The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Modi Declares Victory as Congress Concedes Defeat in India

    Opposition leader Narendra Modi has declared victory for his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an apparent general election landslide. Modi took to Twitter, declaring: “India has won. Good days are here again.” The ruling Congress Party conceded defeat on Friday, and preliminary reports suggest the BJP has won more than 272 seats in the 543-seat parliament, with Congress likely to hold fewer than 50. The results mean Modi’s party could claim an absolute majority. BJP supporters banged drums, lit firecrackers and waved flags in celebration, and Indian stocks hit an all-time high.

    Sources: Times of India, FT (sub), OZY, AFP, BBC

  2. FCC Approves Plan to Consider ‘Tiered’ Internet 

    Consumer advocates fear the nail is all but in the coffin of net neutrality after a 3-2 vote yesterday by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in favor of advancing a proposal to allow different tiers of Internet service for a price. Under the plan, Internet service providers could charge websites for faster, higher-quality transmission. The controversial proposal will be open to public comment for 120 days before the body makes a final determination. The FCC chairman insisted nothing “commercially unreasonable” would be allowed, emphasizing the commission’s dedication to an “open Internet.” 

    Sources: Washington Post, The Guardian, Reuters

  3. Ukrainian Workers Seize City From Separatists

    In a surprise turn of events, thousands of Ukrainian steelworkers spread throughout the streets of Mariupol yesterday and took back control of the city from pro-Russian separatists. Steelworkers and miners also moved into at least five other cities, including Donetsk, but reportedly had not yet taken charge. Though militants declared victory in last Sunday’s referendum on autonomy, polls reportedly reveal that a majority of eastern Ukrainians support unity. The workers are among hundreds of thousands employed in metal and mining operations owned by the country’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, who earlier this week issued a statement rejecting separatism.

    Source: NYT

  4. Brazil Rocked by Riots Against World Cup Spending

    Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro erupted yesterday in riots over the high cost of hosting next month’s soccer tournament. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters hurled rocks, torched tires and smashed windows. Thousands in towns across Brazil are protesting the spending of billions of dollars on the event and stadiums rather than on hospitals, schools and housing. Teachers and civil servants were also on strike. While the rallies were far smaller than last year’s protests, activists say the demonstrations will continue to grow in the run-up to the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12.

    Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera, Washington Post


  1. Pioneering Newswoman Barbara Walters Retires

    She is refusing to say goodbye after more than 50 years on television. In her farewell episode of The View, which airs today, Walters, 84, said: “Who knows what the future brings? Instead of goodbye … See you later.” She started her career as a secretary in the 1950s and went on to interview everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Fidel Castro. Celebrities praised her pioneering work: She was the first female co-anchor on an evening newscast. Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to Walters for being the first ”to knock down the door and pave the road we all walk on.” 

    Sources: OZY, Washington Post, NYDN

  2. DNA Links Ice Age Teen to Native Americans

    DNA from skeletal remains of a teenager nicknamed Naia has shone a light on the relationship between the first arrivals to the Americas and today’s Native Americans. Naia’s Ice Age bones, found in an underwater cave in Mexico, are the oldest, most complete specimen ever discovered in the Americas. The slight, buck-toothed teen died after plummeting 100 feet into a chasm in the once-parched land some 12,000 years ago. Her facial features didn’t resemble modern Native Americans, but her DNA proves she’s one of their ancestors. 

    Sources: Scientific AmericanNBCNational Geographic, The Guardian

  3. NY Students Return $40K Found in Sofa

    Imagine their surprise when upstate New York roomies found $40,000 in an old sofa they had purchased for $20 at a Salvation Army store. The three college students found wads of bills packed in envelopes in the sofa cushions. They excitedly talked about what they’d do with the cash — until they found a deposit slip with a name. They then contacted the woman and returned the money. The grateful 91-year-old widow cried at the gesture and explained she had been afraid to use banks. Her family had given the sofa away while she was in hospital.

    Sources: WABC, AP

  4. Vaccine Wipes Out Woman’s Cancer

    A massive dose of the measles vaccine seems to have cured a Minnesota woman of blood cancer. Stacy Erholtz had been fighting myeloma for 10 years and was running out of options. As part of a clinical trial, she was given a dose of the measles vaccine large enough to inoculate 10 million people. Within 36 hours of the injection, her tumors started shrinking, and over time, all of the tumors disappeared. This is the first time that virotherapy has brought complete remission to a patient. The next step in testing the treatment will be a larger clinical study starting in September.

    Sources: IB Times, Washington Post

  5. Sterling ’Refuses’ to Pay NBA Fine

    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is reportedly defying the NBA by declaring he won’t pay the $2.5 million fine levied against him over his racist remarks. The NBA was informed in a letter from his attorney, who insisted ”no punishment is warranted” for Sterling. The letter also noted that the fine violates due process, which suggests a lawsuit is on the way. Sterling was fined and banned for life from the NBA. He had already missed the deadline to pay, which was earlier this week.

    Sources: SI, USA Today