The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Pilot Accelerated into the Alps

    Another day, another bit of damning evidence as investigators unearth more details about the last seconds of the fatal Germanwings flight that killed 150 passengers and crew. The plane’s data recorders show that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz has set the autopilot to drop the plane to an altitude of 100 feet, and then he tweaked the automatic guidance to accelerate as the aircraft descended. Apparently he deactivated cockpit alarms, according to French prosecutors. The French say they have enough to prosecute, if the pilot had lived.


  2. SF Police Officers Benched for Racist Texts

    Their own smartphones betrayed them. An FBI investigation into the potential corruption of former SFPD officer Ian Furminger uncovered racist and homophobic messages that involved 14 officers, but only seven have been suspended so far — though an eighth has resigned. ”There is also no place in the SFPD for any officer capable of the thinking expressed in these hateful text messages,” said Chief Greg Suhr. The rest of the officers may see consequences as the scandal unfolds. 


  3. Greece Confident It Can Pay Its IMF Debt

    April 9th is fast approaching. Eurozone officials have been gravely concerned that Greece wouldn’t be able to honor its obligations to its own people while still paying off its bailout debt to the IMF, but Greece’s finance minister says they’ll make it. But other Greek officials have told news sources that Greece will be broke on the 9th. It’s still possible for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to seek funding from Russia or other non-European sources, though that might anger his European creditors even further.   

    Globe and Mail

  4. U.S. Jobs Numbers Trend Down

    Employers added only 126,000 new posts in March. That’s the least amount of payroll increases since December 2013, halting a full year of month-over-month gains north of 200,000. America hadn’t seen that many new jobs added since 1994, and March’s job numbers are less than experts had predicted. At least new wage-hike announcements by big movers like Walmart and Aetna signal that the long-stagnant wage stats could finally budge. With the markets closed for Good Friday, we’ll have to wait until Monday to gage the full reaction.

    WSJ, Reuters

  5. Iran Agrees to Nuclear Framework Deal

    The fallout is political. Following days of intense talks, Iran and six world powers have reached a framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. President Obama hailed it a “historic understanding” that could lead to greater world security, and Iranians are celebrating in the streets. But Israeli leaders are seething over what they see as a threat to their survival. The plan, if finalized in June, would see Tehran accept a decade’s worth of nuclear facility restrictions in exchange for the phased lifting of sanctions.


  6. Islamists Kill 147 on Kenyan Campus

    Kenya has began the sad process of identifying the slain as bodies began moving to Nairobi, where facilities can better handle the logistics of dead from yesterday’s al-Shabab massacre at Garissa University College. The Somali-based terrorists said they targeted Christians. This and similar attacks, fueled by Kenya’s peacekeeping in Somalia, have raised concerns that the militants are trying to pit the country’s Christians and Muslims against one another. President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to crack down on extremists, but some fear he may start suppressing civil rights.

    NYT, BBC

  7. China’s Ex-Security Chief in Graft Charges

    They’ve labeled him a traitor. Zhou Yongkang, once considered among China’s most powerful figures, has been formally charged with corruption following his arrest last year. Allegations against the former national security chief include bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets. The case is considered part of President Xi Jinping’s bid to improve the Communist Party’s image and remove pro-reformers from its ranks. A Chinese court, under the party’s thumb, will likely deliver a guilty verdict, but a trial date has yet to be set.


  8. Governors Sign Revised Bills

    They heeded the outcry. Gov. Mike Pence signed a new version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act yesterday, making it clear that businesses cannot discriminate against LGBT customers. Changes to a similar bill in Arkansas were signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, following uproar over both of the original legislative bids. While the RFRA revision has riled social conservatives, gay rights activists say it doesn’t go far enough. Another battle is brewing over whether to expand Indiana’s statewide anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation.

