The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. A Few U.S. Troops Head Back to Iraq

    The White House boosted the number of military personnel protecting the embassy in Baghdad to as many as 275. It may also deploy a small contingent of Special Operations Forces to advise the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS militants who appear to be conquering the country. Yesterday, U.S. officials met Iranian leaders to discuss how to calm the situation. If nothing works, the insurgent push could trigger a violent response from the Kurds, Turkey and Iran.

    Sources: Time, ABC, Global Post, WP

  2. Rare Twin Twisters Hit Nebraska

    At least one person was killed and some 16 critically injured when a rare dual tornado tore through the tiny northeastern Nebraska town of Pilger, flattening homes. The menacing twin twisters, spinning in the same direction and straddling a road, appeared to be equally powerful. Hail, driving winds and more tornadoes also wreaked havoc in other Nebraska towns as well as in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Nebraska’s governor issued a state of emergency, putting the National Guard on standby.

    Sources: Mashable, USA Today, CNN

  3. Abortion Group Cites Free Speech in Challenging Law

    The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously backed an anti-abortion group challenging an Ohio law prohibiting false statements during an election. The court ruled that Susan B. Anthony List demonstrated that it faced a substantial threat from the law to its free speech rights and could continue to challenge the statute. In 2010, a congressman used the prohibition law to block an ad by the group accusing him of “voting for taxpayer-funded abortion” by backing Obamacare.

    Source: CSM

  4. IMF Downgrades U.S. Growth Forecast

    The International Monetary Fund has slashed its estimate of U.S. economic growth this year by 0.8 percentage points to 2 percent, citing problems in the housing market, a tough winter and weak global demand for the nation’s products. The IMF believes the U.S. needs to boost its minimum wage to help the 50 million Americans living in poverty, as well as stimulate production and keep interest rates steady. Despite the dip in confidence this year, the IMF predicts growth of 3 percent next year.

    Sources: Guardian, WSJ

  5. Tensions Rise as Israel Searches for Missing Teens, GM Recalls Millions of Cars

    Tensions rise as Israeli troops seek three teens in Hebron. (NYT).

    GM recalls 3.4 million more cars. (Detroit News).

    Army launches probe into former POW Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance. (AP).

    Egypt to release Al-Jazeera reporter after five-month hunger strike. (BBC).

    Al-Shabab says 48 slaughted in Kenya as retaliation for Muslim cleric deaths. (Time).


  1. Woman Sings Through Surgery to Save Her Voice

    In the first surgery of its kind, Alama Kante sang her way through a throat operation in order to avoid damage to her vocal chords. Because the procedure posed a high risk of voice loss, the Guinean singer chose to have just a local anesthetic and underwent hypnosis so that she could endure the intense pain of the procedure and use her vocal chords, allowing her surgeon to gauge the operation’s success at critical points. During her trance-like state in a Paris operating room, Kante says that she visited Senegal.

    Source: BBC

  2. Marijuana Causes Confusion in Custody Battles

    It might be legal to light up a joint in Colorado now, but it’s probably not the best idea to mention that in a custody battle. That’s what parents and child protection officials are dealing with in the wake of legalization of the drug. Colorado courts are now navigating the weedy waters of how marijuana use impacts kids. One court restored visitation rights to a pot-smoking dad, but child endangerment standards concerning parental pot use remain… hazy.

    Source: The Guardian

  3. Gluten-Free Cooking Hits Italian Restaurant Kitchens

    The diet may seem like a fad for fussy eaters, but NYC’s top Italian kitchens have started to take gluten-freers seriously. Only 1 percent of people in the U.S. are estimated to have celiac disease (which requires cutting out gluten), but many more have adopted the eating regimen as a healthy lifestyle choice. Not only are GF options hitting store shelves, but one of the country’s top pasta chefs is finding himself saying ciao bella to buckwheat flour and chickpeas.

    Source: NYT

  4. Greenpeace Loses $5 Million on Currency Wager 

    The non-profit environmental activist organization needs more green. The group, with headquarters in Holland, acknowledged it lost $5.2 million after picking the losing side in a foreign exchange wager. Someone in the international finance unit invested the huge amount, counting on the euro not to strengthen against other currencies. Greenpeace is “embarrassed” and “apologetic,” says the organization’s interim executive director, who is working to ensure such a goof doesn’t happen again.

    Source: Bloomberg

  5. Baseball Legend Tony Gwynn Dies at 54

    The icon, perhaps the greatest pure hitter in the last half-century of baseball, died Monday after a long battle against cancer. A member of the Hall of Fame, Gwynn spent 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, where his uncanny ability to make solid contact against even the best pitchers earned him 15 All-Star game appearances. He was revered in baseball and was one of San Diego’s greatest sports icons.

    Sources: Sports on Earth, San Diego Union-Tribune, NBC