The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Tiananmen square protest shutterstock 140902264

    On Eve of 30th Anniversary, China Defends Crackdown

    Normally, it’s as if one of China’s biggest modern historic moments never happened. But Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe today issued a rare justification of the deadly suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators on June 4, 1989, describing “measures to stop the turbulence” at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square as “correct policy.” Since then, “China has enjoyed stability and development.”

    Could this be an opening for discussion? That’s improbable. Even as Tuesday’s 30th anniversary approaches, the massacre’s death toll, possibly in the thousands, and the fate of detainees remain a mystery, and even coded references to it are censored from Chinese social media.

    Check out OZY’s story about how journalists covered Tiananmen Square.

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    Gunman Kills 12 in Virginia ‘War Zone’

    He walked through a Virginia Beach city services building firing a sound-suppressed handgun and a rifle Friday afternoon. When it was over, 12 people were dead, plus the gunman, killed in a protracted shootout with police, and nine were injured. The city police chief compared it to a “war zone,” with bodies on all three of the building’s floors, as well as in a car outside.

    Who was the gunman? Reports name professional public utilities engineer DeWayne Craddock, 40, as the shooter, who had recently made multiple weapons purchases. An investigation is under way, but reports indicate that Craddock was seeking revenge.

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    Liverpool Blanks Tottenham to Win Champions League Final

    “It’s unbelievable!” That was the assessment of Divock Origi, who scored the second of two goals to seal Liverpool’s sixth Champions League title Saturday evening in Madrid. His Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur, 2-0, in a an otherwise lackluster match decided 30 seconds in with a handball by Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko that set up Liverpool star Mo Salah’s penalty goal.

    How did Liverpool get here? It’s been a crazy ride, with an improbable semifinal victory over Barcelona, thanks to two other Origi goals, and a one-point loss of this year’s English Premier League title.

    Read this OZY feature about how Salah won Merseyside’s heart.

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    Mueller Clouds, Clarifies and Quits

    It’s in the report. That was last week’s big reveal from special counsel Robert Mueller as he left his job to return to private life. His first appearance before the press in that role Wednesday satisfied few, except those who were pleased to see Mueller refute President Donald Trump’s insistence that there was “no obstruction” — just as his 448-page report did. But Democratic leaders stuck to their no-impeachment strategy, while the White House urged the press to move on just as Mueller was doing.

    What’s next? The report lives on, both upon Amazon’s bestseller list and in tonight’s 24-hour theatrical reading in New York.

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    Angela Merkel Looks Forward, Seeing Darkness

    To some, she’s the “leader of the free world.” Germany’s first female chancellor hates that, but can’t argue that liberal democracy isn’t fading in every direction as she serves her fourth and final term. In fact, the traditionally reserved conservative leader worries that people are taking the stable world order for granted.

    What is she doing about it? For all Merkel’s lamentations, not much, leaving fans wondering why she isn’t harnessing her final years to shine a big light on the world — especially if she plans to confound speculation that she’ll quit before her term expires in 2021.

    Read OZY’s look at the decline of Europe’s center-right parties.

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    Should Republicans Worry About Millennials?

    Baby boomers and members of the older silent generation played a major role in electing President Donald Trump. Just last year, boomers and members of the silent generation cast a combined 3.8 million more votes in the Senate election than in 2014. But those voting blocs are dying off. 

    Will younger voters be a bigger factor in 2020? Experts say there’s a good chance, in part because as millennials get older, they participate more but also because today’s divisive politics has accelerated that process. What could counter that prediction is Gen Xers veering right as they age, helping Republicans stay in power.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing about Spain’s partisan split.

  7. Also Important…

    The Navy has confirmed that it was asked to keep the USS John S. McCain hidden during a presidential visit to a naval base in Japan, but it didn’t verify reports that the White House made the request. China now indicates it’s willing to return to U.S. trade talks. And American Andy Ruiz Jr. scored a seventh-round technical knockout against undefeated Briton Anthony Joshua to claim four heavyweight boxing titles in New York yesterday.

