The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Police Face Charges in Freddie Gray Case

    The 25-year-old’s death has been ruled a homicide. Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby is accusing Baltimore officers of ignoring Gray’s calls for medical help and says his injury resulted from him being handcuffed but not secured in the back of a police van. She contends that officers — six of whom face charges ranging from misconduct to second-degree murder — didn’t even have a good reason to arrest Gray. Mosby, who was cheered by protesters, urged the public to remain calm as she fights for justice.

    NYT, Baltimore Sun, CBS

  2. Epicenter Devastation May Drive up Death Toll

    They fear more than 10,000 may have died. The Red Cross says that towns and villages near the epicenter of last weekend’s earthquake in Nepal have suffered “almost total devastation.” The toll in remote areas remains unknown, owing to the storms and landslides that have slowed aid efforts, and authorities are bracing for a spike in the number of victims. Yesterday, two people were pulled alive from the rubble, but the patience of many — frustrated by the slow arrival of relief — is growing thin.

    BBC, DW

  3. American Wages Are on the Rise

    Workers are taking home more, but companies are profiting less. New data signals a 2.8 percent increase in first-quarter U.S. wages, compared to 2.2 percent the quarter before. This isn’t bustling — a healthy level is 3 percent — but it’s an improvement. Some believe higher wages, combined with reduced unemployment applications, will continue tightening the labor market and help boost recovery. But others warn that companies may start leveraging technology and globalization to revitalize capital … at employees’ expense.

    FT (sub), WSJ (sub)

  4. 293 Boko Haram Captives Freed

    They still haven’t found the Chibok girls. Renewed efforts to #BringBackOurGirls have led the Nigerian military deeper into Boko Haram territory, and in the last week they’ve liberated more than 450 captives, including nearly 300 women and children on Thursday. None were the hundreds of schoolgirls abducted in 2014. Major General Chris Olukolade of Nigeria’s military says his troops will continue to focus on freeing prisoners — and chasing down the last Boko Haram stragglers while they’re running scared. 

    CNN, BBC

  5. Macedonian Pol Indicted for Wiretapping

    But is it just retaliation? The government maintains that opposition leader Zoran Zaev engaged in illegal audio recording and wiretapping. He’s been leaking the information out little by little over the last few months, as evidence of corruption — but the government says some recordings are fabricated. Zaev is currently planning a massive May protest in Skopje, and it’s not clear how his charges will affect that. But Macedonians are likely concerned that their bids to join NATO and the EU may be derailed by its new reputation as a problem nation.

    NYT, DW

  6. Saudis Quash Houthi Border Attack

    Is the crisis spreading? Houthi rebels have reportedly launched their first full-scale attack against Saudi Arabia. Saudis say they repelled the move, killing dozens of the Iran-backed Shiite fighters. But the skirmish signals a worrying new phase: Neither side seems serious about negotiating, and the region is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the Iran-Saudi divide that has seen airstrikes kill at least 1,000 Yemenis and displace hundreds of thousands. Many are now struggling to find food and fuel, and hospitals, buckling under the strain, may soon close.

    AFP, NYT


  1. Singer Ben E. King Dies at 76

    An “incandescent” voice marked King’s legendary career. Born in the south, he moved to Harlem as a child, where he honed his voice with street-corner doo-wop. He joined the 1950s group the Drifters and co-wrote one of the band’s top singles, “There Goes My Baby,” before striking out on his own. He notched 21 songs on the U.S. charts, most famously 1961’s classic “Stand by Me,” the fourth most played song on U.S. TV and radio in the 20th century. He died in New Jersey, although the cause wasn’t made clear.


  2. Tesla Unveils ’Missing Piece’ In Energy

    Elon Musk broke long-standing assumptions about battery-powered vehicle viability with Tesla cars, but he’s got bigger ambitions. In a keynote last night, the entrepreneur announced a battery for homes and businesses that, he says, will provide energy independence from the grid and usher in an era of renewable energy for individual consumers. Not everyone is impressed — some are calling Powerwall just “another toy for rich people” — but many see it as the start of a power revolution.

    Forbes, Wired


  3. Sixth Grader Cuts Off Obama in Interview

    He’s got our vote of confidence. Osman Yahya isn’t a big name in journalism … yet. But the Bennett Middle School prodigy has become a social media sensation after landing an interview with President Obama, who stopped by his Maryland school for an event to encourage reading. After the commander in chief took one answer a bit too far, Yahya cut him off, saying it was time for the next question. Journalists praised the young man’s poise, but he may soon be cutting in on their jobs.


  4. Italian Military Starts Own Cannabis Farm

    They want to roll prices back. Medical marijuana is legal in Italy, but imported grass comes at a hefty price. So the army has started its own weed farm, with aims of producing 220 pounds of pot annually, lowering consumer costs from nearly $40 per gram to $17. The facility is being housed in a secure Florence bunker to reduce the risk of theft — recreational pot use is still illegal — and to prevent interference from those who’d prefer to keep prices high.

    Tulsa World, Sputnik International

  5. GM Will Invest $5.4 Billion in U.S. Plants

    They’re saying Yes! to Michigan and to keeping business at home. The automotive giant is planning to invest a whopping $5.4 billion in factory improvements in America over the next three years, including nearly $800 million in three Great Lake State facilities. The U.S. auto industry is slowly picking up speed, and General Motors’ move signals confidence in future sales — as well as in Michigan’s business climate, where improvements to facilities in three cities will help retain thousands of skilled and non-skilled jobs.

    Forbes, Bloomberg

  6. NBC Jumps on Netflix Bandwagon

    The Age of Aquarius has arrived, at least for TV. NBC will soon cater to binge-watchers the way Netflix does, making all 13 episodes of its new series Aquarius available online as soon as the first show airs on May 28. It’s a test balloon: The David Duchovny-led detective series isn’t expected to be a blockbuster because it’s airing in the summer months. But if this works, more mainstream networks may begin online streaming of their most popular shows.


  7. Winston, Mariota Go 1, 2 in NFL Draft

    Tampa Bay brushed aside Jameis Winston’s checkered off-field past to draft the Florida State QB first yesterday. Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota from Oregon, didn’t have to wait long either, going second to the Titans. Neither attended the event in Chicago, but Winston did make an appearance on social media. He tweeted a photo of himself eating crab legs — perhaps alluding to his shoplifting debacle last year — and thanked the Buccaneers, saying he’s looking forward to “gaining everyone’s trust.”