The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Israel Arrests Six, Launches Air Strikes

    Six Israelis have been arrested over last week’s murder of a Palestinian teenager, but the situation continues to escalate. Nine Palestinians have been killed by airstrikes in Gaza and the U.S. State Department is “profoundly troubled” by reports that an American cousin of the dead teen was beaten by Israeli police while in custody. Some Israeli experts argue that last week’s murder could be a wake-up call, emphasizing the Netanyahu government’s failure to deal with extremism within the country.

    BBC, NYTAl Arabiya

  2. TSA Cracks Down on Cell Phones

    Some U.S.-bound travelers will be asked to power up their phones as part of a new round of beefed-up airport precautions instituted by the Transportation Security Administration. Travelers who refuse to turn on their mobile devices won’t be allowed to take them on planes due to worries they could contain explosives. Homeland Security sources recently warned of changes due to concerns about new bombs being developed by extremist groups in Syria and Yemen that are specifically designed to skirt checks.

    TIME, The Guardian

  3. Ukraine Gains Ground in Anti-Rebel Surge

    President Petro Poroshenko has urged Ukrainian forces to press forward and liberate Donetsk and Luhansk, which are currently under the control of pro-Russian militants. Kiev regained control of the rebel-held city of Sloviansk on Saturday, which the president hailed as a watershed moment in the months-long conflict. But it’s not time to celebrate just yet; Sloviansk fighters have reportedly regrouped in Donetsk and the position of the Kremlin — accused of assisting the rebels — remains unclear.

    Al JazeeraReuters, BBC

  4. France Lashes Out Against the Dollar

    France’s big-hitters have denounced the dollar’s dominance in international transactions following the record fine of $8.9 billion levied against BNP Paribas. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin urged a “rebalancing” of currencies used for international payments in order to facilitate the euro and various emerging currencies, pointing out that BNP hadn’t broken any European rules. More than half of all cross-border loans and deposits are transacted in dollars, subjecting many international companies to U.S. regulation.

    FT (sub), Arab News


  1. Pistorius Murder Re-enactment Video Leaked

    Defense attorneys are furious that a re-enactment video by accused killer Oscar Pistorius has been leaked. The video, intended by the defense for trial preparation only, shows Pistorius shouting as he pretends to hold a gun in a simulation of what he claims happened the night he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a closed bathroom door. The video was aired on Australian television, but it’s not clear how it was obtained.

    ESPN, The Guardian

  2. Why Whales are ’Engineers’ of the Sea

    Researchers at the University of Vermont have hailed great whales as the engineers and curators of the sea. Until recently scientists have failed to appreciate the importance of the ocean’s largest inhabitants, but new research shows that baleen and sperm whales recycle nutrients and encourage the growth of various other species; even their carcasses provide ecosystems for numerous species. Whales’ essential role in the ecosystem strengthens the case to protect their habitats from overfishing.

    Daily Digest, Science Recorder

  3. Solar Wearables Could Charge Smartphones

    A Dutch fashion designer has produced a dress fitted with solar panels, allowing the wearer to charge electronic devices on the move. The solar-powered garment is in the prototype stage, but creator Pauline van Dongen is exploring its commercial potential. Emphasizing sleek design, van Dongen hopes to overcome the notion that wearables are bulky and unattractive. Of course, solar panels also depend on the sun: so even if the project can weather the commercial storm, the wearables may be of little use in a real one.


  4. Transformers Dominates Box Office

    Michael Bay’s most recent installment of the Transformers franchise has been panned by critics, but the filmmaker couldn’t care less. The movie is set to bank $500 million in less than a week, and Bay is all about making money or, as he put it recently, making movies that audiences like. The director deliberately angled this film towards Chinese audiences and was rewarded with $134.5 million in just five days. Forget about making timeless films, Bay is embracing global capitalism.

    Forbes, LA Times

  5. Djokovic Battles to Wimbledon Title

    Novak Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title in a five-set thriller against Roger Federer. Despite his eventual defeat, Federer won the hearts of the crowd with a near-impossible fourth set comeback, reminding the world why he remains the greatest male player in history. But Djokovic rallied to win the fifth set and the championship. As with his 2011 win, the Serbian ate a celebratory blade of grass from the court, describing it as “the best meal I ever had in my life.”

    NYT, The Guardian