The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Ambitious Study Puts an End to the Myth of the Single Gay Gene

    Scientists discovered that many genes – not just one – influence sexuality. But so does the environment, making it impossible to determine whether somebody is gay based on there genetics alone. Nearly half a million people participated in the study, which was published in the journal Science on Thursday. One of the key findings was that five genetic strands are closely related to homosexual behavior, with two of the variants distinctly found in men. 

    What do the findings prove? It confirms what we already knew: that same-sex sexual behavior is a completely natural phenomenon. 



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    Boris Johnson’s Brexit Play Draws Anger

    Critics are crying foul over the British prime minister’s move yesterday to suspend Parliament for five weeks, calling it an anti-democratic attempt to derail any alternatives to his Brexit strategy. Johnson’s request, which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II, sparked widespread protests and an online petition that’s already attracted more than 1.3 million signatures. Meanwhile, his opponents are preparing legislation to extend the Brexit deadline if he fails to produce a deal.

    What have we learned about Johnson? Experts say this proves he’s far more calculating and aggressive than many expected, a stark contrast to his predecessor’s perceived timidity.

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    Chinese Troop Rotation Rattles Hong Kong

    “The time for a true test has arrived!” That’s what one Chinese officer told his troops as they prepared to enter the semi-autonomous city during a routine rotation — but one that’s fueled fears they could intervene in Hong Kong’s crisis. State media carried images of armored vehicles ferrying troops to the Hong Kong garrison of the People’s Liberation Army early this morning.

    Is there cause for concern? While some observers claim it’s unusual for state media to broadcast troop movements, others believe it’s actually meant to allay fears by being open about it.

    Don’t miss OZY’s Newsmaker profile of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

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    Italy Preps for New Government Without Salvini

    In a blow to far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who forced the collapse of Italy’s ruling coalition last week in a power play for the country’s top job, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the mainstream Democratic Party appear set to form a new government. Today President Sergio Mattarella gave Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte a mandate to begin building a new coalition.

    Can they work together? While the two parties are political enemies, they’ve pledged to collectively block the further rise of the far-right — though it remains to be seen whether Italy can steer clear of the political turmoil that’s become commonplace.

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    Hurricane Dorian Takes Aim at Florida

    Although it passed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with relatively little damage earlier today, the storm is expected to strengthen to a “very formidable” Category 3 hurricane as it passes over the Bahamas Saturday before threatening Florida’s east coast. In a tweet, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged locals to stockpile seven days’ worth of supplies and track the storm’s trajectory closely.

    What’s next? Forecasters say Dorian could very well shift course again, but the latest predictions put its wind speeds at nearly 130 miles per hour.

    Check out this OZY True Story about Hurricane Katrina conspiracies.

  6. Also Important…

    Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has withdrawn her bid for the U.S. presidency. The White House has tightened citizenship rules for children born to U.S. service members stationed abroad. And Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York yesterday after a 15-day journey from the U.K. on a zero-emissions yacht.

    #OZYfact: Cairo’s Al-Muizz Street, located in the city’s Islamic neighborhood, is the oldest operating street in Egypt’s capital. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


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    British Cops Use A.I. to Monitor Brexit-Related Hate Speech

    Ahead of Britain’s imminent withdrawal from the EU, police are turning to artificial intelligence to predict Brexit-related hate crimes. The Online Hate Speech Dashboard, which uses algorithms to detect hate speech on Twitter, flags as many as 800,000 tweets per day — a job that had previously been done manually. The map of hate hot spots it generates helps local police anticipate real-life crimes.

    Why does it matter? Researchers who developed the tool saw a correlation between an increase in hate speech on Twitter and a jump in crimes against minorities on London’s streets.

    Read this OZY op-ed about how artificial intelligence could save humanity.

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    How Google Is Responding to US-China Tensions

    Thanks to Washington’s spat with Beijing over trade and telecom giant Huawei, Google has been forced to make a series of business-altering moves. One report claims the company is shifting production of its Pixel smartphone from China to Vietnam to cut manufacturing fees and avoid higher tariffs. But in news that’s far more damaging to Huawei, Google announced that its apps and services won’t appear on Huawei’s upcoming Mate 30 smartphone due to the U.S. ban on American companies doing business with the embattled firm.

    What’s next? Huawei has developed its own operating system — though it’ll be a while before it becomes as ubiquitous as Google.

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    This Nun Is Taking On India’s Devout Patriarchy

    Sister Lucy Kalapura isn’t going to let an allegedly abusive priest get away with it: Her campaign to stamp out the mistreatment of nuns has seen her purged from the congregation, OZY reports — an order given from the Vatican itself. She says her dismissal is just more evidence of the gender power imbalance in the Roman Catholic Church. Now she’s fighting her expulsion in the courts to help pave the way for other nuns to speak out.

    How could the church change? India’s clergy boasts more power than in other countries, prompting the ousted nun to campaign for state laws to regulate Christianity and put it in line with other major religions in the country.

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    Mass Sacrifice Site in Peru Yields 227 Skeletons

    Archaeologists have discovered what’s believed to be the largest child sacrifice site to date in Trujillo, north of Lima. The victims, aged 4 to 14, were all buried facing the sea and showed signs of ritual killings. Researchers believe the bodies are roughly 1,400 years old and date back to the Chimú empire, which predated the Incas. Evidence suggests they were sacrificed to persuade the gods to stop the devastating weather of an El Niño season.

    Were such sacrifices common? The Chimú culture regularly performed human sacrifices: Hundreds more skeletons of children and llamas have been unearthed from several nearby sites in recent years.

    Read this OZY story about the ancient Kuwaiti town that became a ghost island.

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    Racer Jessi Combs Dies While Pursuing Record

    The race car driver and TV host — known as the “fastest woman on four wheels” after topping 398 miles per hour in 2013 — was killed Tuesday trying to break her own land speed record of 483 mph. The 36-year-old’s jet-powered vehicle crashed on the Alvord Desert, a dry lake bed in southeastern Oregon. Two days before the crash, Combs tweeted: “People say I’m crazy. I say thank you.”

    What legacy will she leave behind? Besides setting records and appearing on Overhaulin’ and Mythbusters, Combs was also a skilled builder and fabricator who designed a line of women’s welding equipment.