The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Socialists Win Spanish Election, Far-Right Enters Parliament

    Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party secured 29 percent of the vote yesterday, but will need to team up with either leftists and regional parties or the center-right Citizens party to cobble together a ruling government. Meanwhile, a far-right party will enter Parliament for the first time since the end of Spain’s dictatorship in the 1970s, after the socially conservative Vox party picked up 24 seats.

    What’s on voters’ minds? Catalonia remains a contentious issue, with Sánchez facing criticism for not being tough enough on separatists.

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    San Diego Tense After Synagogue Attack

    Houses of worship in Southern California tightened security yesterday after a shooting at an area synagogue during Passover services Saturday left a 60-year-old woman dead. “It was horrific,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was shot in both hands by the 19-year-old gunman. The attack occurred exactly six months after 11 people were killed in a similar assault on a Pittsburgh synagogue.

    Are communities preparing for more violence? Experts say Jewish institutions around the country have already boosted security measures in recent years, including hiring guards and installing surveillance cameras.

    Don’t miss this OZY True Story about witnessing a shooting.

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    Sri Lanka Bans Face Coverings After Bombings

    According to the office of President Maithripala Sirisena, any veils making “identification difficult” would be banned in the island nation following an Easter attack by Islamist militants that left 253 people dead. The emergency law comes as groups of all faiths remain tense amid warnings of more attacks.

    How many people will the new measure affect? While just under 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s population is Muslim, only a small minority are thought to wear the niqab or burqa, though the law did not ban any specific veils by name.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on the Sri Lanka bombings.

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    Boeing CEO to Face Shareholders Amid New Controversy

    For the first time since two deadly crashes of his company’s 737 MAX jet, Dennis Muilenburg will attempt to soothe investors’ concerns during an annual meeting in Chicago today. He’ll also hold his first press conference since the grounding of the embattled airplane, which has cost Boeing around $1 billion. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines revealed it wasn’t told that a malfunction warning light linked to the crashes had been disabled in the newest 737 Max planes.

    How are Boeing’s numbers? Since the Ethiopian Airlines crash last month, company shares have lost nearly 10 percent of their value.

  5. Also Important…

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani convened a 3,200-person grand council today to help navigate peace talks with the Taliban. Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait yesterday in a move that could stoke further tensions with China. And a suspected spy for the United Arab Emirates has committed suicide in a Turkish prison, according to state media.

    #OZYfact: The world’s largest religious festival, popularly known as the Kumbh, drew more than 150 million Hindus this year — compared to the 2.4 million Hajj pilgrims who visited Saudi Arabia in 2018. 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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    Scores of Indonesian Election Staff Die From Fatigue

    Ten days after most of Indonesia’s 193 million voters participated in a massive election, officials say 272 poll workers have succumbed to fatigue-related illnesses after spending long hours hand-counting millions of ballots. Another 1,878 were reported to be ill. The April 17 vote, which involved 6 million workers across 810,000 polling stations, was the first time the sprawling island nation opted to hold simultaneous presidential, parliamentary, regional and municipal elections.

    When will the results be in? Although exit polls suggest incumbent President Joko Widodo won handily, the official tally of what one expert called the “world’s most complicated election” is due May 22.

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    Foreign Businesses Are Flocking to Saudi Arabia

    According to the kingdom’s General Investment Authority, officials granted 70 percent more licenses to prospective foreign businesses during the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year. British and Chinese companies in the fields of education and information technology received most of the permits. The spike in foreign interest is good news for a government looking to wean itself from its reliance on oil.

    Does that mean investors are bullish? While foreign direct investment doubled to $3 billion in 2018, that’s still below the last decade’s average, as many remain wary of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its ambitious economic plans.

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    New York Times Apologizes for ‘Anti-Semitic’ Cartoon

    “Apology not accepted.” That’s how the American Jewish Committee responded to a New York Times editor’s note acknowledging “an error of judgment” in publishing a controversial editorial cartoon Thursday. It depicted a blind, skullcap-wearing President Donald Trump being led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was drawn as a guide dog on a leash with a Star of David collar. On Sunday, the paper formally apologized, saying, “Such imagery is always dangerous.”

    Is anti-Semitism on the rise? It appears so: Last year, France saw a 74 percent spike in reported incidents, while German police said anti-Jewish violence had risen 60 percent.

    Read OZY’s feature about the revival of Jewish communities.

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    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Breaks $1 Billion Mark

    It was a snap. The 22nd film from Marvel Studios shattered global box office records during its long opening weekend, raking in $1.2 billion worldwide. Endgame hit the billion-dollar milestone in just five days, smashing Infinity War’s record of 11 days. In the U.S. alone, the final film of Marvel’s Phase Three took $350 million — another record that far exceeded already-ambitious projections of $300 million.

    Where else was the movie a hit? China accounted for roughly one-third of the global box office, posting $330 million in ticket sales.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the Egyptian comic hoping for Marvel-style success.

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    Pro Sports Leagues Eye Gambling Proceeds

    Since the U.S. Supreme Court let states legalize sports betting, Major League Baseball and the NBA have made clear they’re not on board — unless they get a cut of the profits, OZY reports. Calling for so-called “integrity fees” of around 0.25 to 1 percent, aimed at funding efforts to make sure sporting remains untainted, experts say it’s actually “a cash grab” to ensure they don’t “leave the sports betting discussion empty-handed.”

    How much could the leagues make? In New Jersey alone, sportsbooks have taken $1.95 billion in bets since June 2018 — so even if the leagues got just 0.25 percent, that would have been nearly $5 million so far.