The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Fraternity Shuttered for Racist Chant Video

    We won’t repeat what they said. But it signifies that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers at the University of Oklahoma will never accept a black student. After footage appeared online, the national fraternity shut down the UO chapter. On Monday students and university staff — including the school president — gathered in protest. Coming after weekend celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the march across the Selma bridge, the incident is just the latest showing how far we have yet to go.

    Tulsa World , Huffington Post

  2. Iran Deal Ignites U.S. GOP Backlash

    Sparks are flying over Middle East nukes. Talks with Iran are slated to resume March 15, with signatures likely by month’s end. Obama has called the terms “extraordinarily reasonable.” The deal would likely allow some production, but insist on inspections and disallow weapons. Israel’s Netanyahu fears any nuclear production there. U.S. Republicans publicly reminded Tehran that Congress needs to approve any treaty to ensure it outlasts a sitting president — and that in 2016, America will have a new leader that may not agree with Obama’s choices.

    WSJ , Fox News , Politico

  3. Wisconsin Police Try to Learn From History

    This is no Ferguson. As Madison braced for a fourth day of protests following the deadly shooting of an unarmed black teen, the city’s police chief reached out to the public. Through engagement, Mike Koval is reassuring protesters — noting that it’s “absolutely appropriate” for them to demonstrate — and encouraging restraint. With America marking the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s Selma march and Bloody Sunday clashes between activists and law enforcement, Koval’s conciliatory tone might help usher in a new era for police and public interaction.

    Washington Post, CNN

  4. Chechens Charged in Boris Nemtsov Killing

    Was it about religion? Russian authorities detained a former associate of Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who says the suspect, Zaur Dadayev, is a “deeply religious” Muslim who might’ve been retaliating for Nemtsov’s support of Charlie Hebdo. Dadayev reportedly confessed to the murder, another Chechen has been charged, three others remain in custody and a sixth suspect is said to have committed suicide. Russian authorities appear to be making progress, but rumors of a political hit are unlikely to ebb with Putin taking “personal control” of the investigation.

    The Guardian, Reuters

  5. Credit Reporting Firms Agree to Overhaul

    It’s a landmark win for more than 200 million Americans. In the biggest change to the industry in over a decade, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have agreed to make it easier for consumers to resolve errors in their credit reports, and to give a 180-day grace period for unpaid medical bills, which can be caused by delayed insurance payments. The settlement with New York state should lead — over the next three years — to better credit for millions who got dinged through no fault of their own.

    WSJ (sub)

  6. Boko Haram’s ISIS Alliance Prompts Action

    African neighbors are joining the fight. Chad and Niger have come out swinging after the Nigeria-based Islamist group declared loyalty to ISIS this weekend, launching a ground and air offensive against the militants. This move and plans to create a regional force of up to 10,000 to battle the jihadists mark a new cross-border approach to thwarting terror. They hope their efforts will halt the spread of Boko Haram’s destruction and revive the region’s trade, which has been disrupted by years of violence.

    Al Jazeera

  7. Argentine Helicopter Crash Kills 10, State Judge Takes Over Ferguson Cases

    Two Olympians among dead in Argentina when helicopters collide. (The Guardian)

    Missouri Supreme Court reassigns municipal cases in Ferguson. (NYT)

    Indian authorities charge 42 after mob lynching of rape suspect. (BBC)

    Man arrested after stabbing attack kills five in Japan. (WSJ) sub

    Art experts race to save antiquities from jihadists in Iraq, Syria. (NYT)

    ECB launches stimulus bond-buying program. (DW)

    Toddler survives 13 hours in Utah river. (GMA)


  1. ‘Simpsons’ Co-Creator Dies at 59

    He helped birth one of the most iconic TV series and won nine Emmys. But the mercurial Sam Simon came to loath the industry, saying it turned him into a “monster,” and left the animated show in 1993. Diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in late 2012, the L.A. native and Stanford graduate announced he would give away most of his $100 million fortune. Colleagues heaped praise on Simon for his philanthropy and for being the creative force behind the Simpsons, whether he would have liked it or not.

    LA Times, Hollywood Reporter

  2. Murder Allegations Hit Famous Dog Show

    Irish setter Jagger was supposed to shine in the circle. Instead his death make headlines, as his owners claim he was murdered at the Crufts dog show in Birmingham. A vet’s initial report confirmed the dog ate tainted meat at the show, one of the most prestigious in the world. A full toxicology report is due next week. Meanwhile, show judges say two other dogs fell ill. Authorities have vowed to check surveillance camera footage. Hopefully poor Jagger can soon rest in peace.

