The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Youngest Suspect Surrenders

    The teenager turned himself in. Eighteen-year-old Hamyd Mourad surrendered to police early Thursday. Mourad is suspected of being the accomplice in a terror attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this morning. Among the 12 fatalities were four cartoonists who repeatedly satirized Islamic terrorists and the Prophet Muhammad. The two lead attackers, French nationals tied to a Yemeni terrorist network, were identified by authorities as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi. With the Kouachis on the loose, a massive manhunt in and around the French capital continued into Thursday.

    ABC, NYT, The Guardian, Yahoo

  2. Boehner Overcomes, Plots His Revenge

    He’s back, and he’s mad. The 25 lesser-known Republicans who dared to vote (or abstain) against House Speaker John Boehner — who won his third term — may want to duck. Within hours of yesterday’s vote, Boehner dismissed two of his opponents from the Rules Committee, and more retribution is expected. Republicans introduced a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama immediately threatened to veto. With far-right and liberal resentment of GOP leadership growing, it seems Boehner has merely won the battle, not the war.

    Politico, NYT

  3. Divers Photograph AirAsia Plane’s Tail

    Chances of finding the black box have improved. Divers have spotted AirAsia flight 8501’s tail at the bottom of the Java Sea. Bad weather has slowed the 11-day search, and salvage crews are still looking for bodies, with just 40 of the 162 passengers recovered so far. But now investigators have hopes of finding the plane’s recorders, which may hold clues about the fateful moments before the crash. The airline, meanwhile, has promised to pay nearly $100,000 per passenger to victims’ families.

    The Guardian, WSJ (sub)

  4. Deflation Takes Hold of the Eurozone

    This was the last thing it needed. Deflation has hit the EU, with consumer prices taking a hit for the first time since 2009. Last month’s prices were 0.2 percent lower than in December 2013, driven largely by the drop in oil prices. The European Central Bank, already being pushed for action to sustain growth, will now feel even more heat. Many hope this will lead to stimulus measures, or quantitative easing, for the eurozone. But Berlin remains opposed to such a move.

    NYT, BBC

  5. Car Bomb Kills 33 in Yemen’s Capital

    They just wanted to become police. A blast outside a Sanaa police college dashed those dreams, killing at least 33. No one has claimed responsibility, but al-Qaida is suspected. The terrorist group, under the command of Naser al-Wahishi, has been gaining strength in Yemen since a government shake-up in 2011. Sanaa is controlled by Shia Houthi rebels, but al-Qaida is trying to undermine them. Scores more were injured, and the death toll is expected to rise.

    Reuters, Al Jazeera, BBC

  6. Frightened Investors Flee to Bonds

    They’re all quivering under government debt. Anxious investors in the U.S., Germany and Japan are flocking to the safety of sovereign bonds as fears of a global slowdown take hold. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note plunged below two percent, its lowest level since May 2013. In Japan, the 10-year security is paying virtually nothing at 0.28 percent. Rates this low are alarming because of what they represent: a warning that strong, sustained growth may be losing steam.

    NYT, CNBC, WSJ (sub)

  7. Deflation Hits Eurozone, Cosby’s TV Wife Defends Actor

    Inflation in the eurozone has turned negative. (BBC)

    Phylicia Rashad breaks silence as list of Cosby accusers grow. (MSNBC)

    Brent crude dips briefly below $50 a barrel. (BBC)

    Shell to pay $83.5 million for Nigeria’s worst-ever oil spill. (AP)

    Report reaffirms use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Al Jazeera)

    Former Virginia governor faces two years in jail. (Washington Post)

    Arctic blast descends upon Midwest America. (USA Today)


  1. Charlie Hebdo’s Controversial History

    Cartoonists, journalists and citizens around the globe are mourning in solidarity after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. But the satirical magazine, where several journalists died today in a terror attack, has a long history of provocation. The offices have been firebombed, an editor was put on trial, and France closed 20 embassies in 2012 after it published a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad. “I prefer to die standing up than live on my knees,” slain editor Stephane Charbonnier once said. Vigils are being held in Paris and other cities around the world tonight.

