The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Beheading Stirs Alliance as Arab States Join

    They’re lining up to fight. The Islamic State’s latest beheading, this time of a British aid worker, helped galvanize a coalition of some 40 nations backing anti-IS action. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris today with 20 coalition members, and U.S. officials have said “several” Arab nations agreed to join the U.S.-led airstrikes. France is flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq, and Britain’s prime minister says the UK may be ready to bomb the “monsters.” 

    BBCNYTThe GuardianThe Telegraph

  2. Hillary Teases as Senator Sanders Eyes the Ring

    Just as Hillary Rodham Clinton nearly announced her presidential bid with “Hello, Iowa, I’m back,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took some wind out of her sails. The 73-year-old liberal thinks America needs a “political revolution” and says he may run himself. “I think anybody who … shows the courage to take on the billionaire class … will do pretty well,” he said. As for the big question, Clinton told Democrats in Iowa: “It’s true, I am thinking about it.” 


  3. Heineken Has No Thirst for Takeover Bid

    Dutch resistance is strong, and it’s clinging to its drink. Heineken says it has told British brewer SABMiller — maker of Miller Lite and Grolsch — to pound sand rather than its pale lager. SABMiller apparently wanted to acquire the Dutch firm to protect itself from a potential takeover by beverage giant AB InBev. But 50.1 percent of Heineken is controlled by the De-Carvalho family, who prefer to keep their fourth-generation company out of foreign hands.

    CNN MoneyFT (sub)

  4. American Gets Six Years Hard Labor in North Korea 

    Justice Pyongyang-style comes without legal representation or hope of appeal. Following a 90-minute “trial,” Matthew Miller — arrested after reportedly ripping up his visa and asking for asylum in North Korea — was found guilty of “hostile acts” and sentenced to six years of hard labor. The Californian explained in court that he had a “wild ambition” of experiencing prison. He’s one of three detained Americans, whom the U.S. considers “pawns” in the ongoing conflict over the rogue state’s nuclear weapons.

    Washington PostCNN


  1. Pope Officiates Mass Wedding in Rome

    Has all hell broken loose? Yesterday, the pontiff married 40 people — some of them cohabitating “sinners” — in a big Vatican ceremony. Roman Catholicism forbids prenuptial shacking up, but Pope Francis is demonstrating a forgiving approach to modern-day coupling. Marriage, he said, is “real life, not some TV show,” and faith can restore commitment when ”it becomes lost, wounded or worn out.” Some hope the pope will soon sanction remarriage among divorced Catholics, but others wonder what the devil he’s up to.


  2. Brains Thought to Compensate for Alzheimer’s 

    Time to flex your cognitive muscle. Some brains may be able to fight off the effects of Alzheimer’s, at least early on. Tests have shown that people with dementia-linked amyloid plaque deposits — who exhibited no signs of mental decline — passed memory tests and had increased blood flow near the deposits. The brain, it seems, is preventing or delaying plaque damage. One scientist thinks a life of “cognitively stimulating activity” may help slow the disease’s attempts to muscle in on our memories.

    New ScientistBBC

  3. ‘Downtime’ Offers Little Respite for Americans

    For some, it was a really long weekend. The two-day cap to the five-day grind is a chance to squeeze in extra work for one in three Americans, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Economists found that one in four work late on weeknights as well — compared to just 19 percent of British and seven percent of French workers. Overworked Americans may be hurting their social lives and health, proving that more probably equals less. 

    The Atlantic, NBER



  4. Kanye West Orders Disabled Fans to Dance  

    It wasn’t meant to be a revival, and it was far from miraculous. Kanye West stopped his Australia concert in Sydney, miffed that some people defied his order to stand up and dance. Turns out two (perhaps former) fans were in wheelchairs, one of them fortunate enough to have a prosthetic limb to wave at the rapper. “OK, you fine,” Kim Kardashian’s hubby responded. The upstanding star, who’s touring Down Under with his Yeezus tour, proved once again that he’s on a completely different level.


  5. Kershaw Grabs Win on Path to Historic High

    LA Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly tried to pull his star pitcher early in the eighth yesterday. But Clayton Kershaw waved him off and continued to make history. “Who am I to stop him?” Mattingly asked. Kershaw retired the Giants batter and went on to win his 19th game — leading the majors — bolstering his team’s playoff chances and his own MVP bid. The double Cy Young winner is likely to go four straight years as ERA leader and is clearly his own boss. 

    ESPN, LA Times