The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Hong Kong Chief Promises Student Talks

    Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s defiant chief executive, has agreed to talks with pro-democracy protesters, but rebuffed calls for his resignation. The eleventh-hour olive branch was enough to persuade activists — who agreed to the talks — not to take over government buildings as they had vowed to do unless Leung quit by midnight. The protesters also face a beefed-up show of police force, possibly driven by Beijing, which fears unrest in Hong Kong could spread to the Chinese mainland.

    WP, BBC

  2. Hackers Steal Data From 76 Million Households

    In one of the largest data breaches ever, unknown attackers stole customer information from about 76 million households – a number equal to nearly two-thirds of U.S. households – before being discovered in July. According to megabank J.P. Morgan Chase, whose network was compromised, the reportedly Russia-based attackers stole names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. The bank maintains that customer money is “safe,” and the hackers didn’t get account information, social security numbers, birth dates or other information that could facilitate identity theft.


  3. Journalist Gets Ebola, 100 Tracked in Texas

    An NBC cameraman is being sent back to the U.S. for treatment after contracting Ebola in Liberia, amid fears that the U.S. is ill-prepared for an outbreak of the deadly disease. Health authorities are monitoring some 100 people who came into contact with Thomas Duncan, 42, who was discharged from a Texas hospital while infected with the virus. A nurses’ union has criticized the U.S. government’s response, charging that if a strategy exists, “it’s not being shared” with caregivers.

    AP, WSJ, National Geographic

  4. Turkey Votes to Join Anti-IS Coalition

    Ankara’s parliament has authorized military action against Islamic State militants, following significant pressure from the Obama administration. With IS in sight of the Kurdish stronghold of Kobani, many of its residents have fled into Turkey, but losing the town would be a major strategic blow to the U.S.-led coalition. Turkey, which borders Iraq and Syria, is especially vulnerable to the hard-hitting extremist movement and President Recep Erdogan has stressed the need for a longer-term solution.

    The Guardian, FT


  1. Meet Europe’s Last Brewmaster Nun

    God may be glorified in beer, says 65-year-old Sister Doris Engelhard, a Franciscan nun who brews 80,000 gallons a year. Religion and beer have long been intertwined: medieval monks brewed it as an alternative to unclean water. Sister Doris’ Mallersdorf Abbey has a proud monastic brewing tradition dating to the twelfth century, becoming a nun-run brewery in 1881. She sees her two vocations as perfectly aligned and insists – happily for anyone faithful to an evening brew – that “beer is the purest of all alcoholic beverages.” 

    The Atlantic

  2. Tesla Promises Mostly Autonomous Cars

    By next year, Tesla will make a car that drives 90 percent of its miles itself, claims billionaire investor Elon Musk.There are still ethical and legal issues, but Tesla brags that it’s leading the pack on “autopilot” cars, expected to reach hands-free capability by 2020. The company promises a big announcement on Thursday, possibly of an all-wheel-drive version of the Model S. As for tweeting the news from the driver’s seat, we’ll wait for 100 percent, thank you very much.

    CNN MoneyThe Verge

  3. UK Town Destroys Banksy Original

    He’s the world’s most famous street artist, but no match for the crusading council governing Clacton-on-Sea. The small British town was briefly home to a new Banksy mural featuring pigeons holding anti-immigration placards and glaring at a colorful exotic bird, but someone complained that it was offensive and the town removed it. The council failed to realize three things: a) the piece was a Banksy original, b) it was actually mocking racism, and c) his work has sold for $1.8 million. Oops.

    LA TimesAP, BBC

  4. Clerics Frown as Hajj Pilgrims Post Selfies

    The year of the selfie has come to Mecca. Since the hajj pilgrimage began earlier this week, social networks have been flooded with images of grinning pilgrims, sharing everything from the holy city’s stylish engineering upgrades to the ritual walk around the holiest site of Islam, the Kaaba. Unhappy religious scholars say selfies are anathema to the modest spirit of the hajj, but the snaps are granting non-Muslims – who are forbidden from entering Mecca – a unique insight into the ancient spiritual gathering.


  5. Indian Sprinter Targeted by Olympic Gender Rules

    Dutee Chand was the future of India’s Olympic sprinting hopes, but her athletic career is in doubt due to her naturally high testosterone levels. The 18-year-old has been removed from her national team and was disqualified from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because she has the hormone at a concentration usually found only in men. She’s now at the center of the debate over gender testing in international athletics. “I am who I am,” Chand insists, rejecting the possibility of “corrective” treatment.