The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. person in jail behind bars shutterstock 568547536

    Mystery Swirls Around Jeffrey Epstein’s Death, Finances

    While medical examiners have performed an autopsy on the disgraced financier, said to have hung himself Saturday, they have yet to release any details surrounding his death. Guards tasked with watching Epstein, who’d been charged with sexually abusing and trafficking underage girls, were reportedly working long overtime hours, and it’s still unclear why Manhattan Correctional Center authorities removed the inmate from a suicide watch. Meanwhile, investigators continue to probe the opaque nature and source of Epstein’s wealth.

    What could they find? Although details are scant so far, both JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank are believed to have kept servicing Epstein’s fortune — even after internal warnings that legal trouble could result.

  2. Hong kong protest shutterstock 1425188288

    Hong Kong Clashes Renew Anger Over Police Conduct

    Footage from the tenth straight weekend of protests in the semi-autonomous territory shows riot police launching tear gas into a subway station and, in at least one case, firing non-lethal ammunition at close range. Combined with today’s official demonstration of a water cannon, which human rights campaigners say could cause serious injury in certain situations, those actions are likely to further galvanize pro-democracy activists already furious over police treatment of demonstrators.

    What’s happening today? This afternoon local time, Hong Kong International Airport cancelled all remaining Monday flights as this weekend’s demonstrations there continued, with protesters crowding departures and arrivals areas.

  3. shutterstock 1012989061

    Kashmir Marks Eid Under Close Watch

    “Our hearts are on fire.” So said one elderly Muslim who came to pray during the Eid al-Adha festival today under the gaze of Indian security forces. Discontent is stirring within India’s only predominantly Muslim region, which has been on lockdown for a week and where a communications blackout has been enforced.

    How tight is the control? Authorities have reportedly allowed some locals to make supervised calls to relatives in other parts of India, though thousands outside Kashmir canceled their plans to travel to the region for the holiday.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Fast Forward about the exodus of Indian migrants from Kashmir.

  4. pipelineshutterstock 569935225

    Saudi Aramco Posts Loss But Retains Revenue Crown

    Despite a 12 percent drop in net income during the first half of 2019, the state-run oil producer remains the most profitable company in the world — its $46.9 billion in earnings eclipsing Apple’s $31.5 billion. Aramco began disclosing its financials this year in preparation for an initial public offering as early as 2020. That’s expected to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.

    What’s next? Aramco will purchase a 20 percent stake in the oil and chemicals business of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, a major cash injection for India and an overture to foreign investors seeking signs that a stake in Aramco will pay off.

  5. Also Important…

    Guatemala, the leading country of origin for asylum-seekers arrested at the U.S. southern border, has elected right-wing candidate Alejandro Giammattei as its next president. Five children were killed by a fire that tore through a day care center in Erie, Pennsylvania, yesterday. And K-pop sensation BTS has announced that it’s taking an extended break so that its members can “enjoy their normal lives.” 

    #OZYfact: In Colorado, ballots are mailed to voters 22 days ahead of Election Day, and are deliverable to any 24/7 election drop-off box in any county. 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. pills shutterstock 324566462

    Syria’s Latest Deadly Export: Pills

    Fenethylline, better known as Captagon, is one of few exports still moving out of violence-ravaged Syria. The drug became infamous after fighters from the Islamic State exploited its rapid, amphetamine-like high to ward off sleep. It’s since found new markets elsewhere in the region, OZY reports, quickly growing in popularity. Huge hauls with pills numbering in the millions have been traced back to the country’s government-controlled ports.

    Who’s behind the production? Experts say that while it’s hard to prove President Bashar Assad’s government is involved, the regime is scrambling for new means of raising cash in the face of international sanctions.

  2. plastic bags shutterstock 721932856

    Will Germany Ban Plastic Bags?

    As concern about climate change increases around the world, German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze announced Sunday that she’ll move to end the use of plastic bags, which only account for 1 percent of plastic packaging. But the Social Democrat might run into problems, since the expected successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel, conservative Christian Democratic Union leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said she wants to give retailers’ voluntary reductions a chance first.

    Could a ban work? Given the 64 percent reduction in use of plastic bags since 2015 — and that usage hit an all-time low of 24 bags per capita last year — that seems likely.

    Check out this OZY story about Germany’s trash separation problem.

  3. mount zion shutterstock 546622825

    Jewelry Find Sheds Light on Iron Age Jerusalem

    University of North Carolina researchers announced this weekend that a gold and silver jewelry fragment found on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion offers a window to the city’s tragic past. They say the broken piece unearthed earlier this year supports stories of Jerusalem’s wealth, as described in the bible, before the Babylonians razed the city 2,605 years ago — as well as the conquest’s violence. Researchers based its age on other artifacts in the same ash layer. 

    What else does the discovery reveal? It strengthens the theory that Jerusalem at the time of the First Temple, destroyed during the conquest, was a sprawling city rather than a hilltop settlement.

  4. salinger

    J.D. Salinger’s Work Will Go Digital

    According to his son, Matt, four of the author’s best-known novels will be published as e-books this week for the first time. When publisher Little, Brown releases The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, it’ll mark “the last chip to fall” among paper-only classic works, according to one Little, Brown executive.

    What would the author say? Matt Salinger says his famously reclusive father, who died in 2010 at age 91, hated the internet, but would’ve also lamented the prospect of people not having access to his work.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about Salinger’s track record as a parent.

  5. Holding medals in hand. A winner

    Political Protests, Doping Mark Pan Am Games

    As the national anthem played during their medal ceremonies, American fencer Race Imboden kneeled Friday and hammer-thrower Gwen Berry, also representing the United States, raised a fist Saturday to protest racial injustice and gun violence at the Peru-based games. Meanwhile, a U.S. bowling duo assumed a gold medal after Puerto Rican contender Jean Perez Faure tested positive for doping — the second athlete to do so during the games after Dominican baseball player Audrey Joel Perez.

    Will Imboden and Berry face punishment? The former, at least, could: The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is currently “reviewing what consequences may result” from his display.