The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Legendary Singer Prince Dies at 57

    He “never meant to cause you any sorrow.” But the Purple Rain legend died today in his Minnesota studio, according to his publicist. A week ago, the singer had to cancel two shows when he was hospitalized for a few hours with what his reps said was the flu. The pop star, who sold more than 100 million records over the course of his career and has been a musical icon since the 1980s, was memorialized on Twitter by fellow star Boy George, who wrote: ”Today is the worst day ever.”

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    Russian Submarine Buildup Prompts US Retaliation

    They’re sinking to new depths. Vladimir Putin’s churning out attack submarines at a Cold War pace, sneaking up on Scandinavia, Scotland, the Med and North Atlantic to flex some underwater muscle. A top U.S. commander recently warned that Russian sub patrols had risen nearly 50 percent in just one year, prompting the Pentagon to argue for more cash to build ships, planes and submarines in response. They’re seeking $8.1 billion by 2021 for the effort — clearly signaling that, as one admiral said, “We’re back to the great powers competition.”

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    Blast Kills 13 at Mexican Petrochemical Plant

    A deadly explosion rocked a vinyl chloride factory owned by state-controlled Pemex yesterday afternoon, killing 13 and injuring scores. A large fire and toxic smoke rose from the scene in the southeastern Mexican port city of Coatzacoalcos, and the cause of the blast remains unknown. Authorities say the fire was under control last night, and Pemex says the smoke is quickly dissipating, lessening the toxic effects. But dozens remain hospitalized, several of them in serious condition, and residents are being advised to stay indoors, while local schools remain shut.

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    Turkey Overturns Convictions Over Coup Accusations

    Fantasy or conspiracy? In 2013, a Turkish court convicted 275 people — including journalists, academics, lawyers and senior military officers — of plotting a coup a decade earlier against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan through a massive secret network known as Ergenekon. But today, because nobody has ever proven that such a network ever existed, a high-security court outside Istanbul threw out the previous verdict, in a case that pitted supporters of Turkey’s military against fans of its president. Tensions aren’t expected to die down anytime soon, especially if there’s a retrial of the original case.

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    Donald Trump Tests ‘Softer’ Campaign

    Hello, Mr. Nice Guy. The Republican front-runner is reportedly following the advice of new campaign convention manager Paul Manafort and recently hired national political director Rick Wiley to evolve into the more “presidential” approach he’s been promising. That means less name-calling and a focus on real policies and accomplishments. The more disciplined approach aims to help the billionaire secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to sew up the GOP nomination — and it signals to opponents that the Donald is doubling down in order to win.

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    Investors Yank $15 Billion From Hedge Funds

    They’re voting with their feet. Tired of exorbitant fees, investors fought back with a helluva blow: Hedge funds suffered their worst quarter since 2009 as the amount invested fell to $2.86 trillion between January and March this year. For many, fee structures of 2 percent for management and another 20 percent on profits, combined with poor performances — hedge funds lost money, the stock market rose — just didn’t add up. But moving money can be risky, and experts say that “up-and-down markets” can be good for hedged strategies.

  7. Queen Elizabeth II Turns 90, Mitsubishi Office Raided

    Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. (The Guardian)

    Japanese officials raid Mitsubishi office following test cheating revelation. (BBC)

    New study: Zika could threaten 2 billion worldwide. (Daily Mail)

    Obama works to ‘clear the air’ with Saudis. (CNN)

    Relief crews evacuate 500 from four besieged Syrian towns. (BBC)

    VW to offer payout to car owners over emissions scandal. (WSJ) sub

    The FBI paid more than $1 million for the tool it used to hack into an iPhone. (Reuters)


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    Harriet Tubman to Replace Andrew Jackson on US $20 Bill

    Call it 20/20 vision. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew acknowledged public outcry over the original plan to boot Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill, the next note to be redesigned, in favor of a woman. Instead they’re demoting President Jackson to the back of the 20, with the famed Underground Railroad abolitionist claiming her place on the front. Civil rights leaders will also be added to $5 bills, and women’s suffrage activists to $10 notes. But change takes time: Tubman must wait until 2030 to cash in.

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    Nude London Restaurant to Open in June

    It’s the naked truth. A pop-up restaurant called The Bunyadi is coming soon to the British capital, inviting diners to eat in the buff. The central London eatery — which already has an 8,000-strong waiting list — will feature spare décor to match its dress code. It opens in June for three months, serving candlelit meals “without any impurities” consumed with edible cutlery. Seating for 42 will be divided between “pure” and “clothed” sections, with changing rooms for those who prefer to commute with their pants on.

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    Fossil Find Reveals First North American Monkeys

    This monkeys with the timeline. Scientists previously thought the tail-swinging mammals didn’t make it to Central America until the Panama isthmus provided a land bridge 3 million years ago. But seven 21-million-year-old monkey teeth discovered in Panama are forcing a rethink on the primates’ history. Though monkeys didn’t expand north into Mexico until much later, this discovery means they crossed the 100-mile expanse of ocean separating North and South America at that time — and scientists must now figure out how they made that trip.

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    In Asia You Can Hire Screaming Teen Fans

    At what price, fame? Whether you’re an aging pop star or a game show host, a crowd of cheering, crying and fainting teenagers can make you look like a superstar, even if they’re being paid by the hour. Companies in Vietnam and China recruit young people looking to make a quick buck via social networks, paying them peanuts to whoop and holler for whoever’s footing the bill. Such stunts help folks climb the social ladder in parts of Asia, but some worry phony fans can water down true stardom.

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    ESPN Fires Schilling After Transphobic Post

    It’s his third strike. Former Red Sox star Curt Schilling has been canned after sharing a meme on Facebook opposing trans people who use bathrooms not aligned with their birth gender. Schilling, who’d been a baseball analyst for ESPN since 2010, was suspended last year for a tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis, and last month he said Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere.” The network, noting it’s an “inclusive company,” told the three-time World Series champion pitcher that “his conduct was unacceptable,” and finally called him out.