The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. us troops in afghanistan

    Trump Cancels Taliban Peace Talks

    In a surprising move, President Donald Trump on Saturday broke off talks with the Taliban to end America’s longest war. He cited a Thursday car bombing near Kabul’s U.S. embassy, which killed 10 people, including an American soldier, as the reason for canceling a weekend Camp David meeting between Taliban representatives and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who had long been excluded from negotiations.

    Why do this now? Trump said the bombing indicates that Taliban negotiators “probably don’t have the power” to make peace if they can’t halt attacks. But there was no truce in place, and both Afghan government and former U.S. security officials said the deal lacked meaningful Taliban concessions.

  2. bianca andreescu tennis shutterstock 1494576461

    Canadian Bianca Andreescu Stuns Williams to Win US Open

    In a hauntingly familiar scenario, U.S tennis superstar Serena Williams fell short. Hoping to match Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam titles, Williams has lost four such finals — including one with an emotional outburst a year ago after losing to Naomi Osaka. In that same U.S. Open setting, Bianca Andreescu, 19, stopped Williams 6-3, 7-5 to become the first Canadian major titlist.

    Who is Andreescu? In 2018, the Ontario-area native was ranked 178th, and couldn’t qualify for a single Grand Slam tournament Saturday’s victory will vault her into the top 10. “It’s so crazy,” she said. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment for a long time.”

  3. c 17 cargo plane us air force shutterstock 176834339

    Pentagon Admits Flight Crews Stayed at Trump Resort

    Despite there being multiple U.S. airbases where it could have refueled, a military supply flight stopped at an airport in Scotland this spring on its way to Kuwait. The unusual visit, reported by Politico, included the plane’s crew sleeping over at President Trump’s luxury Turnberry resort near Glasgow. A letter from House investigators alleges that the Pentagon spent $11 million on fuel at an otherwise failing airport near the resort, where revenue has ballooned after losing $4.5 million in 2017.

    What’s the response? Military officials say the stopover was “not unusual,” but they’re investigating and critics say it’s a disturbing example of tax dollars being funneled into Trump’s businesses.

  4. hurricane dorian 7 sept 2019 noaa satellite image

    Dorian’s Toll, in Lives and Politics

    The number of deaths in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian’s brutal visit last week has risen to 43, with many more bodies expected to be removed from the wreckage of the chain’s northern islands. While a greatly weakened storm made landfall and flooded North Carolina’s Outer Banks Friday, its continental impact lingers over Alabama. That’s where President Donald Trump said Sunday it would hit, only to be corrected by a National Weather Service tweet out of Birmingham. On Friday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backed the president, drawing repudiation from a federal weather employee group.

    Where is the storm now? Racing north, it’s lashing coastal Massachusetts on its way to Canada’s Maritime provinces.

  5. Shutterstock 1383318620

    Tainted NC Vote to Be Reprised Tuesday

    As special elections go, Tuesday’s in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District should be extraordinary. The original Republican contender has withdrawn — after appearing to win by more than 900 votes in November — in part because of his own son’s testimony about illegal absentee ballot handling. Democrat Dan McCready, who started running 27 months ago, has another chance, polling neck and neck with a new Republican nominee, State Sen. Dan Bishop.

    How important is the race? It’s attracted $15 million in contributions, and President Donald Trump will be holding a rally in support of Bishop in neighboring Fayetteville Monday night.

    Let OZY introduce you to the Democrats’ dangerous digital strategist.

  6. boris johnson shutterstock 1406010848

    Mr. Brexit Can’t Win

    Boris Johnson’s honeymoon period as British prime minister was fated to be a short one, and last week saw its abrupt conclusion. Parliament on Friday enacted a law prohibiting a “no-deal” Brexit that served as Johnson’s primary leverage to get a more favorable exit deal from the EU. Opposition leaders are also reportedly united in preventing a snap election sought by the prime minister, who intends to prorogue (i.e., suspend Parliament to limit its debate time) until mid-October.  

    What’s next? Under the bill passed by the House of Lords Friday, Johnson will have to ask Brussels for a Brexit deadline extension if he can’t get a deal approved by Oct. 19.

  7. German soldiers parading in Warsaw after the invasion of Poland during World War II, September 28 - 30th, 1939.

    Is the Pax Europa Coming to an End?

    Since the end of World War II — which began 80 years ago last week — Europe has remained largely at peace. But the rise of nationalism has threatened the liberal democratic ideal that seemed embedded in the European psyche. Practically nonexistent in Hungary, it’s eroding in both Poland and Italy.