    Daily Mail , The Telegraph

  3. Apple Unveils High-Touch Watch

    It’s finally here. The tech giant took the wraps off its long-awaited Apple Watch this morning in San Francisco. With a price tag starting at $349 (and up to $10,000 for the 18k gold version), the fashionable gadget aims to redefine personal electronics by gently tapping wearers when a message comes in, monitoring their heart rate and allowing them to take calls right on their wrists. Its 18-hour battery could be a turnoff, but only time will tell whether this becomes the next iPhone.

    EngadgetTechCrunch, The Verge

  4. Report: Doping Still a Problem in Cycling

    Investigators have crossed the finish line, capping a 14-month probe with fingers pointing directly at the sport’s leadership. The Cycling Independent Reform Commission has found that a culture of doping still exists, and its 227-page report says International Cycling Union leaders often turned a blind eye to cheating. The report doesn’t blame anyone for outright corruption, but it does recommend incorporating centralized pharmacies at races, a push to encourage whistle-blowing and overnight testing to snag cyclists who dose in smaller amounts.

    BBC , Al Jazeera

  5. ‘American Sniper’ Hits Box Office Record

    It’s got the zeitgeist inside the crosshairs. The biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle has made $337.2 million since its limited Christmas Day opening, surpassing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 to become the highest-grossing domestic release in 2014. With global sales, the movie crosses the half billion dollar mark. Overcoming detractors, an R rating and American preference for fantastical films, the surprising blockbuster gives Eastwood the biggest hit of his career (though not an Oscar statuette).

    Variety, LA Times

  6. Two Americans Tag Colosseum Walls

    Where’s Caesar and his pollice verso when you need ’em? Two young California tourists carved their initials into a Roman Colosseum wall this weekend and marked the occasion with selfies. Wall writing is forbidden at the nearly 2,000-year-old amphitheater, and the historic site of death matches has new security equipment, including metal detectors, to keep would-be defacers and terrorists at bay. But it was prying eyes that caught these social media-addicted vandals, who now face a hefty fine or even time in jail.

    Sputnik News, Fox

  7. Solar-Powered Plane Begins Global Flight

    The first solar-powered, around-the-world flight attempt set off this morning from Abu Dhabi. The Solar Impulse-2 will fly East for 21,750 miles over the next five months, spanning several continents and two oceans. The lightweight plane has 17,000 solar cells lining its 236-foot wingspan, with attached batteries to sustain nighttime flying. Swiss pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will stop at strategic places along the way to promote clean energy, but they won’t be stopping for gas.


  8. Harsh U.S. Winters May Be China’s Fault

    Long-suffering Boston can blame Beijing. The Northeast’s particularly bitter winter may be the result of air pollution blowing in from China and India, according to physicists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Fossil fuel emissions from Asia’s coal-powered cities, they say, make clouds over the Pacific heavier with moisture, creating large storm systems that alter winter weather in North America. Researchers aren’t sure yet how bigger Pacific storms bring more snow Boston’s way, but coal-based development is clearly one culprit.


  9. Opera Comes to the Large Hadron Collider

    Scientists want to discern the secrets of the universe. Artists seek to uncover secrets of the heart. The two combine at a multimedia sci-fi performance being filmed at the Swiss CERN, a work dubbed “Symmetry.” A woman asks if her physicist beau loves atomic particles more than her. The song and dance ties the search for the universe’s building blocks to our basic emotions, and with scenes also filmed in Bolivia’s salt flats. The full work will be screened in Amsterdam later this month.

    CNET, Huffington Post

  10. Emma Watson Stumps for Feminism

    Internet trolls threatening to release nude photos were no match for Hermione. The Harry Potter actress took to Facebook yesterday for a public Q&A to mark International Women’s Day, talking about her experiences as an activist and how the threats she received when she began publicizing the HeForShe equality campaign enraged her. Hundreds of thousands of males — including President Obama and actor Matt Damon — have joined women in fighting discrimination via the campaign, and Watson hopes her magic will help numbers soar to a billion by July.

    People, MTV

  11. Dolphins Splash Out for Ndamukong Suh

    He’s trading in Detroit snow for South Beach sand. Miami is set to make 28-year-old Suh — widely considered the best tackle in the game — the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL with a $114 million, six-year deal. The Portland native made 238 tackles and 36 sacks in his first five seasons with Detroit. Come championship time, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is hoping his aggressive, 307-pound centerpiece on defense will help Miami come in from the cold.

    ESPN, USA Today