The Presidential Daily Brief

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    US Lawmakers Reach Deal to Avert Shutdown

    Top members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees said they had an “agreement in principle” for all seven spending bills that expire this weekend. The deal includes $1.38 billion for steel slat fencing on the border in exchange for a 17 percent funding cut for ICE detention beds. Democrats fought for restricting bed space to force the administration to prioritize arrests.

    So no emergency? The pact falls short of Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a wall, and while the president still could declare a state of emergency to shore up additional funding, such a move would face legal challenges.

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    Saudi Arabia Denies Role in Jeff Bezos Scandal

    “It sounds to me like a soap opera.” So said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir of the feud between Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, and the National Enquirer. Bezos has claimed the supposedly Saudi-connected tabloid’s exposé on his affair was retaliation for the Post’s coverage of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A lawyer for National Enquirer CEO and Trump ally David Pecker said neither Riyadh nor the White House leaked lurid images of Bezos to the tabloid.

    How deep does this go? As OZY reports, the sheer number of characters involved — from the world’s richest man to disgraced political fixer Roger Stone — suggests it’s more than just a tabloid scandal.

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    Democratic Presidential Field Widens With Klobuchar Bid

    With Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s announcement yesterday that she’ll seek her party’s nomination for president, the pool of official Democratic contenders for 2020 now includes five senators. Competing with candidates from both coasts, Klobuchar — who spoke under heavy snowfall in her home state of Minnesota — is casting herself as a salt-of-the-earth Midwesterner “running for every American.”

    What’s special about the mix of contenders? With five female lawmakers so far vying for the Democratic nomination, more women than ever are running for the U.S. presidency.

    Read OZY’s profile of the woman who could shape economic policy for 2020.

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    Hungary to Offer Mothers Tax Breaks for More Children

    Lamenting low birth rates in Europe and at home, Prime Minister Viktor Orban floated a plan yesterday to waive income tax for life for mothers of four or more. “We need Hungarian children,” he said during his annual state of the nation address. The controversial right-wing leader also decried immigration as a solution to a sagging population.

    Is this just a political ploy? Not necessarily: Hungary’s population is expected to fall 15 percent by 2050, while Central and Eastern Europe are home to some of the world’s lowest fertility rates.

  5. Also Important…

    Officials in Thailand have disqualified Princess Ubolratana Mahidol from running for prime minister in next month’s election. At least four people are dead and dozens injured after days of anti-government protests in Haiti. And acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has arrived in Afghanistan to meet U.S. troops and President Ashraf Ghani.

    #OZYfact: While almojábanos — fritters of cornmeal and cheese — are found in many parts of Latin America, the Panamanian version so popular it has its own festival. Read more on OZY.

    We’re hiring! OZY is looking for a talented Executive Assistant and Office Manager to join our team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.

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    Paris Sues Airbnb Over 1,000 Illegal Listings

    The home rental company could face as much as $14.2 million in fines in its most lucrative market after Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the suit in an interview yesterday. Airbnb hit back at the French law, which limits homeowners from renting their properties for more than 120 days per year, arguing that it potentially breaches EU standards.

    Is Paris just picky? New York City has also joined the growing chorus of allegations that Airbnb is running illegal hotel operations, suing the company for $21 million last month.

    Check out OZY’s profile of the Airbnb that’s gone to the dogs.

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    Comedian-Politicians Are No Joke in Europe

    Across Central and Eastern Europe, groups that started by playfully mocking those in power are turning into real political forces, OZY reports. Hungary’s Two-Tailed Dog Party began with low-level stunts a decade ago, but now boasts thousands of members — accounting for around 5 percent of the voter share. In Ukraine, TV star Volodymyr Zelensky is topping the country’s presidential polls. And Italy’s 5-Star Movement, founded by jokester Beppe Grillo, now controls the government.

    Aren’t these forces just for protest votes? Not anymore: Parties are working on platforms rather than pranks to build infrastructure and field candidates for real election gains.

    Center-Right Stage

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    Bootleg Liquor Kills More Than 100 in India

    At least 116 people are dead and 16 more in critical condition in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand after consuming hooch. Worst hit was the city of Saharanpur, where police have reportedly arrested 30 suspected dealers. Meanwhile, U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced local officials would pay nearly $3,000 to relatives of the deceased, and around $700 to those undergoing treatment.

    Is there political fallout? Amid cries of corruption, local leaders blame the governing Bharatiya Janata Party for failing to crack down — while Adityanath, a BJP member, suggested a “conspiracy” by the Samajwadi Party.

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    Kacey Musgraves, Childish Gambino Win Big at Grammys

    The country star won album of the year for Golden Hour as well as three more accolades at last night’s music awards, while the celebrated hip-hop artist also took home four awards. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga emerged victorious in three categories — two of which were awarded for the song Shallow, performed with actor Bradley Cooper in the film A Star Is Born.

    Did anyone make history? Gambino won song and record of the year, becoming the first hip-hop artist to claim either of those awards.

    Don’t miss this OZY story about the music mastermind behind 1,000 bands.

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    Lindsey Vonn Caps Career With Bronze Medal

    The 34-year-old retired with a downhill bronze yesterday at the world championships in Sweden, ending her career as the most successful female skier in history. The win came just days after a crash during the super-G race left her with a bruised rib and a black eye. “Every athlete has their own obstacles,” she said, “and I faced mine head on today and I conquered them.”

    Who’s the next Lindsey Vonn? Look out for American Mikaela Shiffrin: The 23-year-old is the sport’s next potential star after winning last week’s super-G.

    Check out OZY’s dispatch on the most terrifying ski experience in Germany.