The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. french police shutterstock 206717545

    Four French Officers Killed by One of Their Own 

    The knife attack occurred Thursday at a Paris police headquarters by a man believed to be an employee of law enforcement. City Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that several officers lost their lives, including the perpetrator, who was eventually shot dead. The police department has yet to make a statement, but the violent incident is already resurrecting concerns about terrorism, considering France has become a prime target in recent years. 

    How are police responding? With heavy hearts and extra caution. Following the attack, a large number of police forces were deployed all across Île de la Cité, the neighborhood where it transpired. 


  2. shutterstock 193931351

    Democrats Threaten White House With Subpoena

    “We’re not fooling around here.” So said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff yesterday, warning that attempts to block congressional access to documents on President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine would amount to obstruction of justice. House Democrats said they’ll subpoena the administration by Friday if it doesn’t comply with their requests. Meanwhile, an increasingly agitated Trump accused his opponents of “wasting everyone’s time and energy.”

    What’s next? All eyes are on Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, who is being deposed today by three House committees.

  3. iraq shutterstock 420111937

    Iraq Rattled by Deadly Protests

    At least 13 people are dead and hundreds injured following two days of violent protests that began in Baghdad but have since spread across the country. As a result of the demonstrations, which have targeted widespread corruption and unemployment, authorities have imposed curfews and internet blockages. Meanwhile, Iraq’s armed forces have been placed on high alert.

    Who’s behind the protests? Observers say the demonstrators aren’t politically or religiously affiliated — but rather “angry young people” who feel disadvantaged.

    Check out OZY’s Fast Forward about Iraq’s stolen treasures returning home.

  4. brexit shutterstock 432325573

    Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan Faces EU Scrutiny

    With the British prime minister’s proposal for a revised withdrawal deal now in front of European officials, they’ll have to decide how to proceed before a last-ditch Brexit summit Oct. 17-18. Johnson claims to have delivered a “constructive and reasonable” plan — including a compromise on the controversial Irish border issue — but reports from diplomats in Brussels are mixed. The prime minister is expected to address Parliament about it today.

    What’s next? With the European Parliament’s Brexit group reportedly against Johnson’s plan, some sources say he’ll be forced to request an extension.

  5. airbus shutterstock 486304546

    US Will Hit European Union With New Tariffs

    The World Trade Organization ruled yesterday that Washington may impose new taxes on up to $7.5 billion worth of European imports in response to what the White House says are “illegal” EU subsidies to planemaker Airbus. The duties, which take effect Oct. 18, include a 10 percent levy on jetliners from several nations and 25 percent tariffs on goods as diverse as Scotch whisky, cheese and pork products.

    Will this damage US-EU relations? Analysts don’t appear too worried, suggesting “the well is pretty poisoned anyways” — though Airbus says the taxes could “severely impact” both the aircraft industry and the global economy at large.

  6. Also Important…

    The 18-year-old Hong Kong protester who was shot by a police officer earlier this week has been charged with rioting and attacking police. North Korea has confirmed that it launched a submarine-capable ballistic missile yesterday from a sea-based platform. And seven people were killed when a World War II-era bomber crashed during a botched landing in Hartford, Connecticut.

    #OZYfact: Eastern Europe posted the largest drop in abortions of any global region over the last several decades, falling from 88 per 1,000 in 1990-1994 to 42 per 1,000 in 2010-2014. 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. heroin shutterstock 1183391278

    US Judge: Supervised Injection Sites Are Legal

    On Wednesday a federal judge ruled to let a Philadelphia nonprofit proceed with opening Safehouse, the nation’s first facility for drug users to inject heroin with medical oversight. In a city that’s seen more than 3,000 overdose deaths in the past three years, Safehouse aims to provide sterile injection equipment — and in case of an overdose, trained staff would administer an antidote. The Justice Department has vowed to appeal the ruling.

    Is the idea gaining traction? San Francisco, Seattle and New York are among the major U.S. cities considering opening supervised facilities, which have existed for decades in Canada, Australia and Europe.

    Don’t miss this OZY feature on Syria’s illegal pill trade.

  2. google shutterstock 746561200

    Is Google Fooling Its Facial Recognition Subjects?

    While gathering data for a new Pixel 4 smartphone facial recognition feature, the tech giant says it aimed to collect samples from a wide variety of people to improve functionality. But a new report suggests it did so in dubious ways: Contractors hired by a third-party firm said they were encouraged to target people of color and dupe the unsuspecting candidates — from homeless people to college students — for their photos, sometimes plying them with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

    Could this mean trouble for Google? Some legal experts say it’s a violation of privacy, but they also note it’s “a complicated legal question.”

  3. multiracial high school students in class shutterstock 583820713

    Four-Day School Weeks Are Making the Grade

    Facing tight budgets, school districts in Western and Midwestern states are increasingly adopting a four-day week, OZY reports. While most are in rural communities, one Denver-area district has become the first in a metropolitan area to make the transition — joining more than 60 percent of Colorado districts with shorter weeks but longer days. And the trend’s growing: In 2016, just 20 districts in 21 states had four-day weeks, but that’s jumped to 560 districts across 25 states.

    Who benefits? The move could boost morale among underpaid teachers, though critics warn of the child care burden it places on lower-income families.

  4. placido domingo shutterstock 32698927

    Placido Domingo Quits LA Opera Over Misconduct Claims

    Amid allegations of sexual harassment from 20 women, the Spanish opera legend announced with a “heavy heart” that he’s resigning as general director of the company he co-founded. Los Angeles Opera CEO Christopher Koelsch thanked Domingo for his contribution, but also promised to continue investigating the claims, which were first reported by the Associated Press in August. The 78-year-old tenor denies the accusations.

    Is the tide turning against Domingo? While he still has performances lined up in Europe, ensembles in Philadelphia, Washington and San Francisco have scrapped his scheduled appearances.

  5. runners crossing finish line track shutterstock 1328001

    Allyson Felix Breaks Usain Bolt’s Gold Medal Record

    This week in Doha, Qatar, the 33-year-old Californian helped propel her mixed-gender 4x400 meter relay team to victory, becoming the first athlete to win 12 gold medals at the IAAF World Championships — and eclipsing Bolt’s record of 11. Remarkably, the four-time Olympian did so just 10 months after giving birth. During her pregnancy, Felix spoke out against sponsors’ treatment of female athletes, calling out Nike for offering her 70 percent less following the birth of her daughter.

    What’s next for Felix? She’ll be looking to extend her record as the most decorated female track and field athlete in history at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.