The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Stormy Weather Slows Search for Missing Flight

    Hopes were dashed for success in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 today when planes were grounded again by bad weather that was causing severe icing, turbulence and near-zero visibility. Five ships remain in the southern Indian Ocean looking for a potential debris field spotted in French satellite images. The weather is expected to remain challenging until the weekend. The FBI, meanwhile, said it expects to recover data erased from the home flight simulator of the plane’s pilot as it continues looking for clues. 

    Sources: CNNLA Times

  2. Egyptian Military Chief Resigns and Declares Presidential Candidacy

    Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the general who took over from ousted President Mohamed Morsi last summer, has thrown his hat in the ring. The clear favorite to win the presidency, al-Sisi said he would trade in his uniform in order to “defend the nation.” Many believe he is just the man to stabilize Egypt, but the Muslim Brotherhood see him as the mastermind of a coup that deposed Morsi, who is being tried alongside senior Brotherhood members on a variety of charges. The vote is expected next month.

    Sources: Al JazeeraBBC

  3. Military Cuts May Cost NATO Ability to Deter Russia

    President Obama is in Europe this week discussing a strong stance against Moscow in the face of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He and his European counterparts have said they will bolster NATO to prevent further Russian aggression, but force cutbacks by the U.S. — from 400,000 in Europe during the Cold War to 67,000 today — have weakened the alliance. A military analyst warns that diminished power means NATO cannot push back against Russia effectively. Obama’s focus, meanwhile, shifts away from a defiant Vladimir Putin and to a more cordial Pope Francis today as the two men meet at the Vatican.

    Sources: NYT, USA Today

  4. Scientists Discover Dwarf Planet at Edge of Solar System

    Our neighborhood just got a little bit bigger with the discovery by scientists of a body of ice and rock that is the furthest object to orbit the sun. The 280-mile-wide mass is likely to be a dwarf planet and has been nicknamed VP or “Biden.” Its discovery challenges some fundamental beliefs about solar system formation, and some say it raises the tantalizing possibility of a Super Earth, with a mass 10 times greater than our own planet, orbiting the sun. 

    Sources: Ars Technica, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, Nature


  1. North Korea Orders Young Men to Copy Dictator’s Hairdo

    It could be from hair to solitary if young men brush aside orders to adopt Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle. Under state-sanctioned guidelines, reportedly rolled out in Pyongyang, male university students are being directed to adopt the young leader’s “fade” haircut. It hasn’t been a hit with men because the look has long been associated with Chinese smugglers. For now, women can still put their hair up in other ways, but it may be just a question of time before they have to adopt the flop top.

    Sources: BBCIndependentTime

  2. Study Finds Autism Begins in the Womb

    Brain changes linked to autism begin well before birth, researchers believe. A typical child’s cortex, critical for memory and learning, has six distinct layers of specific cells. The same area of an autistic child’s brain apparently has missing patches and a disorganized collection of cells, a new study has found. Scientists suspect the anomalies arise as the cortex is organized in the mother’s second trimester of pregnancy. The findings support early intervention for autistic children while the brain is still capable of “rewiring” itself to compensate for damage.

    Sources: NPRNew England Journal of Medicine

  3. Lachlan Murdoch Looks Set to Take Over From Rupert

    Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son looks poised to become a media mogul himself. Despite the 42 year old’s initial lean away from his father’s empire, he has now been appointed co-chairman of News Corporation and 21st Century Fox. With Rupert in his 80s, it seems as though he’s finally declaring his apparent heir above Lachlan’s sister Elisabeth and brother James, who have also held high-profile positions within the media empire. Lachlan won’t be set loose anytime soon though, because dad plans to be at the helm for at least another decade.

    Source: The Guardian

  4. Wu-Tang Clan Makes Single Copy of Artistic Album

    The famed U.S. hip hop group is releasing a new album, but you’ll struggle to get your hands on it. Only one copy of the secretive double-album ”Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” will be released, and it will go on tour for private listening sessions at museums, galleries and festivals. In an explicit attempt to meld music with the world of contemporary art, the album — currently housed in a silver box in Morocco — will be sold, but who will pocket it and what they’ll do with it remains a mystery.

    Sources: GrantlandTime

  5. Labor Board Rules that Northwestern Footballers Can Unionize

    Football players at Northwestern University scored big yesterday: The National Labor Relationship Board ruled that players are employees and have a right to form a union. It contradicts the NCAA’s longtime policy that student athletes are firstly students, prohibiting additional compensation. But the board concluded that the student athletes primarily have an economic, not an academic, relationship with the university. The ruling could revolutionize the nature of college athletics, but Northwestern plans to appeal. 

    Sources: Sports IllustratedESPNChicago Tribune