The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Heart Attack Kills Inmate After Botched U.S. Execution

    An Oklahoma inmate has died following an abandoned execution attempt. Clayton Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious 10 minutes after he was injected with the first drug of a new cocktail, but was writhing at 16 minutes. Although the execution was halted, Lockett died of an apparent heart attack within the hour. States are struggling to find effective execution drugs as European manufacturers refuse to supply the traditional ones. The incident — which coincides with a study suggesting as many as four percent of those on death row may be innocent — is sure to reignite controversy over the death penalty.

    Sources: CNNAPReutersCBSThe Guardian

  2. China Looks Set to Pass U.S. as World’s Largest Economy This Year

    The U.S. is about to lose its place as the world’s largest economy — a position held since 1872. Economists predicted China would take the lead in 2019, but research by the International Comparison Program into what money can buy in emerging markets reveals otherwise. The ICP suggests that while the U.S. was still ahead in 2011, China followed close behind when estimates of the real cost of living were taken into account. With the IMF estimating that China’s economy has grown 24 percent since 2011, compared to just 7.6 percent growth for the U.S., China is poised to pull ahead this year.

    Source: FT (sub)

  3. Ukraine Separatists Seize More Ground as Police Stand By

    Pro-Russian separatists stormed the regional government headquarters in Luhansk yesterday as control of eastern Ukraine slipped further from Kiev’s grasp. Police who were supposed to be guarding the building let people inside — a failure to act that is becoming increasingly common. The separatist leader responsible for captured European OSCE observers reported progress in negotiations to free the hostages. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, urged Russia to “leave Ukraine in peace,” warning that bordering NATO countries would be defended if necessary.

    Sources: APNYTDWBBCReutersThe Guardian

  4. Players Praise NBA’s Lifetime Ban For Sterling

    The NBA called time yesterday on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, banning him for life for racist remarks. In doing so, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver may have saved both the day and the game. “All of our players felt like boycotting the games,” National Basketball Players Association vice president Roger Mason Jr. said, referring to the playoffs. But prompt action by the NBA was applauded by players, coaches and fans. Sterling has reportedly said he will not sell the team, but Silver has vowed to do everything in his power to force the sale.

    Sources: ESPNYahoo!TMZNYTNPR


  1. Study Finds Those With Easier Names Seem More Truthful

    People with easily pronounced names appear more credible to the subconscious, research shows. Comparing participants’ responses to difficult versus straightforward names and associated statements, the study concluded that those whose names trip off the tongue are judged as more familiar, less risky and less dangerous. The finding raises concerns about unconscious biases that infiltrate people’s decision-making in critical situations like job interviews and jury trials. It also explains why immigrants to the U.S. in the early 1900s who Americanized their names got better jobs — shedding scientific light on making a name for oneself.

    Source: Scientific American

  2. Twitter Value Drops Following First-Quarter Figures Report

    The social network’s shares dipped 11 percent when first quarter figures revealed a net loss and lower-than-anticipated user growth. Released on Tuesday, Twitter’s quarterly report shows that its monthly active user base has grown to 255 million, disappointing analysts who hoped tweeter numbers would exceed 262 million. Revenue for the last quarter was $250 million, surpassing expectations but still representing a net loss of $132 million. Stocks dipped in after-hours trading, sending the price below Twitter’s initial public offering of $38.80 per share.

    Sources: BBCTech CrunchUSA TodayReuters

  3. Study Shows Violence Against U.S. Children Has Dropped

    School shootings and child abusers may grab headlines, but violence against American children has dropped significantly over the last decade, new research finds. Surveys show that bullying and assault have both fallen by about a third, and sexual violence has dropped by 25 percent. Of 50 types of violence against children measured, 27 fell between 2003 and 2011. Researchers credit prevention programs, quicker response and better mental health care for both children and adults. But critics warn that the U.S. still has higher rates of violence than other developed countries.

    Sources: Science WorldNBC

  4. ‘Star Wars’ Vets Join Cast for Upcoming Film

    Disney and Lucasfilm have convinced Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford to return to a galaxy far, far away and resume their old hijinks in Star Wars: Episode VII. Along with the actors who played Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2, the veterans will mix it up with Adam Driver from Girls, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Director J.J. Abrams called it “thrilling” to see the originals with the new faces. Filming begins in London in May, and the film hits cinemas in December 2015.

    Sources: MTVCNNBBCLA TimesWired

  5. Madrid Crushes Bayern Munich to Advance to Champions League Final

    Bayern Munich hoped to cash in on their home advantage, but Real Madrid had other plans. The Spanish club torched Bayern’s defense, chalking up an extraordinary 4-0 win. They advance to the Champions League Final — for the first time since 2002 — against either Chelsea or Atletico Madrid. Sergio Ramos found the net twice on headers, while Cristiano Ronaldo shattered the record for goals in a Champions League campaign, scoring his 16th. Meanwhile, Bayern’s hopes of becoming the first back-to-back champion in history were dashed. “This is incredibly bitter and disappointing,” lamented Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.

    Sources: BBC, NYT