The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. U.S. Launches Airport Ebola Screenings

    “The only thing like this has been AIDS,” says the director of the CDC. Authorities at five major U.S. airports will start taking temperatures of passengers arriving from West Africa on Saturday. But that’s not soon enough for some 200 airplane cleaners at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, who walked off the job over Ebola concerns. Meanwhile, relatives of the late Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed on U.S. soil, question whether race and lack of insurance affected his care.

    LA Times, NYTWashington PostBusinessweek, NBC

  2. Kobane Threat Prompts Security Talks

    Airstrikes aren’t going to cut it. U.S. and British military leaders fear that Kobane, the Syrian town along Turkey’s border, will fall into Islamic State’s hands despite a Western air campaign. While the allies explain their military limitations and thousands of Syrian Kurds flee, Turkey is preparing to host talks focused on the looming border threat. NATO, U.S. and Turkish leaders will meet today in Ankara in a bid to hash out a coherent and combined approach to keeping terror at bay.


  3. Cop Shooting Sparks Unrest Near St. Louis

    It’s happening again. A white off-duty cop fatally shot a black teenager last night near St. Louis, sparking protests. Authorities claim the teen fired first, but relatives say Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, was unarmed, and they’re comparing it to the August shooting death of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. The cop was working as a private security guard when he confronted three pedestrians and chased Myers, who police say fired a gun — found at the scene — prompting the officer to return 17 shots. 

    SLPD, Reuters

  4. US Markets Take Investors on Wild Ride

    The Dow plunged 335 points Thursday in its biggest drop of the year — mere hours after recording its largest gain of the year. The volatile back-to-back sessions gave investors whiplash as they grappled with the outlook for European and Chinese economies. On Wednesday, Wall Street cheered as it looked likely that the Federal Reserve would continue its bond-buying gravy train. Cheers turned to jeers as new numbers revealed troubles for Germany, Europe’s economic engine. Everybody “got punched in the face,” a trader remarked.

    CNNMoney, WSJ

  5. Vaccine Gets First Test-Run in Africa 

    For the first time, an Ebola vaccine has begun trials in Africa. The drug has been given to health-care workers in Mali – even though Ebola has not reached the country – for testing in the vaccine’s “highest priority target population.” As Bill Gates told OZY, how quickly we can get drugs to patients on the ground will be crucial in the fight against the virus that has claimed around 4,000 lives. The test was set up in only two months, a third of the time it usually takes. 


  6. A Clue to MH17 Airline Crash, White House Aide Linked to Prostitution Scandal

    Oxygen mask found on passenger from the doomed Ukraine flight suggests not everyone aboard died when the missile struck. (BBC) 

    Report: White House aide linked to Cartagena prostitution scandal. (NBC)

    Google battles France over taxes. (WSJ)

    Spanish Ebola victim’s dog is euthanized, despite protests. (CNN)

    Chinese firm buying Waldorf for $2 billion. (NYT)


  1. Elusive French Novelist Wins Nobel Prize

    Writer Patrick Modiano is so publicity shy that even the folks at Nobel weren’t sure he knew he’d won the world’s biggest literature award before news broke this morning. The author has made a career of exploring themes related to France during the Nazi Occupation, mostly in short novels. The suburban Parisian is well known at home, but he’s not been as internationally renowned as passed-over writers like Philip Roth — a status that is likely to change from today.

    CNN, BBC, Guardian

  2. ‘Ghostbusters’ Goes Femme Fatale

    How do you remake a comedy classic for a new age? Bend the genders, apparently. Director Paul Feig, of Bridesmaids fame, tweeted Thursday that he’ll be casting ladies to fend off the poltergeist this time around. Parks and Recreation writer Katie Dippold will help craft the script. Let the speculation begin: Melissa McCarthy? Mindy Kaling? What, no Amy Poehler? And would today’s youth even recognize the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man if they saw him lumbering down the street? 

    CNN, Guardian

  3. Club Puts Its Money Where the Laughs Are

    The easily amused may want to practice their poker faces. Barcelona comedy theater Teatreneu now charges by the laugh. A tax hike — the ultimate wet blanket — hit ticket sales hard, prompting an innovative marketing ploy: charging based on how funny folks find the show. Smiles and laughs are tracked by a facial recognition system and cost $.38 apiece, capped at $31. Sales have jumped 35 percent, and organizers are laughing all the way to the bank.


  4. Asian Cave Art Redraws History

    They’re painting a new picture. Europe has long claimed to be the birthplace of art, but new research shows that Indonesian prehistoric art is about the same age as cave paintings in France and Spain. Experts thought outlines of hands adorning the Sulawesi cave were less than 10,000 years old. But one image — rendered by blowing mouthfuls of paint — is at least 39,900 years old, raising the possibility that the earliest humans in Africa mastered representational art before they spread to the rest of the world.

    BBCNPRThe Guardian

  5. Furry Fishers Going Up in Pot Smoke

    What a buzzkill. Cute and cuddly fishers, furrier relatives of weasels, are being hurt by rat poisons used on illegal marijuana plots along the West Coast. The forest-dwelling, cat-sized mammals should be officially listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some say the agency is “greenwashing” the drug war, but with only about 4,000 western fishers surviving and one study finding poison in 85 percent of their bloodstreams, the evidence is sobering. 

    Mother Jones

  6. Can You Play GTA Without Doing Harm?

    When you try to exchange insurance information after an accident in Grand Theft Auto, you lose. Every time. Enter Grand Theft Auto: Pacifist, a series of videos in which Jeremy Mattheis, a YouTuber with a unique sense of performance art, attempts to play the game without harming anyone or breaking laws, providing deadpan commentary along the way. The result is a blend of irony and gaming philosophy, which challenges us to reflect on a virtual world that doesn’t distinguish between winning and killing.  

    ViceDaily Dot

  7. NHL Begins Season With Fewer ‘Enforcers’

    What’s hockey without blood-splattered glass? The new season has started, and it seems managers have opted for scorers, not fighters. Only half of NHL teams now have heavyweight “enforcers” who bring swift retribution when a teammate is hurt. The smackdown on the old black-and-blue strategy has led to a 36-percent drop in fights over five years. But if polite puck-passing leaves you cold, don’t worry — there were still 469 fights last season, and plenty of skilled goal-scorers can throw a punch, too.

    CTV News