The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Iranians Vote in Influential Elections

    We’ll soon know whether they like reform. Polls have opened in the Islamic Republic, where voters — 55 million strong — are deciding on 290 parliamentary seats and voting on the clerical body responsible for appointing their Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Khamenei voted early today, telling Iranians, “Elections should be such that make the enemy disappointed.” The parliamentary outcome will indicate whether President Hassan Rouhani has the public’s seal of approval for last year’s nuclear agreement, and his coalition hopes to break the conservative majority in the legislature to push for further reforms.


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    Gianni Infantino Elected FIFA President

    Will his reign be more of the same? Infantino, who won after two rounds of voting, was previously a deputy to UEFA president Michel Platini, who’s been suspended over an ongoing corruption scandal along with former FIFA top dog Sepp Blatter. Infantino beat out Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a Bahraini royal, Jerome Champagne, a French former FIFA executive, and South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale. FIFA voters also approved a package of reforms, including the dissolution of the body’s Executive Committee, which will now be the Infantino’s responsibility to implement. 

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    SeaWorld Admits Employees Spied on Activists

    It’s no fish story. The aquatic animal theme park’s been planting moles among People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists to help “maintain the safety and security of employees, customers and animals in the face of credible threats.” So says CEO Joel Manby, who also noted that his board has since tanked the spying activities. He’s not saying whether anyone was fired over the nefarious undertakings, but the firm’s stock — despite a Q4 report showing improved revenue and attendance — just sunk 9.2 percent.

  3. mark zuckerberg

    Facebook Tells Staff to Stop Editing ‘Black Lives Matter’

    They’ve seen the writing on the wall. The social network has circulated an internal memo chastising employees for crossing out the words “Black lives matter” written on the walls of its Menlo Park headquarters — where graffiti’s sanctioned — and replacing it with “All lives matter.” Founder Mark Zuckerberg had already warned employees once and is now calling the continued misconduct “malicious.” The company has launched an investigation into the incidents, and Zuckerberg has invited employees to attend a Q&A about the Black Lives Matter movement next week.

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    How Your Mind Fools Your Vision

    It’s an eye-opener. Celebs want us to think they do their own stunts, and our brains are helping them trick us. A new study says we see faces that we expect to see because of a brain mechanism that helps images look stable and continuous. “Our minds assume continuity,” writes OZY’s Libby Coleman, which convinces us that it’s really Uma Thurman flying through the air, not her stunt double. Sure, movie magic also helps, but we can thank evolution for our inability to sometimes see what’s right before our eyes.

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    Only Transgender Nominee Is Boycotting Oscars Ceremony

    “I will not be lulled into submission,” says Anohni, only the second transgender person ever nominated for an Oscar — the first was Angela Morley, a composer who got two nods in the 1970s. Anohni is up for Best Original Song for “Manta Ray,” featured in the documentary Racing Extinction. But her number was cut from the telecast performance, and while she says she doesn’t think it’s specifically about her being transgender, she’s decrying the Academy’s lack of support for LGBT performers — and says she’ll be skipping Sunday’s awards.

  6. colin kaepernick

    Colin Kaepernick’s Agents Reportedly Request Trade

    Will there be a hand-off? Despite assurances from new 49ers coach Chip Kelly that he’s part of the team’s plans, the quarterback’s agents have asked San Francisco for permission to seek a trade. The 28-year-old was benched midway through last season and later put on the injured reserve, but many analysts think he could thrive under Kelly’s system. The club now has until April 1 before Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary becomes guaranteed for the year, which could complicate any talks with other teams.