The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Court Sentences Egypt’s Morsi to 20 Years

    The former Egyptian president won’t be going home anytime soon. A Cairo court sentenced Mohammed Morsi today to 20 years in prison on charges that he and Muslim Brotherhood leaders incited supporters to kill protesters in clashes at the presidential palace in 2012. Mass demonstrations led to Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013, and to a crackdown on the Brotherhood. Today’s verdict cleared him of murder, which could’ve carried the death penalty, but the former leader still faces charges of collusion, espionage and endangering national security.

    Al JazeeraDW

  2. Justice Dept Launches Baltimore Probe

    Who killed Freddie Gray? The 25-year-old was taken into custody after seeing Baltimore police and running, and reports say he was in fine condition. But before he could be released, he was dead of a spinal injury, and protesters have gathered for four straight days to protest, holding signs reading “Black Lives Matter.” Now the Justice Department has announced they’ll be investigating the incident, in addition to an existing probe of Baltimore’s police that may relate to the $6 million the city has paid since 2011 in judgments over police brutality.

    WSJ (sub), NBC

  3. DEA Chief to Step Down

    That’ll teach them to go to cartel-funded sex parties. Michele Leonhart will no longer be the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration after eight years at the helm. A report last month that was spurred by a Secret Service scandal in which agents hired Colombian prostitutes found that DEA agents had attended sex parties — seven have been suspended for it so far — that were in some cases paid for by drug cartels. Leonhart will be gone by mid-May, and whoever replaced her will have a lot of clean-up to do.   


  4. ’Accountant of Auschwitz’ Goes on Trial

    Oskar Gröning, 93, doesn’t deny working at the Nazi concentration camp outside Dachau, Poland, or collecting the baggage and money of gas chamber victims. But he denies being complicit in 300,000 murders, and his trial begins today in Lüneburg, Germany. Prosecutors have been stepping up efforts to go after low-level Nazis and collaborators who are still alive. Dozens of plaintiffs from the U.S., Hungary, Canada and Israel will testify in a case that could see Gröning spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    DW, CBC

  5. Senate Reaches Deal on Attorney General

    Loretta Lynch has waited so long for a Congressional approval vote that she’s making history — more than 100 days , the longest wait for confirmation for a Cabinet post in more than 50 years. She has a stellar reputation as a New York litigator, and she’d be the first black female attorney general. The GOP has been delaying the vote as leverage in an abortion battle, but now the vote, which is expected to confirm her, could happen as soon as Thursday.

    The Guardian, Politifact, WP

  6. Italian Officials Charge Migrant Boat Captain

    He survived, but he’s heading straight to jail. The Tunisian at the helm of the ill-fated ship that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 800 migrants, arrived with 26 other survivors yesterday in Sicily, where he’s been charged with reckless multiple homicide. Another crew member faces charges of favoring illegal immigration. EU leaders, meanwhile, have unveiled a plan to address the crisis that has seen 1,500 migrants drown already this year, vowing to expand search-and-rescue patrols and to combat the traffickers behind the deadly journeys.

    BBC, DW

  7. Saudi Arabia Halts Yemen Campaign

    They’ve had enough, for the moment. The monthlong bombing campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who sought to topple Yemen’s government will end, according to the Saudi government, because they’ve achieved their goals in the region. Obama isn’t quitting so quickly though — he send two more ships to Yemen Monday in a clear message to Iran that it should watch it step as tension mounts over an American reporter charged with espionage in Tehran and the increasingly fragile deal on Iran’s nuclear program. 


  8. U.K. Pressures U.S. on Berkshire Hathaway

    Everybody loves Warren Buffett — but the Bank of England is worried that the U.S. Treasury may love him too much. They’re questioning why his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, was omitted from a list of companies deemed “too big to fail.” Listed firms face tougher regulations and possibly greater capital requirements because their instability could be disastrous for the world economy. Some listed insurance companies say reinsurers like Berkshire are more important to global finance than they are, and feel it’s high time they be added to the list.

    FT (sub)


  1. Students Disciplined Differently By Race

    It all comes down to teachers. In an attempt to understand disciplinary disparities among students of different races, Stanford researchers asked teachers to evaluate student case studies. What they found was troubling: Teachers recommended 30 percent more punishment for black students and were about 25 percent more likely to think the students were troublemakers after just two infractions. Until teachers can face their own tendency to stereotype, it may be impossible to fix the disparities in the educational system. 

    Pacific Standard, Education Week 

  2. And the Pulitzer Goes to…

    A few surprises snagged journalism’s top honor this year, including the relatively small Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., and Bloomberg News, which won its first. Newsrooms from Buffalo to Houston may cheer, but some question the need, and the honor, of a prize selected behind closed doors. In the ultimate irony, one of the small-town writers whose project won isn’t even in journalism anymore — he’s turned to PR, because he couldn’t pay his rent. So much for the future of the industry.

    Pulitzer, Slate, Politico

  3. Court Deems Chimpanzees Legal Persons

    We’re all primates, after all. A New York judge has ruled that Hercules and Leo, research chimps at Stony Brook University, have the right to legally challenge their imprisonment. This is the first time habeas corpus has been applied to animals in a U.S. court, giving them the ability to fight for bodily liberty. At a May 6 hearing, the school must provide a compelling reason for keeping the duo behind bars, or they’ll be freed — which could set a precedent for other research animals.

    BuzzFeed, Science

  4. New Kermit-esque Frog Species Discovered

    It’s not easy being green. But it’s a bit easier when a tiny, chartreuse amphibian with bugged-out eyes bears a more-than-passing resemblance to a beloved Muppet. Scientist Brian Kubicki has found six specimens of a new semi-translucent glass frog, called Hyalinobatrachium dianaein the Talamanca Mountains. Because glass frogs are so fragile — with skin so thin their organs are visible — Kubicki attributes their existence to a healthy Costa Rican ecosystem that allows less-hardy creatures to flourish.

    E! Online, Telegraph

  5. HBO Acquires Pot-Themed Web Series

    It was a fine 4/20 present. The network has picked up High Maintenance, a popular comedy web series about a pot dealer. The show, originally produced by streaming site Vimeo, was created by married couple Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair and follows a bearded Brooklynite who delivers weed by bicycle. The series will be just six episodes long, but HBO plans to stream all 19 existing webisodes in a deal that is bound to further blur the lines between TV and the Internet.

    Deadline, Engadget

  6. Kraft Ditches Preservatives, Synthetic Color

    It’s a whole new shell game. The Illinois-based food conglomerate is eliminating fake coloring from Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, replacing it with natural dyes like paprika, annatto and turmeric. The removal of artificial pigments takes effect next January in the U.S., and the synthetic ingredients — one of which has been linked to hyperactivity in children — will disappear from Canadian shelves by the end of 2016. But it’s unclear whether other Kraft favorites, like JELL-O or Kool-Aid, will follow suit.

    BI, Fortune

  7. Top-Ranked New York Freezes Pittsburgh

    Rangers like leading the way. After dropping the previous game at home, New York returned to their typical suffocating form, beating the Penguins 2-1 yesterday in Pittsburgh to lead the series 2-1. With just 11 shots in the first two periods, Sidney Crosby’s Pens brought too little pressure too late to challenge Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers’ strong defensive play. Fans will be looking to see whether once-great Pittsburgh can find its magic for a two-all draw in Game 4 at home tomorrow.