The Presidential Daily Brief


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    ISIS Claims Sri Lanka Easter Bombings

    In a statement yesterday, the militant group said it was responsible for the coordinated attacks that killed more than 350 at churches and hotels in the island nation Sunday. It also released a video of Mohammed Zaharan — Sri Lankan authorities’ chief suspect — pledging allegiance to the group. Today State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene announced the bombers may have been trained and funded by ISIS.

    What do we know about the attackers? Wijewardene said most were well-educated and from financially stable families, while Indian authorities said they’d been monitoring Zaharan over his suspected online recruiting activities.

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    Kim Jong Un Preps for Summit With Putin

    The North Korean leader has arrived in Russia ahead of his first-ever meeting with President Vladimir Putin tomorrow. A Russian presidential adviser said the summit will focus on denuclearization, but the two leaders aren’t expected to sign any agreements or offer a joint statement. It’s the first visit by a North Korean leader to Russia since 2011.

    What’s Kim’s strategy? Analysts believe he’s attempting to show that Pyongyang’s not solely reliant on talks with Beijing or Washington — even if Moscow can’t do much to influence the situation.

    Check out OZY’s Special Briefing on Pyongyang’s economic potential.

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    Hong Kong Activists Jailed for ‘Umbrella’ Protests

    A group of pro-democracy protesters who helped organize the Umbrella Movement of 2014 were handed prison sentences today for causing public nuisance. Two leaders were jailed for 16 months, while other punishments ranged from eight-month stretches to suspended sentences. Judge Johnny Chan criticized the defendants for failing to apologize for “the inconvenience or sufferings experienced by the public” during their nonviolent protests.

    What’s the bigger picture? Some advocates say Wednesday’s sentences are aimed at showing that “serious consequences” are in store for anyone seeking to promote democracy in the autonomous territory.

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    Reports: Huawei to Help Build UK’s 5G Network

    Despite concerns from several high-ranking ministers, including the Home and Defense secretaries, Britain’s National Security Council on Tuesday reportedly approved the controversial telecommunications giant to help build antennas and other “non-core” infrastructure. But that also means the company will be blocked from building more essential parts of Britain’s 5G network, a decision rooted in cybersecurity concerns shared by the U.S. and other Western countries.

    Is this a good compromise? Some observers believe the move represents a potentially workable balance of diplomatic, economic and security interests.

  5. Also Important…

    Investors are eagerly awaiting Boeing’s first quarterly earnings report since the second deadly crash of a 737 Max jet. The death toll in this week’s earthquakes in the Philippines has risen to 16, while another 81 are injured. And President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered administration officials not to attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.

    #OZYfact: In 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte became the first Native American to graduate from medical school. 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!


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    Saudi Arabia Executes Dozens for Terrorism

    In one of the largest mass executions in recent years, the Saudi government on Tuesday beheaded 37 people, leaving at least two bodies on public display. Most of those killed were Shiites, prompting human rights advocates to accuse authorities of using the death penalty as “a political tool to crush dissent” within the minority group. One executed man was arrested when he was only 16 years old.

    How does Riyadh view capital punishment? Third only to China and Iran worldwide, it carried out 149 executions last year.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman shattering Saudi Arabia’s glass ceiling.

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    Trump Meets Twitter CEO at White House

    President Trump says he discussed “lots of subjects” yesterday with Jack Dorsey and several other executives from his favorite social media platform. Just hours before their closed-door meeting, Trump accused the company — through a series of tweets — of “playing political games” and exhibiting an anti-Republican bias.

    Does Twitter censor Trump? Though critics have noted that some of the president’s tweets violate the platform’s policies, Twitter explained it has separate rules for world leaders because blocking them would stifle “necessary discussion.”

    Check out this OZY story about why Japan loves Twitter.

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    India’s 500 Million Farmers Are Key Swing Voters

    In a national election dominated by issues like corruption and tensions with Pakistan, expressing sympathy for humble farmers is a low-key strategy. But it’s an important one, OZY reports, since agriculture is the primary livelihood of 58 percent of India’s population. While not the favorite to win, the opposition Congress party is hoping that forgiving small farm loans nationwide — as it’s already done in three states — could give it a boost over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. 

    Will it work? Debt relief on such a scale has never been attempted before, though amid widespread farmer protests it may be a popular platform.

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    NASA Lander Detects First ‘Marsquake’

    The space agency’s InSight probe detected its first faint rumble on April 6, several months after landing with a seismometer on board. Experts said the 10-minute quake was more similar to seismic activity on the moon — where signals last nearly an hour — than to shorter, sharper quakes on Earth. That could be because of the composition of Martian soil, scientists say.

    Why does it matter? Although subtle, these rumblings could provide clues to the Red Planet’s geological makeup and activity, as well as how much water it might contain.

    Read OZY’s Immodest Proposal on sending philosophers and poets to Mars.

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    ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Tops $1 Million in Winnings

    Taking home $118,816 from yesterday’s show, professional gambler James Holzhauer became only the second contestant ever to break the million-dollar mark. The 34-year-old from Las Vegas has won $1,061,554 during 14 games, and his Tuesday winnings were the second-highest single-day haul in the show’s 35-year history. Holzhauer holds the top seven spots for highest daily winnings and is fourth on the list of consecutive games won.

    How high can he go? At this rate, Holzhauer’s high-roller strategy could push him past Ken Jennings’ record of $2.5 million in winnings — in half as many games.

    Check out OZY’s Flashback on previous notable Jeopardy! contestants.