The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Village Attack Claims 17 Lives in Nigeria a Day After Twin Bombings

    Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan publicly condemned twin blasts that rocked the city of Jos late yesterday as news broke today of another attack in a village in the northeast, which is believed to have killed 17. Yesterday’s bombs, which were concealed in a truck and minibus, targeted the city’s central market and bus station, killing at least 118. While no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram — responsible for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls last month — has staged similar attacks in the past. Jonathan said that Nigeria is “fully committed to winning the war against terror.” 

    Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC

  2. White House to Release Secret U.S. Drone Memo 

    The Obama administration will release a secret memo laying out its legal justification for using drones to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism overseas. The Justice Department has reportedly decided not to challenge a federal judge’s order to disclose the memo. News of the pending release comes as the Senate prepares to vote today on the president’s nomination of the author of the memo, former Justice Department official David Barron, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the first circuit. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed last year that four Americans had been killed in drone strikes since 2009.

    Sources: The Guardian, TPM, USA Today

  3. Russia, China Sign $400 Billion Energy Deal

    Beijing and Moscow signed an agreement on Wednesday to pipe Russian natural gas to China. Vladimir Putin — embroiled in disputes with the West over Ukraine that have resulted in sanctions — wanted to secure the 30-year deal in a bid to show the world he has other friends. Earlier today it looked as though price disagreements would delay the deal, but Sino-Russian ties prevailed. The arrangement means Moscow is no longer as reliant upon European countries, currently the largest importers of Russian gas. 

    Sources: FT (sub), USA Today

  4. Tea Party Suffers Against McConnell in Kentucky, Elsewhere

    GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has swept the floor with his Tea Party primary challenger in Kentucky, winning 60 percent of the vote to Max Bevin’s 36. The Tea Party fared poorly across the board, with more traditional, better-financed Republican rivals winning in at least four other states. But the GOP will need their support to take on tougher races against Democrats, notably in Kentucky and Georgia. McConnell now faces a serious challenge for the Senate seat, for example, from well-funded Democrat and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

    Sources: CNN, ABC, Washington Post


  1. Iranian Police Seize Youths for Being ‘Happy’ in Tehran

    Six young Iranians are not so happy after being arrested for posting an online clip of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ smash hit “Happy.” Three men and three unveiled women danced in a clip that went viral on YouTube before being taken down. Iranian officials said they were unhappy with the “vulgar clip which hurt public chastity.” Iran enforces a strict dress code requiring women to cover themselves. The move — which comes just days after Iran’s president denounced Internet censorship — has sparked a social media frenzy under the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians.

    Sources: NYT, ABC

  2. Women Smitten With Priests Ask Pope to Make Celibacy Optional

    Twenty six women in love with Catholic priests have written to Pope Francis to ask that he make priesthood celibacy optional. “We love these men and they love us,” they wrote. The women state that priests are often left with the dilemma of renouncing the priesthood or ending the relationship, which can often leave both parties “scarred for life.” The Vatican has refused to comment, but the Pope has previously said that rules on celibacy can be changed because they’re not articles of faith, though he believes in the status quo.

    Sources: UPI, Toronto Sun, Vatican Insider, Irish Times

  3. People Choose Spouses With Similar DNA

    Turning the old saying “opposites attract” on its head, a new study shows that people tend to choose spouses with similar DNA. Researchers found a significant preference for a mate with DNA similarities across the entire human genome by analyzing the genetic blueprints of 825 white, married American couples. Other factors can weigh in more heavily, such as education levels, but scientists theorize that couples are genetically more similar to their spouses than they are to random individuals. It seems many couples have more in common than they realize.

    Sources: Newsday, CBS, Health

  4. Paul McCartney Cancels Japan Tour Due to Illness

    Hold that ticket to ride: Paul McCartney has canceled his sold-out Japanese tour due to illness. The former Beatle, who is believed to have contracted a virus, has recently been touring Latin America and Asia to promote his 2013 album ”New.” He is expected to return to the stage on May 28 for his first-ever performance in South Korea, before heading to the U.S. McCartney, 71, said he was “so disappointed and sorry to be letting my fans down.” While he’s laid up, fans can “Appreciate” the singer’s new video. 

    Sources: BBC, Rolling Stone

  5. Dodgers Prospect Has Ear Bitten by Teammate in Fracas

    An altercation at a minor league baseball game yesterday between two Albuquerque Isotopes players reportedly led to catcher Miguel Olivo getting a literal earful from Alex Guerrero. Olivo is said to have bitten his teammate’s ear, requiring Guerrero to undergo plastic surgery. Both players on the Triple-A affiliate team of the Los Angeles Dodgers are on different trajectories. Rookie Guerrero is expected to be a mainstay. Veteran Olivo, who is trying to get back onto a major league roster, will probably get chewed out. 

    Sources: True Blue LA, LA Times