The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Iraq Asks U.S. to Launch Air Strikes Against Sunni Militants

    The Iraqi government has asked President Obama to stop mulling military options and act now by launching air strikes against ISIS and other rebel Sunni groups. Sunnis are tired of being excluded in Shiite-dominated Iraq — a divide that permeates the region, with Iran siding with the Shiites and gearing up to defend Baghdad, and Saudi Arabia arming Sunnis in neighboring Syria. Obama must decide quickly whether the U.S. is willing to risk involvement in a religious war. 

    Sources: BBC, CNN

  2. Benghazi Suspect May Hold Answers to Lingering Questions

    The suspected ringleader of the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Libya has been nabbed, and officials are hoping Ahmed Abu Khattala will finally provide details about attackers’ motives and identities. You would think that President Obama saying he will do “whatever it takes” to exact justice would please both sides of the aisle. But the GOP wants Khattala to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay, which the White House has ruled out.

    Sources: ABC, Washington Post, CSM

  3. Executions Continue in U.S. After Seven-Week Lapse

    The halt in executions lasted seven weeks after the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate in April. European suppliers of the lethal injection drugs have been electing not to sell their pharmaceuticals for executions, flexing their muscles in the fight against capital punishment. But states have found a way to fight back, sourcing drugs from elsewhere. Two inmates were put to death overnight, including a rapist and murderer in Georgia and a murderer in Missouri.

    Sources: USA Today, DW

  4. Justice Department Cracks Down on Cleveland Cops

    After an unarmed black couple were shot dead in Cleveland in a hail of 137 rounds of police bullets, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation that has resulted in charges against the officers involved. Similar investigations in other cities nationwide have led to consent decrees and outside supervision. The federal probes are aimed at fostering police accountability and improving the strained police-community relations in those cities.

    Source: NYT


  1. India’s Transgender Community Promotes Seatbelt Safety

    Baby, you can drive my car … but buckle up. The country’s transgender community, known as hijras, are no wallflowers. Often seen flirting and exchanging blessings for money on India’s gridlocked streets, hijras are now tackling road safety. ”The Seatbelt Crew,” as the Mumbai-based group is known, star in a new video campaign aimed at getting drivers to use their seatbelts. Dancing in uniforms at a busy intersection, the hijras spell out safety tips like cheeky stewardesses in a video that has gone viral.

    Source: NPR

  2. Scientists Offer Hope For Deadly Bedtime Procrastination

    It’s called a “good night’s sleep” for a reason. Researchers studying the folly of human willpower say the best way to boost bedtime self-control is to use a clear cue like an automatic timer to turn off TVs or computers before bedtime. Insufficient sleep is linked to memory problems, heart disease and car accidents, so deny your inner zombie and get some life-saving rest. 

    Source: The New Yorker

  3. Experts Reveal Hidden Painting in Picasso Work

    Maybe the Spaniard was feeling blue because he couldn’t afford a new canvas. Experts have revealed that Picasso’s 1901 painting, The Blue Room, was painted over another image of a man resting his head on his hand. Researchers have long noted the unusual composition of the painting and suspected there was more to it, but recent advances in infrared imagery have solved the riddle. Art experts now want to know the identity of the mystery man.

    Sources: The Guardian, NPR

  4. Music Labels Suffer as YouTube Launches Paid Music Service

    Google’s video website YouTube is launching a paid, ad-free music streaming service to compete with Spotify, Napster and Beats Music. The move is being fiercely criticized because certain labels will be blocked from YouTube altogether unless they sign up to be part of the new paid service. Independent music industry representatives fear some artists will soon disappear from YouTube altogether. 

    Sources: NYT, The Guardian, BBC

  5. Golfer, 11, Is Youngest to Play in U.S. Women’s Open

    Lucy Li is the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, which gets under way tomorrow in Pinehurst, N.C. Li may wear braces on her teeth and bows in her hair, but she’s not afraid to take on the adults. She qualified by shooting par in a California tournament, beating the competition by eight shots. Home-schooling allows the sixth grader to train intensively with golf guru Jim McLean.

    Sources: NYT, Raleigh News & Observer