The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Obama Sends U.S. Attorney General to Missouri

    Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Missouri on Wednesday to supervise the investigation of the shooting of Michael Brown by a local police officer. President Obama said Holder will also assess whether Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to send National Guardsmen to reinforce local police was “helping or hindering.” In Ferguson, gunshots of unknown origin were fired and, in response, the police used tear gas to clear a key street of protesters and reporters, arresting anyone who remained.

    BBC, The Guardian, LA Times

  2. Western Leaders Tentatively Support Iraq Action

    While Pope Francis described efforts to stop “unjust agression” as legitmate, President Obama hailed the recovery of Mosul Dam by Iraqi and Kurdish fighters with the help of U.S. airstrikes. The president promised increased support for the new Iraqi government, but emphasized that involvement would be limited to protecting American interests and providing humanitarian support. British Prime Minister David Cameron has emphasized similar limitations, though his defense minister has been quoted as saying that the campaign is no longer strictly humanitarian.

    The Guardian, ABC, NYT

  3. ‘Sanctioned’ Rosneft Begins Norway Drilling

    Oil companies were never going to be very happy about the West’s anti-Russian stance, which is clear from their eager attempts to squeeze through loopholes in the current trade restrictions. Sanctioned Russian energy conglomerate Rosneft is about to begin drilling its first Norwegian oil well, in partnership with Norway’s Statoil. America’s Exxon Mobil is also partnered with Rosneft and will soon begin drilling in the Russian arctic. How can they do this? The sanctions exempt deals inked before Russia came out as a pariah nation.

    FT, BBC

  4. Chinese Hackers Seize 4.5M U.S. Patients’ Info

    Hackers with suspected links to the Chinese government have stolen information about 4.5 million people, according to Community Health Systems in Illinois, one of the largest hospital networks in America. The alleged culprits—known as APT 18—seized names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays and Social Security numbers, but no credit card numbers or health information. The FBI is investigating the operation, which could be an attempt at mass identity theft.

    Reuters, Bloomberg, Mashable


  1. Hitchhiking Robot Crosses Canada

    A little robot that could has managed to hitchhike 3,728 miles from one side of Canada to the other. HitchBOT reached Canada’s Pacific coast at Victoria Saturday, nearly three weeks after hitting the road in Nova Scotia. Toronto researchers created HitchBOT to explore human-robot trust, leaving the talking bot on the road to fend for itself and rely on the kindness of strangers. While on the road, HitchBOT crashed a wedding in British Columbia, attended an Ontario powwow and danced the Harlem Shake in Saskatchewan.


  2. Giant Rats Trained To Sniff Out TB

    The African giant pouched rat is at the forefront of a new initiative to more efficiently identify tuberculosis, following its success in sniffing out land mines. In Tanzania and Mozambique, highly-trained rats can assess more human fluid samples in ten minutes than a lab technician can in a day. Rodents are less discerning and thorough than humans, but affordable innovation is essential in the fight against TB, which claimed 480,000 lives in Africa in 2012.

    National Geographic

  3. Sex, Oil and Espresso Combine in North Dakota

    How does a savvy businesswoman make a buck in a town overrun by lonely, oil-hunting men? She opens a steamy coffee shop, of course. Boomtown Babes Espresso has opened in once-sleepy Williston, North Dakota, which has been transformed by fracking. Williston now claims one of the most concentrated male populations in the U.S.—the male-to-female ratio could be as high as 50:1. Roughnecks craving jugs of joe are are no joke for local women, who don’t feel safe without mates and mace.


  4. Is Whale Song a Threat to National Security?

    Microbiologists have become inadvertent deep-water spies, and the Navy isn’t comfortable with that. Many oceanographers gather raw data and sound clips, such as whale song and seismic rumblings, using hydrophones aimed at the ocean’s darkest depths. This content is automatically uploaded to the internet for open-source use. But the signal occasionally blacks out completely, squelched by the U.S. and Canadian navies to prevent the hydrophones from detecting and broadcasting the activity of military ships and submarines.

    The Atlantic

  5. Pedigreed Chelsea Tramples Hopeful Underdogs

    As Burnley lined up for its first Premier League match since 2010, romantics hoped they could sneak a win against Chelsea, the favorites for this year’s trophy. It looked possible, too, when the underdogs went 1-0 up after 14 minutes. Sadly, Chelsea answered with three goals, all in the first half, the first scored by newly-acquired Diego Costa. Chelsea paid £32 million for the Spanish striker—more than six times what Burnley paid for its entire team. In professional soccer, romanticism can’t compete with hard cash.

    BBC, SB Nation