The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. police line shutterstock 56280433

    Gunman Kills One, Wounds Three in San Diego Synagogue

    As Congregation Chabad members celebrated Passover, a young man with an assault-style rifle tried to shoot the rabbi but fatally struck a 60-year-old woman between the two. His gun reportedly malfunctioned before he fled. The attack in suburban Poway came six months after a gunman killed 11 in Pittsburgh in America’s deadliest such violence.

    Is there a suspect? Surrendering to police two miles away from his vehicle, which contained a rifle, was John Earnest, 19, of San Diego, whose name appears in an online post praising the March 15 New Zealand mosque massacre and Pittsburgh killings.

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    Barr Rejects House Hearing Format, Sparking Subpoena Vow

    Will legislators get the last word? Attorney General William Barr has withstood criticism for his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election meddling and President Donald Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice. This week he’s to face Senate and House Judiciary Committee interrogators on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, under oath.

    What’s the problem? While he seems content with the reception Republicans have for him in the Senate, Barr has said he won’t accept the questioning regimen House Democrats have planned for him, but the committee chairman says he’ll subpoena the attorney general if he doesn’t show.

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    Oliver North to Exit NRA Presidency Amid Probe

    He didn’t stand his ground. North told the National Rifle Association’s national convention, which ends today, that he won’t seek re-election. He’d been trying to oust the group’s longtime chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, amid a probe of NRA’s nonprofit status by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

    Is the group damaged? In one way, it’s on a roll, with President Donald Trump announcing the U.S. pullout from a conventional weapons sales treaty at the convention. But Trump shuttered his own charity after New York opened its books, so NRA officials are taking the state probe very seriously.

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    More Bloodshed As Sri Lanka Seeks Bombers

    Six children and three women were among 15 found dead after a shootout at what Sri Lankan police said was a safe house for suspected suicide bombers. Authorities have spent the past week seeking those behind the bombings that killed 253 people last Sunday, many of them in churches celebrating Easter. A military spokesman said the house, bombed from within, was a factory for improvised explosives.

    Were these the Easter terrorists? The government blames the extremist National Tawheed Jamath group, whom it says occupied the house, but NTJ hasn’t claimed responsibility. ISIS has, but no evidence supports that claim.

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    Afghan Politics 101: The No-Win Scenario

    “Nobody’s going to fix this country but us.” That’s what Attaullah Nasib, a young Afghan refugee, said after leaving the U.S. capital to run for Afghanistan’s Parliament. Pledging to shun commonplace vote-buying, Nasib soon found he had to adapt, not by offering cash, but by gifting carpets and even office furniture to community leaders promising electoral support.

    How did it end? After 10 other candidates died in Taliban attacks and Nasib felt the concussion of a polling place blast, widespread fraud reports invalidated results — while the government struggles for recognition in peace talks it’s been excluded from.

  6. spain feminist protest wolf pack rape case shutterstock 1167153883

    How a Gang Rape Case Helped Skew Spain’s Election

    They called themselves the “Wolf Pack.” Five men charged with raping an intoxicated young woman at Pamplona’s 2016 Festival of San Fermin received lighter “abuse” convictions, reinvigorating a Spanish feminist movement — and a dormant far right. Hundreds of thousands of women demonstrated, telling the victim, “I believe you,” as assailant-supporting posts flooded macho automotive website ForoCoches.

    Where is this leading? Vocally opposing strengthened legal protections for victims of gender violence, the far-right Vox party has surged from .2 to over 9 percent in early results from today’s parliamentary elections.

    Read OZY’s profile of a rising Spanish political star.

  7. Also Important…

    A construction crane collapsed in Seattle on Saturday, killing two ironworkers and two others in a vehicle crushed by the falling steel. Authorities in Tennessee have a suspect in custody after finding five people dead in two homes. Los Angeles County health officials have ordered more than 1,000 students to stay home from UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles to contain a measles outbreak as the president says Americans “have to get their shots.” 

    In the week ahead: On Tuesday, Akihito becomes the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in more than two centuries. Also that day, China and the U.S., led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, will resume trade talks in Beijing. And Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled to appear Thursday in a London court regarding an American extradition request.

    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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    Is Australia’s Catocide Program for the Best?

    Their nine lives are up. Conservation officials aim to kill 2 million feral cats by 2020, despite outcry from friends of felines everywhere, including singer Morrissey and 1950s cinematic “sex kitten” Brigitte Bardot. Hunters with guns and bows have led the way, while poisoned sausages have been widely deployed. Ecosystems with native cats can tolerate feral felines, but they’ve been “calamitous” for Australian wildlife, having helped extinguish 22 native species, including a type of wallaby.

    Is it just Australia? New Zealand, with no native predatory mammals, is considering outlawing even pet cats to protect kiwis and other helpless species.

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    He’s Fighting to Save Endangered Grocery Stores 

    The emergence of digital shopping is threatening grocery stores’ survival. But there’s a glimmer of hope in Kevin Kelley, who’s inventing a new paradigm that appeals to customers’ senses and mentality, with things like kitchen mock-ups where milk and cookies are always paired. The stakes are high: Failure means Amazon and other digital competitors will likely monopolize household food provision.

    How much food are people buying online? Surprisingly little: Only 3 percent today, but it’s predicted that this share will hit 20 percent in six years.

    Don’t miss this OZY feature on how robot grocers may come to your street.

  3. grizzly bear relaxing on log shutterstock 144478324

    The Anti-Vax Bear That Wasn’t There

    It was a great story. Journalist Anna Merlan was delighted to hear that an anti-vax crusader was seeking a permit to hold a rally in a small Florida town, complete with a dunking booth and, yes, a bear. A “heavily sedated but alert grizzly bear” that families could pet and no longer fear everything the government says is dangerous (like, say, measles).

    A grizzly, really? Her research uncovered an elaborate hoax, apparently aimed at embarrassing an actual anti-vaccination activist, but of the type Merlan fears damages people’s trust in honest reporting.

    Read OZY’s informative piece on our disinformation tolerance.

  4. Music

    Meet the Queen of India’s Blues Singers

    Tipriti “Tips” Kharbangar has paid her dues. The 30-something with an undeniable onstage intensity rose to fame 15 years ago when she started a band called Soulmate with guitarist Rudy Wallang. The duo has shared the stage with prominent artists such as Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi and Carlos Santana, for whom Kharbangar opened when he came to India — and dictated which song she’d sing with the fusion legend. 

    Who has Kharbangar inspired? Successful blueswoman Amabel Susngi “fell in love with her music and vocals” upon seeing Kharbangar perform, and others are sure to follow.

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    Skiing Straight Into Alpine Hell 

    The Streif is where it all goes down. It’s arguably the most dangerous and prestigious run in men’s World Cup skiing, and its base in Kitzbühel, Austria, has a social scene to match. It’s not enough that skiers have to negotiate narrow, breakneck curves, a 200-foot jump and a 90 mph final leg. They must first confront all-night debauchery, which may be appropriate before facing one’s doom.

    How bad is it? In 2016, the race was canceled after several skiers were medevaced following crashes. Constructed in 1937, the Streif likely wouldn’t be approved under today’s safety strictures.