The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Alabama Lawmakers Approve Near-Total Abortion Ban

    The state Senate voted 25-6, with one abstention, in favor of what could become the country’s most restrictive such law by banning abortions at all stages. Doctors would face prison terms of up to 99 years for administering the procedure if the mother’s life isn’t seriously at risk, with no exceptions for rape or incest. It’s aimed, backers say, at spurring a newly shifted U.S. Supreme Court to reverse its 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

    What’s next? Republican Gov. Kay Ivey hasn’t said she’ll sign the bill — but the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have already promised a fierce fight against its implementation.

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    US-Iran Tensions Spark Global Concerns

    During a visit to Russia yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Washington isn’t gunning for war with Iran — but added that it would “respond in an appropriate fashion” if U.S. interests are attacked. Meanwhile, U.S. allies have resisted the antagonistic moves, including British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who warned this week against an “unintended” conflict, and Spain, which withdrew a frigate yesterday from a U.S.-led fleet in the Persian Gulf.

    What are the chances of war? Experts say they’re heightened given the lack of direct communication between Washington and Tehran.

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    Reports: Trump to Impose Huawei Ban

    President Donald Trump will reportedly issue an executive order this week effectively banning American companies from using the Chinese telecommunications giant’s equipment. Hawks in the administration are believed to have long advocated for the order — which doesn’t name any specific company, but instead empowers the Commerce Department to review business transactions suspected of posing a national security threat. Last year, a new law prohibited U.S. government agencies from using Huawei gear.

    What about trade negotiations? The measure complicates deteriorating efforts to reach a Sino-U.S. trade deal, already hindered by new tariff increases from both sides.

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    Saudi Arabia Slams Houthi Attacks on Oil Stations

    Global oil benchmark Brent crude rose 1.6 percent yesterday after Saudi Arabia reported a “cowardly” attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on two oil pumping stations using “armed drones.” State-owned firm Saudi Aramco said only one of the stations experienced “minor damage,” while Brent was back down today. The incident followed Monday’s report of sabotage that damaged two Saudi oil tankers.

    Are more attacks coming? Analysts believe yesterday’s strikes reveal that the Iranian-backed Houthis are increasingly capable of striking deeper into the kingdom in order to target its oil infrastructure — something U.S. officials have warned Iran may be orchestrating.

    Read OZY’s Flashback about the mysterious murder of a Saudi princess.

  5. Also Important…

    Facebook said it would boost restrictions on its Live feature in response to a gunman streaming killings during March 15 New Zealand mosque attacks. Opposition and military leaders in Sudan have agreed on a three-year transitional period leading toward a civilian administration. And the U.S. birth rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1986.

    #OZYfact: South Korea and China have the highest percentage of hard-core female esports fans in the world. Read more on OZY.

    We’re listening! OZY has launched a series about love stories — and we want to hear yours. If you’ve found yourself in an unconventional or intriguing romantic situation, send an email to and tell us all about it!


  1. Surveillance

    San Francisco Bans City’s Use of Facial Recognition

    Privacy advocates are applauding an 8-1 vote yesterday by the city’s board of supervisors to ban local agencies from using the surveillance technology — making San Francisco the first major city to do so. Dreaded for its Orwellian uses in China, facial recognition is increasingly employed by U.S. authorities to identify criminal suspects, including potential terrorists, in public places. City officials will also be required to seek approval before adopting other surveillance tech.

    Does the ban go too far? Some have criticized it for blocking the technology permanently instead of imposing a moratorium.

    Don’t miss OZY’s original series, Robots of Tomorrow.

  2. bribe envelope changing hands shutterstock 715144735

    More CEOs Than Ever Fired Over Ethics

    Of the 89 leaders removed from the world’s top 2,500 public companies last year, 39 percent were ousted over ethical lapses, according to a new study by auditing firm PwC. It’s the first time in the study’s 19-year history that ethics violations topped the list of reasons for CEO exits. Meanwhile, the rate of incoming female chief executives dropped to 4.9 percent — down from a record-high 6 percent in 2017. 

    What’s changed? Experts say company boards feel increasingly compelled to hold their chiefs accountable amid pressure from society’s #MeToo movement, as well as from their own employees.

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    Can Paris Become the Next Silicon Valley?

    Turned off by negatives like the Bay Area’s high cost of living, tech entrepreneurs are shopping around. While Asian hubs like Tokyo, Beijing and Taipei seem like natural fits, the City of Love could be the next big thing, OZY reports. The French government is courting foreign innovators by speeding up visas, while new funding is flowing in. Meanwhile, financial reforms, including tax credits, could further encourage the country’s traditionally risk-adverse entrepreneurs.

    What obstacles does France face? Language, as well as European companies’ emphasis on generating revenue with goods and services versus plowing capital into ground-breaking ideas, remain significant challenges for the budding tech hub.

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    Health Care Out of Reach for Mozambique’s Mothers 

    Even before two devastating cyclones ravaged the African coastal country, its maternal mortality rate was more than twice the global average, with 489 women dying per 100,000 live births. Now the danger has increased: Following Cyclone Kenneth, for instance, some 10,000 pregnant women in the Cabo Delgado province alone face increased mortality risks from a lack of access to functioning hospitals or from malaria, which infected 28,000 people after the storms.

    Who’s addressing the problem? The U.N. Population Fund says it’s setting up temporary reproductive centers, though the remoteness of some areas has complicated their work.

  5. Serena Williams press conference shutterstock 282071456

    Knee Takes Serena Williams Out of Italian Open

    Due to face sister Venus after beating Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson this week in the first round of the Italian Open, the 37-year-old dropped out, citing pain from a previously injured left knee. For now, the four-time Rome winner says she’s “concentrating on rehab.” It’s the third consecutive withdrawal from an event over health concerns by the world’s 11th-ranked player.

    How serious is her injury? That remains to be seen — though she’s not ruling out her appearance at the French Open later this month.

    Don’t miss OZY’s profile of budding tennis star Naomi Osaka.