The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Rescuers Comb Bahamas as Dorian Heads for Carolinas

    Bahamian officials say 20 people were killed when Hurricane Dorian swept through the archipelago this week with devastating force. But that death toll is likely to grow as an international rescue team scours the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama for survivors and bodies. Meanwhile, officials in Florida say they “dodged a missile” after Dorian mostly veered away from the Sunshine State, peppering its eastern coast with rain and wind but causing no major damage.

    So is the Atlantic coast safe? Not exactly: The storm still threatens the Carolinas as it moves northward today and tomorrow, with forecasters predicting storm surges of up to eight feet.

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    Boris Johnson Dealt Major Blows in Parliament  

    Commentators are describing “a new season of political mayhem in Britain” after the prime minister was handed back-to-back defeats yesterday in Parliament, where he now lacks a majority. Not only did the House of Commons vote to block a no-deal Brexit, but it also denied Johnson’s bid for a snap vote next month. The bill aimed at avoiding a chaotic withdrawal is expected to clear the upper house of Parliament Friday — and the opposition says it’ll approve a general election once no-deal is officially off the table.

    How do we make sense of all this? In short, it’s an unprecedented test of a political system that’s been bound for centuries by unwritten rules rather than clear constitutional procedures.

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    US, China Agree to New Trade Talks

    With fears growing that the global economy’s hurtling toward a recession, officials in Beijing and Washington both confirmed that the two sides will sit for high-level meetings early next month. Featuring Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the talks might be a welcome development amid new punitive tariffs. But few expect them to make much progress.

    Why are expectations so low? Analysts say both sides want concessions the other isn’t likely to offer before lifting their respective trade penalties.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series on the next U.S. recession.

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    Taliban Attacks Threaten to Derail US Peace Deal

    The Afghan militant group has claimed its second attack on Kabul this week after a car bomb killed 10 and injured 42 more Thursday. That followed Monday’s suicide bombing on an international compound that left 16 dead and scores injured. Meanwhile, sources say U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to sign a hard-fought peace deal, negotiated over nine rounds, because it would mean officially recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name of the government the Taliban founded in 1996.

    What does the deal currently look like? Agreed to “in principle,” it calls for withdrawing 5,000 U.S. troops — out of around 14,000 — within the first 135 days.

  5. Also Important…

    After her permanent withdrawal yesterday of a controversial extradition bill, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters that China “understands, respects and supports” the move. At least 22 people were killed Wednesday in an explosion at an allegedly illegal fireworks factory in northern India. And Spanish former Olympian Blanca Fernández Ochoa, who’d been missing for more than a week, was found dead yesterday near Madrid.

    #OZYfact: The last No. 1 seed in the U.S. Open who wasn’t Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal was Andre Agassi in 2003. 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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    Why Pineapples Are Curbing African Migration to Europe

    Though it’s home to huge deposits of valuable bauxite and iron ore, Guinea is still facing deeply uncertain economic times. But while young people are fleeing the West African country for opportunities abroad, there might be a juicy solution: Pineapple production is keeping workers at home, OZY reports, with the government and producers teaming up to turn Guinea into the pineapple powerhouse of the world.

    Will there be enough jobs to go around? Since launching the initiative in 2017, production has nearly doubled and more than 2,000 people have found employment.

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    Google to Pay $170M After YouTube Violates Child Privacy Law

    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that the internet giant will fork over the fine to end a dispute surrounding its video platform, which allegedly marketed ads on channels mostly watched by kids and tracked children’s viewing history. The penalty is the largest ever enforced for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act — though it’s a small sum for parent company Alphabet, which raked in $10 billion in revenue last quarter.

    What terms must YouTube follow? By the end of the year, it’s required to stop collecting data from children and can no longer place ads on videos popular with kids. 

    Check out OZY’s analysis of whether tech is leading us to communism.

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    Study: Squirrels Eavesdrop on Birds for Safety

    The shriek of a red-tailed hawk is enough to make squirrels nervous — but the pleasant chirps of easygoing birds are effectively a green light to forage, research has found. While most studies have focused on how animals tune in to other species’ alarm calls and other signs of danger, an Oberlin College team discovered that squirrels interpret unconcerned avian chatter as a signal that it’s safe to be out and about.

    Why does it matter? Researchers say there’s increasing interest in more nuanced networks of communication in nature, calling it “Facebook for birds.”

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    Grammy-Winning Songwriter Dies in Car Crash

    LaShawn Daniels, best known for writing the Destiny’s Child song Say My Name — which snagged a Grammy for best R&B song in 2001 — died after a South Carolina accident, his wife said Wednesday. Throughout his career, the 41-year-old also wrote tracks for Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, the Spice Girls, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, and was again nominated for best R&B song in 2014 for Tamar Braxton’s Love and War.

    How are fans reacting? Daniels’ death sparked an outpouring of tributes on Twitter, with singer DAWN calling him “a rare talent and a beautiful soul.”

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    Former German Soccer Star Investigated Over Child Porn

    Christoph Metzelder, a former defender for Real Madrid who also made 47 appearances with Germany’s national team, is cooperating with authorities after they accused him of sending illicit photos to a contact via messaging platform WhatsApp. Police say they’re searching Metzelder’s phone and laptop, which were seized Tuesday from his property in Dusseldorf.

    What’s next? The 38-year-old hasn’t been detained, but he’s been suspended from the sports channel that employs him as a pundit until the investigation is over.