    NPR, Time

  2. Palestinians Get Green Light to Join ICC

    It’s no joke. On April 1, Palestinians will join the court, the UN announced today. Why is this important? Because they now have an easier route for going after Israel for war crimes. But it’s also seen as an internal political move, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas trying to outmaneuver Hamas. Some U.S. Republicans are already threatening to cut off Palestinian Authority assistance until the UN backtracks. Let the war of words begin.

    Jerusalem Post, Al Jazeera, Haaretz

  3. Quest for Extraterrestrial Life Heats Up

    Have they found Earth’s twin? Researchers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope have pinpointed eight new extrasolar planets that are roughly Earth’s size and orbit their stars from habitable zones, where temperatures are right for water to remain in liquid form. While these candidates bring astronomers closer to finding potential homes for life (as we know it) outside our solar system, questions remain about the planets’ atmospheres. And finding extraterrestrial life is still light years away.

    Smithsonian, Wired

  4. Jameis Winston Is Bound for the NFL

    The decision is in. The college star will trade Florida State for the NFL draft, ditching a potential next year at school, his father says. Analysts predict he will likely go first or second in the overall draft. He’d planned to announce after the national championship Jan. 12, but media scrutiny has been unrelenting. Winston faced rape accusations in Florida, where police accused of giving players a pass declined to arrest him. Will the “no means no” chants follow him to the pros?

    ESPN, The Oregonian, NYT

  5. Women Want Breadwinners

    Who should bring home the bacon? Both men and women think it’s primarily a man’s job, according to a surprising new study of 1,000 undergraduate students and 300 other adults in the U.S. The findings seem to fly in the face of modern women striving past the glass ceiling, with data showing they’re holding more management positions and surpassing the earning power of their male counterparts. Call it “gender determinism”— the habit of keeping preconceived notions, despite a changing society. 

    Pacific Standard

  6. Whole Grain Foods Can Extend Life

    Ahh, this porridge is just right! Dietitians and Goldilocks have long extolled the virtues of eating whole grains, but now Harvard is backing them up. New research shows that whole grain foods can help improve life expectancy. Two large, decades-long studies demonstrated that such diets not only improved cardiovascular health but also reduced mortality rates. Benefits came from eating as little as 28 grams a day, and were improved further by reducing red meat consumption.

    TechTimes, JAMA

  7. Beats Sued by Headphone Maker

    They’re not whistling a happy tune. The high-end headgear became so popular that Apple snapped it up for $3 billion in May. But audio equipment maker Monster alleges that Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre conspired with smartphone company HTC to defraud and “betray” Monster CEO Noel Lee out of his 5-percent stake — worth $100 million after the Apple deal. Monster provided the technical know-how, but which makes the brand ubiquitous: circuitry or marketing? A jury will soon decide.

    Gizmodo, Apple Insider, CNET

  8. Joan Didion Is the New Face of Céline

    She’s always been effortlessly cool. Designer Phoebe Philo is capitalizing on the literary legend’s enduring popularity with a new ad campaign for French fashion house Céline. It’s one more sign that the 80-year-old American novelist — known for her white Corvette, shades and smokes — is enjoying a sun-bleached moment, propelled by heartbreaking memoirs about losing her husband and daughter. A forthcoming documentary will further cement her as one of our keenest cultural chroniclers.

    Refinery29, Vogue, New York Magazine

  9. ‘Steroid-Era’ Pitchers Dominate Voting

    Cooperstown holds all the aces. Pitching legends Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz punched their tickets into the Hall of Fame yesterday as members of the biggest class since 1955. Just as their careers needed no help from performance-enhancing drugs, the gunslingers — with nine Cy Youngs and 700 wins between them — needed no help getting in on the first try. Joining them was second baseman Craig Biggio, who struck out by just two votes last year, but walked in on his third attempt. 

    ESPN, USA Today