The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Rebels Release Bodies and Black Boxes in Ukraine

    The remains of the MH17 crash victims were finally released by Donetsk separatists overnight and are being transported to the Netherlands. The aircraft’s black boxes were also handed over, coinciding with the UN Security Council’s call for a full investigation into the tragedy. While powerful world leaders have pressured Russia and the rebels with public denouncements, the breakthrough eventually came thanks to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose quiet diplomacy suggests the West should consider changing its approach to the conflict.

    NPR, Reuters, NYT

  2. Texas Mobilizes National Guard to Man Border

    Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 members of the National Guard to the state’s southern border, a move he considers necessary to protect local communities against crime. He expects the federal government to foot the bill — approximately $12 million a month — citing the administration’s failure to deal with the surge of immigrant children flooding the state. The White House has not responded to the announcement, but Texas Democrat Joaquín Castro has accused Perry of militarizing a humanitarian crisis.

    USA Today, Al Jazeera, Politico

  3. Chinese Debt Tops 250 Percent of GDP

    New figures show that China’s debt to GDP ratio is rising at an alarming rate, prompting fears that its giant economy will overheat. The nation’s debt load reached 251 percent of GDP, compared to 147 percent in 2008. While other countries’ debt ratios exceed China’s — Japan is leading at 415 percent — rapidly accelerating debt in an emerging economy usually ends with financial turmoil. Beijing, which has been on a spending binge in recent years, may need to seek out a more measured path to growth.

    FT (sub), Business Insider

  4. Time Warner Changes Bylaws to Dodge Takeover

    Time Warner has altered its bylaws to defend against a potential hostile takeover by Rupert Murdoch. Less than a week after the company rejected an $80 billion offer from Murdoch, the board has voided shareholders’ ability to call special meetings, preventing them from combining their holdings to force a sale. Large institutional investors oppose the move as an infringement of shareholders’ rights, but independent media advocates will no doubt applaud Time Warner’s stand against the Murdoch Empire.

    WSJ (sub), Bloomberg, Reuters


  1. Lego Pieces Washing Up on Cornwall Beach

    Beachcombers in Cornwall, England enjoy a more interesting haul than most, thanks to a rogue wave that tipped 4,756,940 Lego pieces into the ocean back in 1997. The stricken cargo ship thankfully righted itself, but tons of tiny plastic spear guns, scuba tanks, flippers and octopuses were lost at sea. The story exemplifies the enduring mystery of global tides: Marine debris can travel up to 62,000 miles in 17 years, but Cornwall remains the only locale awash in Lego flotsam.

    BBC, Quartz

  2. Hoffman Refused to Leave Money to his Kids

    Philip Seymour Hoffman didn’t leave a cent of his $35 million estate to his three children, insisting they shouldn’t become spoiled “trust fund kids.” The Oscar-winning actor, who died of an overdose in February, left his entire fortune to the children’s mother, trusting her to take care of them. The 2004 will also stipulates that Hoffman wanted his son — his two daughters weren’t born yet — to be raised in one of three culture-rich U.S. cities: Manhattan, Chicago or San Francisco.

    New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald

  3. Shower Bus Promotes Dignity for the Homeless

    Converting a San Francisco public bus into a mobile shower station may sound like hipster remodeling, but it’s actually one nonprofit’s way of supporting rough sleepers. Lava Mae’s bus contains two private showers and toilets, aiming to provide a little privacy and hygiene to San Fran’s 6,400-strong homeless population. Critics of the Google-funded project argue that giant tech firms are causing the city’s widening wealth gap in the first place.

    TIME, Mashable

  4. ’Simpsons’ Fans Mourn Character’s Rumored Death

    Foul-tempered, perpetually ungrateful, but nevertheless loveable – The Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown will be sorely missed. That is if online rumors that the character will not make it to the end of the season alive are true. The clown’s irreverent show within a show was often laced with irony and sarcasm, and his behavior frequently strayed towards the immoral. Though The Simpsons may have fallen from its once dizzying heights, saying goodbye to an old friend is never easy.

    The Guardian, Rolling Stone

  5. Dungy Takes Heat for Anti-Sam Comments

    Tony Dungy, one of football’s most respected former coaches, says he would not have drafted Michael Sam — the NFL’s first openly gay player — because he “wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.” The statement surprised many given the NBC analyst’s history of supporting embattled players, including Falcons quarterback Michael Vick after he was convicted for dogfighting. Critics find Dungy’s stance especially disappointing given the struggle he once faced to become the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl.

    LA Times, CBS