The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. venezuela protest flag shutterstock 747177115

    Clashes Erupt in Venezuela Between Government and Opposition 

    Gunfire could be heard in the capital city of Caracas after opposition leader Juan Guaidó appeared next to military officers and urged protesters to rise up against President Nicolás Maduro. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his support for the move, while Russian officials condemned Guaidó for inciting violence. 

    Can Maduro hang on? It’s unclear how many officers back Guaidó, but the self-declared president says he has the support of most of the army — which, if true, could spell doom for Maduro.

  2. UNC Charlotte shutterstock 1133629679

    2 Dead, 4 Injured In UNC Campus Shooting

    Campus police are credited with a quick response for preventing further violence in the shooting that occurred on the last day of classes at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The 22-year-old suspect, apprehended with a pistol, is believed to be a student at the university. “Right now, he is not somebody (who) was on our radar,” UNCC Chief of Police Jeff Baker said.

    What was the motive? No early word, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating, assisted by the FBI.

    OZY explores what it will take to end gun violence.

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    Trump Sues Banks to Block Release of Finances

    In a bid to stop them from cooperating with subpoenas issued by House Democrats, President Donald Trump, three of his children and related businesses sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One in a New York court yesterday. It’s the latest salvo in a legal battle between Trump and his congressional opponents, who are digging into the president’s finances for potential evidence of misdeeds. Trump’s lawyers say Democrats want to “harass” the president to cause “political damage.”

    What’s next in Washington? All eyes are on Attorney General William Barr, who’s expected to testify this week before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

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    ISIS Leader Reappears in Propaganda Video

    For the first time in five years, notorious militant chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared on camera — shortly after ISIS lost the last of its territory. In an 18-minute address, the world’s most wanted man vowed “a battle of attrition” against the group’s enemies. “They must know that the jihad will continue until Judgment Day,” he said. It’s unclear when the footage was filmed, but most experts believe it’s authentic.

    What’s ISIS doing now? Violent attacks like the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka prove the group is still capable of functioning underground, which some analysts suggest explains al-Baghdadi’s timing.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on when global terror rears its ugly head.

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    Emperor Akihito Abdicates Japanese Throne

    The departure of Akihito, the first emperor to abdicate in more than 200 years, officially ends the Heisei era. Throughout his three-decade rule, which was marked by lasting peace but also marred by economic tumult and national disasters, Akihito sought to reach out to the Japanese public more than previous monarchs. “I’m full of gratitude,” said one visitor to Tuesday’s ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

    What’s the next stage of history for Japan? Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne tomorrow — bringing with him the new Reiwa, or “beautiful harmony,” era.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Flashback about how Akihito brought Japan into the future.

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    Rod Rosenstein Steps Down as Deputy Attorney General

    May 11 will be Rosenstein’s last day of a two-year tenure that was marked by tensions with President Trump, but which culminated with his tacit support for Attorney General Barr’s controversial interpretation of the Mueller report. Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, ended his resignation letter with a phrase from the Trump campaign: “We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.”

    Who’s up next? Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen has been nominated — though it remains to be seen how he’ll measure up to the 16-month median tenure for deputy AGs that Rosenstein cited in his letter.

  7. Also Important…

    President Trump has ordered tighter rules for asylum-seekers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, including application fees. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg defended the safety system on his company’s 737 Max planes yesterday and suggested pilot error caused two deadly crashes. And official statistics show the eurozone economy grew 0.4 percent during the first quarter of the year — double the rate of 2018’s final quarter.

    #OZYfact: In Colombia, 92 percent of murders of land-defenders and environmentalists between 2010 and 2016 went unsolved. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a prolific sports reporter who’s comfortable creating profiles, trend stories, data-driven articles and thought-pieces. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.


  1. putin election poster 2018 shutterstock 793597762

    Report: Russia Holds Scores of Political Prisoners

    Citing an “ever-increasing array of laws specifically designed to criminalize acts of everyday life,” a new report by a Washington-based law firm indicates that Russia currently holds at least 236 political prisoners. These “notoriously vague” laws, like one against insulting people’s religious feelings, are part of a Kremlin effort to broaden its targets — which now include LGBT activists and religious and ethnic leaders in addition to political opponents.

    Who’s been locked up the longest? Former oil executive Alexei Pichugin has been jailed since 2003, convicted on murder charges critics believe were aimed at wresting the company away from private ownership.

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    High-Speed Rail Is Back on Track in the US

    California may have scrapped plans for a high-speed link between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but that hasn’t stopped the Lone Star State, OZY reports. The Texas Central Railway, which could break ground later this year, will see Texans zipping between Houston and Dallas in under 90 minutes at over 200 mph. Similar plans are springing up across the country, focusing first on short distances between major hubs, but with an eye to creating a network as expansive as Japan’s.

    Who’s on board with these plans? Many publicly funded projects, which are popular with eco-conscious progressive voters, have derailed — but private enterprise is picking up speed with more bipartisan support.

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    Indian Women Flock to ‘Pink’ Voting Booths

    India’s ongoing multiphase national election is offering up a new innovation: “pink” polling stations offering childcare, waiting areas shaded from the sun, cheerful decorations and drinking water. Election workers and security staff protecting the booths are also women — all part of an effort to increase female turnout. India’s Election Commission aims to have at least one pink booth in each subdivision of every district.

    Do women run India? For decades, men have outvoted women, but analysts believe this year’s historic election could be the first time women overtake men at the polls.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, States of the Nation: India.

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    ‘Boyz n the Hood’ Director John Singleton Dies at 51

    Singleton, the first African American nominated for a best director Academy Award — and the youngest, at just 23 — died yesterday after his family removed him from life support. The 51-year-old, who had battled hypertension, suffered a major stroke April 17 that left him in a coma. Singleton was also known for Poetic Justice, 2 Fast 2 Furious, TV crime drama Snowfall and the music video for Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time.

    Where did Boyz n the Hood come from? Singleton said he first outlined the story behind the 1991 film, based on his childhood in South Central Los Angeles, in his application to the University of Southern California.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about the Black actor who changed Hollywood.

  5. 800px halima aden paris fashion week autumn winter 2019

    ‘Sports Illustrated’ Features First Burkini Model

    Somali-American Halima Aden has become the publication’s first-ever model to appear in a hijab and burkini in its widely popular swimsuit edition. The Kenyan-born refugee, who moved to the U.S. at age 7, says she hopes to be an example for others. Aden, who was photographed on Kenya’s Watamu Beach, said, “Young girls who wear a hijab should have women they look up to in any and every industry.”

    What’s the reaction? Not everyone’s celebrating the move: Critics point to what they claim is the contradiction of featuring conservative Islamic dress in “a magazine known for objectifying women.”