The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Ferguson Police Chief Resigns

    The fallout continues. Thomas Jackson, the embattled police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, is leaving the beleaguered department that was the focus of a scathing Department of Justice report alleging widespread racial discrimination within the city’s ranks. He’s the latest top official to resign, along with the city manager, municipal judge and others. But many observers are doubtful that the firings will be enough to transform the department and judicial system. The city could still decide to fight the reforms in court.

    The Atlantic, NYT

  2. Marines, Soldiers Missing After Crash

    Survivors appear unlikely. Seven Marines and four soldiers are feared dead after their helicopter went down on a remote beach during a training mission out of the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle. The aircraft was part of a pair engaged in nighttime drills — the other returned home safely. Heavy fog lay over the area at the time. Some human remains have reportedly washed ashore, but officials still call it a search-and-rescue mission. Godspeed.

    The Guardian, USA Today

  3. Feds Ding Big Banks on Stress Tests

    Most passed, but not all with flying colors. In its second round of fiscal health exams, the Federal Reserve asked three U.S. banks to tweak their capital levels and is requiring Bank of America to resubmit its spending plan in September. Led by Citigroup, many of the stronger institutions immediately announce big dividend increases and stock buybacks after the results. Only two flunked outright — the U.S. arms of Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander — signaling a healthier banking system.

    Bloomberg, WSJ (sub), FT (sub)

  4. Hillary Clinton Breaks Silence Over Email

    She’s looking to clear her inbox. Clinton has admitted to using a private email account while serving as secretary of state, but said it was just a matter of “convenience” and that none of her 60,000 messages contained classified material. She also acknowledged that using a second account “might have been smarter.” The former first lady defended her deletion of personal correspondence, citing privacy concerns, but Republicans are far from satisfied. Her brief comments leave bigger questions, including how this will affect her presumed 2016 bid.

    Politico, Washington Post

  5. Nemtsov Suspect’s Confession ‘Forced’

    Did they make him fess up? Zaur Dadayev, one of two Chechen suspects charged with killing Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, was probably tortured before his confession, according to a member of the Kremlin’s human rights commission. Andrei Babushkin visited Dadayev yesterday and reports seeing “numerous wounds” on the suspect. Dadayev also suggested that he confessed to help free a friend who was arrested with him. Babushkin is calling for people outside the case to investigate, but the Kremlin wants them — and everyone else — to butt out.

    Sky, BBC

  6. Colombia Cuts FARC a Month-Long Break

    They’ve got 30 days to relax. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has halted aerial bombing raids against the revolutionary forces following a three-month unilateral ceasefire that appears to be holding. The move is meant to bolster ongoing peace talks between the government and FARC that began in 2012, and further de-escalate a five-decade-long war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. But critics fear four weeks of respite will give the rebels time to launch even deadlier assaults.

    The Guardian, Al Jazeera, DW

  7. ISIS Releases Video as Iraq Gains Ground

    The terrorists have released another dreaded clip, purportedly showing the murder of a Palestinian man accused of being an Israeli spy. But this time the executioner is a young boy with a handgun. Iraqi troops, meanwhile, have managed to retake parts of Tikrit from ISIS in what many hope is a pending victory for government troops and Shia-backed militias. Facing increased pressure, the militants’ gruesome footage aims to horrify as well as recruit young people — “cubs of the caliphate” — to their cause.

    CNN, BBC

  8. Likely Fed Hike Hammers U.S. Stocks

    Janet Yellen appears ready to move the needle. Wall Street’s growing sentiment that the Federal Reserve will shift from its promise to be “patient” about rate increases at its March 17-18 meeting sent the Dow plunging 333 points yesterday, erasing its 2015 gains. The dollar’s rise to multiyear highs and worrisome corporate earnings also dragged on the market. While many investors expect liftoff as early as June, the Fed could still delay, citing an inflation rate below its target of 2 percent.

    BBC, WSJ (sub)

  9. Secret Service Agents Under Review, U.S. Giving $75 Million to Ukraine

    Two Secret Service agents under investigation for drunk driving. (NYT)

    U.S. sending more non-lethal aid, Humvees to Ukraine. (CNN)

    Greek government seeks compensation for Nazi atrocity. (BBC)

    Ferguson city manager resigns in wake of federal report. (USA Today)

    Utah votes in favor of using firing squads. (Fox)

    Chinese babies being sold online. (BBC)

    Japan marks fourth anniversary of Fukushima disaster. (DW)


  1. Haitian Building Built to Beat Cholera

    Nearly 9,000 lives lost. The 2010 quake kicked off a terrible cholera outbreak in the island nation. While mostly under control, the epidemic could return with poor sanitation. A new, open-air clinic in Port-au-Prince promises to keep the disease at bay through creative design. Perforated walls keep air flowing, and hidden tanks cycle water through extra layers of purification. Even the floors slope just so for easy spray-downs. A living experiment, the center could be a model for clinics throughout the Third World.


