The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Death Toll Nears 300 in Sri Lanka Easter Attacks

    A government investigator says seven suicide bombers were behind the eight coordinated attacks that killed at least 290 people and injured 500 more across the island nation yesterday. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the violence — the deadliest since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago — police say a militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath was behind the attacks. Thirteen suspects have been arrested so far.

    Will there be political consequences? Sunday’s attacks could boost opposition leader and ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while some predict they’ll lead to calls for more heavy-handed rule.

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    Comedian to Become Ukraine’s Next President

    It’s no laughing matter. Popular satirist Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays an accidental president on TV, trounced incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine’s runoff election yesterday, securing 73 percent of the vote. “I will never let you down,” the 41-year-old told supporters. Poroshenko promptly conceded — although he pledged to stay in politics — while foreign leaders congratulated Zelensky.

    What’s next for the upstart? Criticized for his lack of policy and suspected ties to a shadowy oligarch, Zelensky must prove to the public he can actually clean up the corrupt establishment like he promised.

    Check out this OZY story on the major challenge Zelensky faces.

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    US Democrats Weigh Calls for Impeachment

    Days after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Democrats are carefully considering just how vocally — or even whether — to demand impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. So far, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the only prominent 2020 contender to have done so, while the Democratic chairs of several powerful House committees appear wary of the prospect, but haven’t ruled it out.

    What’s behind the debate? Although pushing for impeachment could boost Democratic hopefuls for the presidency, it may also embolden Trump supporters, especially if the effort fails.

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    Huawei Reports First-Quarter Revenue Boost

    The world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker posted a 39 percent increase in revenue, to $26.8 billion, during the first three months of 2019. Huawei’s first-ever quarterly report also disclosed an 8 percent profit margin, which suggests that business is booming despite a U.S effort to pressure countries to drop its technology over cybersecurity concerns.

    Why is Huawei so successful? It’s leading the charge in the global 5G rollout, claiming to have signed dozens of commercial contracts with mobile carriers and shipped more than 70,000 base stations to various markets.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on the Huawei scandal.

  5. Also Important…

    The U.S. is expected to announce the end of temporary waivers for eight countries to import Iranian oil ahead of a May 2 deadline. Disgraced former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been hit with a fresh charge of aggravated breach of trust. And Tesla is investigating the apparent explosion of one of its electric cars in a Shanghai parking lot.

    #OZYfact: The South African lubricant Q20, a local answer to WD-40, has sold at least 100 million units over the years and developed a cult following. Read more on OZY.

    We’re listening! OZY has launched 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!


  1. facebook magnifying glass on privacy shutterstock 1066441847

    Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media After Attacks

    Fake news and fears of further violence following yesterday’s terror attacks prompted Sri Lankan authorities to restrict access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber and YouTube. Facebook in particular has been blamed for inciting sectarian violence there last year. In a statement, a spokesman for the platform said local communities “rely on our services,” and that Facebook is cooperating with authorities by removing offensive content.

    How long will these restrictions last? Officials have not given any indication of when the ban will be lifted, although they maintain it’s temporary.

    Read OZY’s profile of the Sri Lankan engineer turning tuk-tuks green.

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    Is a Recycling Revolution Brewing in China?

    Long seen as the outlier in global efforts to promote recycling, China may finally be changing its tune. While it’s responsible for nearly one-third of the planet’s plastic pollution, the country posted an 11 percent increase in metal and plastic recycling in 2017, OZY reports — more than the 6.8 percent U.S. increase during the most recent five-year period for which data is available.

    What’s changed? Last year’s near-total reduction of recyclable plastic imports has created a supply void for China’s plastic processing industry, and to fill it, the government is focusing on processing its own mountains of plastic waste.

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    Study: Predictable Passwords Lead to Millions of Hacks

    A new survey from the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center revealed that “123456” was the most common password among Britons whose accounts were hacked last year, followed by “123456789.” Collectively, they were responsible for around 30 million breaches. “Password,” “qwerty” and “111111” rounded out the top five most-hacked, while first names, led by “Ashley,” were also commonly used.

    What’s at stake? Many survey respondents didn’t use a complex, unique password for their main email account — which is perhaps why 42 percent said they expect to lose money to online fraud.

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    Disney Descendant Slams Executive Pay

    Days after blasting CEO Bob Iger’s $65 million salary as “insane,” filmmaker Abigail Disney — the grandchild of co-founder Roy Disney — expanded on her thoughts about unequal compensation via Twitter yesterday. Dismissing the company’s efforts to pay over minimum wage and offer educational opportunities as “a dodge,” she added that the pay disparity “so violates … our innate sense of fairness it is impossible not to wince.”

    How big is the gap? A recent study found that Iger’s 2018 compensation was more than 1,400 times the median Disney wage.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about when Disney dabbled in sex ed.

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    Flyers Remove Statue Over Racist History

    Citing “lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization,” the Philadelphia NHL team announced yesterday that it would remove a likeness of American singer Kate Smith from outside its arena because of the allegedly racist nature of some of her songs from the 1930s. The Flyers also said they’d join the New York Yankees in refusing to play Smith’s popular rendition of “God Bless America” at all Wells Fargo Center games.

    What are Smith’s relatives saying? They’re no fans of the decision by both teams, arguing the singer has been mischaracterized as a racist.