The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Hong kong protest shutterstock 1425188288

    In Rare Statement, Beijing Condemns Hong Kong Protests

    Following violent weekend clashes in the semi-autonomous territory, China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office decried the “horrendous incidents” and urged local residents to “stand firm in defense of the rule of law.” Yesterday police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters during the second day of pitched confrontations, rooted in an unpopular extradition bill that Chief Executive Carrie Lam has refused to permanently withdraw. It was the eighth consecutive weekend of demonstrations, which have since expanded to target police brutality and push for more democracy.

    What’s next? Besides throwing its support behind Lam, Beijing has also ended speculation that it could tweak its “one country, two systems” policy amid the unrest.

  2. Ratcliffe wikicommons

    Trump Taps Loyalist for Top Intelligence Post

    Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, will join a growing roster of former administration officials when he steps down next month. Taking office in 2017, Coats periodically aired intelligence assessments that contradicted President Donald Trump on hot spots such as Russia and North Korea. He’s expected to be replaced by Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe, a staunch Trump supporter recently noted for grilling former special counsel Robert Mueller.

    How is Ratcliffe regarded? Even some Republicans reportedly question the third-term congressman’s qualifications, arguing that he’s too partisan and inexperienced, while others say his service on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees is enough.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Donald Dossier on Mueller’s testimony.

  3. shutterstock 1059309629

    US-China Talks to Resume Amid Measured Expectations

    American and Chinese negotiators will meet face-to-face in Shanghai this week for the first time since last month’s G-20 summit — but neither side apparently expects much meaningful movement. “Maybe they will, maybe they won’t,” President Trump said last Friday of Beijing’s inclination to strike a trade deal with Washington. Some observers say “goodwill” gestures that lay a foundation for future negotiations could make both sides happy.

    What’s on the table? Minor wins could come in the form of a Chinese commitment to buy more U.S. agricultural goods, or an American pledge to partially back off its ban on U.S. firms selling tech gear to Huawei.

  4. Also Important…

    At least 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded Sunday after an attack on the Green Trend party’s main office in Kabul. China is preparing to conduct military exercises this week near Taiwan. And a 16-year-old American boy has taken home $3 million — the largest prize in esports history — after winning the first-ever Fortnite World Cup yesterday.

    #OZYfact: Between 2017 and 2018, the proportion of China’s box office earned by foreign films fell by 17 percent. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. Colorado voting shutterstock 1407044183

    Colorado Shows America How Elections Are Done

    Home to five of the top seven counties for voter turnout during the 2016 election, the Centennial State may just hold the key to boosting voter engagement across the country, OZY reports. An all-mail ballot system encouraged education on the issues, while a referendum model put policymaking directly in the hands of voters. Meanwhile, a meddling-free election system and a postelection audit, led by a Republican secretary of state, fostered trust.

    Will the rest of the country follow its lead? Other states have one or two similar initiatives, but Colorado remains the only state which allows so many participation options.

  2. saudi youth shutterstock 1191181270

    Saudis to Restrict Foreign Workers From Hospitality Jobs  

    Hoping to trim an unemployment rate that peaked at 13 percent last year, Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry has announced plans to prohibit high-end resorts, hotels and apartment complexes from hiring foreigners. Restaurant hosts and health club supervisors must also be Saudi nationals, prompting some companies to complain that the law will increase the cost of hiring and limit productivity.

    When will the new rule come into effect? Most likely by Dec. 29 — but some businesses are already hiring locals, signaling a cultural shift in how Saudis view jobs previously considered undesirable.

    Read this OZY story about Saudi Arabia’s women burning rubber.

  3. singapore street shutterstock 1120335881

    Hong Kong Crisis Pushes Residents Toward Singapore 

    As a result of the ongoing political turmoil, more families in China’s semi-autonomous territory appear to be considering buying property and sending their children to schools in Singapore. One property agent said the island state’s purchase inquiries had jumped as much as 40 percent during the past two months, while the ISS International School — which admitted a record-high six students from Hong Kong this year — also clocked a 50 to 60 percent increase in admissions inquiries since the political drama unfolded.

    Are people packing up? The surge in interest has yet to translate into sales, with one agency reporting only two of its listings being purchased by Hongkongers.

  4. Toy story 4 shutterstock 1420607477

    Disney Earns Record $7.6B for 2019, With More to Come

    With five months left in 2019, the studio announced that it’s already surpassed the previous industry revenue record of $7.61 billion, which it set in 2016. That’s thanks to hits like AladdinToy Story 4 and The Lion King, all of which are nearing, or have passed, the $1 billion mark. The whopping figure includes $5.09 billion from international audiences, also making Disney the first studio to rake in more than $5 billion worldwide.

    Is this Disney’s new normal? The studio still has some guaranteed wins to come, including the sequel to Frozen and a fresh Star Wars film.

    Check out OZY’s feature about Bollywood’s woman-led revolution.

  5. Tour de france shutterstock 145244464

    Colombian Egan Bernal Wins Tour De France

    The 22-year-old became the first South American to win overall — as well as the youngest champion in 110 years. Bernal didn’t win any single stage, although he may have won the 19th before weather stopped it. Colombian fans kicked off a party at the finish line well before all riders had crossed, while the champ thanked the crowd in French, calling the experience “the most beautiful victory of my life.” Australian Caleb Ewan won the Champs-Elysees final-day sprint.

    Are French riders cursed? Since 1985, it seems so: Countryman Julian Alaphilippe led for a tantalizing 14 days in this year’s race, but Bernal passed him shortly before Stage 19’s shutdown.