The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Ukraine Launches Anti-Terrorist Campaign

    Ukraine has begun an anti-terrorist campaign and large-scale military preparations in its southeastern region. The actions, in which 70 people were arrested, are a response to pro-Russian demonstrators in the area who seized official buildings on Sunday in three eastern Ukrainian cities, and demanded secession referendums. U.S. officials have suggested that many of the anti-Ukrainian demonstrators are paid outsiders. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned his Russian counterpart that any effort to destabilize the Ukraine would “incur costs.”

    Sources: NYT, Reuters, The Guardian, BBC

  2. No More Signals From Missing Jet but Search Continues

    There have been no new leads in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370 since the weekend when the Australian navy detected underwater pings possibly coming from the missing plane’s black box. The search is carrying on, however, and investigators have narrowed the search zone to 30,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean, an area about the size of Houston, Texas. At some point, searchers hope to send a submersible to scour the ocean’s floor. Finding the plane’s black box would provide much-needed answers, but officials fear the batteries may already be dead.

    Sources: CNNBBCReuters

  3. Wall Street Slide Rattles Investor Nerves

    The New York Stock Exchange woke up with the jitters this morning, having hit its longest losing streak in two months yesterday. The Nasdaq has gone through its biggest three-day percentage dive since November 2011. The declines were sharpest in the high-tech, Internet and drug development companies that had led the market higher over the past few months. The tumble highlights concerns about uneven economic signals, lackluster expectations about first-quarter earnings, and some of the air coming out of sharp gains in stock prices last year.  

    Sources: The Street, WSJ (sub), USA Today, Livemint

  4. Investment in Renewable Energy Has Fallen

    Global investment in renewable energy fell by 14 percent in 2013, according to the UN, but it’s not necessarily bad news for the environment. In fact, the proportion of “green energy” worldwide rose to 8.5 percent, up from 7.8 percent in 2012. The fall in investment is due to the decreasing costs of technologies like solar panels. Lower prices are making subsidies redundant in much of Latin America, where the renewable sector grew without any public support. Even China seems to be getting on the sustainability train, building more new renewable power plants than fossil-fueled ones.

    Sources: TIME, BBC


  1. Sender’s 101-Year-Old Message Given to Granddaughter

    The world’s oldest message in a bottle was presented to the granddaughter of the sender yesterday, 101 years after it was tossed into the sea. Researchers analyzed the handwriting and discovered it was written in 1913 by 20-year-old German Richard Platz. He requested that if found, the message should be returned to his address in Berlin. Since Platz died in 1946 researchers instead tracked down his 62-year-old granddaughter, who was moved to tears when she received the memento. The bottle was found in the Baltic by a fisherman last month.

    Source: The Guardian

  2. Artist Collective Puts a Human Face on Drone Strikes

    A giant skyward-facing image of a young girl has been installed in a field in northwest Pakistan by an artists’ collective campaigning against U.S. drone policy. Calling the project #NotABugSplat, referring to the term used for a successful hit, the group wants to force drone operators to think more deeply about the impact of their missions. The featured child has not been identified, but lawyers claim her parents and siblings were killed in a drone strike.

    Sources: The Atlantic, Gawker, TIME

  3. Scientists Developing an Acoustic Earthquake Shield

    French scientists have proposed a method of shielding cities from earthquakes. The system works by finding the right frequency to absorb the energy of the quake and send it somewhere else creating a “quiet zone.” Using the principle of refraction, civil engineers would plant an array of boreholes in the ground and redirect the reverberations into areas of the city where they would do less damage. It’s a complex system but, if it works, could save cities and lives.

    Source: The Verge

  4. Saul Williams to Star in Tupac Musical

    Holler If Ya Hear Me, a musical based on the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, will open on Broadway in June. Starring Saul Williams, the show tells the story of two friends in a tough industrial city, though it does not represent the life of the rapper, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996. So-called jukebox musicals, based on the music of The Beatles, ABBA, Queen and Michael Jackson among others, are currently in vogue. But will producers struggle to reconcile the glittering world of musical theater with the grim realities of street life? 

    Sources: Rolling Stone, Pitchfork

  5. UConn Bests Kentucky for NCAA Championship

    No one can quite believe it — at least no one outside Connecticut — but the UConn Huskies are NCAA champions. The seventh-seeded side sailed to a 60-54 victory against Kentucky, driven by veteran guard Shabazz Napier who racked up 22 points. Landing all ten of its foul shots, UConn became the first team ever to shoot 100 percent from the free throw line in a championship game. UConn will be back on court tonight, facing Notre Dame in the women’s final.

    Sources: USA Today, NYT, ESPN, Bleacher Report