The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Cameron Proposes UK Immigration Cuts

    Welcome to England, don’t touch our benefits. That’s the gist of the plan laid out by Britain’s prime minister on Friday, in an effort to curb the influx of EU residents to the isles. Migrants would have to wait four years to reap some government plums, such as subsidized housing, and may have to leave entirely if they haven’t found work in six months. Since fluid borders remain a staple of EU membership, Cameron’s speech carried strong hints that leaving the union wasn’t out of the question.


  2. Thin Friday Crowds Mark Shopping Shift

    Dawn broke over fewer buyers dashing for the electronics aisle. Chaos didn’t reign quite so much in the toy department. Some shoppers reported that stores looked “like any other weekend,” rather than the much-hyped, post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping frenzy of yore. Industry leaders say it proves that more people are hitting the mall the night of Thanksgiving and buying online. Just look at Best Buy’s site, which crashed Friday. And if you’ve still got cash to burn, remember there’s always Cyber Monday.

    Reuters, Chicago Tribune, CN BC

  3. UK Makes Deal to Empower Scotland

    When Scotland voted against becoming its own country, it was promised new powers as a less-drastic road to autonomy. Skeptics were pretty sure this wouldn’t happen, but a UK commission has laid out a plan to grant Scotland control over its own income taxes — over $30 billion annually — and benefits. Politicians south of Hadrian’s Wall, ever concerned about the underdog, responded by sending an angry joint letter saying it’s not fair for Scotland to gain new powers unless they’re also granted to England.

    The Guardian, NYT, Reuters

  4. Ferguson Protests Target Stores

    After the grand jury’s verdict in the Mike Brown case, protesters aren’t about to pass up an opportunity for visibility. They staged peaceful protests at Black Friday sales around Ferguson, including a Walmart and a Target, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” and dispersing without resistance when they were asked. Social justice likely won’t put shoppers off their bargain hunting, though — this is expected to be the busiest holiday shopping season since 2011, and should pull in $617 billion.

    Reuters, FT (sub)

  5. Pope Visits Turkey to Defend the Faithful

    Pope Francis is traveling to Turkey for a three-day visit, and is expected to speak out about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. His Holiness is well-liked in Muslim communities — it helps that he denounced drone strikes in Syria — but may have a tough time in Turkey. Several missionaries and religious figures have been murdered there in the past few years, and the government forbids the training of new orthodox priests. Amid the region’s turmoil, the pope will be surrounded by security.

    NPR, AP

  6. Oil Prices Slide After OPEC Stays Hand

    After OPEC announced Thursday that members would continue gushing 30 million barrels per day, prices of the U.S. benchmark crude dropped five percent to a four-year low of $69. In its early days, some ministers sought to fight the decline with production limits. But the cartel’s 12 petroleum-laden nations have different circumstances, and while Venezuela and Iran aren’t ready for a price trough, Saudi Arabia has money in the bank — and won’t risk losing customers to Russia or Mexico.

    NYT, Economist, BBC


  1. Ray Rice Wins NFL Appeal

    In a major blow to Commissioner Roger Goodell, an arbiter overturned the indefinite suspension of the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was videotaped knocking out his fiancée in a hotel elevator. Former federal judge Barbara S. Jones ruled that the league had arbitrarily increased his punishment from the initial two games, dismissing claims that Rice originally misrepresented the severity of the assault. Rice can now return to the NFL — if a team will sign him, which isn’t at all likely.

    ESPN, USA Today, NYT


  2. Putin’s Biggest Threat: The Economy, Stupid

    A growing economic crisis could threaten Putin’s rule in the next two years, says one of Russia’s leading economists, now living in exile in Paris. International sanctions in response to the Crimea annexation are taking a toll, along with falling oil prices. Panic buying of staples like buckwheat have ensued, as food inflation rises. Even the luxury market has shrunk. Those at home are slowly starting to speak out too. Putin says all he has to do is smile. But not even he may be able to wrestle this tiger. 

    The Australian

  3. How the Twitter Generation Practices Medicine

    No, they’re not all self-absorbed. Millennials are joining the medical ranks with new ideas about work-life balance, bedside manners and technology. Say hello to Instagrammed procedures, patient-sharing and online references rather than dusty medical books. “We absolutely consult Wikipedia,” declares one recent med-school grad. They’re also working fewer hours and in teams, rather than going solo, which raises concerns among the old guard. Chillax, the millennials say, we’re all in it for the patients.


  4. EU to Google: Time to Break Up

    Europe’s parliament doesn’t have the power to split Google into smaller components. But its vote in favor of breaking up the company is the first of its kind, and sends a strong message. It may also encourage Europe’s new antitrust chief to move against the company, possibly leading to a nearly $6-billion fine. What’s that to Google, which enjoys about 90 percent of some EU countries’ search markets? About 10 percent of global annual revenues.

    NYT, Business Insider

  5. Siblings May Hold Keys to Happiness

    Brothers and sisters may influence aspects of our lives that researchers used to think our parents held sway over . Caring for an ailing parent has the potential to bring adult siblings closer. Other research found that girls who became pregnant had a higher chance of doing so if they had an older sister who gave birth at a young age. Good behavior in siblings can have a beneficial impact too — a happy lesson for the holiday season.


  6. Hip-Hop Finds a Voice in Ferguson

    Politics has always simmered under hip-hop’s surface. Ferguson has brought outspoken artists to the front line, physically joining protests — Q-Tip in New York City, Macklemore in Seattle — and making impassioned speeches, like Killer Mike’s tribute to Michael Brown. This season of protest even has its own soundtrack, from The Game’s “Don’t Shoot” to Tom Morello’s “Marching on Ferguson.” St. Louis-native Tef Poe’s “War Cry” tells a more personal tale: the rapper-activist has been so involved he even traveled to the U.N. with Brown’s family.

    The Guardian, Billboard, BET

  7. This Is Your Brain on Black Friday

    Those offers you can’t refuse are messing with your head. Ads and store layouts purposefully trigger primeval brain centers wired for happiness and instant gratification. And remember why they call it Black Friday: it’s not about you, it’s about the stores’ bottom line. Prices will likely drop further in December. Factor in the cost of gas and the hours spent waiting and browsing, and it might make more sense for your wallet — and your brain — to sit this one out.

    NPR, The Atlantic

  8. Sanchez, Eagles Soar on Turkey Day

    The last time Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez played on Thanksgiving was with the New York Jets, when his infamous “Butt Fumble” contributed to their 49-19 embarrassment. This time, the resurgent — though steadfastly mediocre quarterback — threw for 217 yards, leading the Eagles (9-3) to a 33-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and a spot atop the NFC East. Referring to the unfortunate fumble from 2012, Sanchez joked, “The game plan today was not to do that again, and we accomplished it.”