The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. climate change activist

    Climate Agreement Expected a Day Late

    The finish line is in sight. Though officials say the 195 countries conferring on curbing carbon emissions by 2030 are extremely close to a deal, they need a little extra time — so the COP21 conference in Paris will stretch into Saturday. The negotiators are working out how to finance efforts to fight climate change — especially when it comes to developing countries — but authorities say they’re optimistic about the draft text they’ve been working on since Wednesday. If a deal is inked, it’ll come into effect in 2020.

  2. rebels step on syrian flag

    Syrian Opposition Unites Against Assad

    They’re forming a unified front. After two days of talks in Riyadh, Syria’s fragmented opposition and rebel groups are hoping to stabilize their country by working together — without input from President Bashar Assad. As a global coalition forms to fight ISIS, Russia and Iran maintain the world should back Assad as the strongest leadership option, but humanitarian groups insist he’s committed crimes against humanity. At meetings next month a united Syrian opposition could prove an attractive ally for Western countries that want ISIS gone but don’t want Assad at the helm.

  3. police car

    Former Oklahoma Cop Found Guilty of Rape

    They took a stand for the vulnerable. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges against him, including multiple counts of rape. An all-white jury deliberated for four days before recommending a sentence of 263 years in prison. Holtzclaw was accused of preying on 13 African-American women, coercing them into sex after offering them rides home or stopping them for traffic violations. Civil rights activists hope his conviction will lead to justice for other women who are victimized by police.

  4. field with pesticides

    DuPont-Dow Chemical Merger Could Cause Chain Reaction

    The deal is made. Now agricultural industry rivals, companies like Monsanto and Syngenta, will have to react to the merger between chemical giants Dow and DuPont — and may seek their own partnerships in order to stay competitive. Though Syngenta rejected a merger attempt from Monsanto in May, it may change its tune now that Dow and DuPont have left the shrinking pool of potential partners. Smaller market players could also help boost their pesticide portfolios, but some insiders expect Monsanto and Syngenta to start talking consolidation.


  1. el chapo

    El Chapo’s War on ISIS Story a Fake

    It was too good to be true. Social media and major news outlets delighted in a story claiming that notorious fugitive drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán had sent a threatening email to the head of ISIS after the jihadis destroyed a Sinaloa Cartel shipment. Even the DEA commented on the rumor, denying knowledge of any rivalry. But Thug Life blogger Steve Charnock has revealed he made the whole thing up, never intending for anyone to take the satirical report seriously. Looks like we’re stuck with these characters for now.

  2. office shutterstock 74138371

    ‘China’s Warren Buffett’ Goes Missing

    He simply vanished. Guo Guangchang, chair of the Fosun Group and China’s 11th richest man, is reportedly “unreachable.” The billionaire, often likened to a Chinese Buffett owing to his reliance on insurance companies as a base for investment, is said to have been on a flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai — but he may have been arrested. There’s speculation that he’s being investigated for corruption, though Guo, 48, has repeatedly refuted graft claims. It’s possible he’s just assisting in a related probe, and firm execs say they’re handling the situation.

  3. giving directions

    The Scientifically Proven Way to Give Directions

    There’s a formula. Psychologists say if you really want someone to remember directions, describe a nearby landmark first. Researchers tested their word-order theory using “Where’s Waldo,” confirming that people found the titular character more quickly when directions were “landmark first, target second,” rather than the other way around. “Listeners start processing the directions before they’re finished, so it’s good to give them a head start,” explained one researcher. But it’s more than a cute anecdote: This could help artificial intelligence develop better routes for your future road trips.

  4. 20151209 colleen mcguinness 009

    Taking Personal History to the Small Screen

    Sitcom writer Colleen McGuinness is changing television comedy, adding her own story to the mix with her latest show in development. In ABC’s The Homefront she pulls from her own experience with a former Green Beret dad, imagining how he’d handle living in the suburbs today with a baby — and the disastrous hijinks that would ensue. The former 30 Rock and Mercy writer’s got some big names in her corner, including Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling, but the proof will be in the punchline.

  5. John Madden Roger Goddell

    John Madden Recovering From Heart Surgery

    His heart’s still in the game. The Hall of Fame Raiders coach is resting at home after successful open-heart surgery. Despite his impressive 10-year coaching record and second stint as Monday Night Football analyst, today’s generation mostly knows the 79-year-old from the video game series he first lent his name to over 20 years ago. Madden is expected to make a full recovery and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he’ll return to work as co-chair of the league’s safety advisory panel once he’s back on his feet.