The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. IMF Approves $17 Billion Bailout for Ukraine

    The International Monetary Fund will send an immediate $3.2 billion to Kiev to help keep its government afloat as part of a bigger two-year deal. It’s a risky proposition, given Kiev’s gas debts and the fact that pro-Russian separatists are seizing government buildings in the east. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov admits Ukraine has lost control in the east. Analysts believe the separatists’ gains and planned autonomy vote on May 11 are helping disrupt Ukraine in the run-up to its presidential election later this month. Meanwhile, Russia has said it will not rush its response to U.S. and EU sanctions.

    Sources: DWFT (sub), The GuardianNYT

  2. Did White House Dictate Susan Rice’s Line on Benghazi?

    An email has emerged that suggests the White House may have tried to shape former UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s message about the chaos at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012, in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed. The email, with the subject line “PREP CALL with Susan,” was sent by the deputy national security adviser before Rice’s TV appearances. A goal was to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy,” the email said. Critics have complained that the Obama administration minimized terrorism to improve the image of its own effectiveness.

    Source: NYT

  3. Police Question Sinn Fein Leader Over Widow’s Murder

    Gerry Adams has been arrested and is being questioned about the 1972 abduction and murder of a 37-year-old widowed mother of 10. Jean McConville’s body wasn’t found until 2003, and Adams denies playing any part in the crime, referring to her murder as a “grievous injustice.” McConville, one of Northern Ireland’s Disappeared, was kidnapped in front of her children after being wrongly accused of being an informer by the Irish Republican Army. Several people have been arrested in recent weeks over the murder, including a former 1970s leader in the Provisional IRA.

    Sources: BBCIrish Times

  4. Toronto Mayor Seeks Help as New Tape and Video Emerge

    Rob Ford has decided to “take a break” from his re-election campaign — though he’s staying on the ballot — to seek help for substance abuse after the Toronto Sun reportedly obtained an audio tape of him swearing in a local bar. On the tape, he allegedly makes lewd comments about a female rival and complains about having to keep the gay rainbow flag hoisted at City Hall. A new video also reportedly emerged showing him smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. “I have a problem with alcohol,” Ford said, announcing his leave of absence.

    Sources: BBCToronto SunGlobe and MailUSA Today


  1. Neanderthals Were Not So Dumb After All

    It turns out that our extinct cousins weren’t as intellectually challenged as we’ve been led to believe. Neanderthals lived roughly between 350,000 and 400,000 years ago, and they were probably capable of speech, hunted in complex groups and used pigments for body paint, according to Dutch researchers who have studied the species’ fossils. So why did they die out? Though the date of their extinction is disputed, one theory is they interbred with early humans, and the remnants of their species may have been assimilated into the population of the new arrivals.

    Sources: NBCNew ScientistThe GuardianDiscovery

  2. Dominique Strauss-Kahn Sues DSK Sex Club

    The disgraced former IMF chief, bumped from his pedestal by a sex assault accusation, is suing a Belgian brothel for using his initials as a name. DSK, or Dodo Sex Klub, will open in a town where prostitution is legal. The owner crowed to French media that the club name was “commercially brilliant … as everybody talks about DSK.” A Manhattan hotel maid accused the French political figure of assault in 2011. The charges were dropped, but Strauss-Kahn later reportedly settled a lawsuit brought by the maid for $1.5 million.

    Sources: France 24CNN

  3. 3D-Printing Pens Aim for the Sky

    UK-based entrepreneurs hope to catapult a new and precise 3D-printing pen out of their imaginations and into our hands. Having amassed more than $169,000 on its first day on crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter, the Lix Pen prototype could soon become a commercial reality and rival the earlier and bigger 3Doodler. Both seek to harness the technology of 3D-printing and the functionality of a pen to allow users to draw images and words in the air. Whether they’re used for making custom jewelry or sketching more lifelike designs, both hope to give users plenty to write about.

    Source: Tech Crunch

  4. Survey Finds Human Trash in Ocean Depths

    Escaping people’s reach — and crushed beer cans — is impossible, even for deep sea creatures, according to a survey of the ocean floor. Researchers used video and trawl surveys to take nearly 600 samples from 32 sites in the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, finding trash in every one. Plastic was the most common, but clothing, burnt coal, fishing nets, pottery, glass, metal and wood were also found on the sea floor, where it’s often mistaken for food by animals.

    Sources: The GuardianHermione ProjectSmithsonian

  5. Rangers Hold Off Flyers in Series Finale, Face Penguins Next

    It took all New York could muster to fight off a late Philadelphia push, but the Rangers survived to skate another day, beating the Flyers 2-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday. Both New York goals — one from Daniel Carcillo, another from Benoit Pouliot — came during the second period. Game 7 in Madison Square Garden may be hockey’s greatest spotlight, and the home team was ready. “No one was shying away from the big stage,” Carcillo said. The Rangers will face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday as the second round of Stanley Cup playoffs gets under way.

    Sources: ESPNNYT