The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Border Patrol Frees Pulitzer-Winner

    An award-winning journalist who has covered immigration issues in the U.S. has been freed after a day-long detention in Texas. Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino who has lived illegally in the U.S. since he was 12, traveled to the Rio Grande Valley to attend a vigil for unaccompanied immigrant children. While he emphasizes that he didn’t expect to be arrested, Vargas and other activists have used the event to publicize their cause on social media.


  2. Ceasefire Fails as Rocket Kills Israeli

    A small window of hope slammed shut on Tuesday as Hamas rejected Egypt’s ceasefire proposal and an Israeli was killed by continuing rocket fire. This was the first Israeli fatality in the current conflict, during which up to 200 Palestinians have been killed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would continue its bombardment as 100,000 Gazans were warned to evacuate their homes. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for a “full takeover of the Gaza Strip.”

    The Guardian, CNN, NYT

  3. U.S. Averts Energy Crisis with Shale Revolution

    The surge in U.S. shale oil extraction may have prevented a global crisis after instability in the Middle East disrupted traditional crude supplies. At Eagle Ford near San Antonio, “fracking” is releasing over 800,000 barrels of shale oil each day and, while this hasn’t lowered domestic fuel prices, the home supply has helped avert disaster as suppliers in Libya, Syria and Iraq become increasingly stretched. The shale boom may prompt the U.S. to ease restrictions on crude oil exports, which could further bolster U.S. production.

    FT (sub)

  4. Gitmo Nurse Refuses to Force-Feed Inmates

    A U.S. Navy nurse is reportedly refusing to conduct forced feedings on hunger-striking Guantanamo detainees. According to an inmate’s attorney, the unnamed male medical officer is the first conscientious objector to the practice of “enteral feeding.” His refusal was confirmed by the Pentagon, which reports that the officer has been assigned to “alternative duties.” Inmates have filed a legal petition to discontinue forced feeding, urging a rapid response to allow them to observe Ramadan.

    CNN, Miami Herald


  1. Germany Hit by Meat Cartel and Beer Thieves

    It was the best of times, it was the wurst of times. Germans celebrating their World Cup victory with traditional beer and bratwurst learned that sausage producers have been ripping them off for decades, having formed a cartel to keep prices artificially high. Adding insult to injury, 300,000 liters of beer were stolen from a Rhineland warehouse on Tuesday while the nation was distracted by the soccer team’s triumphant return. Police have asked anyone noticing “a large amount of beer” to come forward.

    WSJ (sub), CNN

  2. Friends Display Genetic Similarities

    Friends share 0.1 percent more DNA with one another than with strangers, a controversial new study suggests. The statistically significant figure is drawn from research based on 2,000 people in the small community of Framingham, Mass. The study may indicate that people are more likely to befriend those genetically similar to themselves, although it’s unclear how we identify genetic similarity. Critics emphasize that in a small pool, ethnicity, population stratification and shared interests could also explain the similarity.

    BBC, Washington Post, TIME

  3. ‘Belligerent’ Comcast Call Goes Viral

    A tech journalist has struck a blow on behalf of anyone who’s been trapped on a call with a power-mad customer service operator. Ten minutes into a phone call with a Comcast “customer retention” specialist, Ryan Block began recording the conversation, which has now gone viral. As Block attempts to cancel his subscription, the salesperson repeatedly insists that he justify his choice, in a tone more suited to a jilted lover than a cable provider. An “embarrassed” Comcast has apologized.

    NPR, Ars Technica, CNN

  4. Marvel Announces First Female Thor

    The mighty hammer Mjölnir will pass to a worthy female hero in a new comic, scheduled for release in the fall. Marvel Comics announced that the classic male Thunder God would be replaced by a woman, emphasizing she is not Lady Thor or Thorita, she is “the THOR of the Marvel Universe.” The new hero joins a line of diverse characters — gay, lesbian, transgender, mixed race, Muslim — who have been introduced to the Marvel canon in recent years.

    Variety, Al Jazeera, WIRED

  5. Jeter’s Final Act Steals Show at MLB All-Star Game

    The American League defeated the National 5-3 in baseball’s Midsummer Classic, but the night belonged to Derek Jeter, the Yankee shortstop making his 14th and final All-Star appearance. “His life’s a movie,” manager Joe Girardi once said of Jeter, who went 2 for 2, including a double on the first pitch he saw. But this particular scene ended with a controversial twist after Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright hinted he intentionally grooved the pitch to the 40-year-old slugger.

    USA Today, Bleacher Report