The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Pentagon Admits That Mistakes Led to Hospital Strike

    They were at fault. So says U.S. defense officials about 16 American military personnel and the equipment and chain-of-command failures that led to the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, being hit last October. Those responsible will be punished but face only “administrative actions” like suspension because officials have deemed the errors, which ultimately claimed 42 lives, unintentional. The punitive measures will hurt their careers but won’t make them face criminal charges or prison terms.

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    North Korea Sentences American to 10 Years for Espionage

    This is no spy game. After a swift trial, North Korea sentenced Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized American citizen from South Korea who was convicted of stealing military secrets, to 10 years of hard labor. The authoritarian state reported that Kim confessed, but defectors say such statements are often coerced. In March another American, college student Otto Warmbier, was sentenced to 15 years for trying to steal a propaganda banner. North Korea’s tough posturing — including missile tests — comes ahead of its May 6 ruling party congress.

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    Cruz-Kasich Alliance May Have Backfired

    There wasn’t much art in this deal. An agreement between Ted Cruz and John Kasich to stop Donald Trump may already be backfiring, with reports that some Indiana Republicans aren’t happy with the truce and may instead flock to the billionaire. Likewise, new polling in Oregon, a state Cruz ceded to Kasich in the arrangement, shows Trump with a commanding lead. All of this comes as many party elites are reportedly feeling the “fatigue” of resisting the front-runner and may finally be prepared to accept him as their standard-bearer.

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    Refugee Who Set Himself on Fire in Nauru Camp Dies

    They call him Omid. The 23-year-old, whose full name hasn’t been released, had reportedly been detained for three years on the remote Pacific island after attempting to seek asylum in Australia from his native Iran. He set himself on fire as an act of protest during a U.N. visit Wednesday and died of his burns today. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is being criticized for his hardline immigration policies, compounded by the closing of another camp on Papua New Guinea, but says Australia “cannot be misty-eyed.”

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    Amazon Bucks Trend, Delivers Monster Profits

    Just call them the prime mover. Despite disappointing earnings for fellow giants Apple and Twitter, Amazon had its most profitable quarter ever, with 28 percent year-on-year growth. The company’s shares had fallen 10 percent so far this year but shot up more than 13 percent at the news of an unexpected $513 million income in the first quarter. Investors are taking note of Amazon’s strategies — which include investing heavily in new projects, something they say will continue this year and may eat into profits as 2016 continues.

  6. South African High Court Says Zuma Should Face Charges, 13 Die in Norwegian Helicopter Crash

    South Africa’s supreme court says Zuma should face corruption charges. (AFP) 

    13 killed in Norwegian helicopter crash. (BBC)

    Colombia legalizes same-sex marriage. (BBC)

    ’New York Times’ sued over alleged discriminatory hiring practices. (The Guardian)

    Australian aid worker believed kidnapped in Afghanistan. (AP)

    Two Turkish journalists jailed for blasphemy over Prophet Muhammad cartoon. (France24)

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


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    One European Country Wants More Refugees

    The door’s wide open. Portugal is happy to take 10,000 asylum seekers to help alleviate Europe’s refugee crisis, yet only 234 have come knocking. Many probably don’t realize they’re welcome in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula, but refugees are likely gravitating to places like Germany based on economic performance. In fact, Portugal — which suffers 12.3 percent unemployment to Germany’s 4.3 percent — is struggling to stem the flow of its own citizens leaving, highlighting the fact that asymmetrical economies within Europe are likely to continue pushing newcomers north.

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    US Minority Groups See Huge Drop in Teen Pregnancies

    They’re seeing fewer bumps. America’s teenage birth rate has been dropping for years, but according to the CDC, over the last decade it’s plummeted a whopping 44 percent for Black teens and 51 percent for Latinas. White youths, meanwhile, saw the rate drop by a third. The news signals that American kids are abstaining more while those who choose to have sex are increasingly turning to effective birth control. While teenage pregnancy for minorities is still almost twice that of whites, the gap between them is finally shrinking.

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    Twitter Re-Brands Itself As News Platform

    What’s blue and white and read all over? After a rough financial week and ongoing concerns over stalled growth, the microblogging platform changed its categorization in the iTunes store from “social network” to “news.” The seemingly minor switch gave the app a huge boost as it exited the competitive realm of titans like Facebook and WhatsApp, instead vaulting to first place in its new category. Twitter hopes the higher ranking will entice new iPhone users to download the app, which could make investors happy when next quarter’s results come in.

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    Alicia Vikander Cast in ‘Tomb Raider’ Reboot

    Game on. The Danish Girl Oscar-winner has been tapped to restart the action-adventure franchise based on the hit video game series. Much like the game’s recent reboot, the new film will focus on Lara Croft’s early adventures as a globe-hopping thrill-seeker. The first Tomb Raider debuted in 1996 and has sold 35 million units, inspiring 2001’s film adaptation that turned Angelina Jolie into a bankable star. This cinematic reboot could give fans a new heroine to cheer in a genre increasingly looking to women for star power.