The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. studen loan protest getty 152599449

    They All Want to Be the Education Candidate

    Do they need schooling? Owing at least $1.27 trillion in student debt, today’s college grads need little reminder of the problem all would-be presidents are expected to address. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie and other GOP candidates will be speaking at the New Hampshire summit on Wednesday about their plans to improve K-12 education. Meanwhile, Walker and Hillary Clinton have been sparring over higher education, with Clinton’s plan to simplify loan repayment and boost public funding being compared to the Wisconsin governor’s university cuts.

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    China Struggles to Deal With Blast Aftermath

    China’s currency crisis was bad enough. But on Thursday night, that problem faded in the bright orange light of fireballs rising over a chemical warehouse in the northeastern Chinese port of Tianjin. It’s not clear what happened, but there are no doubt clues in the piles of scorched vehicles and windowless buildings at the site, where authorities have been able to dig out 50 blast survivors. Toxic chemicals in the air prompted an evacuation within a 1.8-mile radius Saturday, and with many still missing, it’s likely the death toll will climb past the this morning’s 112. 

  3. Leszek Balcerowicz

    Greece? Just Wait Until Ukraine’s Bailout

    Leszek Balcerowicz knows a thing or two about economic imperatives. After helping transform Poland from a cellar dweller to a European Union powerhouse, the former twice-appointed finance minister tells OZY that the U.S. might just be worrying too much about Greece and not enough about Ukraine. He warns that while prone to Greek-style overspending, Ukraine is also four times larger, shares a border with Russia and will provide a test both economically and militarily for the EU and NATO — and therefore America — in the coming years.

  4. christian fighers in iraq getty 463726434

    Christian Soldiers Try to Hold ISIS Back

    The Dwekh Nawsha aren’t your typical Iraqi militiamen. Their flag depicts the Assyrian god of war, they speak Jesus’ ancient language, Aramaic, and are a magnet for uninvited U.S. holy warriors. Theirs is one of three Christian forces in Iraqi Kurdistan battling ISIS to protect the Nineveh Plains, where Christians have been beset by invaders since the first century. But local history for believers goes back much earlier, to the long-buried Garden of Eden, where man committed original sin, they say, ensuring today’s inhabitants would continue to suffer.


  1. liberland corbis 42 71098737

    Founder of New ‘Nation’ Tests Boundaries

    Happy is the country that has no history. Perhaps that’s why President Vit Jedlicka is smiling. This April, the Czech native founded the Republic of Liberland, a tiny enclave between Croatia and Serbia that neither country wants. Elected in a 2-0 landslide, Jedlicka, 31, says his libertarian state will “live and let live” while its burgeoning population of 130 finds its own path. But there’s trouble on the Danube River’s mosquito-infested banks: Another libertarian is trying to take over, and Croatia is losing patience with what it initially labeled “a joke.” 

  2. jacqueline straub 3

    The Woman Fighting for the Priesthood

    She’s trying to punch her way through the cathedral ceiling. Jacqueline Straub, a German canon law scholar and boxer, wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking that she and other women be allowed to become Catholic priests. She might not effect change for herself — the reply came from his secretary of state and avoided the topic altogether. But her efforts are focused on the future, so that didn’t get her down. She’ll be satisfied, she says, even if change comes “as I’m dying in my bed as an old woman.”

  3. kid in handcuffs getty 174546155

    Has Juvenile Justice Lost Its Way?

    Youthful indiscretions are the norm. Eighty to 90 percent of boys admit in surveys to committing jailable offenses, and America’s juvenile justice systems aim to take that into consideration. While court records are sealed, offenders as young as 10 can face collateral consequences — amounting to a life sentence of evictions, debt and unemployment — that even their lawyers don’t grasp. And for children of migrants, something as minor as shoplifting can lead to deportation to an unfamiliar country. All this fosters marginalization these troubled kids can never put behind them.

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    Anti-Transfusion Faith May Change Surgery

    It runs in their veins. Jehovah’s Witnesses shun transfusions, citing a Biblical injunction against consuming blood. Respecting this requirement, a few hospitals have become proficient at performing surgeries with minimal loss of blood. The patient’s own blood is suctioned, filtered and spun to separate and save red cells. Surgeons also run some blood through a storage circuit, reserving it in case of severe bleeding. This thrifty discipline has led these pioneering doctors to try to save patients of all faiths from transfusions, and, increasingly, peers are seeing the light.

  5. Serena Williams

    Serena Williams Mulls Life After Tennis

    So you’ve made athletic history. Now what? That’s just the sort of conversation that Serena Williams is used to, and sometimes she’s asking herself the questions, like, “Gosh, is this over?” Far from it. After 16 years, she has the tennis world at her feet, but she didn’t expect it to last this long. Following sister Venus’ advice, she took design classes and now she’s selling a line of clothing on HSN between grand slams. Raised by her father to take on the tennis world, she now seems ready to begin her life off the court.