The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Violent Showdown Looms in Tense Ukraine

    Pro-Russian separatists have ignored Ukraine’s warning to leave occupied government buildings by early this morning or be driven out by the military. Ukrainian forces have not moved in yet, although commandos were already engaged in gunfights in the eastern city of Slovyansk. At an emergency UN Security Council session, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin called on Kiev to stop attacking “their own people.” Ukraine’s UN ambassador and US representative Samantha Power angrily accused Moscow, which has amassed some 40,000 troops on the border, of causing the crisis.

    Sources: BBC, Reuters, NYT

  2. Police Suspect Former KKK Leader in Deadly Kansas Shootings

    A one-time Ku Klux Klan leader from Missouri has been arrested following shootings in Kansas City on Sunday that claimed three lives. The victims included a grandfather and grandson at a Jewish community center and a woman who was shot at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility. Frazier Glenn Close, 73, reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler” after his arrest. It’s too early to tell whether these were hate crimes, according to police.

    Sources: Kansas City StarNBCNYTKCTV

  3. Allegations of Fraud Tarnish Afghanistan’s Close-Run Election

    Early results from Afghanistan’s presidential election indicate that the country is heading for a runoff. At present, Abdullah Abdullah has a narrow lead over Ashraf Ghani but neither is likely to win a large enough share to succeed President Hamid Karzai. Although the country’s allies celebrated the high turnout of voters, 870 official reports of fraud have cast a shadow over the process. Counting will be completed on 24 April, with the runoff taking place as early as May 28.

    Sources: TIME, Reuters

  4. China Pays Nearly $6 Billion for Peruvian Copper Mine

    A Chinese consortium has bought Las Bambas copper mine in Peru for $5.85 billion, one of China’s biggest mining acquisitions of recent years. The purchase from the commodities giant Glencore Xstrata demonstrates that China will remain at the center of the global resources market. Chinese companies, guided by the state, have spent $226 billion on international resources since 1995, but investors are increasingly wary following a series of misguided acquisitions. Experts believe that the Peruvian mine is a good investment that serves the demand for copper in China’s electronics manufacturing sector.

    Sources: WSJ (sub), NYT


  1. Men and Women Both Attuned to Partners’ Satisfaction

    Despite Sally’s claim in When Harry Met Sally, men, as well as women, know when their partner is sexually satisfied. Looking at the sexual satisfaction of 84 cohabiting heterosexual couples, a Canadian study aimed to see if partners were attuned to their partner’s levels of pleasure. Not only were they surprisingly accurate but men and women also showed little difference in their levels of awareness. But the study may be undermined by its use of volunteers, since couples having sexual problems are probably less willing to be lab rats.

    Sources: Washington PostLatin Post

  2. Crimea Conflict Reaches Final Frontier

    In yet another echo of the Cold War, officials at NASA have declared that the space agency is no longer willing to work with Russia’s space program. Even since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has often used its space program as a political tool, including banning Chinese involvement in the International Space Station due to its communist leanings. But NASA has been forced to retain cooperative ties with Russia over the ISS – mostly because astronauts traveling to the station usually hitch a ride on Russian shuttles.

    Source: Slate

  3. 49ers’ Aldon Smith Detained After Bomb Threat at LAX

    San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested on Sunday, having claimed he was carrying a bomb through Los Angeles International Airport. When he was selected for secondary screening, Smith reportedly became belligerent before making a comment about possessing a bomb and heading to his gate. When police intercepted Smith he again proved uncooperative, leading to the arrest. The incident could spell trouble for the former first-round pick, whose record of alcohol abuse and illegal possession of an assault weapon has already hurt his reputation in the NFL.

    Sources: Deadspin, ESPN

  4. U.S. Federal Rangers and Armed Protesters Lock Horns in Cattle War

    A cattle land dispute nearly turned violent as armed protesters faced down federal rangers in Nevada. Cliven Bundy, a 68-year-old rancher, drew sympathy from farmers when he ignored the Bureau of Land Management’s orders to pay grazing fees and move cattle off government land. After the government rounded up Bundy’s 400 cows, several local militia groups took up his cause, prompting a tense armed standoff. Fearing an outbreak of violence, the BLT returned the cows, but insists that Bundy owes American taxpayers over $1 million for his years of delinquency.

    Sources: The GuardianCBS

  5. Bubba Watson Wins Second Masters

    The Masters champion now has a backup in case his green jacket from 2012 ever needs dry cleaning. For a second time, the left-handed golfer has won the sport’s greatest tournament in Augusta. Almost halfway through Sunday’s final round, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth had a two-stroke lead in his bid to become the youngest major winner since 1931. But he wilted with consecutive bogeys on holes nine and ten. Watson capitalized with two birdies and never looked back, posting a three-under 69 on the day and an eight-under 280 for the tournament.

    Sources: CBS, USA Today