The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Fighting Rages Despite Calls for Calm in Aleppo

    Can they keep the peace? There were renewed airstrikes in Syria’s largest city today as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Switzerland in a bid to revive negotiations. It’s unclear whether regime or Russian planes were the ones targeting several Aleppo neighborhoods, where hundreds have died in the fresh violence between rebels and Assad’s forces in recent days. The attacks are putting the U.N.-backed peace process on even shakier ground, and Kerry is hoping to get things back on track.

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    Promised Convention Fight Puts Bernie Sanders in Tough Spot

    He sees a path forward … but does his party? The Vermont senator detailed his plan to become the Democratic nominee at a Washington news conference yesterday, admitting it’s “a tough road to climb.” Sanders predicts a contested convention even if he finishes with fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, since both need unpledged superdelegates. But OZY’s Nick Fouriezos says that’ll be a tough sell given that his campaign — which suffered a fundraising slump last month, perhaps signaling supporters’ dwindling faith — has often attacked those same party insiders.

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    Most Detroit Schools Close as Teachers Strike

    They’re sick of being treated this way. All but three of Detroit’s 97 public schools are shut down today after teachers called in sick en masse upon finding out they won’t be paid for their work in the months of May and June. Steven Rhodes, interim manager for Detroit Public Schools, says the action wasn’t necessary and that the legislature will find a way to pay its teachers. Meanwhile, local educators are rallying today to determine how to move forward, given the school district’s $515 million in operating debt.

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    Halliburton, Baker Hughes Merger Hits Skids

    No deal. So say the oil-field service giants after tossing plans for a $28 billion union that had riled regulators concerned about the industry’s competition. The Texas rivals’ merger was facing opposition from the U.S. Justice Department, which argued that it could hurt many product lines, driving prices up and innovation down. Noting that they couldn’t find a solution that placated regulators — European anti-trust authorities also had concerns — Halliburton plans to pay a $3.5 billion breakup fee to Baker Hughes, an early condition that acknowledged anticipated regulatory challenges.

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    Craig Wright Admits He’s Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

    He’s not looking to cash in. But the Australian tech entrepreneur and computer scientist has reluctantly admitted that he created the digital currency, ending a years-long mystery. Prominent Bitcoin community members have confirmed it was Wright, who’s also provided technical proof he designed the virtual money. The 45-year-old, who’s cooperating with the Australian Taxation Office on another matter, says he hopes that this will end speculation over Nakamoto’s identity. “I don’t want money. I don’t want fame,” Wright said. “I just want to be left alone.”

  6. First U.S. Cruise to Cuba in Decades Reaches Havana, May Day Violence Injures Seattle Cops

    First U.S.-to-Cuba cruise in decades docks in Havana. (CNN)

    Violence during May Day march in Seattle injures five cops. (USA Today)

    Puerto Rico set to default on $422 million debt payment. (NBC)

    Trump accuses China of “raping” the United States. (BBC)

    German media say U.S. is pressuring EU over TTIP trade deal. (DW)

    Prince’s family heads to court over his estate. (ABC)


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    New Study Claims Breast Cancer Breakthrough

    It’s all in the genes. A new study that examined the entire genome sequence in hundreds of cases of breast cancer has discovered five hitherto unknown genes that can cause cancer to develop. Altogether it found that just ten genes are responsible for 60 percent of the 93 problem mutations thought to spur breast cancer, though it’s still not clear what causes many of the mutations. Now doctors say they’ll be able to get to work on profiling patients, allowing targeted cancer therapies that will, they hope, be more effective than ever before.

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    North American Bison Could Become America’s Official Mammal

    Swoop aside, bald eagle: These shaggy beasts are roaming for a comeback. The House voted last week to adopt the Great Plains giants as America’s national mammal. Today there are half a million in the United States, compared to an estimated 30-60 million that roamed the plains before they were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1800s. Now a coalition of Native American tribes, ranchers and conservationists are pushing for a presidential signature to make the continent’s largest land mammal an official American symbol.

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    French Jet Ski Champion Sets Hoverboard Record

    He’s certainly not flying under the radar. Flyboard Air inventor Franky Zapata flew more than 7,388 feet on his hoverboard Saturday along France’s south coast, easily beating the previous champ’s 905 feet. Having made a splash online with YouTube videos of his test flights, Zapata saw hundreds gather to watch him zoom overhead, reaching heights upwards of 50 feet, to capture the new Guinness World Record. One day the 37-year-old would like to “ride the clouds,” and he’s currently working to extend the Flyboard’s flight time.

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    Thailand Makes Artificial Rain to Combat Drought

    It’s a power shower. Thailand’s prime minister says his government will launch cloud-seeding aircraft to induce rainfall for the drought-stricken country that’s enduring a record-breaking heat wave. The parched nation of 68 million recently had a series of storms swing through, leaving high humidity that’s ideal for artificial rain efforts — flights that add precipitation-inducing chemicals to clouds. The missions will target areas with dams where the new rainfall can be collected and delivered to the driest regions ahead of Thailand’s much-anticipated monsoon season.

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    Australia Is Becoming Hollywood’s Favorite Backlot

    Stakes are high Down Under. Foreign film production expenditures more than doubled there during 2014-15, hitting a record $418 million. Tinseltown’s being drawn by hard-working crews, beautiful landscapes and, especially, financial incentives. Aussies spend millions promoting foreign productions and offering grants to film companies willing to brave the long flight from L.A. for the new Thor and Alien flicks, among others. Hollywood money injects short-term jolts to local economies and could even boost Australia’s own film industry, providing opportunities for those eyeing the silver screen.

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    Floyd Mayweather Weighs a Return to Boxing

    Money packs quite a punch. The undefeated champ has revealed that he’s discussed a comeback. Last September the light middleweight said he was laying down his gloves at 49-0, tying Rocky Marciano’s unblemished record. The 39-year-old nicknamed “Money” now enjoys promoting fights, but realizes his own return could mean “upwards of, of course, nine figures.” For now, Mayweather — who’s ruled out a match against the heavier undefeated middleweight title-holder Gennady Golovkin — says he’s happy outside the ring, but teased, “You just never know.”