The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Gunmen Attacks German Synagogue

    A perpetrator threw a grenade into a synagogue and a Turkish kebab shop before gunning down at least two people in the German city of Halle on Wednesday. Police have arrested one suspect, but it remains unclear whether other attackers were involved. Authorities are treating the attack as a politically motivated crime, with one eyewitness describing the shooter as a man dressed in military gear and carrying a shotgun and an automatic weapon

    How are police reacting? Investigators have told civilians to remain on high alert as they conduct a manhunt following reports that a car was hijacked in a nearby town after the attack. 

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    White House Won’t Play Ball With Impeachment Probe

    “It’s the McCarthy committee on steroids.” That’s how Rudy Giuliani described the congressional investigation of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which the administration has now officially refused to cooperate with. In an eight-page letter to Democrats, White House counsel described the inquiry as “partisan and unconstitutional” and claimed it’s an attempt “to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

    Is that the end of the inquiry? It’s a significant roadblock for Democrats looking to depose State Department officials, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the probe will continue — and refusal to cooperate would be interpreted as “further evidence of obstruction.”

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    Turkey Moves against the Kurds in Northeast Syria 

    Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Wednesday that Ankara’s offensive has begun as Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish targets across the border. The offensive comes days after U.S President Donald Trump sparked global criticism when he announced that U.S troops were pulling out from the region to make way for a Turkish assault against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State group.

    Is a humanitarian catastrophe looming? SDF fighters have warned that any offensive will spill the blood of thousands of innocent lives since the border regions are far too overcrowded. 

    Don’t miss OZY’s Special Briefing on Trump’s surprise Syria reversal.

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    US-China Tensions Spike on Multiple Fronts

    Ahead of new trade talks tomorrow, Beijing lashed out at U.S. sanctions against Chinese firms over the country’s treatment of the Uighur minority group. But China’s demand that the U.S. “stop interfering” will likely have little effect: The White House also announced visa restrictions against officials linked to Uighur detention camps. Meanwhile, Chinese state media denounced NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for refusing to condemn Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s support for protests in Hong Kong.

    Why aren’t trade talks dead already? Analysts say delaying or canceling negotiations would only further extend an already daunting deadlock.

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    Doubts Mount Over Brexit Deadline

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scrambling to stick to his pledge of pulling his country out of the European Union by Oct. 31. But his Irish counterpart isn’t helping: Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it would be “very difficult” to reach an agreement by Oct. 17, when EU leaders will meet for their next summit. In a phone call with Johnson yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also reportedly said his timeline was “overwhelmingly unlikely.”

    Will there be any movement? Some inside Downing Street claimed Merkel made unacceptable demands, leading European Council President Donald Tusk to denounce Britain’s “stupid blame game.”

  6. Also Important…

    According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, nearly 1 million migrants were detained while crossing from Mexico during the 2019 fiscal year. Saudi Aramco says it’ll return to full oil production capacity by the end of next month. And a Philadelphia jury has ordered that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson pay $8 billion to a man who grew breasts after using the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.

    #OZYfact: Business majors have the largest gulf between their expected and eventual earnings. Read more on OZY.

    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.


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    California Prepares for Massive Power Outage

    Some 800,000 residents in 34 counties are bracing for up to a week in the dark as utility company PG&E cuts power today to reduce the risk of wildfires. Heavy winds are expected this week, and the company’s power lines have sparked some of the Golden State’s fiercest blazes in recent years. But the largest preventive outage in California history is igniting anger among residents, who have crashed PG&E’s website several times while scrambling for details on the shutoff.

    Do outages really reduce wildfire risks? Some customers aren’t sold, saying PG&E would do better to inspect their problematic power lines.

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    In Germany, Home Is Where the Job Training Is

    If you’re forced to flee your country, the state of Baden-Württemberg is a good place to end up. Not only is it the beating heart of German manufacturing, but it offers refugees looking for work a variety of social services, including language and culture classes. That helps plug gaps in education and training, OZY reports, and it’s turned the state into something of an outlier as the rest of Germany lurches to the political right.

    How have residents responded? In Baden-Württemberg, refugee families report greater acceptance from the local community — while the far-right Alternative for Germany party is losing support.

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    Does Owning a Dog Boost Life Expectancy?

    According to research published Tuesday in the journal Circulation, single dog owners have a 33 percent reduced risk of death after suffering a heart attack compared to those without a furry friend. That backs up a recent meta-review of 10 studies published between 1950 and 2019 that found dog owners are 24 percent less likely to die prematurely and 65 percent less likely to die after a heart attack.

    Why is owning canines so beneficial? Not only does it help tackle anxiety and social isolation, but researchers say it encourages physical exercise and lowers blood pressure.

    Check out OZY’s feature on the rise of pet travelers.

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    Lebanese Lawyers Challenge ‘Economist’ Over Reporting

    In a complaint filed yesterday, a group of Lebanese lawyers claims the British magazine spread fake news about the country’s struggling economy and damaged its reputation. Published Oct. 5, the article details the ongoing shortage of U.S. dollars amid Lebanon’s currency crisis. The group also took issue with The Economist’s “derogatory” illustration showing a cedar tree, Lebanon’s national emblem, collapsing against a red and white background.

    What do they want? The lawyers are hoping for the issue to be yanked from local shelves, though human rights groups have taken issue with that request.

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    Simone Biles Makes History as Top Female Gymnast

    The four-time Olympic champion helped the U.S. snag the team title at the world gymnastics championships in Germany yesterday, giving her 21 career medals — more than any other female gymnast. Yet Biles stayed modest: “I never think of records,” she said after Team USA’s fifth straight international title, a streak that tied Romania’s record from 2001.

    What’s next for Biles? If the 22-year-old Texan can win three more medals during this week’s competition, she’ll surpass Vitaly Scherbo to take the overall record for the most decorated athlete in gymnastics history.

    Read OZY’s Immodest Proposal for equal TV time for men’s and women’s sports.