OZY: Presidential Daily Brief

Thursday, October 01, 2020

1. Debate Rules Will Change After Acrimonious First Round

After a U.S. presidential debate that abandoned all decorous norms seen in previous election cycles and amounted to a series of belligerent interruptions decried by many on both sides of the aisle as useless and disturbing, the Commission on Presidential Debates says it will announce rule changes before the next matchup on Oct. 15. President Donald Trump’s campaign objected to any change. Meanwhile, with early voting already begun, Trump used the debate to urge supporters to go to polling places and “watch very carefully,” raising fears of voter intimidation from an estimated 50,000 volunteers the Trump campaign has promised to mobilize.

Sources: BBC, NYT, Washington Post

Are you on the fence about Trump vs. Biden? We want to talk to you for a forthcoming feature about undecided voters! Please get in touch at politics@ozy.com.

2. Fauci Fights Back Against Trump Mask Misinformation

After President Trump accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of changing his mind about face masks, the country’s top infectious disease specialist sought to correct the record, saying his early recommendation was to preserve scarce protective equipment for medical professionals. A recent Cornell University study found that Trump, who rarely wears a mask and has mocked others for doing so, is the single biggest driver of falsehoods reported about the coronavirus, largely due to his promotion of ineffective “miracle cures.” Meanwhile, the Covax project, which aims to deliver an eventual vaccine to the world’s poorest communities, is struggling for funds and concerned about the eventual supply of vaccines.

Sources: The Hill, NYT, AP

3. Russia and France Call for Nagorno-Karabakh Cease-fire

With a death toll already above 100 and fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan not abating, Russian President Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron have called on the warring countries to reach a truce over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is officially located in Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians. It’s the worst flare-up of violence in years in a conflict that’s been simmering since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia, which has close ties to both nations, has also offered to host peace talks — but military leaders on the ground show no signs of coming to the table.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, BBC

4. Awaiting Bailout, Airlines to Furlough 32,000 Workers

About 13 percent of the workers at United and American Airlines will be furloughed today, the companies announced, after a $25 billion government aid package prohibiting such job cuts expired at midnight. Airlines had hoped for another six-month reprieve, with their business slightly recovered from its nadir in April but still down 70 percent year on year. Both airlines promised to bring the workers back if lawmakers agree to an aid package within a few days, though there’s no guarantee Republicans and Democrats will be able to reach such a deal.

Sources: WSJ (sub), Reuters

5. Also Important …

Facebook has officially banned ads that suggest the U.S. election will be illegitimate. Japan’s so-called “Twitter Killer” has pleaded guilty to murdering nine people he sought out via social media. And the Trump administration has delayed the release of a study on polar bears that could affect its plans to open the Arctic for drilling.

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1. Subway Bread Not Actually Bread, Rules Irish Court

It doesn’t matter how you slice it. A Galway-based Subway franchisee argued that its sandwiches should be exempt from value-added tax because they contain bread, a government-defined “staple food.” But Ireland’s Supreme Court found that the product doesn’t actually meet the criteria for bread as it’s legally defined, since it contains five times the sugar. The restaurant can still claim its sandwiches are served on “bread,” but will have to pay the tax on them. Subway previously ran into a definitional issue in Australia in 2016, when it paid out $5,000 (plus $500,000 in plaintiffs’ legal fees) over selling “footlongs” that were really 11 inches long.

Sources: Newsweek, Food & Wine

2. Tokyo Stock Exchange Pauses for Worst Ever Outage

It was standing stock still. Less than half an hour before Thursday’s opening bell, the world’s third-largest exchange was forced to postpone trading because of a technical glitch. By noon, the Tokyo Stock Exchange announced a halt to business for the entire day. Other markets in Asia, including Hong Kong, Shanghai and South Korea, were all closed already for holidays. The shutdown is expected to have a chilling effect on investor confidence, though a recent Bank of Japan survey showed manufacturer optimism rising from pandemic lows. There’s no indication that the exchange was hacked, but officials are investigating as they decide whether to open tomorrow.

Sources: Japan Today, Bloomberg, MarketWatch

3. Could These Small Changes Decrease Anti-Deaf Police Violence?

Police in America have fatally shot at least six deaf Americans in the last five years, and the pandemic is only making it worse, as face masks make lip reading impossible. Now some departments are changing their policies: requiring police to use interpreters for appointments with deaf people or download an app to translate their in-person interactions into American Sign Language. But with no national standards, every police department in the U.S. is setting its own rules, OZY reports. Many officers assume people who are deaf are being intentionally noncompliant — and respond with unnecessary violence.

Source: OZY

4. Heiress Sentenced to Jail Time for Role in Sex Trafficking Cult

She didn’t want to come in from the cult. Clare Bronfman, 41, was a leading member of American self-help group Nxvim (pronounced Nexium) for 15 years, and used her inherited Seagram liquor fortune to bankroll its lawsuits against critics. She’s refused to denounce cult leader Keith Raniere, convicted last year of multiple crimes including sex trafficking, forced labor, racketeering and conspiracy. Last month she even wrote to the court that Nxvim “changed [her] life for the better.” She’ll serve 6 years and 9 months and forfeit $6.5 million, thought to be only a small portion of her net worth.

Sources: Yahoo, NPR

5. Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion arrived at the French Open limping on an injured Achilles tendon, and while she won her first-round match she decided not to continue with the tournament. Williams needs just one more Grand Slam victory to tie the all-time women’s record set by Margaret Court. Meanwhile, players in Paris yesterday were startled mid-match by an unexpected loud boom over the city — which turned out to be a military jet breaking the sound barrier in its rush to check on the status of a small plane that had fallen out of contact.

Sources: People , NYT, AP


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