The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. U.S. Drone Strike Killed U.S. Hostage

    The president says he wants to come clean. An American intelligence drone attack against an Al Qaeda base in Pakistan ended with the death in January of two aid workers who had been taken hostage — an American, Warren Weinstein, and an Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto. Obama apologized to the families, said he had requested the information be declassified so he could discuss it, and took “full responsibility” as commander in chief. Two Americans believed to be Al Qaeda members were also killed.

    BBC, NYT

  2. Michael Brown’s Parents Sue Ferguson

    They want their city held accountable, it seems. Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden are seeking $75,000 and other damages, but also the hiring of someone to oversee police use of force and a ban on police actions that target the city’s black population. The younger man’s shooting by a police officer drew international attention. Several city staff have lost their jobs, and the feds want city leaders to enact more reforms, but for the Browns, that’s still not enough.

    The Guardian

  3. Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

    They finally got around to making history. The U.S. Attorney for New York had been waiting for her confirmation for five months as Congressional Republicans held up voting on her in order to leverage a bill on human trafficking that contained some unpopular legislation on abortion. But they finally struck a deal, and Lynch will take office on Monday, the country’s first black female attorney general. She’s expected to face challenges right away, as America struggles to resolve the legal issues of systemic racism in police forces across the nation.

    Reuters, NYT

  4. Petraeus Fined $100K for Leak

    The judge wanted him to feel the pain. Prosecutors had recommended a $40,000 fine, but the judge decided the maximum penalty would impress upon the disgraced former CIA director that leaking classified documents to your mistress and biographer is a very bad thing to do. He won’t be getting jail time — just two years probation — and this sentencing may wrap up what’s proved to be a very embarrassing way to close out an illustrious career. Petraeus, who now works in the private sector, will continue occasional consulting work for the White House. 

    Reuters, ABC

  5. EU Leaders Hold Summit on Migrant Crisis

    They need to stem the tide of death. EU leaders held an emergency meeting in Brussels today on the growing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean that has led to numerous boating accidents and 1,750 deaths already this year. They’ll be tripling funding for patrols and rescue operations, and make an attempt to destroy smuggling boats before they’re out to sea. They’re still struggling to agree on how to resettle migrants with legitimate claims to asylum, complicated by the U.K.’s refusal to take on any refugees.

    WSJ, LA Times

  6. Will Transparency Issues Hurt Clinton?

    Reports today suggest that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, played a role in Russian energy agency Rosatom assuming control of Canada’s Uranium One, which controls a fifth of America’s uranium production. While the State Department was just one of many agencies signing off on the deal, the report alleges that the transaction coincided with Uranium One’s chairman donating $2.35 million — not publicly disclosed — to the Clinton Foundation. Her campaign dismissed the allegations as “absurd,” but transparency issues surrounding the foundation’s funding are likely to dog Clinton’s presidential bid.

    NYT, Time

  7. New Drug Cures Ebola-Infected Monkeys

    Bring on the monkey business. Tekmira Pharmaceuticals has announced that its TKM-Ebola-Guinea treatment has cured three primates infected with the deadly Makona strain, which has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa since 2014. Scientists theorize that the treatment could be modified to handle other strains of the pathogen by halting the replication of the virus. Human trials are under way in Sierra Leone, with results expected later this year in what could prove a major step toward halting the disease.

    BBC, NYT

  8. Facebook’s Costs Soar as It Pushes Ahead

    Call it growing pains. The social network’s expansion into an app empire is pushing up against a rallying dollar, increasing operating costs by more than 80 percent in 2015. While beating earnings forecasts, Mark Zuckerberg’s baby saw first-quarter revenues slip below expectations for the first time, reporting $3.5 billion, notably still up 42 percent from last year. Stocks slipped in after-hours trading, but most analysts think new revenue streams — ads and mobile apps — will keep investors on the firm’s list of friends.

    FT (sub), USA Today


  1. Comcast-Time Warner Merger Likely Dead

    Sometimes you just have to walk away. Comcast had planned a $45 billion takover of Time Warner Cable, but early reports say the joining of the two biggest cable companies in the U.S. is never going to happen. The news is a huge blow for Comcast higher-ups, who met with the FCC and the Justice Department in an attempt to allay fears about lack of competition hurting consumers. But now the FCC is planning to block the deal, and Comcast will almost certainly just have to take its marbles and go home.

    Bloomberg, Deadline

  2. Chinese Scientists Edit Human Embryos

    This may grow into something big. Researchers at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University say they’ve genetically modified DNA sequences in human embryos for the first time in history, replacing segments that could trigger disease. But the work revealed that splicing isn’t terribly accurate, and thus unfit for “viable” embryos. Some think editing holds promise, but scientists warn that the technology is still too “immature” for human use. While it’s destined to remain a theoretical possibility for now, genome-modification is gestating into a robust ethical debate.

    Nature, BI

  3. Blogger Admits She Never Had Cancer

    She built a fortune on deception. Australian Belle Gibson, who claimed to have cured multiple cancers with natural remedies, has admitted that “none of it’s true.” Doctors suspected the 23-year-old lied about curing brain cancer by giving up gluten and sugar, but alarm bells really sounded when she failed to donate $300,000 to charity as promised. This will no doubt destroy her brand, including a cookbook, app and huge social media following. But while police may be willing to forget, cancer sufferers are unlikely to forgive.

    BoingBong, Mashable

  4. Jay-Z’s Tidal Not Making a Big Splash

    Will he go down with the ship? The American rapper’s music-streaming service may be sinking already. Similar to Spotify and Pandora — apart from being helmed by prominent musicians — Tidal caught a big first wave, coasting onto iPhone’s top download list. But it has since hit the doldrums, dipping far below competitors. Critics warned it was adrift when Tidal ousted its CEO, and Kanye’s assertion that it wasn’t “the Illuminati” didn’t help. But supporters hope the young company will soon find its sea legs.

    Vulture, AV Club

  5. Google Launches New Wireless Network

    It could be a game-changer. Project Fi, the search giant’s expansion into the mobile game, is a wireless service aiming to provide better access for less. It automatically bounces users to the strongest available network, shifting between WiFi and partners T-Mobile and Sprint. Customers only pay for what they use, getting money back for unused data. For now it’s invitation-only and just works on Nexus 6 phones, but many hope it will grow and squeeze out today’s fixed-rate data plans. 

    The VergeForbes

  6. Tribal Actors Depart Sandler Movie Set

    Some jokes aren’t funny anymore. Netflix is defending its comedy Western The Ridiculous Six, starring Adam Sandler, after a dozen Native American actors walked off the set over a script they called offensive and insulting to their culture. Though they say they understand the movie is a comedy, the jokes — like naming a Native American woman “No Bra” —upset the actors, who were told their input wasn’t welcome. Audiences can judge — if the film, which has no release date, ever comes out.

    Indian Country, Deadline, Rolling Stone

  7. Grizzlies Roll, Hawks Fly in NBA Playoffs

    Atlanta held off a rallying Brooklyn to clinch a 2-0 series lead, while Memphis easily put aside a short-handed Portland 97-82 to go up 2-0. With 10 seconds left and a chance to tie, Nets guard Deron Williams missed a wide-open jumper, giving the Hawks the advantage. For Memphis, Courtney Lee and Mike Conley each scored 18 to bury the Trail Blazers. Now Brooklyn and Portland will be looking to claw their way back in Game 3 on Saturday.

    USA TodayESPN