The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. A woman lights incense before offering prayers at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok. Source: Getty

    Shrine Reopens, Thailand Offers Reward for Arrest

    They’re praying for answers … and normalcy. Authorities have offered 1 million Thai baht — roughly $28,000 — for information leading to an arrest in Monday’s bombing at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 and injured scores. The site, with a now slightly damaged statue of the Hindu god Brahma, reopened today without much visible security, allowing worshippers to offer flowers and condolences. Police believe a “network” was behind the attack, and they’re working to identify a man from video footage who was pictured leaving a backpack at the scene.

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    Bundestag Approves Third Greek Bailout

    Angela Merkel is relieved … at least for now. The chancellor was facing down a rebellion among fellow conservatives today as the German parliament voted on the $95 billion funding package for Athens. But the legislators ratified the proposal, 454 to 113. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble launched the debate, which saw 63 majority party MPs vote in opposition — but enjoyed widespread support from Social Democrats and the Green Party. Some fear that such opposition from within Merkel’s own party could set the tone for future fights over Greek finances and make her politically vulnerable.

  3. Ashley Madison

    Leaked Ashley Madison Data Goes Public

    They’ve followed through on their promises. Hackers who stole data from Ashley Madison, which facilitates married people who want to have affairs, have posted personal information on 36 million users — including 15,000 military or government addresses — after the site refused to shutter post-hack. While many are likely nervous about their extramarital fun-hunting being made public, they can always claim they had nothing to do with it: Ashley Madison doesn’t verify email addresses used to sign up, so anyone could be operating under an assumed identity. 

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    ISIS Beheads Archeologist in Palmyra

    His crime? Loving art and history. Professor Khaled Asaad, the former general manager for antiquities and museums in Palmyra, was beheaded yesterday by ISIS militants in the central Syrian city. The jihadists wrestled control of Palmyra from government troops back in May, but are not believed to have destroyed its famous Roman-era ruins. Syria’s antiquities director, Maamoun Abdulkarim, mourned the loss of his 82-year-old colleague and called the militants’ presence both “a curse and bad omen.” He, like many, fears this may bode ill for the city’s 2,000-year-old ruins.

  5. Pink pill

    FDA Greenlights Bottled Libido for Women

    Not feeling the love, ladies? The FDA’s just approved Addyi, aka flibanserin or “female viagra,” to help treat women’s lack of sexual desire. Having rejected it twice before, federal authorities did an about-face yesterday following a June advisory panel vote in favor of the pill produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. The drug targets neurotransmitters believed to impact arousal. Some say the benefits aren’t worth the side effects, including nausea and sleepiness, and complain that the medicine — due to hit shelves on Oct. 17 — must be taken every day.

  6. European Migrant Numbers Surge, Chelsea Manning Spared Solitary Confinement

    Europe’s July migrant numbers have tripled since last year. (DW)

    Chelsea Manning convicted of breaking prison rules, spared solitary. (Reuters)

    Sebastian Coe named president of world sports governing body. (BBC)

    U.S. dollar dips ahead of release of Fed’s July meeting minutes. (Economic Times)

    China says thousands are being detained for online ’crime.’ (Al Jazeera)


  1. lice getty images 129378656

    Head Lice Are Resisting Treatment

    This will make your skin crawl. New research shows that lice in at least 25 U.S. states are growing immune to over-the-counter treatments. More than 100 samples from 30 states showed that a majority of lice carry genes — thanks to a trio of mutations — that help them resist readily available insecticides called pyrethroids. Lice aren’t known to transmit diseases, but victims are usually itching to banish them. And experts say those plagued by the most headstrong of these lousy pests should turn to prescription-based solutions.

  2. American Apparel

    American Apparel on Brink of Collapse

    The spandex can only stretch so far. It’s been a rough year for the iconic retailer, which fired former CEO Dov Charney last December amid scandal. The firm recently announced preliminary second-quarter results reflecting a net loss of about $19.4 million, with revenue dropping by 17 percent. Shares in the company fell 1.7 percent yesterday to about 15 cents — already down 85 percent since the beginning of the year — and the brand’s execs are warning that they may not be in business 12 months from now. 

  3. Early BW of Beatles

    Beatles’ First Recording Contract to be Auctioned

    What’s German for Beatlemania? Deutschland bet on the Fab Four before they broke big, and next month, the band’s first-ever recording contract — for the release of “My Bonnie” with German label Polydor — is being sold by Heritage Auctions in New York as part of a Beatles memorabilia collection. Ringo’s not in the six-page document, because the group was still rolling with original drummer Pete Best. But one lucky Beatlemaniac is expected, to the tune of around $150,000, to snag this piece of history.

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    Doctors Play With Sweaty, Slimy Dolls

    Can dummies make the best teachers? Medical students are increasingly being trained on high-fidelity mannequins that bleed, sweat … and even give birth. Their “bodies” offer simulations that help trainees practice high-stress medical crises in low-stakes environments. The hope is that these “patients” will help reduce medical errors — reportedly the third-leading cause of death in America. Studies show they help boost confidence, but with price tags hovering around six figures and murky findings on whether they reduce mistakes, some wonder whether dummies are the smartest choice.

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    College Athletes Enjoy Millions in New Perks

    It pays to study. NCAA athletes are cashing in big on new benefits made available by recent changes. As of Aug. 1, athletic scholarships can cover costs like transportation and unlimited snacks, as well as traditional tuition, room, board and books. The shift, brought in by recent votes allowing Division I schools to cover attendance costs and food, mean college stars will get nearly $160 million a year more in benefits. But some fear that the resulting funding pressure will impact other students’ debt levels — and non-revenue sports.

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