The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Peru’s Ex-President Dies After Shooting Himself 

    Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia died after shooting himself in the head as police were preparing to raid his home. The 69-year-old served two terms as President and was facing arrest for his alleged connection to a multi-billion-dollar Latin American corruption scandal, where bribes were taken in exchange for bids to major contracts. Garcia was one of four former Peruvian presidents that was sucked into the scandal. 

    What was the evidence against Garcia? An investigation revealed that Garcia’s personal secretary allegedly received a $4m bribe, but the former president denied all wrongdoing up until the moment he took his life. 

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    Notre Dame Reconstruction Effort Draws $1 Billion

    In just a day and a half since firefighters finally extinguished the blaze that ravaged the 12th-century Gothic cathedral, ordinary citizens and wealthy tycoons alike collectively pledged nearly $1 billion to rebuild the revered landmark. French President Emmanuel Macron, who will hold a Cabinet meeting on the disaster later today, set a five-year deadline for the effort.

    Is that timeline realistic? Despite the generosity, experts say reconstruction could take at least a decade — though recent 3D maps and computer models of the structure could prove helpful.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on the Notre Dame fire.

  3. Indonesia

    Indonesia’s Widodo Appears Headed for Victory 

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on the verge of defeating his rival and winning a second term, early results show. After welcoming the news, Widodo called on his supporters to wait for the official results, which will be published in May. If the victory is confirmed, Widodo would have defeated Prabowo Subianto, a retired general and former son in law to late Indonesian dictator Suharto. 

    What might the future hold under Widodo? He has vowed to curb poverty and inequality by deregulating the economy and improving infrastructure in marginalized districts. 

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    Trump Vetoes Yemen War Resolution

    In the second veto of his tenure, President Donald Trump rejected a bipartisan effort by both houses of Congress to end U.S. support for a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen’s civil war. In his veto note, Trump called the measure — an attempt to roll back American involvement in foreign wars — “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

    What’s behind Trump’s move? Although he’s long spoken out against protracted U.S. military campaigns abroad, the president is prioritizing his relationship with Saudi Arabia, a key ally in keeping Iran isolated.

    Read this OZY op-ed about how Yemen’s crisis isn’t “just another dirty little war.”

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    China Posts Impressive First-Quarter Growth

    Thanks to an uptick in factory production and increasing consumer activity, the Chinese economy grew 6.4 percent during the first quarter of 2019 — higher than many expected. Last year’s unusually sharp downturn compelled authorities to “front-load” the economy through tax cuts, increased infrastructure spending and more, while an easing of trade tensions between Beijing and Washington may have boosted business confidence.

    Is China out of the woods? Not quite: Given the government’s short-term, hands-on approach, some economists expect another drop in growth before a boost later in the year.

  6. Also Important…

    Local authorities have closed public schools in the Denver area after a woman “infatuated” with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting made threats days before the 20th anniversary of that tragedy. After a long, high-profile legal dispute, Apple and Qualcomm have agreed to end all litigation against one another and signed a new six-year license agreement. And Singapore’s $1.25 billion Jewel Changi Airport is now officially open.

    #OZYfact: The NBA’s turnover rate is at an all-time low this season. 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 tomorrow.


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    EU Lawmakers Back Measure Protecting Whistleblowers

    By a vote of 591-29, the European Parliament approved a directive Tuesday that would allow whistleblowers to report abuses of European law — from money laundering to violations of product safety — without fearing for their jobs or facing other forms of retaliation. While the measure still needs approval from EU ministers before becoming law, free-speech advocates have already hailed the vote as a victory for civil society.

    Does the EU have a corruption problem? More than 80 percent of respondents in a 2017 survey who witnessed corruption said they didn’t report it.

    Read OZY’s profile of Latvia’s corruption-fighting finance minister.

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    Twitter Reports ‘Proactive’ Removal of Abusive Content

    Watch what you tweet. Crediting the same technology it uses to fight spam and platform manipulation, the company claimed in a Tuesday blog post that 38 percent of abusive content is now “surfaced proactively” for humans to review — up from 0 percent last year. The social media platform, which typically relies on abuse reports from users, also said it now responds 60 percent faster to requests for appeals.

    How else is Twitter fighting abuse? In June, it’ll begin testing a “hide replies” feature allowing users to select which responses are displayed in a given thread.

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    Israel to Deport Human Rights Activist

    Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, has vowed to appeal after an Israeli court rejected his petition to remain in the country. The government’s decision last May to deport the American lawyer was based on his activism dating back to 2006, including his alleged support for boycotts of Israeli businesses in the West Bank.

    Will he win? Shakir might have a fighting chance, since in October the Supreme Court overturned the deportation of Lara Alqasem, a Palestinian-American student who had been denied entry over her membership in an Israel-boycotting organization.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Israel’s recent elections.

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    China Is a Test Market for Luxury Fashion

    Major brands are increasingly sizing up Chinese consumers before launching their designs worldwide, OZY reports. Ermenegildo Zegna is moving its test market there, while Gucci and Calvin Klein both recently customized ad campaigns for Chinese platforms before anywhere else. Experts say the country’s ahead of the game when it comes to integrating e-commerce into social media platforms, while brands benefit from early feedback.

    What’s next? Consultants expect China’s fashion market to eclipse America’s this year for the first time — so what’s hot there could determine what you’ll see next season in New York City boutiques.

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    Columbus Sweeps Tampa Bay in Stunning NHL Playoff Upset

    On paper, the Lightning were unstoppable, with 128 regular-season points and tied for the most wins in NHL history with the 1995-96 Red Wings. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, had never won a playoff series in their 18 years. But in Game 4 of Tuesday’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal, the underdogs toppled Tampa 7-3 with strong defense and effective power plays. Columbus center Matt Duchene said, “This was the loudest crowd I’ve ever played in front of.”

    Can the Blue Jackets win it all? If goalie Sergei Bobrovsky can keep up his .932 postseason save percentage, their luck might hold against the winner of the Boston-Toronto series.