  2. Alaska’s Iditarod Plagued by Controversy

    Onward, mushers. The annual trek from Fairbanks to Nome kicked off this week, commemorating the routes used to deliver goods across the snowy frontier. A race against nature, communication tech is outlawed — so the discovery of an iPod Touch in a frontrunner’s gear disqualified him. Meanwhile animal lovers question the dogs’ treatment. The race has spurred husky ownership across Alaska, but many end up treating the dogs poorly. Which prompts the question, is the race still worth running?

    Quartz, Alaska Dispatch News

  3. BBC Suspends Mouthy ‘Top Gear’ Host

    Jeremy Clarkson’s career just hit the brakes. The opinionated 13-year host of the popular $1.5 billion car show has been told to pull over after allegedly punching a producer. Clarkson, 54, is no stranger to controversy and was on his “final warning” after being reprimanded for using racial slurs. The British network is expected to scrap the remainder of the Top Gear season, and confirmed that Sunday’s show will not air. Meanwhile, Clarkson is reportedly “having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow over.”

    Business Insider, BBC

  4. Chameleons’ Color-Change Secret Is Out

    The lengths these lizards go to for love. Contrary to popular belief, chameleons don’t just change colors for camouflage — they do it to attract mates or ward off foes. But that hue-shifting ability has mystified scientists until now. Studying the Furcifer pardalis species of Madagascar, researchers have discovered that the reptiles use a lattice of photonic nanocrystals found just under their skin to manipulate light. Instead of relying on pigments, light-bending cells called iridophores use structural changes to create dazzling effects and set the mood.

    Scientific American, LA Times

  5. Syrian War Targets Health Care Workers

    The doctors are dying. The military has bombed hospitals, arrested emergency room workers at work, and tortured and executed doctors. Snipers stationed outside hospitals have taken out the wounded, and halted those carrying medical supplies. In all, 610 health care workers have died since 2011, 97 percent of those death tied to Assad’s regime. As the Physicians for Human Rights notes, for every doctor death, thousands of potential patients suffer.

    Al Jazeera

  6. Rail Project to Excavate London Graves

    The new and improved Liverpool Street Station might be haunted. London’s Crossrail project, aimed at creating a new subway line, will begin excavating about 3,000 bodies next week, examining skeletons from the Bedlam burial ground, named after the area’s famed mental hospital. Archaeologists plan to work six-day weeks to examine bones buried between the 1560s and 18th century, and hope their findings will shed light on the bacteria that killed tens of thousands during the Great Plague.  

    LiveScience, The Independent

  7. Ireland Accidentally Legalizes Lots of Drugs

    Junkies around the globe are green with envy. Over 100 mind-bending substances, including ecstasy and crystal meth, are currently legal on the Emerald Isle after the Irish Court of Appeals struck down the country’s 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act on a technicality. Lawmakers are scrambling to pass emergency legislation to close the legal loophole by midnight Thursday. A man caught with a synthetic stimulant in 2012 sparked the action by taking his case all the way to the (surprisingly) high court.

    Fusion, Vice News

  8. ‘Blurred’ Jury Sides With Marvin Gaye

    Pharrell Williams isn’t happy. A Los Angeles jury ruled yesterday that Williams and Robin Thicke copied the soul singer in recording “Blurred Lines,” ordering them to pay $7.4 million. The Gaye family contends that all but two bars of the 2013 hit came from the late singer’s 1977 smash “Got to Give It Up” — echoing the sentiment of many fans. Williams and Thicke, whose reputations have been tarnished by the ruling, are mulling their legal options.

    LA Times, Pitchfork

  9. NFL Free Agency Enjoys Wild First Day

    They don’t go slower in the off-season. Free agency officially kicked off yesterday, with the New York Jets bringing back lockdown cornerback Darrelle Revis, fresh from his Super Bowl win with the Patriots, and Seattle scoring much-needed tight end Jimmy Graham. The Colts picked up running back Frank Gore (from the now-gutted 49ers), and might even net wide receiver Andre Johnson. But with more than 500 free agents up for grabs, the wild ride is just beginning.

    SB Nation, USA Today

  10. Turkish Officials Take Aim at Minecraft

    Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry wants to ban the popular open-world game, saying it’s too violent for children and can lead to “social isolation.” Though Turkey has been open to most games, it often bans things found to be offensive or of limited redeeming social value, like YouTube and 4Chan. Istanbul has become noticeably more conservative on this front, but any plan to block the Minecraft domain will have to pass through the courts before it can become reality.

    VentureBeat, PC Gamer