The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Austria Passes Tough New Asylum Law

    This borders on unfriendly. The 8.6 million-strong republic passed new legislation today to restrict asylum rights, enabling authorities to reject migrants at the border. The move, which follows the far-right’s strong first round showing in last week’s presidential election, allows the Austrian government to declare a “state of emergency” over migration and reject asylum-seekers, even those from war-torn nations. Activists say the measure, which may be compounded by the erection of a fence at the Italian border, strips protections from war and persecution.

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    Salah Abdeslam Arrives in France, Faces Murder Charges

    He’s back. The 26-year-old suspected in the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris that killed 130 was extradited to France today. He was captured in Brussels last month following attacks there, but authorities agreed to return him to the French capital to stand trial. Abdeslam’s Belgian lawyer, Sven Mary, described his client, who’s being charged with murder, as a “little jerk” with “the intelligence of an empty ashtray.” A French official said Abdeslam, who appeared before a judge today, would be put in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison.

  3. Ted Cruz

    Ted Cruz Names VP Pick, John Boehner Calls Him ‘Lucifer’

    Is this the last gasp? The Texas senator named former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his potential running mate the day after Donald Trump trounced him in five Northeast primaries, closing in on the magic number of 1,237 delegates. It’s an unusual move for Cruz: VP picks are typically made after a candidate wins the party’s nomination. “I don’t think that will sway large numbers of voters,” political scientist Andrew Downs told OZY. Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House John Boehner described Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh” and reportedly says he won’t vote for him. 

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    Papua New Guinea to Close Australian Refugee Camp

    So much for their offshore account. Politicians Down Under have staunchly refused to allow asylum seekers to come ashore, instead stashing them in controversial detention centers on neighboring islands. But Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island facility, home to 900 people, has just been ruled unconstitutional, and the country’s prime minister is asking Australia to make “alternative arrangements” immediately. It’s a stinging blow for Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose no-tolerance policy for refugees aimed to deter people-smugglers, and it could complicate his re-election hopes in July.

  5. Hastert Sentenced to 15 Months in Jail, ’Suicide Bomber’ Hits Western Turkey

    Judge gives former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert months in prison. (Washington Post)

    Suicide bomber reportedly hits Bursa in western Turkey, killing one. (BBC)

    Venezuela announces two-day work week to save electricity. (Forbes)

    Fleeing thief is arrested after hopping White House fence. (Politico)

    Chilling note found next to murdered California couple. (Time)

    U.S. official: Airstrikes have destroyed as much as $800 million in ISIS cash. (Newsweek)

    Supreme Court to consider Virginia ex-governor’s conviction. (The Hill)


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    Winds of Change Are Stirring in Morocco

    When it rains, it pours. And if leaders in this North African country don’t find a way to address climate change, which is plaguing Morocco with devastating droughts and flash floods, some say no umbrella will be big enough to ward off revolution. It won’t depend solely on the weather, of course, but the climate is impacting socio-economic and political developments that exacerbate inequality. This, some believe, will lead to movements demanding change, and unless Morocco gets more progressive, its leaders may soon need to duck for cover.

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    Millennials Surpass Boomers as Biggest US Group

    Out with the old guard. The tech-savvy young generation aged 18 to 34 now numbers 75.4 million, compared to 74.9 million Baby Boomers, according to new Pew Research Center data. The younger cohort’s numbers are also expected to grow, thanks to immigration, with an estimated peak of around 81 million by 2036. With earlier research showing that millennials — even those that identify as Republicans — tend to swing left on issues ranging from marijuana to same-sex marriage and immigration, these youngsters might change American politics for good.

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    China Sees Childhood Obesity Balloon

    Prosperity can weigh you down. Three decades ago the childhood obesity rate in the world’s most populous nation was almost zero. But the results of a 29-year study show that today 1 in 6 Chinese boys and 1 in 11 girls are obese — a spike attributed to rising incomes and the popularity of a “Western lifestyle.” Study subjects in the rural Shandong province still have less than half the United States’ obesity rate, but Chinese authorities are concerned about parallel trends toward diabetes and heart disease in the coming years.

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    Comcast in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

    Negotiations are getting animated. The entertainment behemoth is said to be working on a $3 billion deal for the studio behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Comcast already owns Universal Studios — plus NBC, Telemundo and USA Network — meaning the takeover would merge DreamWorks with the team that made Despicable Me. For three years Jeffrey Katzenberg has been shopping the company that he helped form in 1997, but he’s yet to close the deal. Meanwhile, the level of buzz on Wall Street may depend on Comcast’s earnings report this morning.