The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. robert mugabe russian federation

    Zimbabwe’s Ex-President Robert Mugabe Dies at 95

    Until he was finally deposed in a 2017 coup, Mugabe ruled virtually unchallenged, attracting criticism at home and abroad for suppressing political opponents and driving the economy into ruin. But he’s also “an icon of liberation,” according to current President Emmerson Mnangagwa: After spearheading an independence movement against White-run Rhodesia, the war hero became Zimbabwe’s first elected leader — and later urged other African nations to rally against neo-colonialism.

    How will Mugabe be remembered? Experts say he leaves behind the complex legacy of having morphed from a freedom-minded visionary to “a grossly corrupt, vicious dictator.”

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    Hurricane Dorian Pelting North Carolina with Heavy Rain and Wind

    Cedar Island and Harkers Island in Carteret County have been hit the hardest. The Emergency Operations Center in North Carolina suspects that many people evacuated the county before Dorian arrived. So far, the Category 1 storm has left about half the population without power, yet it is now heading northeast and away from land, although southeastern Virginia, Delmarva Peninsula and southeast Massachusetts are still expected to experience heavy winds today.  Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas, where 30 people are confirmed dead, expect a “staggering” final death toll.

    How prepared is North Carolina? Residents are familiar with storms, enduring an average of 2.27 tropical cyclone events per year.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series The New Frontiers of Climate Change.

  3. Carrie lam hong kong shutterstock 1424766968

    Hong Kong’s Lam Faces Test Over Weekend Protests

    Following her withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill this week, Chief Executive Carrie Lam will soon find out if that long-awaited concession will quell the months-long opposition movement. But it seems unlikely, given the pledges by protesters to block traffic to the territory’s airport tomorrow. Meanwhile, credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Hong Kong from “AA+” to “AA” as German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the turmoil with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

    Why aren’t demonstrators satisfied? Some analysts believe they’re unconvinced by the concession, calling it “meager scraps” ordered by Beijing — but ongoing protests could, in turn, prompt China to finally crack down.

  4. stocks down shutterstock 102217162

    Reports: WeWork May Slash Valuation by More Than Half

    Facing skepticism over its corporate management — as well as over the heavy losses sustained by Silicon Valley giants like Lyft and Uber — WeWork’s parent company could reportedly knock its valuation from $47 billion to as low as $20 billion before its initial public offering. That would amount to one of the most dramatic pre-IPO reductions ever. The company, which lost $1.7 billion on operations last year, is believed to be in talks with Japanese investor SoftBank for more cash and a delay of its public debut.

    Why does it matter? A messy IPO could complicate WeWork’s effort to secure the crucial $6 billion that banks have agreed to lend it.

  5. Also Important…

    The August’s jobs report was released today, revealing that unemployment remains at a 50 year low, while 130,000 jobs were created last month. An American woman has been charged with human trafficking after attempting to smuggle a six-day-old baby out of the Philippines. And country singer Kylie Rae Harris died in a New Mexico car accident late Wednesday.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB Quiz.

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


  1. rooster

    French Rooster Wins Lawsuit, Will Crow Again

    Maurice the cockerel, whose story caused an international flap, has triumphed in a hard-fought legal battle over his right to crow as loud as he wants. Owner Corinne Fesseau was sued by her neighbors on the Atlantic island of Oléron, where the retired farmers from the mainland claimed Maurice’s calls awakened them at 4 am. But after court officials determined he began crowing between 6:30 and 7:00 am, a court in Rochefort awarded Fesseau more than $1,000 in damages.

    Is this case unprecedented? Surprisingly not: A duck and goose breeder in southwestern France is currently facing a lawsuit over loud quacking.

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    Facebook Rolls Out Dating Service in US

    Already linking up lovers elsewhere in the world since last year, the social network’s free matchmaking app is now available to American adults. Called Facebook Dating, the service notably does not rely on users’ friend lists for dates, and includes a way to block friends of friends from being potential matches. One feature, “Secret Crush,” allows users to like up to nine followers on Facebook or Instagram; if the feeling is mutual, they’ll be notified of the match.

    Will it become cool? That’s hard to say, especially with competition from established dating services such as Tinder, Bumble and OKCupid.

  3. botswana elephant shutterstock 1119055622

    Could Killing Elephants Reignite Botswana’s Economy?

    Botswana is a leader in conservation, but a somewhat controversial idea is threatening that image: Instead of a blanket ban on elephant hunting, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has reintroduced controlled hunting, OZY reports. Allowing a small number of elephants to be hunted each year could prove to be a major economic boon, since tourism is a key source of revenue for the southern African country, accounting for about 12 percent of its GDP.

    What do Botswanans think? A crucial source of employment, controlled hunting also provides communities an incentive to look after their wildlife.

    Operation Dumbo Shot

  4. Los Angeles, CA.  November 18, 2012. Nicki Minaj arrives at the 40th Anniverary American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A.

    Nicki Minaj Announces Retirement From Music

    The hip-hop superstar stunned fans when she took to Twitter yesterday to say she’s dropping her mic to become a mom. Minaj reportedly secured a marriage license this summer with boyfriend Kenneth Petty. The 36-year-old rapper has also faced professional difficulties over the past year: Besides ditching her longtime managers, her postponed North American tour was never rescheduled.

    Is she serious? While some suspect Minaj is just trolling her haters or pulling a publicity stunt, rapper DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia thinks she’s joining a long line of hip-hop stars who retired abruptly and eventually returned to making music.

    Read this OZY dispatch about how hip-hop is opening up communist Vietnam.

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    Report: Oakland Raiders to Suspend Star Antonio Brown

    Sources say the decision came after a heated altercation Wednesday between the wide receiver and general manager Mike Mayock. Traded to Oakland in March, the 31-year-old reportedly threatened to punch Mayock in the face. The exchange occurred after Brown posted a letter from the GM on Instagram that detailed $54,000 in fines for the star player missing training camp.

    How long will he be suspended? That’s unclear, but some believe Brown should be cut, given recent disruptions — including missing practice due to frostbitten feet and his insistence that he be allowed to use a different helmet.