The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. bangkok getty images 484325994

    Blast Strikes as Bangkok Seeks Answers

    Authorities confirm that a bomb in the capital of Thailand caused a deadly explosion near a central shrine today. Witnesses report seeing burned motorcycles and body parts at the scene, as well as a crater near the Erawan Shrine in the Chidlom district, located near a five-star hotel. Authorities, who say it may have been an attempt to wound the Thai economy, found at least two unexploded bombs at the site after the first detonated. Local media are reporting that at least 16 have died, with another 81 injured, but more casualties are feared. 


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    White House Warns Beijing About Covert Ops in U.S.

    Bullying is a no-no. President Obama has issued a warning to Beijing over using secret agents in America to scare Chinese expats into returning home. Some of the targets — hundreds have reportedly been pressured into moving back since last year — are wanted by Chinese authorities on economic corruption charges. Reportedly called Operation Fox Hunt, the effort tracks fugitives and in some cases tries to recover their illegal gains. The administration’s warning, meanwhile, is bound to ruffle feathers ahead of President Xi Jinping’s state visit next month.

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    Egypt Passes Strict Anti-Terror Laws

    Will this quash Islamist extremism, or peaceful dissent? Many are wondering after President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s adoption of new counter-terrorism laws following extremist attacks like the recent ISIS beheading. The legislation sets up special courts, enables the use of the death penalty for anyone found guilty of setting up a terror group and offers enforcers legal protection. It also establishes up to $64,000 in fines for publishing “false” reports — anything countering government statements — on attacks or security operations, which many fear will stop newspapers from printing the truth.

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    Rescuers Head to Papua Plane Crash Site

    It went down just seven miles short of its destination. Teams have reportedly identified the Trigana Air prop plane that disappeared off radar yesterday amid bad weather while en route from the provincial capital of Jayapura to remote Oksibil. The plane — which lost contact 10 minutes before its scheduled landing — was carrying 54 passengers and $486,000 in cash to help alleviate suffering in remote villages. Some 50 search and rescue workers are now making their way to the eastern Indonesian site in hope of finding survivors, but are being slowed by bad weather.

  5. Angela Merkel

    Angela Merkel Stays Home to Fight for Greek Bailout

    Will they break ranks? The German chancellor hopes to face down a revolt within her own party this week ahead of a parliamentary vote on the $95 billion bailout for Athens. Colleagues from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union want the IMF involved in order to keep tabs on Greek discipline. But the IMF won’t decide on the deal until October, so Merkel is on the offensive, postponing trips to Italy and Brazil, taking to the airwaves and doing anything she can to dissuade a rebellion before Wednesday’s vote.

  6. U.S. to Pull Missiles from Turkey, Tianjin Protesters Demand Compensation

    U.S. to withdraw Patriot missile-defense batteries from Turkey. (NYT)

    Tianjin residents protest, demand compensation. (DW)

    Crowds call for Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in Brazil. (BBC)

    South Sudan’s leader refuses to sign peace accord. (NYT)

    Morgan Freeman’s granddaughter stabbed to death. (Time)

    Sri Lankan vote tests postwar reconciliation effort. (WSJ) sub

    Famous Mississippians call for change of state flag. (USA Today)


  1. oakland, ca, usa   skyline and bridge

    Earthquake Rattles Bay Area

    It left most residents feeling shaken but not stirred. A 4.0 earthquake rattled through parts of the Bay Area Monday morning at 6:49am. The tremors were widely felt through Oakland and Piedmont with lesser shaking experienced in San Francisco. The short quake was described as sounding like the breaking of a tree branch and was followed by seven short aftershocks. There were no reports of damages or injuries but even these so-called “light” quakes inevitably bring up concerns about the “big one,” that estimates say could leave 20,000 dead and cause more than $32 billion in damages.

  2. jeff bezos

    Jeff Bezos Pushes Back on Amazon Report

    It’s not true but if it is, he won’t tolerate it. The Amazon CEO refuted a New York Times feature claiming the online retail giant is a harsh workplace, punishing employees recovering from cancer, miscarriages and other personal challenges. In a memo, he asks that any of the estimated 180,000 workers witnessing unfair treatment in the company immediately escalate concerns to human resources and offered his email address for direct access, arguing anyone working for a business like the one in the story would be “crazy to stay.” Despite the controversial article, Amazon’s stock experienced a nice bump on Monday.

  3. julian bond obit getty 140147185

    Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond Dies at Age 75

    The nation has lost a civil rights icon. The Nashville native, who died in Florida on Saturday after a brief illness, founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, fought against U.S. involvement in Vietnam and helmed the NAACP. He dedicated much of the 1960s to protest, helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center and served in the Georgia legislature for 20 years after the Supreme Court forced colleagues to admit him. Tributes have begun pouring in for the man who Rev. Jesse Jackson said “set the moral and academic tone of our generation.”

  4. A gay marriage supporter wears a rainbow cape at Virginia's 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Half of Young Brits Not ‘Strictly Heterosexual’

    Mostly straight, but not narrow-minded. A U.K. survey asked respondents to measure themselves on a “sexuality scale,” and 49 percent of those aged 18-24 identified as something other than “completely heterosexual,” compared to 23 percent generally. Only 6 percent of youths surveyed identified as completely homosexual — just two points higher than people of all ages. So the figures seem to reveal that millennials may not be changing their sexual behaviors so much as they are leaving absolute labels behind.

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    Police Penalize Woman for Facebook Photo

    Who, exactly, does the Citizens Security Law protect? The new Spanish legislation prohibits people from posting anything on social media that could jeopardize police operations. It was cited recently in fining an Alicante woman nearly $900 for posting a photo of a cop car parked in a disabled space on Facebook. Police said they parked there to investigate nearby vandalism, and while the woman’s picture didn’t slow them down, it was a blow to their “honor.” Amnesty International condemned the move, and Facebook is bracing for outcry about Spain’s freedom of speech.

  6. People moving, walking on the street at dusk

    China’s Slump Squeezes South Korea

    They shouldn’t have put all their nest eggs in one basket. South Korea’s financial health is tied up with that of China — and as the world’s second-largest economy slows to a crawl and Japan’s devalued currency makes for tough export competition, the southern part of the Korean peninsula is seeing its economy shrivel along with its much-bigger neighbors. But some think that by strategically boosting small companies and the service sector to diversify its longstanding manufacturing export-driven system, South Korea could pull itself out of the skid.

  7. Harrison Ford pointing at himself and yelling at Jabba the Hutt in "Star Wars", 1977.

    ’Star Wars’ Parks Headed for Disney Sites

    Can Mickey control the Force? Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced that the California and Florida theme parks will be getting new additions: 14-acre Star Wars-themed worlds filled with droids, aliens and a cantina modeled on the Mos Eisley original. Plans include a ride where fans can take the helm of the Millennium Falcon and run for cover in an interactive battle scene from The Force Awakens. An opening date has yet to be released, but they’re unlikely to hit before Force opens in December.

  8. jordan spieth february 2015

    Jordan Spieth is Golf’s New Number One

    He proved that winning isn’t everything. The 22-year-old Texan has triumphed at both the Masters and U.S. Open this year, while missing the British Open playoff by a single stroke. This weekend he failed to clinch victory at the PGA championship, finishing three stokes behind record-breaking winner Jason Day. But he still has reason to celebrate, having grabbed the Official World Golf Ranking’s top spot. Remarking on his success, Spieth says he’s looking forward to more great seasons, noting “I hope that we can do this again.”