The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. netanyahu shutterstock 661083991

    Israelis Try Again to Elect New Government

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could win his fifth consecutive term on Tuesday. But the election promises to be close, with his Likud party projected to win roughly the same number of seats as Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party. After winning the most seats in April, Netanyahu, who’s facing corruption charges, couldn’t form a government.

    What’s he doing to bolster his odds? Seemingly everything, including appealing to hard-line voters by promising to annex large sections of the West Bank and visiting Russia to demonstrate his international bona fides — and even hinting at a new war in Gaza. 

    Check out this OZY story about the Israeli occupation of a delicious Palestinian dessert.

  2. industrial refinery fire shutterstock 450112684

    US Blames Iran for Attacks on Saudi Refineries

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for a drone attack that set fire to two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia Saturday, halving the country’s production and possibly driving up global petroleum prices. Houthi rebels in Yemen, backed by Tehran and fighting against a Saudi-led coalition, claimed they had launched 10 unmanned aircraft that hit the refineries. Pompeo disputed that, saying, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

    How was the attack possible? Experts say the drones could have been as cheap as $15,000 and demonstrate how easy such assaults can be conducted hundreds of miles from the front lines.

    Read OZY’s analysis of Iranian provocations.

  3. felicity huffman shutterstock 1070671322

    Felicity Huffman Gets Jail in Admissions Scandal

    After prosecutors said privileged parents should be “equally subject to the law,” a federal judge in Boston sentenced the 56-year-old Desperate Housewives star to 14 days in jail, to begin Oct. 25, a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. She pleaded guilty in May to mail fraud conspiracy charges for her part in a wide-ranging scheme to rig college admissions. During sentencing, Huffman cried, saying she was “deeply ashamed” and apologized for paying $15,000 to get her daughter’s 2017 SAT test corrected by a proctor.

    How big is the case? Authorities have charged 51 people, and 19 of 34 accused parents are fighting the charges. 

  4. A man sits in front of a bright window smoking an e-cigarette and releasing a huge cloud of vapor into the air.

    Where Are the European Vaping Victims?

    In the U.S., vaping has made 450 people sick and is blamed for the death of six, prompting a move to ban flavored electronic cigarettes. So far, though, there is no sign of the sickness in Europe. Is that because no one is keeping track of the problem, or, as one British smoking cessation advocate believes, American health authorities have “lost all their moorings with evidence and good practice” in declaring war on vaping?

    Will Europe act too? A broad analysis of the continent’s e-cigarette safety should emerge next year, while an EU-wide reporting system is being developed.  

    Check out this OZY Special Briefing on the vaping crisis.

  5. Also Important…

    Hong Kong protesters, some hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails today, are being met by police with water cannons and tear gas. Mexican authorities have identified the remains of 44 people found in 119 plastic bags in a well in Jalisco state. And Tunisians are voting today in the country’s second election since its autocratic government was thrown out in the first Arab Spring uprising.

    In the week ahead: The U.N. General Assembly begins its 74th session on Tuesday. That day will also see the publication of Edward Snowden’s memoir detailing his revelation of widespread U.S. communications surveillance and subsequent flight from American prosecution. And on Friday, new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet with President Trump at the White House.

    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.


  1. Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of United States makes a save in the first half against Australia during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Group D match at Winnipeg Stadium on June 8, 2015 in Winnipeg, Canada.

    Female Soccer Players Also Face CTE Fears

    The signs are there. Some female soccer players appear to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Researchers, though, generally study the brains of deceased NFL players — and no women. A big part of the problem is sample size; while there’s a growing amount of men’s gray matter to study, there’s little from women. Even talking about the subject is difficult, says one ex-player who’s displaying symptoms: Top players haven’t talked much about it.

    Could this change? While they may not be talking, they are donating: Megan Rapinoe and other USWNT stars have signed up to let researchers use their brains for study after they die, eventually providing meaningful samples and research.

  2. fishing ship trawler shutterstock 33611116

    In a Violent Ocean, No One Hears Workers’ Cries

    If the environmental implications aren’t stopping you from eating fish sticks, consider the human toll. In The Outlaw Ocean: Crime and Survival in the Last Untamed Frontier, Ian Urbina describes some of the world’s cruelest employers. Workers on the fishing ships of one Korean conglomerate told New Zealand authorities they were forced to eat vermin-infested food and subjected to beatings and sexual assaults by officers.

    What’s being done about it? A deadly sinking in its waters prompted New Zealand to ban foreign vessels and enforce stricter regulations, but allegedly abusive owners are simply trawling less supervised waters.

    Check out OZY’s look at millennials repopulating labor unions.

  3. theresienstadt concentration camp nazi holocaust shutterstock 1305189871

    Coming of Age in a Concentration Camp

    When she dies, Zuzana Justman will leave behind more than her childhood diary from the Terezín concentration camp. Examining the museum piece, she remembers writing “mommy was away from us” so as not to upset her Nazi captors by revealing that her mother had been taken away by the SS. In a new essay, the Czech documentarian fills in the gaps: Her parents’ marital problems, her brother’s polio and the deaths of so many relatives and friends.

    What do the stories show? Justman’s memories paint a picture of a preadolescent girl forced to grow up too fast in inhuman conditions.

    This OZY True Story looks at another Holocaust memoir.

  4. broken rice vietnam shutterstock 682205044

    The Delicious History of a Vietnamese Treat

    Broken rice, the damaged grains once discarded during the milling process, never needed fixing. It first sustained impoverished laborers and has since become a Vietnamese delicacy, growing so popular some outlets have to painstakingly break rice by hand to meet demand, OZY reports. It’s cuisine that tells a story — from French colonial merchants dumping unwanted riz brizé in Africa, germinating that continent’s own tradition, to the 1980s failings of Hanoi’s collective agriculture. 

    How is it served? Better known at home as cơm tấm, it’s often accompanied by a smoky barbecued pork chop, flavored with spicy fish sauce and topped with a fried egg.

  5. hyperloop shutterstock 705661171

    All Aboard the Hype(rloop) Train

    Its low-pressure tubes might allow passenger pods to travel at jet speed, but will it ever leap from sci-fi daydreams to an actual public works project? First conceived in the early 1900s as “vacuum trains,” the idea has been resurrected thanks to environmental anxiety and renamed “hyperloop” by Elon Musk. Even devotees acknowledge the concept sounds a bit loopy, so to speak, but with no viable environmentally-friendly alternative to air travel, they say its moment has come.

    How far off is hyperloop service? Innovators say it’s the future, but even if it works, development, unlike the whizzing pods, promises to be agonizingly slow.

    OZY takes a look at the future of unmanned shipping.