The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal Keeps Growing

    This controversy can’t be quickly deleted. A House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks issued subpoenas today for the former secretary of state’s emails. The development comes amid reports that Clinton used a private account exclusively for official state department business — and also used an email server traced to her Chappaqua, New York, home. The swirl threatened to derail her presidential ambitions, prompting Democrats to rally to her defense. But others predict this scandal will have the shelf life of spam.

    Washington Post, Time, Bloomberg

  2. Tsarnaev Trial Opens in Boston

    Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a criminal mastermind or a submissive young man who followed the lead of his older brother? The trial of the surviving sibling accused of the Boston Marathon bombing will be one of the most-watched cases in the country over the next few months. The case isn’t about Tsarnaev’s guilt as much as it will be about his sentencing, court watchers say — if he’s found guilty, should he face the death penalty? That could trigger another round of arguments. Opening statements start today.


  3. Ferguson Officer Won’t Face Federal Charges

    A day after alleging widespread racial discrimination in the Ferguson, Missouri, police force, the Justice Department says there isn’t enough evidence to press charges against Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. The teenager’s family expressed outrage: “So, you’re going to say Darren Wilson didn’t violate Michael Brown’s civil rights, but the police department did?,” asked one relative. Ferguson faces some tough decisions ahead as it considers how to respond to the allegations. Many expect the Feds will demand changes via a consent decree.

    LA Times, CNN

  4. Obama Hears ‘Nothing New’ in Bibi Speech

    His job just got tougher. The president must now try to convince U.S. lawmakers, on the heels of Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional speech about perceived Iranian untrustworthiness, that a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic is a good idea. Bibi claimed a deal would “pave Iran’s path to the bomb.” But Obama lashed out, noting that the alternative — no deal — could nuclearize Tehran even more quickly. Whether Bibi’s passionate plea will work depends on how effectively Obama addresses Washington’s concerns.

    BBC, NYT

  5. Indian TV Told Not to Air Rapist Interview

    He apparently showed no remorse. New Delhi is working to ensure that few of Mukesh Singh’s countrymen see his interview about the 2012 gang rape case. Singh was among a group of men who attacked a 23-year-old woman — she later died — on a bus that year, and he reportedly blames her for being out at night. The men have been sentenced to death for the crime, but the censored video is sparking debate about which should prevail, free speech or fears that misogynistic words could lead to more violence?


  6. Watchdog Rebukes French Spanking

    They’re being scolded. The Council of Europe is condemning French laws for not preventing parents from using corporal punishment. The issue was raised by a British charity concerned about possible violations to a European charter protecting children. Today’s rebuke will likely spark debate over whether French parents, who reportedly see spanking as a legitimate punishment, should start saying “non” to raising their hands. The council can’t punish EU members, but it will next look at practices in Belgium, Italy, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia to see about whipping them into shape.

    France 24

  7. Health Care Takes the SCOTUS Hot Seat

    The lawyers are talking states’ rights. It’s a fairly bureaucratic argument, about legislative language regarding tax credits. The White House calls it a clerical error that didn’t intend anything nefarious, but if the court rules for the appeal, that could undermine the whole system. A decision isn’t expected until June, and insurance companies have to submit their 2016 plans before that. That’s sent jitters through the insurance business — will they face a system falling apart? Similar judicial appeals have been unsuccessful, but you never know.

    The Guardian, WSJ

  8. Lawmakers Keep Homeland Security Afloat

    You still have to remove your shoes at U.S. airports. The House of Representatives voted to continue funding the Department of Homeland Security, avoiding a shutdown and putting to bed months of partisan bickering over immigration. Lawmakers voted 257-167 in favor of the $40 billion bill, which omitted previous provisions to halt executive actions. But the squabble highlights discord between House Republicans, who favored digging in their heels, and their Senate counterparts who believed Obama — now happy to sign the bill — would prevail.

    Washington Post, The Hill

  9. Ukraine Coal Mine Explosion Kills Dozens

    Donetsk has been plagued with more carnage. Today a gas blast at a coal mine in the rebel-held eastern city has killed at least 32. The explosion comes on the heels of yesterday’s video conference between Western leaders, who agreed that the international community would have to respond firmly to any breach of Ukraine’s shaky ceasefire. But today thoughts of war must be set aside as rescuers fight to save the scores still trapped at the Zasyadko mine, and as the nation mourns yet again.

    Al Jazeera, DW

  10. India Surprises With Second Rate Cut

    Investors are cheering. The Indian stock market hit record highs after the central bank trimmed its benchmark rate for the second time in as many months, dropping it 25 basis points to 7.5 percent. Pushing the Sensex over 30,000 for the first time, the unscheduled slash comes after the Reserve Bank of India and the Modi government made a historic pact to formally target inflation. Experts expect the rate to dip below 7 percent by year’s end as the deflationary fight heats up.

