The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Democrats to Announce Formal Impeachment Inquiry of President Donald Trump

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she ordered an impeachment inquiry Tuesday against President Donald Trump. The decision follows concerning reports that the president may have threatened to cut off aid to Ukraine unless officials from the country investigated the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. In the wake of the allegations, a whistleblower in the intelligence community filed a complaint about the president, but the office of the director of national intelligence has refused to disclose the complaint to Congress.  

    Why now? Calling it a “moment of truth,” Pelosi told her caucus that the allegation against Trump is a matter of national security.

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    UK Supreme Court Rules Parliament Suspension Unlawful

    The latest twist in a years-long political saga over Brexit, the British Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s five-week suspension of Parliament was illegal. Johnson’s move attracted widespread criticism, including claims that he was tampering with a democracy bound by unwritten rules in order to force through his own plans for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. The court’s deliberations spanned three days and involved 11 judges.

    What’s next? Described as “constitutional and political dynamite,” Tuesday’s decision means Parliament — which, legally speaking, was never suspended — could reconvene soon.

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    Reports: Trump Froze Military Aid Before Ukraine Call

    Shortly before urging his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the local dealings of Joe Biden’s son, President Donald Trump reportedly ordered his staff to withhold nearly $400 million in congressionally approved funds to the Eastern European country. While Trump denied the move was meant to pressure Kyiv, he said yesterday it was “very important to talk about corruption.”

    What’s next? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is said to be considering greenlighting impeachment hearings, while Democrat-led House committees are urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to release all documents related to the matter.

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    UN Climate Summit Yields Anger, But Meager Results

    “We will never forgive you.” So said 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations Climate Action Summit yesterday, chiding world leaders for failing to act aggressively enough against global warming. But it’s unclear whether her impassioned plea will work: While 77 countries announced efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, experts say most major economies show a “lack of ambition” in tackling the problem.

    How bad is it? One analysis of nearly 3,000 publicly listed companies found that more than 80 percent were unlikely to hit the targets outlined in the Paris climate agreement.

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    Top EU Countries Blame Iran for Saudi Attacks

    The leaders of France, Germany and the U.K. have blamed Tehran for this month’s drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities — further complicating efforts to salvage what’s left of the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Washington withdrew long ago. “There is no other plausible explanation,” the leaders said in a statement, disavowing claims from Yemeni Houthi rebels that they were responsible.

    Is Europe on Trump’s side now? While the leaders continued urging diplomacy, both Prime Minister Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron hinted that they could also pull their countries out of the deal.

  6. Also Important…

    The United Nations will kick off its annual General Assembly in New York today. The European Court of Justice has ruled that Google will only be required to remove potentially sensitive personal data in Europe, not globally, when requested. And U.S. federal prosecutors have reportedly launched a criminal probe into e-cigarette giant Juul in California.

    #OZYfact: Tiny playing cards handcrafted from mulberry tree bark and painted with intricate designs were Nintendo’s core business until the 1960s. 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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    Has Google Achieved Quantum Computing?

    NASA recently published a paper indicating that Google’s Bristlecone computer, powered by a Sycamore processor, completed a calculation in 200 seconds that would take a traditional computer at least 10,000 years. But the paper was later pulled from NASA’s website, and Google hasn’t commented on the potential milestone. Experts, meanwhile, remain skeptical, saying such computing speeds are still years away.

    What if it’s true? The implications could be massive for areas such as cryptography, artificial intelligence and machine learning — prompting startups and computing giants alike to search for the quantum key.

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    China to Place Government Officials in Private Businesses

    The Chinese tech hub of Hangzhou says its “New Manufacturing Plan” aims to accelerate projects and enhance cooperation by placing civil servants inside 100 private enterprises. But experts worry that China is strengthening its control over giants such as Alibaba, along with other major private companies facing increased government monitoring.

    What’s China’s motive? Besides hoping to reverse its economic slowdown, Beijing also wants to ensure the state-mandated Communist Party units embedded in each company are working effectively.

    Check out OZY’s original series on the next recession.

  3. Polluted Beach on the Red Sea in Sharm el-Naga, Port Safaga, Egypt

    The Black Sea Is Europe’s Pool of Plastics

    Thanks to a combination of unfortunate geography and poor trash management in countries that border it, the Black Sea is Europe’s most polluted in terms of floating macro litter, OZY reports. It’s strewn with nearly two times more garbage than the Mediterranean, despite being less than one-fifth its size. And while it’s not as tainted with industrial pollutants as it once was, there’s still plenty of cleanup work to be done.

    What’s the solution? Experts say increased regional cooperation — which has already helped — is crucial, though much still depends on countries like Russia and Ukraine sorting out their trash problems at home.

  4. Color headshot of Demi Moore in black jacket and white shirt looking at camera

    Demi Moore Reveals She Was Raped at 15

    In her new memoir, Inside Out, the 56-year-old actress details a traumatic childhood. Moore writes that she was assaulted as a teen by a man who knew her mother, and as the violence took place he asked her, “How does it feel to be whored by your mother for $500?”

    What else does the book detail? The hard-hitting testimony talks of alcoholic parents, foiling her mother’s suicide attempt at age 12, dropping out of high school and getting her start on soap opera General Hospital at 19.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on whether Cannes can crack its #MeToo problem.

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    Russia Faces Olympics Ban Over Doping Data

    The World Anti-Doping Agency said Russia has three weeks to explain how a number of positive drug tests disappeared from historical data that Moscow handed over in January. WADA’s investigation has prompted the IAAF to exclude Russia from the World Athletics Championships in Doha this week, and failure to satisfy authorities could also keep Russian athletes from the Summer Games in Tokyo, which kick off in July.

    How are international athletes reacting? Still angry over the state doping program exposed after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, they claim WADA is being too soft toward Russia.