The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. white house storm clouds shutterstock 562939351

    Whistleblower Complaint Swirls Washington Deeper Into Turmoil

    The explosive whistleblower complaint was released Thursday, alleging that President Donald Trump misused his role in office for personal gain and that White House officials tried to cover that up by restricting access to the written record of the phone call. The complaint identified Attorney General William P. Barr and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, as central figures in the president’s plan to solicit his Ukrainian counterpart to launch an investigation into Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections.  

    How are officials reacting? So far, it has further polarized Republicans and Democrats, with the President himself claiming to be the victim of ”the greatest scam in the history of American politics.”  

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    Netanyahu Tapped to Form Israel’s New Government

    After last week’s deadlocked election, President Reuven Rivlin has formally asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cobble together a ruling coalition within six weeks. But that will be difficult: Chief rival Benny Gantz has already refused to join a Netanyahu-led government, citing the corruption charges that Israel’s longest-serving leader is currently facing.

    What if Bibi fails? That could send Israel into an unprecedented third election within a year and severely damage trust among voters, experts say.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on Israel’s newest political influencers.

  3. boris johnson shutterstock 1406010848

    Boris Johnson Dares UK Lawmakers Amid ‘Toxic’ Debate

    Returning to Parliament yesterday, the British prime minister urged lawmakers to either hold a no-confidence vote or call a new general election. But he was also chided for his inflammatory language after suggesting that failure to support his agenda amounts to surrender or betrayal. The chamber erupted into a debate that Speaker John Bercow described as “worse than any I’ve known.”

    What would happen without Johnson? Even if he’s toppled, a replacement government would have only weeks to hammer out a Brexit extension with the European Union — assuming, of course, it can sort out who’s in charge.

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    Juul CEO Quits as Vaping Concerns Grow

    Amid state and federal scrutiny over hundreds of vaping-related illnesses, Kevin Burns abruptly announced yesterday that he’d resign from the embattled e-cigarette company. Juul, which helped make vaping a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes, also said it would pull the plug on U.S. advertising and wouldn’t fight a proposed federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, talks of a merger between tobacco giants Altria, which owns a 35 percent stake in Juul, and Philip Morris were called off.

    What’s next? Some suggest that playing ball with the Trump administration could help Juul thwart a broader ban on all its products.

  5. Also Important…

    French ex-President Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly told PBS that he’s responsible for last year’s murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, since “it happened under my watch.” And actor Samuel L. Jackson has agreed to provide his voice to Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant.

    #OZYfact: About 40 percent of America’s food — responsible for greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 37 million cars — is wasted. 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.


  1. abortion pills shutterstock 171501734

    Abortion Decriminalized Across Australia

    New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, became the last one to decriminalize abortion as lawmakers passed a contentious bill yesterday that officially removed the procedure from the Crimes Act. The much-amended bill finally appeased conservative lawmakers and secured Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s majority, which was threatened after rebel MPs warned they could defect.

    How did they get there? On the road to passage, the measure became the third-longest debated bill in the history of the upper house — with 102 amendments and deliberations lasting for five days.

    Read OZY’s Fast Forward about why Morocco is a battleground for abortion.

  2. online dating shutterstock 1194339238

    US Regulators Sue Over Fake Dating Ads

    The online dating company took advantage of fake accounts to entice subscriptions, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission. It alleges that non-paying users were sent notifications about potential matches and were told they had to subscribe to see the sender’s identity and messages. But in many cases, those messages were actually from accounts that had been identified as fraudulent. The FTC claims Match’s methods led to nearly 500,000 new subscriptions between 2016 and 2018.

    What does the agency want? It hopes to secure compensation for subscribers who paid up based on fraudulent messages from known scammers.

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    America to China: It’s Not Us, It’s You

    Even as President Trump’s trade war cripples Chinese industry, pop culture knock-offs from Taylor Swift albums to Friends DVDs have helped keep local perception of the U.S. high. But while American soft power may be working in China, it’s not a two-way street, OZY reports: U.S. perceptions of China have plunged 40 percent since 2017, with only 26 percent of those surveyed seeing the country in a positive light.

    Why is that the case? Some experts suggest America’s long-standing cultural influence has helped ward off assumptions that the U.S. is out to destroy China — while negative press about Huawei, for instance, has done the exact opposite in the United States.

  4. fishing ship trawler shutterstock 33611116

    UN: Damaged Oceans Worsen Climate Change for Humans

    The climate crisis has made global bodies of water warmer, more acidic and less oxygenated, according a new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For decades, the world’s oceans have absorbed carbon and excess heat like a sponge, but increasing water temperatures have led to rising sea levels and more frequent storms of catastrophic proportions.

    How are humans impacted? Warming oceans threaten not just marine species, but the food security of billions of people — while rapidly rising sea levels threaten to displace entire communities.

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

  5. Paris

    Renaissance Masterpiece Found in Kitchen of French Home

    An early Renaissance painting by Florentine artist Cimabue — a small panel titled Christ Mocked — was discovered hanging above a hotplate in the kitchen of an elderly French woman, who apparently had no clue of its origin. Auctioneer Philomène Wolf stumbled upon the lost masterpiece while readying the nonagenarian’s home for sale. Researchers believe the panel belongs to a polyptych created around 1280, but only two other sections of the work are known to have survived.

    What’s the painting worth? Experts say it’ll sell for upward of $6 million at auction Oct. 27.