The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Sri Lanka Confronts Security Failures After Easter Attacks

    Leaders in the island nation are coming to grips with a security lapse of disastrous proportions as evidence emerges that authorities did not act on warnings before Sunday’s deadly bombings. An April 11 letter from a police official to four security agencies described an imminent suicide attack against churches by Islamist militants, and even named six potential attackers, as well as the leader of the group. Several ministers are demanding the national police chief resign over the lapse.

    Who’s to blame? Authorities say a homegrown jihadist group — seeking revenge for the New Zealand mosque bombings — is responsible, though its small size raises questions over how it could pull off such coordinated attacks.

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    Trump, Democrats Trade Legal Salvos

    The legal showdown between President Donald Trump and House Democrats intensified yesterday as Trump sued his own accounting firm and the chairman of the House Oversight Committee to block a subpoena that would lead to the disclosure of eight years’ worth of financial dealings. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee ordered that ex-White House counsel Donald McGahn appear on Capitol Hill next month — the first administration employee subpoenaed following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

    Can the president successfully block subpoenas? Some legal analysts say it’s unlikely, since courts have traditionally given Congress broad authority to investigate possible corruption.

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    Myanmar Rejects Journalists’ Final Appeal

    Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, will remain in prison after Myanmar’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an attempt to overturn their sentences on what critics claim are trumped-up charges. The Reuters journalists were arrested in late 2017 and handed seven-year sentences for allegedly violating the country’s Official Secrets Act while reporting on the Rohingya Muslim crisis. They were part of a reporting team honored last week with a Pulitzer Prize.

    What’s the bigger picture? Press advocates believe the case represents a “disturbing surge” in political prosecutions in Myanmar, where once-celebrated leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced global criticism for her government’s harsh rule.

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    Oil Prices Jump After Trump Ends Iran Waivers

    For the first time in six months, the global benchmark broke $74 per barrel following the Trump administration’s announcement yesterday that it would end temporary waivers for countries to import oil from Iran. The measure was aimed at allowing those countries — including China, Turkey, Japan and South Korea — to wean themselves off Iranian crude without falling afoul of renewed American sanctions against Tehran.

    What’s the long-term outlook? The U.S. attempt to further isolate Iran could lead to more uncertainty in an oil market already affected by precarious political circumstances in Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria.

  5. Also Important…

    The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to extend workplace discrimination protections to LGBT employees. Police in Northern Ireland say they’ve arrested a 57-year-old woman in connection to last week’s shooting death of journalist Lyra McKee. And rescue workers are searching for survivors after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the Philippines yesterday, leaving at least 11 dead.

    #OZYfact: More than 1 billion shares are traded each day on the New York Stock Exchange. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a dynamic integrated marketing specialist to join our sales support team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


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    Report Details Impact of Climate Change on Inequality

    A new report by Stanford University researchers concludes that the poorest countries have become “considerably poorer” because of global warming over the past 50 years, while some of the richest and most polluting nations have benefited from warmer temperatures. For instance, Sudan’s economy is 36 percent smaller today than it would have been without climate change, while Britain’s is 10 percent larger.

    How big is the problem? While inequality between nations has generally been decreasing, the Stanford study suggests the gap is 25 percent wider than it would have been without global warming.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, The New Frontiers of Climate Change.

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    US Airport Screening System Flagged Over Privacy Concerns

    New technology being tested by the Transportation Security Administration reportedly poses “privacy risks” over the $663,000 system’s detailed view through passengers’ clothes. “It could be genitalia,” one expert says, “it could be a colostomy bag.” A software patch to fix the issue — which harks back to when the TSA used scanners criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union as a “virtual strip search” — costs an extra $250,000.

    How important is this system? It’s described as a “key component” in the TSA’s efforts to streamline security screening at airports.

    Read this OZY feature about why airlines are making a beeline for Azerbaijan.

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    This ‘Momtrepreneur’ Takes on Retail Copycats

    By standing up to South African retail giant Woolworths, which she claimed copied the design of her company’s baby carriers, Shannon McLaughlin proved small businesses can defeat big checkbooks and expensive lawyers, OZY reports. Even before the controversy broke out, her firm, Ubuntu Baba, was becoming a popular brand — and now, in addition to growing her 12-employee business, McLaughlin is often invited to give talks on intellectual property.

    Has Woolworths learned anything? The retailer pledged to improve training for employees and partners in its “values-based approach to the design and sourcing process.”

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    Media Petition for Access to Weinstein Hearing

    More than a dozen news organizations — including the Associated Press, CNN and The New York Times — asked a New York judge yesterday to provide access to a hearing on Friday about whether to allow additional women to testify against Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced media mogul’s trial on five charges of rape and sexual assault is due to begin June 3. His attorney claims a media presence would deny Weinstein a fair trial, since jurors would be influenced by the “sensationalized” coverage.

    Where else is Weinstein in trouble? Besides the criminal case, he’s also facing civil suits in the U.S., Canada and Britain.

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    Phoenix Suns Fire Coach After One Season

    Igor Kokoškov, the NBA’s first European-born head coach, was hired to reverse last season’s dismal record of 12-61, the team’s second-worst ever — but was fired Monday night for failing to turn the team around. During Kokoškov’s brief tenure, the Suns posted a Western Conference low of 19-63. Phoenix is now searching for its fifth new coach in as many seasons.

    Did they jump the gun? Some analysts suggest the Suns’ dismissal of Kokoškov is a “puzzling decision” given the team’s modest goals, while others fault the “flailing, utterly incompetent and incoherent” organization.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman training the next crop of basketball refs.