The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Silk Road Mastermind Found Guilty on All Counts

    He’s on the road to the big house. A jury took three hours to convict Ross Ulbricht on all seven counts related to the operation of the black market bazaar that sold heroin, cocaine, LSD and other drugs through the Internet. Portrayed as a digital kingpin who earned more than $18 million in bitcoin from the illicit trade, Ulbricht, 30, faces life behind bars. But drug marketplaces such as Agora and Evolution continue to thrive on the so-called darknet. The Feds may have only busted the low-hanging fruit.

    Wired, Mashable


  2. Taipei Plane Crash Kills At Least 31

    Search and rescue efforts are continuing for the TransAsia Airways flight that lost control shortly after takeoff. A dashcam captured the plane’s dramatic plunge as its wing clipped a highway bridge and the ATR-72 turbo-prop cartwheeled into a shallow river. The toll: 31 of 58 passengers confirmed dead, 15 injured and 12 missing. The crash was TransAsia’s second deadly accident in just seven months, raising serious safety concerns with Taiwan’s third-largest airline. The nation’s aviation regulators will have to explain why these crashes keep happening.

    CNN, BBC

  3. Jordan Hangs Prisoners After Pilot’s Murder

    Tough talk has turned to action. Reeling from a video showing Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kassasbeh being burned alive in a cage by militants, Amman has executed two extremist prisoners. Failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi — an Iraqi prisoner Jordan had agreed to release in exchange for the pilot’s freedom — and an al-Qaida operative were hanged at dawn today. Jordanian leadership has vowed to take the battle to ISIS with an “earth-shattering” response, and the pilot’s brutal murder could prompt escalated allied airstrikes.

    BBC, Al Jazeera

  4. Greece Hopeful After Euro Talks

    Can they work it out? The new Greek prime minister Tsipras rode to power on a wave of discontent over bailout austerity measures, and he vowed to renegotiate the deal. He and his finance minister are making the rounds of the IMF and European capitals, but they clearly haven’t won everyone to their cause. Greece doesn’t exactly hold the upper hand here, either. Whether they can strike a deal that satisfies the moneymen and the Greek populace is still too far away to call.

    Reuters, BBC, Quartz

  5. Staples to Buy Office Depot

    The U.S.’s No. 1 office supply retailer wants to buy out the No. 2 for $6.3 billion. But there’s the small matter of antitrust law. Office Depot tried this move with Staples in the late 1990s, and failed, because the deal was seen as breaking monopoly rules. Today, they have a chance because there’s more places to buy toner and paper (here’s looking at you, Amazon), and an Office Depot-Office Max deal went through in 2013. Antitrust miracles, says one attorney, likely won’t happen twice.

    WSJ, Reuters


  6. Six Dead After NY Train Strikes SUV

    A crowded commuter train smashed into a Jeep Cherokee stuck at a crossing 20 miles north of Manhattan Tuesday evening, killing the SUV’s driver and five train passengers. The Metro-North train was engulfed in flames after the impact shoved the electrified third rail through the first car and a gas tank exploded. It’s the worst crash in the line’s history and certain to raise alarms about the railroad, which the National Transportation Safety Board faulted in five accidents in 2013 and 2014.

    NYT, Washington Post

  7. FCC Chief Backs Net Neutrality, Arab World Unites Over ISIS

    FCC chief proposes tough rules to keep Internet open. (USA Today)

    Muslim countries denounce ISIS burning of Jordanian pilot. (NYT)

    Egypt sentences activist leader, 229 others to life in prison. (Reuters)

    Former al-Qaida leader names Saudi princes as backers. (NYT)

    Man attacks police outside French Jewish center. (Euronews)

    World Bank probes possible mishandling of $1B loan. (WSJ) sub

    Trial for accused ‘American Sniper’ killer to begin in Texas. (NBC)


  1. McDonald’s Tamale Smack Talk Draws Fire

    They’re not loving it. Mexicans are fighting back after the burger giant unveiled the McBurrito on its Facebook page with the tag line “Tamales are a thing of the past.” The dig at the beloved national dish prompted an immediate backlash on social media. “I’d rather eat tamales than your horrible rotten products,” said one post. One of Mexico’s most popular TV anchors tweeted to his 4.5 million followers denouncing “the latest stupidity from McDonald’s.” Hamburger University apparently needs to McDouble-down on its cultural studies.


  2. Pro Dumpster Diver Makes a Killing

    Garbage in, cash out. Matt Malone says he’d make at least $250,000 a year if he went full-time with his hobby: Digging through the trash of retailers like Office Depot, Best Buy and Home Depot, and selling his finds on the Web. The “for-profit archaeologist” has rescued power tools, Roombas, electric scooters and all manner of electronics. Over two recent nights, the security-specialist-by-day hauled in gear worth an estimated $10,182 at retail prices, or $5,091 once resold. Thanks, America, for being wasteful.


  3. Harper Lee Releases Second Novel

    It took nearly 55 years, but one of the most influential writers of the last century is set to publish novel No. 2. The Alabama native published To Kill a Mockingbird to critical acclaim in 1960 — thanks to a big break. The follow-up, Go Set a Watchman, was actually finished before her famous tome, but the manuscript was lost until recently. While some are questioning the decision and the timing of its release, Lee’s second novel hits shelves on July 14.

    Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic

  4. Josh Gordon Loses Year, $1M for Drinking

    Maybe he’s in the wrong sport. After missing 11 games last year for a substance abuse suspension, the Browns wide receiver flunked an alcohol test at the end of the season. On Tuesday the NFL suspended him for a year without pay, depriving him of $1.07 million. That must seem severe to UFC star Anderson Silva, who tested positive for steroids three weeks before a comeback bout last weekend in Las Vegas. Silva beat Nick Diaz, who promptly failed his own test for marijuana.

    ESPN, Deadspin

  5. UK May Allow Three-Parent Babies

    Heather has two biological mommies — and a daddy. One house of Britain’s parliament has approved a controversial in-vitro fertilization technique for making babies from three parents. The procedure allows women with genes for mitochondrial disease — which causes debilitating, sometimes fatal conditions in thousands of children each year — to have biological offspring with the help of donor eggs implanted with their own DNA. Some call it the first step toward engineered “designer babies,” but experts note that the borrowed genes don’t affect noticeable characteristics.

    The Atlantic