    CNBC, FT (sub)

  11. High Court Divided on Obamacare, China Lowers Growth Target

    China will target economic growth of “around 7 per cent.” (FT) sub

    Supreme Court hears heated arguments on Affordable Care Act. (USA Today)

    Clinton faces growing scandal over emails. (Politico)

    Iraqi Tikrit campaign signals discord with U.S. (NYT)

    Alabama Supreme Court halts same-sex marriages. (CNN)

    Indian official promises inquiry into Delhi rapist interview. (BBC)

    France in violation of European ban on corporal punishment. (France 24)

    NFL champs promise to donate brains to science. (Huffington Post)


  1. Student Finds Earliest Human Fossil

    It’s a jaw-dropping discovery. In 2013, an Arizona State University graduate student found a mandible with five teeth in Ethiopia that researchers are now saying belongs to one of the very first humans. The 2.8 million-year-old specimen pushes back human history by 400,000 years. It also provides a crucial link between our own genus, Homo, and our ape-like cousins, famously represented by the hominid remains of “Lucy” found in 1974. Scientists will be chewing on this for a long time.

    Smithsonian, CSM

  2. Meet the Vinyl Dealer Who Charges $1,000

    Putting a price on sound remains a tricky business. Is an ultimate audiophile experience worth four figures, and if so, who should determine what makes great sound? That’s the questions Tom Port inspires. The Better Records owner knows insider tricks like the fact that earlier album pressings often sound better, and he pairs his wares with catalog copy that reads like a wine brochure. Ears honed like a sommelier’s palate pick out the super hot pressings — and price accordingly. The iThings aren’t welcome here.



  3. Sunken WWII Battleship Discovered

    An American billionaire claims the discovery. You may have heard of his business — he co-founded Microsoft. But Paul Allen also happens to own a luxury yacht with an exploration ship — and that’s what discovered the wreckage off the coast of the Philippines. The Musahi lay under the waves, undisturbed, for more than 70 years. More than 1,000 people died when the ship sank. Maybe now their ghosts can rest.

    Japan Times, Quartz 

  4. Target Plans to Cut Thousands of Jobs

    They’ve set their sights on $2 billion in annual savings. The megachain’s Minneapolis headquarters, where 10,000 are employed, will suffer several thousand job cuts over the next two years. To become “more agile,” the company will also boost its food sales — featuring more natural, organic and gluten-free options — and expand into new urban settings. The moves, which follow an embarrassing 2013 data breach and the chain’s Canadian exit, mean the brand is zeroing in on new ways to profit.

    Forbes, Star Tribune

  5. Forget Cat Cafés, Japan Has 11 Cat Islands

    It’s a feline-lover’s paradise. Japan boasts several secluded isles where cats outnumber people as much as 6-to-1. Islands like Aoshima are now overrun by cat-obsessed tourists, thanks to photos of the furry residents going viral on Twitter. Brought in years ago by fishermen to tackle the local mouse population and protect the silkworms used for spinning fishing nets, the cats enjoy a purrfectly predator-free existence. And with few being neutered, there’ll be even more fur flying in future tweets.

    Quartz, The Atlantic

  6. Wu-Tang Clan Album Due Out in 88 Years

    While most of us will be dead before the tunes drop, the New York City hip-hop supergroup is auctioning off a single copy of its secretly recorded album, which won’t be available for public release until the year 2103. Six years in the making, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin comes encased in a hand-carved nickel box that’s expected to fetch millions. The buyer, who can commercially release the album in 88 years, will be hoping it ages like a fine wine.

    Rolling Stone, A.V. Club

  7. Future Scientists Strapped by Lack of Cash

    Today’s denial, tomorrow’s disaster. That’s the message from the National Institutes of Health chief, who says funding for biomedical research has hit a half-century low. In testimony before the House appropriations committee yesterday, Dr. Francis Collins warned lawmakers that the current funding trajectory would see America giving up its international lead in the field. The NIH has seen its purchasing power plummet 22 percent since 2003, and if things don’t change, Collins fears it’ll mean fewer scientists make fewer discoveries in the fight against disease.

    Huffington Post

  8. Study: Farmers Markets Not Better for You

    It’s a locavore’s worst nightmare: A Bronx-based study finds that local fruit and veg markets there tend to offer fewer varieties of fresh produce and at higher prices than stores, with a third of the offerings being processed jams, cookies and the like. Researchers concluded that it’s unclear whether such markets “contribute positively to an urban food environment.” And with reports of cheaters trying to pass off supermarket produce as “local,” questions about whether markets sell buyers short are bound to crop up.

    Pacific Standard

  9. Philadelphia Sends LeSean McCoy to Bills

    This Eagle is flying the nest. One of the NFL’s top running backs, third in the league with 1,319 rushing yards last season, is being shipped to Buffalo in exchange for promising young linebacker Kiko Alonso. The 26-year-old Pennsylvania native — the team’s all-time leading rusher since joining the Eagles in 2009 — is reportedly unhappy with the trade. Meanwhile, Philly hopes Alonso, who sat out last season with a torn ACL, is healed and ready to soar.

    ESPN, USA Today

  10. Curt Schilling Defends Daughter on Twitter

    He can still throw high heat. After the former Red Sox hurler tweeted a congratulatory note about his daughter Gabby pitching for the Salve Regina Seahawks next year, he was outraged by the sexually explicit messages that came in response. Schilling swung back, publicly outing the hateful tweeters and warning them of consequences. The offensive accounts have since been deactivated, and one user has been suspended from school, proving that Gabby’s All-Star dad still knows how to dismiss the hitters.

    Daily MailHuffington Post