The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iraq flag cracked shutterstock 1134705704

    Iraq Struggles to Respond to Deadly Demonstrations

    The rumblings started last weekend with the demotion of a beloved general who fought to defeat ISIS, and reputedly had little tolerance for corruption or Iran-backed militias. Then on Tuesday, protests erupted in Baghdad and southern, mostly Shia Muslim cities like Basra. The government’s response has been mostly silence on protesters’ grievances, including corruption, unemployment and power outages — and brutality, as the death toll had risen above 90 by Saturday.

    Will protests continue? It’s likely, but the year-old government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has promised reforms, while world leaders have urged restraint.

    Read this OZY feature on Iraq’s underground club scene.

  2. police line shutterstock 56280433

    Witness in Policewoman’s Murder Trial Killed in Dallas

    A witness in the trial of a Dallas police officer convicted Tuesday of murder in shooting a neighbor has been found fatally shot. Joshua Brown, 28, lived across the hall from where Officer Amber Guyger, who is White, walked into the apartment of Black neighbor Botham Jean and fatally shot him in September 2018. Brown testified in her trial that he heard “two people meeting by surprise” and two gunshots.

    How did this happen? Police say witnesses found Brown late Friday with multiple gunshot wounds a parking lot and seeing a silver sedan speed away. Authorities are investigating what the attorney for Jean’s family is calling an “ambush.”

  3. white house storm clouds shutterstock 562939351

    Lawyers: Second Ukraine Whistleblower Emerges

    The attorney representing the person who first complained about President Donald Trump’s alleged effort to coerce a foreign government to help his re-election campaign says a second whistleblower has come forward. Mark Zaid told ABC News that he’s also representing the second anonymous complainant and that his client has spoken to Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s internal watchdog. Media reports suggest this new first-hand knowledge of Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will strengthen House impeachment efforts.

    How has Trump reacted? He hasn’t yet, but his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani tweeted that it “means nothing” and is part of an “orchestrated” Democratic Party campaign.

  4. Shutterstock 742366738

    Trump Dares House to Impeach Him

    He did nothing wrong. That’s what President Donald Trump professes to believe about charges that he tried to coerce Ukraine into investigating his top Democratic rival, Joe Biden. Trump promised Friday to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he says has the simple majority required for impeachment, daring her to use those votes. Text messages released late Thursday reportedly indicate that some of Trump’s own envoys to Ukraine didn’t trust the president’s denials.

    What happens next? House Democrats have sent a subpoena demanding a range of Ukraine documents from the White House, likely setting up a new separation-of-powers legal struggle.

  5. Shutterstock 1517697314

    Investors Brace for Next Week’s Trade Talks 

    U.S. and Chinese negotiators will meet again in Washington next week to work out differences that precipitated the countries’ trade war, but they’ll be overloaded with baggage. With the global economy at stake, they’ll have to contend with — or ignore — peripheral issues. President Trump has asked China to investigate Joe Biden, while a new CNN report accuses the president of promising to downplay Hong Kong protests during trade talks.

    Where do markets stand now? Wall Street ended its third declining week on the mend, with major indexes rising at least 1.4 percent Friday after seeing U.S. unemployment hit a 50-year-low.

    Read OZY’s profile of Trump’s trade warrior.

  6. charge of the light brigade

    The Charge of the Brexit Brigade

    Unlike his blustery counterpart across the pond, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes to evoke poetry. In pushing to complete Britain’s EU exit, Johnson has peppered his speech with quotes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” That includes a “do or die” commitment to leave the bloc by Oct. 31 and enduring “shot and shell” in the process.

    Is the allusion appropriate? The 1854 Crimean War cavalry attack was a costly failure, and Johnson’s political battle bears some resemblance: He’s reportedly requesting that the deadline be extended if an orderly departure isn’t agreed upon by Oct. 19.

    Read OZY’s Special Briefing on Johnson’s signature cause.

  7. hong kong protest from 1 oct shutterstock 1521437099

    Dodging the Tear Gas Until Beijing’s Had Enough

    He feared it would be a boring posting. But Jerome Taylor, Agence France-Presse’s bureau chief in Hong Kong, soon found himself ducking tear gas canisters and sporting helmets this summer. Lately, he’s been considering flak vests as a wardrobe addition. Taylor covered 2014’s Umbrella Movement, but as one Hongkonger told him, “the marching wasn’t working” and she supported a more aggressive response to Beijing’s tightening control.

