The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Blast in Turkey Kills 245 and Traps Scores

    An explosion in a coal mine has killed at least 245 workers in western Turkey, trapping scores more. A rescue operation is under way in Soma — 150 miles south of Istanbul — where relatives are anxiously awaiting news about loved ones. Most of the fatalities were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning some 500 yards underground. More than 350 miners have been rescued, but at least 120 remain in the mine. Hopes of finding more survivors were fading, a Turkish official said.

    Sources: BBCTimeCNNUSA Today

  2. Frustrated UN Syria Mediator Resigns, France Criticizes U.S.

    The West’s chances of brokering peace in Syria took a major blow yesterday as a UN mediator quit out of frustration over stalled negotiations. The resignation comes just days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European and Arab leaders meet to discuss the Syrian situation. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, meanwhile, said he “regrets” that the U.S. didn’t live up to its threat of air strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in response to its use of chemical weapons in Damascus last summer. He also said that evidence indicates the Syrian government has recently used chemical weapons 14 times.

    Sources: NYTFrance 24

  3. Authorities Accuse Former GSK China Chief of ‘Ordering’ Bribes

    Chinese officials are accusing the former country chief of GlaxoSmithKline — a UK-based pharmaceuticals firm — of ordering employees to commit bribery that resulted in billions of yuan in revenue. China’s Ministry of Public Security alleges that Mark Reilly — who is still in China — ordered his staff to bribe hospital doctors and health care organizations in a bid to boost sales. Authorities claim the firm funded its bribery system by inflating drug prices — in some cases reportedly as much as sevenfold. The matter has been turned over to prosecutors.

    Sources: FT (sub), WSJ

  4. EU Court Ruling in Google Case Ushers Sea Change for Searches

    The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that online search engines should allow users to be “forgotten,” sharply limiting their power to retrieve controversial information about people. It noted that firms like Google should be held accountable for the links they provide, effectively putting the right to privacy over the right to find information. It came as a shock to the Internet giant, which had won similar cases before. A wave of demands to remove personal information from Google’s search results is expected. 

    Sources: NPRNYTWSJThe Guardian


  1. Wreckage of 500-Year-Old Columbus Ship ‘Found’ Off Haiti’s Coast

    A shipwreck hunter believes he has found the wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition. The ship crashed on a reef near Haiti, close to where Columbus and his men landed in the “New World.” Underwater investigator Barry Clifford has measured and photographed the wreck. He claims the location, information from Columbus’s diaries and a 15th century cannon found at the site point to it being the Santa Maria. The ship’s identity is unconfirmed, but Haiti’s government and the History Channel have jumped in to fund an investigation and documentary. 

    Source: BBC

  2. Tourism Is Destroying Amish Communities

    When Lancaster County Amish in Pennsylvania see hordes of tourists, many of them want to climb into their buggies and head for the hills. And that’s exactly what many of them are doing, driven from their homes and even their lifestyles by the madding crowds — not to mention the accompanying skyrocketing real estate prices and mall developments. The irony? The very tourism industry inspired by the Amish is jeopardizing their way of life and, in turn, the tourism industry, which brings $1.8 billion to the state annually. Tourist stores now sit on land that was once an Amish farm.

    Source: OZY

  3. Study Says Alcoholics Not Getting Meds They Need

    There are prescription drugs that can help alcoholics, but doctors rarely use them to treat patients, a study has found. Drugs like acamprosate and naltrexone have proven effective in reducing cravings for alcohol, but many physicians don’t believe they work. Some don’t even know these medicines are available. Alcoholism affects 18 million Americans, killing 88,000 a year. Less than a third of sufferers receive any kind of treatment, and less than 10 percent are prescribed medication.

    Sources: NYTNPRAmerican Live Wire

  4. Jackie’s Letters to Priest Reveal Heartbreak Over JFK

    Fourteen years of letters written by Jackie Kennedy Onassis to an Irish priest share the former First Lady’s worries about JFK. In the letters — up for auction next month in Ireland — Jackie writes that Kennedy was consumed with ambition “like Macbeth.” She says her husband “loves the chase and is bored with the conquest — and once married, needs proof he’s still attractive, so flirts with other women.” JFK’s assassination left her feeling bitter, she confided, noting that ”God will have a bit of explaining to do.”

    Source: Irish Times

  5. Rangers Make Improbable Comeback to Beat Penguins

    Cheers in NYC, tears in western Pennsylvania. The New York Rangers vanquished the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Tuesday’s Game 7. For the first time in their 88 years of hockey, the Rangers crawled back from a 3-1 series deficit to win. For goalie Henrik Lundqvist, it was his fifth straight Game 7 victory — an NHL record. Lundqvist stopped all but three of 105 shots in the final three games, a Herculean feat that easily made him the series’ star. The Rangers will play the winner of the Bruins-Canadiens series in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Sources: NYTPittsburgh Post-Gazette