The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. hong kong extradition law protests shutterstock 1416523730

    Hong Kong Extradition Bill ‘Dead’ But Protesters Fight On

    “The bill is dead.” So said Chief Executive Carrie Lam today of the controversial extradition legislation that’s fueled weeks of protests in the semi-autonomous territory. But it did little to calm activists, who expressed skepticism over Lam’s promise and have vowed to fight on. They’re demanding that she formally withdraw the bill, as well as launch an independent probe into alleged police brutality during protests last month.

    How would the bill actually die? Critics say the Legislative Council could technically still renew it for a crucial second reading — unless Lam invokes Article 64 of the body’s Rules of Procedure.

  2. us and uk flag art shutterstock 569969803

    UK Backs Ambassador in Spat With Trump

    The British government is standing behind its ambassador to Washington after President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he’d “no longer deal with” Kim Darroch. The president’s remarks — which also targeted Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit — came after leaked cables revealed Darroch describing the U.S. administration as “clumsy and inept.” Calling the leak “unfortunate,” Downing Street says Darroch has May’s “full support.”

    Will this ruin the relationship? While Trump’s comment falls short of declaring Darroch persona non grata, it also forces London into the awkward position of having to decide whether to send him home just months before his planned departure.

  3. jeffrey epstein mug shot

    Jeffrey Epstein Faces Sex Trafficking Charges in Court

    The 66-year-old financier, who pleaded not guilty yesterday to two sex trafficking charges, could spend up to 45 years in prison if convicted. In a New York federal court, prosecutors said that Epstein — a registered sex offender from a 2008 plea deal — recruited dozens of girls as young as 14 to perform sex acts at one of his luxury homes between 2002 and 2005. A judge will rule on his bail next Monday.

    What’s next? Analysts say much depends on how the judge interprets the decade-old deal in which Florida-based federal prosecutors agreed not to pursue further criminal charges.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about why the O.J. Simpson trial was DNA’s big moment. 

  4. Richard Branson

    Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Goes Public

    With a $800 million investment from a special-purpose acquisition company, the space tourism firm will become the world’s first publicly traded spaceflight company. The deal, announced today, is a welcome step for a pioneering company that was dealt a setback in 2014 when a SpaceShipTwo test flight accident left one pilot dead and another seriously injured.

    Why does it matter? The investment could provide Branson’s company a much-needed cash injection as it seeks to compete with similar ventures from Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

  5. Also Important…

    Deutsche Bank has begun sending home the first of 18,000 employees it announced it would lay off. The U.S. and China are expected to restart contentious trade talks this week, though it’s unclear how much progress will be made. And a new study suggests legalizing recreational marijuana may slightly reduce the odds of teens trying pot.

    #OZYfact: According to even the most optimistic projections, internet penetration in India is only around 40 percent of the population. Read more on OZY.

    Want a trip for two to New York? Enter here for a chance to win two VIP OZY Fest tickets, airfare, hotel stay and more.


  1. north korea flags shutterstock 1034216122

    South Korean Man Defects to North Korea

    Authorities in South Korea say they’re looking into the unusual recent defection of Choe In-guk, confirmed yesterday by Seoul’s Ministry of Unification. The 73-year-old, who’d visited North Korea 12 times since 2001, appears to be following in the footsteps of his parents: His father, Choe Tok-sin, served as South Korea’s foreign minister in the early 1960s before emigrating to the North with his wife in 1986.

    How will this affect cross-border relations? Though Choe said he intends to work for reunification, his defection is unlikely to have much impact, since he’s not a political or public figure.

  2. aishutterstock 628717439

    Deepfake Audio Helps Cybercriminals Steal Cash

    Security firm Symantec has detected three cases of criminals using faked audio to impersonate top executives and fool financial institutions into transferring them cash. Chief Technology Officer Hugh Thompson said an artificial intelligence system could easily be trained on publicly available corporate videos and media sound bites, stressing that with enough footage it could produce a nearly flawless model.

    Could this be the new weapon for cybercrooks? Possibly — though experts say criminals would need substantial resources to produce truly convincing audio deepfakes.

    Don’t miss this OZY op-ed about why A.I. could save humanity.

  3. turkey shutterstock 1348122263

    Top Turkish Official Quits Ruling Party

    Former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, credited with spearheading Turkey’s financial boom in the 2000s, has resigned from the Justice and Development Party (AKP). He cited “deep differences” in values for his departure, which analysts consider a major blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, especially with the Turkish lira plummeting and another recession looming.

    What will Babacan do next? Sources say he might team up with former President Abdullah Gul to face Erdoğan in the next election — an alliance that could cut into AKP’s fragile support in a spiraling economy.

    Check out this OZY story about Turkey’s growing ties with Latin America.

  4. yemen children shutterstock 481293601

    Cholera ‘Rife’ in War-Torn Yemen as Cases Spike

    According to the charity Save the Children, the cholera outbreak in Yemen has infected about 440,000 people in 2019 alone — a figure that’s already surpassed the total number of cases last year. Nearly half of those infected are children, and 193 have died so far. Heavy rains and flooding are exacerbating the spread of the waterborne disease after years of conflict destroyed sanitation infrastructure and access to clean water.

    Who’s most at risk? With millions of residents displaced and coping with famine, malnourished children are three times more likely to die from cholera.

  5. baseball generic pitch shutterstock 147286310

    Does Baseball Need a Major League Makeover?

    It’s no secret that Major League Baseball’s popularity and financial success is largely regional. Far from a bad thing, regionality can actually fuel more intense fandom — which is why OZY proposes an overhaul that scraps the American and National Leagues in favor of a four-division alignment. Oh, and boosting the number of teams to 40 to sweeten the pot.

    How would it work? Although a 153-game schedule would take some adjustment, condensing the regular season while extending the playoffs would boost both revenue and fan excitement.