    What happens next? Taylor hears that question a lot, but he only knows that friends are making evacuation plans — in case mainland tanks roll in.

  8. Also Important …

    A gunman killed four people in a Kansas bar and wounded five others early today. More than 700 firefighters are battling a 6,000-acre Colorado wildfire 140 miles south of Denver. And North Korean negotiators say denuclearization talks in Sweden “broke down” Saturday, while U.S. officials cited “good discussions” they hope to resume in two weeks.

    In the week ahead: Tunisia holds parliamentary elections today, but many fear it could end in an impasse and further public disenchantment with the Arab Spring’s only democratic success story. The U.S. Supreme Court will begin its term Monday, followed the next day with hearings for three cases on the issue of whether it’s legal to fire an employee for being gay or transgender. And oddsmakers say that teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden has the best chance of being named for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced Friday in Oslo, Norway.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an ambitious journalist to cover business and finance through unique, analytical and globally minded write-ups. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. twins shutterstock 791623573

    Minnesota Twins Face Their Playoff Demons 

    Here we go again. The Minnesota Twins are down 0-1 games against a New York Yankees team that has defeated them the past five times they’ve met in a playoff series, plus one wild-card game. Batters going cold at crunch time and imploding bullpens contributed to each devastating loss. But this time, the so-called Bomba Squad of home run hitters could break the curse.

    What’s different? None of Minnesota’s current top guns were prominent in past flare-outs, giving the 2019 team a fighting chance to knock those demons out of the park. 

    Check out this OZY story on why baseball should keep its juiced balls.

  2. Lesbian Couple on their wedding day

    Will Poland’s Election Pivot on LGBTQ Rights?

    Poland doesn’t protect victims of hate speech or allow same-sex marriage or adoption. But half of its citizens support such rights, flying in the face of political rhetoric against “gender ideology.” That’s the term Catholic clerics and ruling Law and Justice party politicians are using to verbally bash gay and transgender citizens ahead of Oct. 13 parliamentary elections.

    What’s at stake? LGBTQ activists say they fear a Law and Justice landslide — securing a supermajority allowing the party to change the constitution and open the floodgates for intolerance while removing the means of monitoring hate crimes.

    Don’t miss OZY’s look at trans migrants’ deadly dilemma.

  3. breastfeeding shutterstock 721112062

    How Employers Punish Breastfeeding Moms

    The nursing mothers provision of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, requires employers to provide working women with the time, space and safety needed to breastfeed at work. Yet there have been more than 376 federal violation investigations across the country between 2010 and 2018. Many employers fail to abide by the law even when they try, while others fired, demoted or docked pay from working moms for what they deemed excessive breastfeeding or pumping. 

    Which employers stood out? Major retailers like Best Buy, JCPenney and Walmart, but the problem was also reported in hospitals and public sector workplaces.

  4. Shutterstock 645453676

    The Mistakes That Reunited Germany

    Thursday was German Unity Day, the anniversary of the nation’s reunification. OZY looks back at this momentous event, which took place thanks to haphazard moves by two East German public servants. One was Günter Schabowski, a spokesman who didn’t bother reading a new Politburo travel law and announced incorrectly that citizens could leave the East immediately.

    So what resulted? Press reports brought citizens out to the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing, where Lt. Col. Harald Jäger was in charge, but couldn’t get superiors to clarify the travel law. So he defied them, throwing open the wall’s first gate.

    Go behind the walls with OZY’s States of the Nation: Germany series.

  5. chimpanzee in uganda shutterstock 358500770

    The Chimp Who Experimented on Humans

    In the early 1990s, psychologist David Leavens befriended Clint, an adolescent chimpanzee who taught him to reconsider simian intelligence. The caged companion helped the human learn to reject the scientific orthodoxy of human exceptionalism. In a tribute, Leavens argues how important Clint continues to be for scientific discoveries about the human race.

    What did Clint teach the psychologist? The first chimpanzee to have his genome sequenced, Clint showed that he could easily manipulate humans, just by pointing his finger and prompting them to retrieve food — in effect training them.