The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Police Arrest Key Paris Attacks Suspect

    Did they get the man in the hat? Prosecutors say the key remaining suspect from the Paris attacks last November, Mohamed Abrini, has been detained, and reports are speculating that he may have been the same man in the cap seen in video footage from the deadly March 22 airport bombing in Brussels. Investigators are working to determine whether this is true, and they’ve confirmed that another of the detainees allegedly helped suicide bomber Khalid el-Bakraoui at the Maelbeek metro station.

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    Pope Stays Middle of the Road With Marriage Pronouncement

    This isn’t a love revolution. But the newly released Amoris Laetitia, which tops 250 pages, could still be a bombshell: Though it reaffirms church teachings on marriage, it doesn’t specify that divorced or gay Catholics should be denied communion. Instead it says that in certain cases “an objective situation of sin” can be helped by the sacraments. Pope Francis exhorts local churches to make sure their “irregular” brethren don’t feel excluded, saying, “The Church turns with love to those who participate in her life in an imperfect manner.”

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    Bill Clinton Clashes With Black Activists

    Is Bill as slick as he used to be? Once known as “the first black president,” Clinton sparred with Philadelphia Black Lives Matter protesters criticizing his 1994 crime bill. He also defended his wife’s 1996 use of the word “superpredators,” something she’s apologized for, and scolded hecklers for “defending the people who killed the lives you say matter.” The would-be first gentleman has done more harm than good on the campaign trail, OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says — a distraction Hillary Clinton can ill afford ahead of New York’s critical April 19 vote.

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    David Cameron Admits to Benefiting from Offshore Trust

    The pressure’s mounting, but the British prime minister insists he has “nothing to hide.” His late father’s offshore trust was exposed by the Panama Papers earlier this week, but Cameron says he sold all of his shares before assuming office in 2010. The conservative leader has undergone days of questioning about the trust, and about his 2013 letter urging EU leadership to exempt offshore trusts from transparency rules. Some opposition leaders are calling for his resignation, and the allegations could weaken Cameron as he fights against a potential Brexit.

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    Argentine President Under Pressure Over Utility Prices

    He took power, now he’s charging for it. Argentinians have grown accustomed to some of the world’s cheapest utility rates, but no more: President Mauricio Macri, who just threw billions at U.S. hedge fund creditors to allow Argentina to escape default, is raising the cost of public transit, electricity and water by as much as 300 percent. Macri, who’s under investigation for revelations from the infamous Panama Papers, will also oversee Argentina’s first global bond offering in 15 years — expected to bring in over $12 billion — next week.

  6. Venezuela Sends Workers Home Early, Flemish Belgians Consider Breaking Away

    Venezuela institutes three-day weekends to save on electricity. (USA Today)

    Rattled, Belgium ramps up secession talk for Flanders region. (NYT)

    Uber ordered to pay $10 million over misleading practices. (Buzzfeed)

    Colombia high court gives green light to gay marriage. (The Guardian)

    Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)


  1. fukuryu maru

    Japan Fishermen to File Lawsuit Over US H-Bomb Test

    The legal fallout continues. Fishermen and their families will file a lawsuit against the Japanese government seeking compensation after decades of silence over their exposure to dangerous levels of radiation during US nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands. The plaintiffs were fishing near the islands when the largest nuclear test in US history covered the region in radioactive fallout. One boat, the Fukuryu Maru, was in the fallout zone while 10 others were doused with undisclosed levels of radiation. The plaintiffs are seeking about $18,000 each is a suit set to be filed next month.

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    Would You Swim With a Crocodile?

    Forget shark diving. In Ghana’s Paga Ponds locals wash clothes and kids swim alongside so-called friendly crocodiles. Legend says a crocodile once saved a man from a lion, and in return he promised that the villagers would never harm one of the scaly creatures again. Croc behaviorists tell a slightly different tale: Some species of the aquatic reptiles can actually be trained using live chickens as treats. Man’s new best friend? Not so fast. Allegedly docile crocodiles in Côte d’Ivoire famously ate their beloved longtime caretaker, so swimmers beware.

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    China’s Uber Rival Now Valued at $25 Billion

    They’ve got money to burn. Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Kuaidi is eyeing another $1.5 billion in funding as it continues to dominate the local market. The startup currently operates in over 400 cities — ten times more than Uber’s slice of the mainland market — but rapid expansion costs money. The $25 billion company keeps its finances secret, but sources say it’s hemorrhaging cash in all but 100 cities. Uber, meanwhile, is burning about $1 billion a year in China just to stay in this very expensive race.

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    Teen Sleeping Habits Tied to Risky Behavior

    The good news is that they can sleep it off. Teenagers who get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night are more likely to bike without a helmet, text and drive, or skip the seatbelt, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The solution? Encouraging regular sleep times and keeping electronics out of teen bedrooms, say study authors, whose research backs up previous studies that are driving some schools to institute later start times in order to preserve student well-being.

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    J.K. Rowling’s Chair Sells for $394K

    Care to sit a spell? An anonymous bidder has paid nearly $400,000 for the 1930s oak chair the Harry Potter author sat on to write her first two wizarding books. It was “the comfiest” of four mismatched chairs given to Rowling while she was writing the famed series in Edinburgh. Seller Gerald Gray didn’t expect it to draw such a sum — but he’s pledged to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to Rowling’s charity, Lumos, and says he hopes the new owner displays the chair where children can enjoy it.

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    Ernie Els Has Record Worst Hole at Masters

    That’s not how you want to get into the record books. The usually stellar golfer needed nine strokes to get past the par-4 first hole at the tournament, including a cringe-inducing six putts within 3 feet of the hole. That performance set a record of futility unmatched in 80 years of Masters play. The 46-year-old, a World Golf Hall of Famer, said he had “snakes in his head” the rest of the day, finishing the opening round with an 8-over-par 80, in 81st place.