The Presidential Daily Brief


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    US Democratic Hopefuls Face Off in Fresh Debate

    Despite fleeting calls for unity, last night’s primary debate showcased the policy differences among the 10 presidential front-runners. While ex-Vice President Joe Biden invoked the legacy of his mostly moderate former boss, top liberal contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders defended their more ambitious visions, particularly universal health care. The showdown highlighted how the Democratic Party is still torn over how radical a change voters expect.

    What about the second-tier candidates? Now is a crucial moment, this OZY op-ed writer says, for contenders like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar to draw voters’ attention away from the big three.

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    With Hundreds Missing, Bahamas Braces for Another Storm

    Less than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the archipelago, leaving at least 50 people dead, the U.S. National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for this weekend. While forecasters aren’t expecting serious damage, the storm — which could dump up to five inches of rain — will complicate the search for around 1,300 people who remain missing.

    What are the particular challenges? Officials say the level of devastation has slowed the relief effort, while it remains unclear how many of the missing are simply stuck in shelters and unable to contact their families.

    Read OZY’s True Story about the dark side of Hurricane Katrina conspiracies.

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    Hong Kong’s Lam Pledges Housing to Fight Discontent

    Facing the 15th consecutive weekend of demonstrations, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she’d seek to boost Hong Kong’s housing stock to appease protesters. Rooted in a controversial extradition bill that’s since been withdrawn, demonstrations have increasingly focused on basic issues such as political freedom and economic inequality — especially given the local real estate prices, which many describe as exorbitant.

    How hard has Hong Kong been hit by protests? Besides facing its first recession in a decade, the territory also saw a 40 percent decrease in visitors last month, while the Hong Kong Tennis Open was one of many events to have been canceled.

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    ECB Stimulus Targets Europe’s Slowing Economy

    With signs mounting that a global recession is coming, the European Central Bank yesterday unveiled a two-pronged effort to keep the continent’s economy humming. Analysts say slashing interest rates and buying $22 billion worth of bonds each month amounts to “a more aggressive easing package than most observers expected.” It’s designed to inject more cash into a struggling eurozone, which has posted growth of less than 1 percent.

    What’s the likelihood of a European recession? ECB President Mario Draghi, who will relinquish his post in November to International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, says it’s “small, but it has gone up.”

  5. Also Important…

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s sister was given a 10-month suspended sentence and fined $11,000 by a French court for ordering her bodyguard to beat a French contractor. The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will complete the first papal visit to Thailand in 35 years when he visits Nov. 20-23. And new Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis is under fire for making anti-Asian and homophobic jokes — just as the show hired its first openly gay Asian cast member.

    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.


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    Is an Internet Crackdown Coming to a Country Near You?

    It’s a sign of our authoritarian times, experts say: Though rooted in the world’s more restrictive countries, political clampdowns on internet access are spreading to democracies like Indonesia, OZY reports. Turning off the digital tap is increasingly being used to preempt or curb activism that’s organized over social media. Last year, Asia and Africa accounted for 96 percent of internet shutdowns in a trend that’s jumped from 75 such instances in 2016 to 196 in 2018.

    Is there a silver lining? The centrality of the internet to countries’ economies could limit the use of cyber blockades by overeager governments.

    Digital De-mocratization

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    Google Settles Workplace Speech Dispute

    Yesterday the internet giant said it reached a settlement with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board following allegations that employees were suffering reprisals for expressing political views and protesting their working conditions. Under the deal, Google won’t have to admit wrongdoing, but it must inform workers of their rights to unionize, push for benefits and mobilize with colleagues.

    Why does it matter? With a number of high-profile campaigns in recent years drawing attention to workers’ rights, Google employees are emerging as leaders in tech activism.

    Read OZY’s profile of the CEO who runs his company through “joy.”

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    Scientists Confirm Second Interstellar Comet

    On Aug. 30, amateur Ukrainian astronomer Gennady Borisov spotted an unknown comet zipping through our solar system — and now experts have confirmed his find. Called C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), the comet appears to be an interstellar visitor moving too quickly to be pulled in by the sun’s gravity. It’s just the second known object to enter our cosmic neighborhood from another star system, after 2017’s mysterious Oumuamua space rock.

    What can we learn from Borisov? Unlike Oumuamua, which was only spotted on its way out of our solar system, this bigger and brighter comet is inbound, giving astronomers time to collect much more data on its trajectory and composition.

    Don’t miss this OZY piece about getting wasted in space.

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    At Venice Art Show, Hillary Clinton Reads Her Own Emails

    “Someone alert the House GOP.” So tweeted the former U.S. secretary of state and presidential contender after flipping through printed copies of her own emails, currently on display at the Venice Biennale, earlier this week. Artist Kenneth Goldsmith printed 62,000 pages of the notorious emails from Clinton’s private server, which sparked a political scandal that dominated the 2016 election after their release by WikiLeaks.

    What’s the message? Curators say the exhibition’s goal was to reveal the “unimpressive” nature of what they described as a “pile of papers” while also inviting visitors to draw their own conclusions.

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    Losing Again, US Basketball Hits New Low at World Cup

    A day after the men’s national team suffered a demoralizing defeat by France in the FIBA quarterfinals — its first loss in a global tournament in 13 years — Serbia delivered another hit in a consolation game. Though the Americans mounted a major comeback after falling behind 32-7, late heroics couldn’t overcome the deficit, leading to a 94-89 loss. The U.S. will now fight for seventh place, its worst result ever, against the loser of the upcoming Poland-Czech Republic matchup.

    What now? Observers say that while the team didn’t lack character, it’ll be forced to reevaluate everything from coaching to recruiting.