The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Mystery Continues in Search for Missing Malaysian Jet

    Still nothing — that’s the crushing news for those awaiting word on the fate of loved ones on a flight that disappeared Friday with 239 passengers on board. Debris have proven inconclusive or false, and officials have not ruled out a possible hijacking of the plane, which departed from Malaysia destined for China. Officials say they’ve identified one of the two men who boarded with a false passport, but they aren’t releasing that person’s nationality. No signals have been detected from the aircraft by any of the 40 ships or 34 planes involved in the search. 

    Sources: BBCCNN, Telegraph

  2. Americans Taking Public Transit in Record Numbers

    Ridership numbers topped 10.65 billion in 2013, more than the previous mark set in 2008, according to a new study by the American Public Transportation Association. Ridership had risen as gas prices soared, but predictions called for transit usage to shrink when gas prices dropped and the economy evened out. Instead, as jobs recovered, the number of commuters rose — people just opted for transit rather than cars. Cities have added new transit options too. Don’t expect all traffic jams to disappear, but transit proponents are cheering.

    Sources: NYT, AP

  3. Obama Invites Ukrainian Leader to Washington

    The president will meet this week with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to discuss peaceful ways of resolving the Crimea crisis. The Wednesday meeting was Obama’s idea, as he wants to show strong support for Ukraine’s new government. It comes as the world braces for Crimea’s upcoming referendum on whether or not to join Russia and secede from Ukraine. Thousands rallied in Ukraine over the issue yesterday, with pro-Russian and pro-Kiev groups clashing in the troubled Crimea region. 

    Sources: The GuardianPoliticoAl Jazeera

  4. Mexican Authorities Claim to Kill ‘Deceased’ Drug Lord

    This time they think they’ve got the right man. Officials say they killed Nazario Moreno, better known as “The Craziest One,” on Sunday in Michoacan state. The weird twist is that Moreno — founder of the La Familia cartel and seen as the spiritual leader of the brutal Knights Templar — was reportedly killed in a shootout in 2010, but no body was ever found. This time authorities used fingerprint tests and have confirmed they are “100 percent” sure Moreno is dead. 

    Sources: BBCWashington Post

  5. Report Points to Syrian Conflict’s Toll on Youths

    Large numbers of children are dying in Syria from preventable diseases — and more so than previously believed, according to a new report. The Save the Children report says the Syrian crisis, now in its fourth year, has left the health system in tatters. Several thousand youths have died from diseases like cancer, epilepsy, asthma and diabetes, as a result of reduced access to proper healthcare. Millions of children have been left suffering from the “brutal medical practices,” in which basics like routine vaccinations are not even being provided, the report said.

    Source: NYT

  6. Peru Will Extradite Convict to U.S. in 24 Years, Earthquake Hits Off California Coast

    Oscar Pistorius appears to vomit during autopsy testimony at his murder trial. (USA Today)

    Peru says Joran van der Sloot won’t see U.S. justice until 2038. (USA Today).

    6.9-magnitude quake hits off northern California coast. (CBC).

    Taliban vows to upset Afghan vote. (DW).

    Sandy Hook shooter’s father says son would have killed him too. (CNN).


  1. Physicist Says ‘Great Walls’ Can Take Spin Out of Tornado Alley

    All that’s needed to halt tornadoes in their tracks is a set of “Great Walls” across the central U.S., according to a physicist. The barriers — 980 feet high and up to 100 miles long — would stop tornadoes by acting like hill ranges, says Temple University’s Professor Rongjia Tao. He believes the $16 billion price tag would help save billions in damages each year, with fewer twisters touching down in Tornado Alley. Most meteorologists, however, believe the proposal is more spin than science. 

    Sources: BBCWired

  2. Test Predicts Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

    A new blood test has been developed that can predict whether a patient will suffer from Alzheimer’s with 90 percent accuracy. The research found that biomarkers in the blood could be used to forecast whether a person would develop the disease within three years. Current therapies work best if administered early, and scientists believe the new test could lead to successful treatment to halt or even prevent Alzheimer’s. Georgetown University researchers hope to see the blood tests used in major clinical trials within two years. This could prove to be the light at the end of the tunnel for those affected by this heartbreaking disease.

    Source: The Telegraph

  3. Google Releases Editor for Wearable Gadgets

    The tech giant has announced it will launch a software development kit that allows techies to create and edit their own apps for wearable devices, such as smart watches. Google VP Sundar Pichai said the tools will be available in the coming weeks — big news for the wearable technologies market, which is expected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2016. Independent software developers will now be able to add their own flair to hardware produced by the bigger firms, just like they do for Android mobile-operating systems.

    Source: Businessweek

  4. Obama Introduces ‘Cosmos’ Relaunch in Bid to Inspire Next Generation

    The president paid tribute to Carl Sagan last night in the relaunch of the late astronomer’s popular 1980s science show. The 13-episode Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey tackles questions of the universe with new host, celebrity astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and airs on the Fox and National Geographic channels. Obama used his 30-second clip to tell youngsters to “open your imaginations.” But viewers may ask, will it boldly go where no program has gone before?

    Sources: ComplexNBC

  5. Detroit Lions Owner William Clay Ford Dies at Age 88

    The last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford has passed away. Ford was the director emeritus of the eponymous car company when he died, and had helped lead the brand’s designs of cars like the Continental Mark II. Ford also owned the Detroit Lions, which he purchased in 1963. Although a profitable venture, the team only managed to win a single playoff game in the 50 years he owned it. Like the American auto industry, Ford hit a few bumps along the way, but he will long be remembered for his loyalty to the Lions. 

    Sources: NPRForbes