatening Peruvian homes. While any effect will be too late, to Lliuya, it’s a “shout” to change the world.

  3. black hole messier 87 national science foundation and event horizon telescope crop

    Seeing Cosmic Truth for the First Time

    The grainy image may not look impressive, but to astrophysicist Janna Levin, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Last week the Event Horizon Telescope, which coalesced the power of radio telescopes around the world, provided an image of a black hole 55 million light years distant. Before that, scientists like Levin could only imagine such things. 

    Is telescope collaboration the future? The Messier 87 picture could be just the start. Now there’s hope of imaging the closer — but smaller — Sagittarius A*, the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

    Read OZY’s coverage of space travel for all.

  4. game of thrones chair at 30 rock in new york shutterstock 1359067238

    HBO May Not Win Streaming’s Game of Thrones

    Soon, nobody will have dragons. As HBO airs the final season of Game of Thrones, its biggest hit ever, it’s also watching Richard Plepler sailing into the sunset after three decades as CEO of cable television’s beacon of creative success. His recent departure is the most obvious sign of change as AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of HBO parent Time Warner crystallizes.

    Is winter coming? Many say Plepler was the guardian of HBO’s creative genius, which might be consumed in the fires of streaming-service competition.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on Apple’s answer to Netflix.

  5. golfer xander schauffele shutterstock 1201426849

    Now Golf’s Students Are Leading the Masters

    You can’t swing a 9-iron in Augusta these days without hitting a youthful contender. Ten PGA tournaments were won last year by players under 25, so it’s easy to understand why half of the Georgia tournament’s top 10 players have yet to celebrate their 30th birthdays.

    So who’s going to win? They should call it the Masters of Suspense, because top-ranked players haven’t won it in 10 years. Xander Schauffele, 25, the British Open’s runner-up, might be the 40:1 odds sleeper to awaken fans when the tournament reaches its climax on Sunday.