The Presidential Daily Brief


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    House Democrats Eye Whistleblower Testimony

    Yesterday House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced that the whistleblower whose complaint about President Donald Trump triggered the impeachment inquiry would testify “very soon.” The two sides are still hammering out a deal that would allow the CIA official to speak up without compromising his anonymity.

    How will the White House respond? Top aides have reportedly prepared a multipronged strategy they could present to Trump as early as today.

    Don’t miss OZY’s take on the five impeachment witnesses to watch.

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    Restless Hong Kong Braces for Chinese Holiday

    As China prepares to celebrate its National Day tomorrow, it’ll be watching Hong Kong closely. Another weekend of violent clashes between protesters and police there suggests Tuesday will be no quieter — especially given the symbolism of the holiday, which marks 70 years of Communist Party rule. Seemingly in preparation, local authorities arrested two high-profile activists today and refused to approve the protest movement’s planned rally for tomorrow.

    What’s happening in mainland China? Beijing is planning to roll out new military hardware to showcase a burgeoning defense capacity that’s been buoyed by budget increases of at least 10 percent each year for the past decade.

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    MBS Accepts Responsibility for Khashoggi Murder

    “This was a mistake.” That’s how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described last year’s high-profile murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In an interview with 60 Minutes, the prince said he took “full responsibility” for the killing, which he admitted was done by Saudi officials, but he denied any personal involvement. The CIA concluded that he ordered the murder himself, and a U.N. report said there was evidence to support that claim.

    Has MBS soothed his critics? Some analysts say his comments were just a PR stunt — unless he follows through on his pledge to prosecute the murderers with “no exception made.”

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    Forever 21 Files for Bankruptcy Protection

    In a bid to restructure its business, the California-based retailer that helped spark an era of cheap, disposable fashion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. Court documents show Forever 21, which operates 815 stores in 57 countries, has assets and liabilities valued between $1 billion and $10 billion. It plans to shutter up to 178 U.S. locations, as well as almost entirely withdraw from Europe and Asia.

    What’s the bigger picture? Young shoppers’ increasing appetite for sustainable and secondhand fashion — an industry that’s expected to reach $64 billion by 2028 — has helped send other retailers like H&M and Zara into serious trouble.

  5. Also Important…

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied claims that he groped a former colleague, as well as allegations that he doled out official perks to a visiting American businesswoman while serving as mayor of London. More than 100 people have died after heavy flooding hit the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. And Robert de Niro has attracted attention for cursing out his Fox News critics during an interview on CNN yesterday.

    #OZYfact: Raja Ampat, Indonesia, is home to more than 1,300 varieties of fish and 75 percent of the planet’s hard coral species. 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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    Could Elon Musk’s New Rocket Take Humans to Mars?

    This weekend, the mercurial SpaceX founder introduced the Starship, a towering stainless steel prototype designed to eventually blast hundreds of passengers on round-trip journeys to the moon and Mars. Unveiling the three-engine, 165-foot-tall rocket in Boca Chica, Texas, Musk described it as “the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen.”

    When’s the launch date? While he pledged the Starship would carry humans as early as next year, first it’ll need test flights to get off the ground — and safely back down again, using the same propulsive landing system as SpaceX’s Falcon rockets.

    Check out OZY’s feature about America’s “space mountains.”

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    Boeing Is Facing More 737 Problems

    The Chicago-based planemaker has suffered another major setback after discovering structural cracks in its popular 737 NG aircraft. The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority has instructed all airlines to inspect their fleets, while Boeing says the small number of planes with cracks in their “pickle forks” — which bind the wings to the fuselage — are undergoing modifications. The 737 Max, under intense scrutiny following two deadly crashes, isn’t affected by this problem.

    How long do pickle forks last? While they’re designed to withstand around 90,000 flights, inspectors uncovered the issue in one plane that had logged merely 35,000 journeys.

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    Volkswagen’s Best-Selling Product Isn’t What You Think

    While thousands of cars roll off its production lines each day, German butchers huddle around a table at lunch to carefully inspect an entirely different product: fresh Volkswagen-branded currywurst sausage. That’s because the carmaker’s Wolfsburg factory — the world’s largest — produces eight times more of the spiced bratwurst than cars, OZY reports. And 40 percent of the 6.7 million VW sausages produced each year are consumed at the company’s German plants.

    What’s so special about currywurst? It was said to have been invented by adding spices to mask the lower-quality meats available in Germany after World War II, but its popularity soon boomed alongside the country’s rapid economic development.

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    LAPD Probes Breitbart Job Listing

    Noting that it clashes with the organization’s “core values,” the Los Angeles Police Department says it’s investigating how a recruitment ad was posted to the controversial right-wing outlet. Chief Michel Moore said the listing — which depicts a female officer and the words “choose your future” — wasn’t authorized, and speculated that it might have been a stunt orchestrated to discredit the department.

    How could that have happened? Experts say many companies and organizations rely on third parties like Google to publish job ads, but often don’t realize where those postings end up.

    Read OZY’s Fast Forward about why cops are teaming up with data activists.

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    Amid Controversy, US Runner Wins 100-Meter Gold

    American sprinter Christian Coleman won the title Saturday night with the fastest time of the year, 9.76 seconds, at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. But critics believe the 23-year-old should have been disqualified after missing three doping tests over the past 12 months. The U.S Anti-Doping Association had initially barred him, but later lifted the restriction due to a revised filing date on one test.

    Is Coleman for real? The Georgia native is certainly speedy — he now ranks No. 6 on the all-time fastest list — but U.S. track legend Michael Johnson says those missed drug tests should keep him from becoming the sport’s chief ambassador.