    In the week ahead: After routing St. Louis 7-2 Saturday and taking a 2-1 series lead, the Boston Bruins will try for three in Monday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. President Trump is to visit Britain Monday after suggesting who should be appointed to conduct Brexit negotiations. World leaders will gather in France Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

    OZY Fest is back! Join OZY in New York’s Central Park July 20-21, where some of the biggest names and boldest thinkers — from John Legend and Trevor Noah to Stacey Abrams and Malcolm Gladwell — will help make this year’s OZY Fest the most memorable yet. Click here to get your early bird tickets.


  1. ​Daphne Caruana Galizia shutterstock 1071483215

    Did Malta Assassinate a Journalist?

    It’s been 19 months since investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia died in a car explosion in her native Malta. Powerful figures believed to have wanted her dead remain untouched as the investigation proceeds at a glacial pace. Why? Europe’s human rights body has found “extreme weakness” in a judicial system rife with corruption — helping make the EU’s smallest nation a gateway for laundered cash and “golden passports” whose owners legally buy access to the continent with Maltese investments.

    Could the death change anything? Galizia’s reporting implicated Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in questionable banking activity, but he survived a subsequent snap election right before the bombing, indicating that reforms aren’t imminent.

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    How Chillin’ Might Solve Global Warming

    Marie Kondo may be onto something. Not just for your cluttered apartment, but for the entire planet. The “degrowth” movement is catching on: By acquiring fewer things and working less, we reduce production, emissions and climate change while preserving finite resources. But it would mean discarding economic orthodoxy that hails growth as a universal measure of success. Critics say it won’t help the climate fast enough and could harm society’s most vulnerable.

    Could this ever fly? It’s not impossible. A recent Yale climate survey found that more than half of Americans think environmental protection is more important than economic growth.

    Read this OZY feature on rethinking economic growth.

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    He’s Bringing His Central American Dream to Comedy Central

    No role is too big for Arutro Castro, who shone as the gay best friend and drug dealer in the hit comedy Broad City, and as David Rodriguez in the cocaine drama Narcos. But Castro’s road to stardom didn’t start in America; it started when he was 12, performing in community theaters in Guatemala and, later, as a host on the local music program Conexion.

    What’s next for Castro? June 18 is the premiere of his highly anticipated sketch comedy series Alternatino, which is already drawing comparisons to Chappelle’s Show and Inside Amy Schumer.

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    Tracking Organized Truffle Crime in Italy

    Accept no substitute. That’s possible for gourmets, but not ordinary diners who can’t tell a worthless Tunisian truffle from the Piedmont variety retailing for $260 a pound. That’s where the Food and Health Crimes Division of Italy’s national police force comes in. More than 1,000 officers patrol the country’s restaurants, market stalls and loading docks for, say, Croatian truffles being passed off as the valuable Asti variety.

    Does this affect other nations? Italian authorities uncover all sorts of fraud, from fake virgin olive oil to Möet-labeled rotgut so convincing they end up at major stores — and shipped across the Atlantic.

    Read this OZY feature on the world’s most expensive fungus.

  5. pascal siakam wikimedia commons square

    Now We Know Who Pascal Siakam Is

    The NBA Finals victory may be a foregone Golden State conclusion, but at least it enjoyed an unpredictable beginning, thanks to Pascal Siakam. While his star Toronto Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard was being triple-covered by America’s superteam Thursday night, the Cameroonian power forward earned his paycheck. Siakam hit 14 of 17 shots — including a perfect run of 11 — to score 32 points and snatch Game 1 for Canada.

    How does he do it? For starters, he’s unpredictable. With maximum hustle, the 25-year-old can put his opponents off guard. And until Sunday’s Game 2 in Toronto, that’s how the Warriors may feel.