Islamic militants claim to have beheaded photojournalist James Foley.

Presidential Daily Brief.

August 20, 2014

Important…Expand All

  1. Deadly Aims

    Beheading Video May Change Game Plan in Iraq

    The White House is investigating an online video of the apparent beheading of American photojournalist James Foley by an Islamic State militant. In it, the man identified as Foley — missing since 2012 — pleads against U.S. intervention in Iraq. After the beheading, the executioner warns that President Obama’s “next decision” will decide the fate of another kidnapped U.S. journalist. Targeting Americans may not be the group’s top priority now, “but there can be little doubt this is among its ambitions,” warns former CIA deputy director and OZY contributor John McLaughlin.

    FT (sub), Washington PostOZY

  2. Question Authorities

    Grand Jury Gears Up Over Teen’s Death

    Answers can’t come soon enough. A grand jury in St. Louis today begins probing the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a cop in the nearby suburb of Ferguson on August 9. Witnesses have provided varying accounts of what happened on that fateful night. Protesters and authorities maintained a tense calm late Tuesday, but police fatally shot a knife-wielding young man just a few miles a way — an incident some fear could further inflame protests.

    NYTUSA TodayReuters

  3. iHigh

    Apple Shares Zoom to Record High

    The electronics and computing giant’s stock soared to an all-time high (considering splits) yesterday on winds of investor confidence in its new products. Shares rose 1.4 percent to $100.53, thanks to excitement over anticipated bigger-screen iPhones, with an estimated 200 million users anxious for a mother lode of upgrades. Analysts predict sales of the new iPhone — expected to hit the market next month — will dispel concern that the company can’t make ideas soar without Steve Jobs.

    BloombergFT (sub), CNNQuartz

  4. Don't Cry

    Argentina Suggests Anti-Default Debt Swap

    The South American republic is taking the wheel and proposing a voluntary debt swap aimed at skirting the U.S. court ruling that apparently drove it into default. Bondholders would receive replacement shares of equivalent value, but current trustee Bank of New York Mellon would be replaced by an Argentinian bank, allowing the government to service the debt at home. President Cristina Fernandez, who tearfully charged that American vultures had treated her country “unjustly,” is eager to steer Argentina in a new direction.

    ReutersWSJ (sub), FT (sub)

  5. Briefly

    Gaza Violence Erupts, Rick Perry Turns Himself In

    Truce is broken, violence erupts again in Gaza. (Al Jazeera)

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry turns himself in to answer abuse of power charges. (USA Today)

    Former Microsoft CEO steps down from board. (BBC)

    Hiroshima landslide kills 27. (Reuters)

    White House to revamp no-fly list rules. (AP)


  1. Mask Appeal

    Sun-Wary Beach Bunnies Sport Facekinis

    Try to keep a straight face. The latest fad among Chinese women is neon mask “Facekinis” to protect their faces from sun damage while at the beach. The weird wear — hood-like swimsuit material with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth — may make women look like Pussy Riot wannabes, but one fashion magazine thinks the accessory could be a real hit. Those snarking on Weibo that it “looks like bank robbers are raiding the beach,” however, may need more convincing.

    The Telegraph

  2. Unwilling Hosts

    Staff Petitions Air France to Cut Flights to Ebola Nations

    The deadly virus has suddenly become a labor issue. Some 700 Air France workers worried about contracting Ebola have petitioned the airline — which serves more West African destinations than any other major carrier — to stop flights to nations beset by the virus. Some staff have even refused to board flights. Health officials say spreading Ebola via air travel is unlikely, but with the deadliest outbreak having killed 1,145, some prefer not to fly in the face of danger.

    Mashable, Times of India

  3. Mind Bending

    Yoga Keeps Older Brains Limber

    Striking a pose is good for muscles and brains, scientists say. Older Americans, ages 55 to 70, improved their information recall, mental flexibility and multitasking by practicing hatha yoga three times a week, according to new research. The control group did general toning exercises but showed little cognitive improvement. Researchers theorize that yoga’s breathing techniques may reduce stress, which could be key to boosting brain function. While the young tend to enjoy more yoga, it’s no stretch to say that over-50s should give it a try.


  4. Screeching

    Lifetime Film Explores Sitcom’s Teenage Angst

    A smash-hit show about teenagers rides on a barely controlled wave of hormonal angst — that’s the apparent message of Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story. A trailer for the film, which airs on Labor Day, features off-set make out sessions and Dustin Diamond’s character punching a kid for calling him “Screech.” The original show only ran from 1989 to 1993, but the back-story of Bayside High is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Rolling StoneVultureCBS

  5. Power Pitch

    Mo’ne Becomes First Little League Cover Girl

    Throwing like a girl is a good thing. Mo’ne Davis wowed at the Little League World Series last week, pitching a two-hit shutout for her Philadelphia team, and is now the first little leaguer — boy or girl — to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. The only girl in a tournament dominated by 13-year-old boys, Davis reads batters like books and throws a 70 mph fastball. What’s even more impressive? Getting SI to admire a girl’s curves someplace other than at the beach.


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