    What’s changed? The horrors of WWII, from the blitzkrieg to the Holocaust, are now a lifetime in the past, meaning there are hardly any witnesses left to impart the conflict’s lessons firsthand.

    Don’t miss this OZY Flashback recalling a wedding disrupted by Poland’s occupation.

  8. Also Important…

    Republican leaders have voted against having 2020 presidential primaries in Nevada, South Carolina and Kansas, denying President Trump’s longshot challengers a chance to appeal directly to voters. The head of MIT’s influential Media Lab, Joichi Ito, has resigned after an exposé alleged he’d concealed $7.5 million in donations to his program secured by the late financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. And a satellite photo appears to show an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Syria — after it was seized and recently released by Gibraltar for taking oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

    In the week ahead: Rafael Nadal will try for his fourth U.S. Open title in today’s final against Russian Daniil Medvedev in New York. On Tuesday, 30 years after Margaret Atwood’s original The Handmaid’s Tale novel was published, her sequel, The Testaments, will be officially released after Amazon mistakenly shipped copies last week. And on Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Houston will host the third Democratic presidential debate.

    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. godfried maes the beheading of saint dymphna wikimedia commons

    The Lessons of Medieval Belgian Mental Care

    A uniquely progressive psychiatric treatment may have originated with a seventh-century Christian saint. That’s how writer Anne Thériault, who’s been hospitalized with depression, sees the work being done in Geel, Belgium. There, townspeople honor St. Dymphna — beheaded, the story goes, by her psychotic Irish monarch father for refusing to marry him — by caring for the mentally ill.

    How do they do that? Just as Dymphna is said to have done after escaping to Geel, they bring patients, called “boarders,” into their homes and treat them as family members in a practice that’s intrigued experts for centuries.

    Read OZY’s look at whether in-home magnetic stimulation can treat depression.

  2. Shutterstock 1493364761

    She’s Putting the ‘Sub’ Into Subcontinent

    It’s OK to beg. That’s one of the messages Jaya Sharma is imparting to fellow Indians who are into BDSM. Sharma’s mission, OZY reports, is to take the fear out of submission and domination and let aficionados trade their psychological restraints for the literal kind. In a country where garden-variety sex education is taboo, it’s hard enough to use the word “kink,” let alone find others who share such interests.

    What is she doing to help? Sharma’s Kinky Collective operates in four major cities, particularly in Delhi, offering workshops to dispel BDSM myths and teach kinksters how to play safely.

  3. norway hking shutterstock 34649716

    Can Norway Avoid Being Loved to Death?

    Among Norway’s stunning waterways and quiet forests, wandering the countryside has been a way of life for centuries. Until, that is, Instagram and mass tourism happened. Hordes of visitors are eroding extra lanes for trails, among other damage, prompting policymakers, environmentalists and tourism operators to introduce initiatives to make the industry more sustainable and in line with the oil-producing country’s carbon neutrality goal. 

    How is Norway minimizing the impact? This year alone, it’s spending $37 million to make tourism less damaging, including $1.2 million to fortify trails, and other solutions, from new garbage bins to improved public transport.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on the cutting edge of climate change science.

  4. violin shutterstock 568931632

    Why Classical Musicians Are So Angry

    Practice, practice, practice isn’t how you get to Carnegie Hall. That’s the conclusion of dedicated, but ultimately failed violinist and now cultural critic Kate Wagner. For musicians without trust funds and the resources to attend top conservatories, there’s an obligation to student teach without pay while working secret side gigs to survive school. A few succeed, only to have little chance of making a living.

    Where does this lead? Unless they’re hired by embattled union-represented orchestras, musicians from less-than-privileged backgrounds end up working as freelancers and underpaid adjunct faculty members, overwhelmed with debt.  

  5. clemson tigers football prayer shutterstock 97167512

    At Clemson, Jesus Isn’t Just on the Sidelines

    One could argue that the 2016 and 2018 NCAA champions are blessed. While it’s normal for players and coaches to mix faith and football, at the South Carolina university, Christianity is everything to coach Dabo Swinney. From recruitment interviews to staffing choices to the weekly “Church Day,” the gospel of Christ radiates through the program. Players and their parents cite that atmosphere as a selling point.

    Is there a problem with that? Since Clemson is a public institution, critics charge that Swinney’s fervor violates the First Amendment’s separation of church and state, but so far, no player has mounted a legal challenge.

    OZY looks back at how integration changed the game.