    Washington Post, CNN


  1. Stanford Nixes Tuition for the Middle Class

    It’s setting the curve. The California university, ranked No. 4 by U.S. News and World Report, is now offering free tuition to students from families making less than $125,000 annually, a boost from the previous cut-off of $100,000. It also provides free room and board to entrants from households earning under $65,000. For richer families, a year at Stanford will still cost $60,427. While Yale, Harvard and Princeton all offer free tuition for lower-income students, this move puts the Cardinals at the head of the class.


  2. Monkeys Hamper India’s Internet Project

    That’s one way to get your fiber. Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious $18 million project to connect bring broadband to villages was off to an okay start: Fiber-optic cables laid down by the Ganges were to offer wifi to the city of Varanasi. But the city is full of temples, which are full of macaque monkeys who rip up and eat the wires. If engineers can find a workaround, they can continue with Modi’s plan to get a third of the country online (up from 20 percent now) by 2017.

    Economic Times 

  3. French Hostages Sue Media for Coverage

    They’re calling it irresponsible. Six people who were hiding in a Parisian kosher supermarket during the hostage crisis two days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre are suing French media for revealing their location on TV. They say gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who called into the station at BFMTV during the crisis, was following the coverage. While BFMTV has acknowledged the slip, the group of six is pursuing a lawsuit against multiple media outlets. If they win, journalists could face a $16,300 fine or a year in prison.  

    Hollywood Reporter

  4. France Moves to Cap Model Sizes

    Unhealthily slim is no longer in. France’s lower house passed a bill that would ban Web sites that laud eating disorders and would require models to have a BMI of at least 18, about 121 pounds for a 5’7” woman. The rules would carry up to a $10,800 fine and a year in jail for violators. The numbers still need to pass the upper house, but they have a lot of support. No word from the fashion industry, and how this could impact the next couture season.

    The Verge, Vice

  5. Malta Passes Record Gender Law

    The European island nation doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a bastion of liberalness. Catholicism rules, to such an extent that divorce wasn’t legal until 2011. But a court case involving a trans woman unable to marry a man pushed the government to put gay marriage on the books last year. This week, parliament voted to banish gender identity discrimination. One form, a notary’s signature, and you can change your status, no waiting or doctor’s note needed. The president is expected to sign what some have called the world’s most progressive gender law.


  6. Mayo Clinic Wants to Make Blood Fly

    It’s all about speed. Getting blood where it’s needed before it expires is key to the Red Cross using all of its donations, especially with platelets and plasma lasting less than a week. So the Mayo Clinic hopes to use unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — as delivery devices, speeding blood (and lifesaving medicines) between hospitals over short distances and ensuring that less of the vital fluid gets wasted. But until the FAA authorizes drone delivery trials, there will be no such rush of blood.

    Popular Science

  7. Intestinal Superbug Spreads Across U.S.

    Go wash your hands! The CDC reports that a drug-resistant form of Shigellosis, a bacterial illness that causes diarrhea, fever and pain for about a week, has spread from overseas via international travelers. Some 243 cases have emerged in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Normal antibiotic treatment for diarrhea is proving ineffective, so doctors are easing up on drugs for milder cases. And while the CDC works on a national strategy, folks are being urged to reach for soap and water.

    The Verge, CDC

  8. Netflix in ‘Full House’ Spin-off Talks

    You’ve been waiting for this since 1995. The seminal ’80s sitcom about a single dad raising three daughters with help from his best friend and his brother-in-law may get a long-awaited 13-episode spin-off. The new series, reportedly entitled Fuller House, would focus on the family of D.J., the oldest daughter. This would be the latest flashback to a fan favorite (following Twin Peaks and The X-Files), but Netflix hasn’t confirmed whether the show has found a new home.

    NYDN, Variety

  9. Bowling Green Fires Coach Over Video

    He’s been benched. BGSU has fired basketball coach Chris Jans over his conduct at a local bar, when he drunkenly sexually harassed two women and called another a derogatory name. The university acted quickly after receiving a video and email from an eyewitness on March 22, and Jans admitted to the bad behavior. Bowling Green has improved dramatically since Jans — married with two kids — took over last year, but it’s not willing to play with inappropriate conduct … or pay him another cent.

    USA Today, SI