The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. NYC Doctor Has Ebola; Nina Pham Recovers

    The virus has hit the Big Apple. Doctors Without Borders physician Craig Spencer returned home to New York on October 14 after treating infected patients in West Africa. Two days ago, he took the subway from Manhattan to a bowling alley in Williamsburg; the next morning, he had a 100.3-degree temperature. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he tested positive for Ebola and was placed in isolation. Meanwhile, Dallas nurse Nina Pham was released; she later met with President Obama.


  2. Jury Convicts Blackwater Guards 

    They claimed it was self defense, but a federal jury has found four American security contractors guilty of murder and manslaughter in the deaths of 14 unarmed Iraqis. The victims — including women and children — were killed in a barrage of machine-gun fire and grenades in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007. The tragedy became a symbol of unchecked U.S. power, but seven years later, the verdicts represent validation of American rule of law. 

    Washington Post, USA Today

  3. Canada’s New National Hero

    Cool-under-fire Kevin Vickers is being hailed as the man of the hour in Ottawa. The Sergeant-at-Arms — who’s also a grandfather — holds a mostly ceremonial position, but media reports credit the veteran officer with stopping a gunman just outside the MP offices. The attacker, who killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, before charging into the Parliament building, was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam who some speculate was inspired by ISIS. Officials now say he was the lone shooter.

    CBC, BBC, NYTWashington Post

  4. U.S. Pushes West to Snub Chinese Bank 

    Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. China’s launching a new $50 billion Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank tomorrow. It aims to rival what Chinese leaders see as U.S.-centric institutions like the World Bank, and they’re planning to use it for “new silk road” projects, including a railway from Beijing to Baghdad. But U.S. lobbyists stopped allies from joining the bank, which they warn probably won’t promote environmental standards or human rights. China’s response? It’s yet another example of America flexing its muscles.

    FT (sub)

  5. Intruder Jumps White House Fence, Partial Solar Eclipse Coming

    Dogs alert guards to White House fence jumper. (BBC)

    Partial solar eclipse will be visible in North America around sunset. (CBS)

    Officials order arrests of Mexican mayor, wife over student murders. (LA Times)

    American baby girl dies in Jerusalem car attack. (Jerusalem Post)

    ISIS kidnap plot in Turkey raises questions over U.S. troop safety. (USA Today)

    Estonia questions possible Russian airspace incursion. (DW)


  1. Mother Nature Says She Doesn’t Need You

    But you need her. That’s the message of Conservation International’s new campaign, featuring Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey and Penélope Cruz, among others, as the condescending and unforgiving voices of the Oceanthe Rainforest, the Soil and more. With 240 million impressions in 10 days, it appears people like their Nature sarcastic. And realistic: “Nature is going to survive one way or another,” C.I.’s co-founder and CEO Peter Seligmann told OZY. “The question is: Are we?” Perhaps it’s human nature not to care about dirt … unless it sounds like Edward Norton.

    Conservation International

  2. Research Reveals Best Day to Buy Airfare

    Tuesdays used to be the low-fare king. That’s changing. Be sure to snag your seats during the weekend, especially Sundays when average prices are lowest. Why? Industrious airline execs come into work on Mondays looking to raise prices. Business travelers usually don’t buy on the weekends. Tablets are making leisure shoppers trigger happy. And how many days before departure should you buy? Experts say 57 for domestic and 171 for international flights. 

    WSJ, TravelPulse

  3. Massive Scheme Uncovered at UNC

    Talk about an easy A. Football and basketball players never attended lectures, met with professors or took notes in certain classes. But they earned excellent grades that fueled their eligibility to play sports for the University of North Carolina. A damning report released Wednesday said counselors directed athletes to the sham courses in the African and Afro-American Studies Department knowing they would receive special treatment. As many as 3,000 students were involved over two decades — all of whom now get an F for fraud.

    ESPN, Washington Post, USA Today 

  4. Online Gaming Is Hostile to Women

    Gamergate isn’t an anomaly. Gaming is the least welcoming online environment for females, according to a Pew survey. The study reveals that 40 percent of both genders have been harassed online, often involving humiliation on social media. But the worst abuse — sexual threats and stalking — is more likely to target women, sometimes forcing outspoken critics into hiding after threats of rape and violence. For many in the more misogynistic corners of the Web, Gamergate is the status quo.

    WSJ, The GuardianCNN

  5. Chemical in Receipts Linked to Cancer

    It’s a touchy subject. A chemical linked to health problems like diabetes and cancer has been found in receipt paper and can be absorbed through the skin. Bisphenol A (BPA) has been banned from bottles and sippy cups, but it seems that it’s still everywhere else, from dental fillings to heat-activated restaurant receipts. What’s more, sanitizing your hands leads to faster absorption. An industry group refutes the findings, arguing that typical exposure is well below safe levels. But show of hands — who’d like a receipt?


  6. Sub Search May Involve Torpedoes

    Maybe they’ll blow it out of the water. Sweden says it’s prepared to use torpedoes to force a mysterious vessel, a suspected Russian submarine, to surface. But first the Nordic nation has to find the thing. After several alleged sightings, the Swedes have sent their Navy to investigate. Russia’s involvement in Ukraine has fueled suspicion that the Soviets have their eyes on the Baltic. Moscow denies the craft is theirs, but Swedish leaders — reflecting on Cold War-era sub chases — are taking no chances.


  7. Royals Beat Giants, Tying World Series

    A little humility goes a long way. Stopped in their tracks in Game One, the improbable Kansas City Royals beat San Francisco 7-2 last night, balancing the series 1-1. The Giants’ Gregor Blanco quieted the home crowd by blasting history’s 10th lead-off World Series home run. But the Royals tied it up in the first, added another in the second and crossed home five times in the sixth, giving the Giants a taste of their own medicine before tomorrow’s Game Three.


  8. Hobbit Trilogy Most Expensive Ever

    Hobbits astern, Cap’n Jack! Peter Jackson’s Tolkien-inspired film trilogy is proving to be a pricey adventure. With a few months of production to go, the back-to-back films have already cost more than $740 million — history’s most expensive production. The priciest single film remains Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End at a whopping $297 million. The Hobbit finale, The Battle of the Five Armies, is due out in December, and Jackson hopes it will be met with the magical ring of box office sales.

    The Guardian