The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Right Wing Surges in EU Elections

    In what the French prime minister called a “political earthquake,” the nation’s far-right National Front party grabbed a record win in European parliamentary elections with 25 percent of the vote, according to early results. The party comes out on top for the first time in its 42 years, beating both the center-right Union for a Popular Movement and the ruling Socialists. Euroskeptic conservative parties made dramatic gains in other countries as well, including Britain, Denmark and Greece. The results raise the possibility that the EU’s power — or even its existence — could be jeopardized.

    Sources: BBC, The TelegraphLe Monde

  2. Parents Raced to Prevent Killings After Reading Email

    Elliot Rodger reportedly emailed his parents a 140-page manifesto detailing his deadly plans and suicide. Rodger, the son of a Hollywood film director, is suspected of carrying out a stabbing and shooting rampage Friday night that resulted in the deaths of six young people in Isla Vista, Calif. His parents called authorities and raced to try and prevent the carnage, but it was too late. Rodger — who took his own life — wrote about suffering loneliness and rejection. The pages reveal he had been planning his “Day of Retribution” for three years.

    Sources: NYTLA TimesUSA Today

  3. ‘Chocolate King’ Says He Has Won Ukrainian Presidency

    With exit polls giving him 56 percent of first round votes, billionaire chocolatier Petro Poroshenko has declared victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections. He promises to restore peace and forge closer ties with the EU. If the exit polls hold true, Poroshenko, 48, will avoid a runoff election. A monitoring group reported a 60 percent nationwide voter turnout, but voting was spotty in the east due to violence, where pro-Russian separatists reportedly shut down the main airport of Donetsk on Monday. President Obama issued a statement praising the vote. 

    Sources: BBC, Washington Post, CNN, NYT, DW

  4. Pope Invites Palestinian and Israeli Leaders for Vatican Peace Talks

    Pope Francis delivered a surprise invitation during his Mideast tour this weekend, asking Israeli and Palestinian leaders to meet at the Vatican just a month after U.S.-backed peace talks fell apart. The meeting between the pope, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres is planned for June 6. Francis took the bold move of becoming the first pontiff to ever fly directly into the West Bank and to refer to the territory as the “State of Palestine.” The pope prayed yesterday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Today, he finishes his tour by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

    Sources: Reuters, AP, NYT


  1. Scientists Say First Alien Contact Could Come Within 20 Years

    Invited to testify about the search for alien life before Congress, representatives from the University of California Berkley’s SETI Research Center said it was highly likely that we’re not alone in the universe, and that finding life could happen in two decades. There are “plenty of places where life could emerge and evolve,” SETI’s chief scientist Dan Werthimer said. With deep-space craft regularly bringing in images of new stars and potentially habitable planets, NASA officials have also come to the same conclusion. Only problem? SETI says it needs more terrestrial cash to fund space exploration.

    Source: Tech Times

  2. Court Says Nude Shots Must Go After Breakup

    Write a “Dear John” letter. Check! Return keys. Check! Delete romantic nude shots from partner’s computer? That’s the latest requirement after a breakup, according to a German court. The ruling came in the case of a photographer who refused to get rid of nude pictures of his ex after they split. She wanted them gone, but he argued that she had given him permission at the time the photos were taken. The big picture? Either party in Germany has the right to demand racy images be disposed of after a breakup.

    Sources: NYDN, The Local

  3. ‘Star Wars’ Actress Eyes Improvements for Leia

    For fans, the promise of another Star Wars adventure is the chance to get reacquainted with beloved 1970s characters. For Carrie Fisher, it’s her chance to “get Princess Leia right.” Fisher, 57, was 19 when she first played the princess. She thinks she looked “a little pretentious faking the accent” back then, so she plans to drop the British accent. She joked about resurrecting Leia’s famed hairdo and noted that she and the other original stars, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, “all look a little melted.” Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by JJ Abrams, is due out next year. 

    Source: BBC

  4. Study Says Pedophiles’ Brains React Differently

    Pedophiles’ brains are ”abnormally tuned” to find young children attractive, researchers have discovered with MRI scans. The face of a child usually stimulates areas of the brain linked to nurturing, but for a pedophile, the same face triggers brain regions linked to sexual arousal, scientists say. Researchers from the University of Kiel in Germany theorize that brain development problems may lead to abnormal communication in the brain between the nurturing and mating domains. The lead scientist believes it may now be possible to identify pedophiles before they commit crimes.

    Source: CBS

  5. Hunter-Reay Takes Indy 500 in Nail-Biting Finish

    Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first American in nearly a decade to claim victory in the famed 500-mile automobile race yesterday. For such a long and grueling contest, it was unbelievably close: Hunter-Reay beat main rival and three-time winner Brazilian Helio Castroneves by a mere 0.06 seconds after speeding past him in the homestretch. Castroneves was crushed by the defeat, taking time to compose himself before facing the crowd. “It was a great fight,” he mustered. Claiming the 98th Indianapolis 500 title, Hunter-Reay said: “I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure.”

    Sources: Fox, USA Today