The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Spanish King Plans to Abdicate, Pass Throne to Son

    King Juan Carlos of Spain is abdicating after nearly 40 years at the helm, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced today. The once hugely popular monarch, who was crowned in 1975 and helped his country transition to democracy, will long be remembered for standing up against a military coup in 1981. Juan Carlos, 76, has seen his image suffer in recent years owing to family scandals and gaffes. His health is reportedly failing, and Rajoy said the monarch is stepping down for personal reasons. Spain’s parliament must vote to approve the process before the king’s son Felipe, 46, can be crowned.

    Sources: BBC, CNN

  2. Prisoner Exchange That Led to Bergdahl’s Release Sparks Debate

    The transfer of five Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar in exchange for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is being criticized as setting a dangerous precedent. Republicans, in particular, said on Sunday that the deal puts a price on the head of U.S. military personnel and was struck without congressional approval. Bergdahl, 28, has been recovered after being held for five years by the Taliban. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the exchange a “normal process” for freeing prisoners of war. Bergdahl is being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

    Sources: BBCAl-Jazeera, WSJ (sub)

  3. EPA Seeks 30 Percent Reduction in Power Plant Emissions

    In what could be the most ambitious environmental initiative in U.S. history, the Environmental Protection Agency is unveiling a White House-backed proposal today to cut power company carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. President Obama, who has been unable to push effective climate change legislation through Congress, is now using his power under the Clean Air Act to go after power companies responsible for nearly 40 percent of U.S. emissions. Coal-fired power plants will be hardest hit because they expel the most carbon.   

    Sources: NYT, USA Today

  4. Authorities Search for Man After Home Explosives Found

    The FBI has launched a nationwide manhunt for a San Francisco man after agents reportedly found explosives in his apartment. The man, named as Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II, is believed to be armed and dangerous. Two dozen federal agents and hazardous material experts raided the apartment over the weekend. Chamberlain, 42, is a self-described political junkie and former journalist who worked in public relations in the Bay Area. An acquaintance said he had become particularly upset after losing his job in November last year.  

    Sources: USA Today, SF Gate, NBC


  1. ’Brady Bunch’ Actress Ann B. Davis Dies After Fall

    The actress who portrayed the Brady family’s ever-cheerful housekeeper, Alice Nelson, has passed away at age 88. Davis died in hospital yesterday after suffering a fall at her home in Texas. A 70s sitcom hit, The Brady Bunch presented a non-traditional melding of two families. It ran for just five years, but Mike and Carol, who found love again, their six kids and singing housekeeper will long be remembered in reruns. Davis also starred in the early 60s sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show, earning two Emmys.

    Sources: ABC, BBC

  2. Stanford Professor Forgets About Grenade in Carry-On Bag

    A political science professor has learned an expensive lesson: Never take a grenade on an airplane. Gary Walter Cox didn’t think anything of taking his late father’s cast-iron World War II grenade — used for years as a paperweight — with him through security because he assumed it was a harmless souvenir. But the bomb squad didn’t agree, evacuating Los Angeles Airport and conducting a controlled explosion of the device. Cox was booked on a felony charge for possessing a destructive device but claims police have said they will drop the charge.

    Sources: The GuardianLA Times

  3. Looking Back at a ’Missed Opportunity’ 25 Years Later

    A quarter of a century after pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square turned bloody, former student activist Shen Tong recalls the hope and hunger for change shared by members of his reform movement. Tong admits he was naive in believing that he and fellow protesters were patriots who could help the government bring about much-needed reforms. Looking back, Tong believes the protests were a missed opportunity to usher in moderate changes, and he compares the country today to an “extreme police state with an extreme form of early capitalism.”

    Sources: NPRThe TelegraphLA Times

  4. Justin Bieber Points to Youth in Apology Over Racist Joke

    The controversial Canadian pop star has apologized for a racist joke he made on video at age 15. The singer, now 20, said he told the joke as a kid when he didn’t fully understand the hurtful power of words. Apologizing for his “childish and inexcusable mistake,” and noting that he now knows better, Bieber stressed that he takes his “friendships with people of all cultures very seriously.” 

    Sources: TMZRadarThe Stir

  5. Los Angeles Tops Chicago in Sudden-Death Thriller

    Nothing gets more tense than a Game 7, sudden-death overtime in the NHL playoffs, where the winner advances and the loser has an entire offseason to think: “What if?” Last night, the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks took it down to the wire in the Western Conference Finals. Tied 4-4, L.A.’s Alec Martinez knocked a wrister off defender Nick Leddy, past the flailing stick of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, and into the twine. The Kings, who last won the Stanley Cup in 2012, will meet the New York Rangers, who are hungry for their first Cup win in 20 years.

    Sources: DeadspinSB Nation