The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Russia Celebrates Victory Day as EU Slams Referendum Plan

    Russians marched in a Victory Day parade in Moscow today, commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany amid increasing patriotism related to the Crimea crisis. The Crimean port of Sevastopol is set to have its own form of Victory Day festivities, and unconfirmed reports say Vladimir Putin may pay a visit. Meanwhile, the EU has harshly criticized the pro-Russian separatists’ decision to hold a referendum about autonomy on Sunday. Putin had asked the separatists to delay the vote in a bid to open a dialog with Kiev. Many fear a referendum will add fuel to the fire. 

    Sources: BBCDW

  2. Nigerian Kidnapping Raises Questions Over U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts

    The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram has ignited scrutiny over how former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dealt with the militant group. In question is the Obama administration’s debate a few years back on whether to label the group a foreign terrorist organization, which didn’t happen until 2013. Republicans assert the U.S. policy wasn’t tough enough during Clinton’s tenure; others believe the issue is being politicized because she is likely to run for president. Meanwhile, a U.S. team of specialists is getting to work in Nigeria to help find the missing girls.

    Sources: NYTBBC

  3. Apple Aims to Buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 Billion

    The tech giant is reportedly in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion in what could become its biggest acquisition to date. Beats is the headphone company and music streaming service co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine. If finalized, the deal could reflect a shift in Apple’s approach to music more than a decade after the launch of the iTunes store. News of the purchase may come as early as next week.

    Sources: FT (sub), WSJNYT

  4. U.S. Pledges Support For Assad’s Opposition

    The leaders of Syria’s opposition forces left the White House on Thursday with more than they packed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged millions in aid as well as strict sanctions against six high-ranking officials in Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad’s ranks. Russia also took a hit as a result of the meeting, with the U.S. planning to impose sanctions on Russia’s Tempbank, a Moscow-based financial institution that has provided funding to Assad. The U.S. and Russia have long been on opposing sides of the Syrian civil war — this new deal pushes them further apart.

    Sources: CBCWSJ


  1. Women Strip Off to Boost Literary Sex Appeal

    There’s a reading trend on the rise in New York City that’s a bit more daring than the traditional variety. Some women are exercising their legal right to be as nude as possible “anywhere a man can.” One group calls itself the “Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society,” and its members are upping literary sex appeal while gaining their own admirers. On sunny afternoons they head to the Big Apple’s parks, partially strip and put a whole new spin on the term “open book.”  

    Sources: The Guardian, MediaBistro

  2. Snapchat Settles Over Allegations it Misled Users

    The mobile messaging service that claimed its app deleted messages after being seen has settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it deceived users about privacy. It turns out users could use third-party apps to save the messages. The complaint also alleged that Snapchat collected contact details from users “without notice or consent.” As part of the settlement, Snapchat must stop misrepresenting itself to users, implement a privacy program and be monitored by a watchdog for 20 years.

    Sources: Mashable, Reuters

  3. Constant Family Arguments Can ‘Lead to Early Grave’

    All that bickering might just kill you. Danish researchers have found that regular arguments with partners, friends and family can increase your risk of death in middle age. Personalities and ability to handle stress play a role, but the experts found constant arguing increases risk of death by two or three times the normal amount. Most at risk? Men and the unemployed. So set fights about unwashed dishes and unpaid bills on the back burner or face paying the ultimate price.

    Source: BBC

  4. Graffiti Artists Unite Against Egypt’s Sisi

    Protesting what they see as increased oppression by Egypt’s likely future president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, international graffiti stars are offering support to Egyptian artists and aiming their spray cans toward new installations with the slogan “Sisi war crimes.” The works are emerging in Europe, the U.S. and North Africa in a bid to draw attention to his tactics of oppression. Since the Sisi-led military ousting of Mohamed Morsi last summer, at least 16,000 Egyptian dissidents have been arrested, and thousands have been killed during protests.

    Source: The Guardian

  5. Texans Take Clowney First Overall, Manziel Plummets to 22nd

    As predicted, Jadeveon Clowney is a Houston Texan. The team took the 6’5”, 260lb defensive end with the first overall pick. Johnny Manziel’s night didn’t go quite as smoothly. He slid back, with the Cleveland Browns taking him late in the evening. Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam said a homeless person told him to draft Manziel — the idea being that the city’s fans clearly wanted “Johnny Football.” This unusual story, combined with news the team paid $100,000 for a study of quarterbacks — pegging Teddy Bridgewater on top — made for a typically confusing Browns draft narrative. 

    Sources: The Big LeadUSA TodayESPN