The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. beach (554225861)

    Farewell Summer, Hello Sun and Sales

    The lucky Americans will go to the beach. Others will feel the inexorable pull of the annual Labor Day sales. But even if this weekend is a great time to buy summer clothes, experts say outdoor grills and other warm-weather items could get even less expensive after the holiday. More bargains can be found at the gas pump, with some of the cheapest prices (averaging $2.44 a gallon) since 2004. And thankfully there are some who’ll celebrate the nation’s workforce — which gives Monday its name — and a growing job market.

  2. refugees at a bus station in Serbia

    Migrants Rejected, Then Welcomed by Europe

    Images of children being hoisted onto crowded trains last week evoked Europe’s dark history, as Budapest halted westbound trains and gathered migrants into camps. Yesterday thousands — many on foot, some bused by Hungarian authorities — were welcomed into Austria, then Germany. Desperate scenes, including a 3-year-old’s body on a Turkish beach and refugees disrupting Channel Tunnel service, have given way to Finland’s leader offering refugees his house, Bavarians greeting new arrivals with gifts and activists driving to Hungary to pick up more of the mainly Syrian asylum-seekers and show them a continent’s open arms.

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    Guatemala’s Likely Leader Is a Study in Contrasts

    He’s jumping into the fire. Manuel Baldizón is the heir apparent to disgraced President Otto Pérez Molina, who resigned as authorities closed in on Thursday. One might wonder if Baldizón will follow in his predecessor’s footsteps, with reported ties to drug traffickers — even as he plays the law-and-order candidate on an anti-corruption ticket — with a running mate who’s under investigation. But two decades after the country’s brutal civil war, voters have no better options, and observers predicted the tycoon’s winning smile would prove irresistible in today’s vote.

  4. martin e. dempsey and yousef al otaiba

    UAE Envoy Has Become D.C. Insider

    The Middle East hasn’t seen this much turmoil in a century. That’s why U.S. officials are ready to listen to some radical ideas aimed at stabilizing the region. Enter Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington. He’s often one of the only foreigners at Mideast policy meetings — and the sole voice advocating decisive action to rid Syria of dictator Bashar Assad. Surprised? Don’t be, considering his confederation of monarchies is now fighting in Yemen, and seems poised to begin playing a role in shaping its geopolitical environment.

  5. French Spy Apologizes for Fatal Bombing of Rainbow Warrior, Iran Deal Gets Key Democrat’s Support

    French agent apologizes for bombing Greenpeace ship in 1985. (BBC)

    Democratic Party Chair says she’ll cast House vote for Iran deal. (Washington Post)

    Thai elections in doubt after committee rejects proposed constitution. (NYT)

    Spanish rally car veers into crowd, kills six, including child. (Daily Mail)

    Army investigates ritual West Point pillow fight violence. (Reuters)


  1. Rosario Mendoza poses for a portrait in front of her Guadalajara studio.

    Rosario Mendoza: A New Class of Designer

    As the profile of Latin American fashion rises, some would call her a global pioneer. Her indigenous-meets-high-fashion designs have appeared on catwalks around the world, won awards — including an Emmy — and stitched together an entire movement merging traditional and hip couture. Not to mention, she’s helped put Mexican fashion on the map. And her personal rise, from a rural village without electricity or running water to the red carpet, is just as stunning as her buoyant textures, Frida Kahlo-esque flourishes and vivid hues.

  2. appalachian trail shutterstock sized 214896913

    When the Appalachian Trail Lost Its Innocence

    It’s been called “God’s cathedral,” a place to escape man’s chaos. Geoffrey Hood, 26, and his girlfriend, Molly LaRue, 25, set out from Maine 25 years ago for the famed path, but the worst of humanity caught up with them in a Pennsylvania lean-to. A drifter murdered them, shooting Hood and raping and torturing LaRue in an incident that forever changed hikers’ relationship with the trail. In their memory, a hiker who befriended the couple remembers their final journey and how travelers still flock to the 78-year-old national treasure to honor them.

  3. Pledge of alleigance

    The Pledge of Allegiance’s Bizarre History

    As historic documents go, it’s nouveau. The pledge was penned in 1892 by Francis Bellamy and James Upham and debuted the following year with the goal of assimilating immigrants and stirring patriotism among a post-Civil War generation. Schoolkids once intoned “my” rather than “the” flag while making a Nazi-esque salute — dropped during World War II — and Congress added “under God” in 1954 as a symbolic middle finger to Communism. Despite its traditional auspices, America’s daily exercise in fealty promises to keep changing along with its politics. 

  4. Bay Area Earthquake

    App to Attempt Earthquake Warnings

    This could rock Silicon Valley. We haven’t made much progress in stopping earthquakes, but a team of researchers and entrepreneurs are working on the next best thing. The Brinco startup’s sensors, linked to your phone, could provide a critical heads-up — seconds, perhaps — before a deadly temblor or tsunami hits. The company’s still chasing its fund-raising goal for deploying monitoring devices in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the U.S. Geological Survey is developing its ShakeAlert system, offering hope that soon you’ll know just when to duck and cover.

  5. green bay packers lambeau field shutterstock 22573240

    Bart Starr Faces Toughest Foe

    He hasn’t given up. At 81, Bryan Bartlett Starr is remembered for battling sub-zero temperatures and Cowboys defenders to win the 1967 “Ice Bowl” NFL final for the Packers. But the quarterback who’s won more championships than anyone no longer recognizes himself in clips, and even radical stem-cell treatments haven’t reversed the effects of a near-fatal stroke last year. Then there are sparks of recognition, giving Starr’s wife, Cherry, reason to hope he’ll improve in time for Thanksgiving, when he’s scheduled to walk onto Green Bay’s Lambeau Field for one final curtain call.