The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Earthquake Death Toll Creeps Toward 4,000

    They’ve started cremating the dead, knowing full well that many of them are yet to be found. Saturday’s 7.8 quake, the worst in 80 years, has killed thousands of people in Nepal, and powerful aftershocks have caused further panic. Much of the worst devastation occurred in or near the capital, Kathmandu, but an avalanche at Mt. Everest’s base camp killed at least 18 and wounded dozens more. Aid workers are still struggling to bring food and supplies to some remote villages — which may have been totally wiped out. 

    NYT, USA Today

  2. National Guard Called In on Baltimore Riots

    It’s officially an emergency. A mob of protesters looted  stores and threw rocks at police in the aftermath of 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s funeral. Gray died after mysterious injuries sustained in police custody. At least 15 officers have been injured by rioters and the mayor has imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on the entire city until the violence calms down. A police inquiry into the case is expected to wrap up by the end of the week, when the state’s attorney will decide whether to press charges.

    Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, NYT

  3. Bali Nine Prepare for Imminent Executions

    Their time has run out. Last ditch appeals and legal challenges appear to have all but run out for Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were convicted of drug smuggling in 2006 and have been in Indonesian prison ever since. The Australian government had been hoping for some clemency for the pair, but it appears that they will be executed Tuesday night, along with six other foreigners. Australia is threatening to recall its ambassador from Indonesia, a drastic step, while the prisoner’s families continue to beg authorities for help. 

    BBC, Sydney Morning Herald

  4. Sudan’s President Wins Another Term

    The opposition just didn’t show up. The West is skeptical of Omar al-Bashir’s latest victory, in which 94 percent of voters apparently went for their leader of 26 years. Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes related to the genocide in Darfur, and the opposition parties in Sudan boycotted the election, which kicked off April 13 but is only now reporting its results. Most analysts are taking this as proof that Sudan’s politics will remain deeply dysfunctional and are losing hope for any real change.

    Al Jazeera, WSJ (sub)

  5. Saudi Arabia Begins Bombing Yemen Again

    So much for diplomacy. The Saudis have resumed striking Iran-backed Houthi rebels in several areas, including the capital Sanaa, just days after halting the campaign following outcry over civilian deaths. Street fighting is flaring between rebels and supporters of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and Saudis say only a full retreat will end the airstrikes. The rebels, meanwhile, refuse to budge until the bombings stop, and with Iran planning to keep warships in the Gulf of Aden, it looks like the Houthis will remain well-armed.

    Al Jazeera, NYT

  6. EBay Supports Google Against EU

    They’re apparently friendly rivals. EBay’s chief executive just came to Google’s aid, backing the search giant’s defense in the antitrust case brought by European regulators. John Donahoe says that Google and eBay are in direct competition when it comes to online shopping, suggesting there’s a healthy market for contenders. Though the EU is concerned that Google uses its search dominance to push its own products and affiliates, eBay and Amazon dwarf its business, which means governments may need to redefine what constitutes online shopping.

    FT (sub)


  1. Russia Jails Three for Twerking in Public

    They danced up a storm. Young women seen twerking near a World War II memorial in Novorossiysk apparently had all the wrong moves, resulting in jail terms of 10-15 days and fines for “hooliganism.” The charges follow a similar case a few weeks back involving a dance studio’s twerking performance that went viral, resulting in the school’s closure pending an investigation. The crackdown is reminiscent of the anti-Pussy Riot fervor of 2012, and proves that Russian leadership remains out of step.

    BuzzFeed, Daily Mail

  2. Harper Lee Saves ‘Mockingbird’ Production

    Somebody had to step in. The Monroe County Heritage Museum, which brings in about $200,000 per year in ticket sales for its long-running stage production of To Kill a Mockingbird, has been saved by the novel’s author. Lee, 88, set up a production company to keep the play going in her hometown after a licensing agent announced it was rescinding its rights. Monroeville, Alabama depends on the book’s popularity for tourism and will likely see a boost from the publication of Lee’s long-lost second novel, Go Set a Watchman, this summer.

    The Independent

  3. Bees Get High Off Pesticides

    They like the buzz. A European study shows that common pesticides containing neonicotinoids are more attractive to bees than their natural foods — and consumption impairs memory and navigation. Neonicotinoids, which affect bees like nicotine affects humans, have been banned in Europe since 2013, pending more research. But this study may lead to a longer-term prohibition, since the chemicals — meant to thwart, not attract insects — could stop bees from pollinating effectively, hurting crop yields and eventually human food supplies.

    Voice Chronicle, Daily Gazette

  4. Stephen Hawking Weighs in on 1D

    “Finally a question about something important,” the ALS-stricken physicist said when he was asked about the cosmological implications of Zayn Malik leaving One Direction. Hawking, appearing in hologram form at the Sydney Opera House during a lecture and Q&A on Saturday, explained that, theoretically, Malik could still be with the band in an alternate universe. Hawking, possibly spurring a revolution for scientific study, advised heartbroken young girls “to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics.”

    ET, BI

  5. Tech World Pitches in After Nepal Quake

    They’re redefining “user friendly.” Facebook and Google are offering tools to help those affected by the deadly earthquake in Nepal. Facebook’s Safety Check, activated after Saturday’s deadly temblor, sends messages to anyone in the vicinity of the disaster, asking them to check in and let friends know they’re alive. Google’s Person Finder, meanwhile, is a database for missing persons, crowdsourced and easy for worried relatives to navigate. Both will become more accurate as more people check in — and are found.

    The Verge, BI

  6. Apple Reports Good News for Q2

    The numbers are in, and it’s a barnburner. The real star of the 27% rise in revenue reflected in the new report wasn’t the Apple Watch, which CEO Tim Cook says may be a low earner for a while, but the trusty iPhone, which saw a 40% jump in sales when consumers apparently jumped at new, The Chinese market is a huge part of that growth, with a surge in sales putting it ahead of Europe as Apple’s second-biggest market for the first time — and that’s only expected to grow as China’s middle class does. 


  7. Cavs Sweep While Mavs Stay Alive

    Being up 3-0 doesn’t mean a thing without the fourth. One win away from moving beyond the opening round unscathed, the Houston Rockets couldn’t close out against the Mavericks last night, falling 121-109. Cleveland had no such trouble against the Celtics, sealing a sweep in a physical Game 4 that saw Kevin Love suffer a dislocated shoulder and J.R. Smith ejected for striking Boston’s Jae Crowder. Meanwhile, Washington swept Toronto, and the Clippers tied their series against the Spurs with a crucial win.

    ESPNUSA Today, UPI