The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Financial Institutions Admit Forex Guilt, Pay $5.6 Billion

    They’ll need to save up. Five the biggest banks in the world are being forced to cough up this hefty sum to settle allegations from U.S. regulators that they manipulated foreign exchange markets for five years. JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS will plead guilty to the charges, while the fifth, UBS, will admit to rigging benchmark interest rates. Barclays — having not joined the others to settle investigations last autumn — are taking the biggest hit, $2.4 billion, and will fire eight employees linked to the scandal.

    FT (sub), BBC

  2. Iraq Seeks Volunteers for Ramadi Battle

    They need help. As the U.S. mulls sending more weapons, Iraq is turning to its people and asking them to rise up against ISIS. The militants overran government troops in Ramadi on Sunday, forcing thousands to flee. This prompted Iraqi leaders to send squads and Shiite militias to the central town, but volunteers are needed to fill in the gaps. Baghdad will funnel arms to the fighters — but they’d better move quickly, because the extremists are reportedly shoring up defenses to repel future attacks.

    BBC, NYT

  3. Countries Offer to Shelter Asian Migrants

    This may be a relief. Indonesia and Malaysia have responded to the mounting humanitarian crisis of thousands stranded at sea in Southeast Asia with a pledge to provide temporary shelter. The offer, which coincides with another boat of starving migrants being rescued off Indonesia, is to take in the estimated 7,000 migrants — mostly Rohingya Muslims — as long as the international community commits to managing their repatriation within a year. The countries won’t actively search for migrants, but they’ll help those who come ashore.

    BBC, The Guardian

  4. N. Korea Snubs Ban Ki-moon, Makes Explosive Claim

    So much for red-carpet treatment. The Hermit Kingdom has rescinded the secretary general’s invitation a day before he was due to visit the Kaesong economic zone jointly run by the North and South. Ban characterized Pyongyang’s decision to cancel what would have been the first visit from a U.N. chief since 1993 as “deeply regrettable.” No explanation was given, but it was quickly followed by claims that the North can miniaturize nuclear weapons — sure signs of Kim Jong Un’s lack of appetite for reconciliation.


  5. ATM Data Theft Hits 20-Year High

    Watch your back. Industry experts say thieves are stealing data from American cash machines — not just sketchy corner store ones, but those at banks and restaurants, too — at the highest rate in 20 years. The shocking surge saw a 174 percent increase in thefts from bank ATMs since January and a 317 percent hike from other machines. Banks are trying to rush in less-hackable computer-chipped cards, but in the meantime they recommend folks cover keypads when entering PINs and avoid machines in hidden locations.

    WSJ (sub)


  1. Artist Proposes Marijuana for Students

    Call it higher education. An Australian artist and university lecturer wants to light up young minds … with pot. Leon Ewing’s proposal, to be shared at an upcoming Tasmanian arts festival, Dark Mofo, suggests that high school students — as part of a museum residency program — be granted access to marijuana-delivering vaporizers. Comparing it to drugs that help kids focus, he said doobies might unleash creativity. Festival organizers expect it to spark outrage, but they’re defending Ewing’s right to roll out big ideas.

    Daily Mail,

  2. Etsy’s Makers Miss the Mark

    Not so crafty after all? That seems to be the concern fueling the artisan marketplace’s $36.6 million quarterly loss, which sparked a 13 percent drop in shares. Many sellers have fled to more specialized sites in the face of new regulations allowing cheap wholesale products from China and India, raising questions about whether a site based on handmade crafts should really be trying to scale up. The world’s fifth most-trafficked shopping site may need to think smaller to keep its hand in the game.

    BI, TechCrunch, Time

  3. Study Casts Shadow on Sunscreen

    This may turn your face red. A survey by the Environmental Working Group found that 80 percent of 1,700 tested sunscreens either offered inferior protection or contained harmful chemicals. Some lotions didn’t work against the full spectrum of UV light, or they used sky-high SPF numbers to give users a false sense of security. And half of beach and sport sunscreens contained ingredients like hormone-disrupting oxybenzone. But experts still recommend slathering on some protection, so here’s the EWG’s list of best bets.

    Cosmopolitan, Yahoo!

  4. Cannes Film Festival Shoos Away Flat-Wearers

    The actors are kicking up a fuss. France’s famed cinematic event is taking it in the shin after several women over 50 were reportedly turned away from the premiere of Cate Blanchett’s Carol because they weren’t wearing high heels. The festival denies that flats are forbidden — maybe because celebs like Emily Blunt are speaking up — but some male directors and stars, including Benicio del Toro, are protesting the apparent sexism by vowing to hit the red carpet in heels.

    E!, Screen Daily

  5. Warriors Comeback Swipes Game 1 From Rockets

    After falling 16 points behind in the first half, Golden State roared back behind reserve Shaun Livingston and league MVP Stephen Curry to win the series opener of the Western Conference finals 110-106 yesterday. James Harden had a stellar night with 28 points for Houston, but it wasn’t enough with big man Dwight Howard forced out by a knee injury. It remained close until Curry netted two free throws down the stretch, giving the home team the advantage ahead of Thursday’s Game 2.